Blow Me

Just kidding. :-) Charles Blow laments the "end of dating," as the "hookup culture" has officially taken over:

The paradigm has shifted. Dating is dated. Hooking up is here to stay.

(For those over 30 years old: hooking up is a casual sexual encounter with no expectation of future emotional commitment. Think of it as a one-night stand with someone you know.)

According to a report released this spring by Child Trends, a Washington research group, there are now more high school seniors saying that they never date than seniors who say that they date frequently. Apparently, it’s all about the hookup.

When I first heard about hooking up years ago, I figured that it was a fad that would soon fizzle. I was wrong. It seems to be becoming the norm.

The rest of the piece is about what you'd expect, except that he does actually take a moment to ask an "expert" (she's here to fix the cobble) if there is an UP side to hooking up:

According to [Kathleen Bogle, a professor at La Salle University in Philadelphia who has studied hooking up among college students and is the author of the 2008 book, “Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus"] the pros are that hooking up emphasizes group friendships over the one-pair model of dating, and, therefore, removes the negative stigma from those who can’t get a date. As she put it, “It used to be that if you couldn’t get a date, you were a loser.” Now, she said, you just hang out with your friends and hope that something happens.

Then comes the "downside":

Girls get tired of hooking up because they want it to lead to a relationship (the guys don’t), and, as they get older, they start to realize that it’s not a good way to find a spouse. Also, there’s an increased likelihood of sexual assaults because hooking up is often fueled by alcohol.

He calls this "gender inequity," but who is the one saying that girls want spouses and boys don't, or that girls want relationships and boys don't? And since drinking goes on during "dating" as well, and rape certainly happens during "dates" ("date rape"? it's in the dictionary and everything) isn't the last point moot?

I have a different perspective on dating: dating, especially dating in which the sex/marriage/mating desire is stated up front but sex is not actually going to happen for a while, makes people who only want sex dishonest about their motives (they pretend they want a relationship), and people who only want a relationship equally dishonest as they tease and tempt the other, trying to hook him/her into a bond. (The genders don't matter.)

When people hook up, on the other hand, there's no opportunity to lie. They're in it for sex. Two people who both like sex are very likely, if they enjoyed themselves, to come back for more. And if something grows out of that, fantastic. If not, they had a fantastic time. Win-win.

What he's describing are people who really want relationships but who are "hooking up" just to try to tempt and tease someone into a relationship, which means they're just plain doing it wrong. They're bringing their lies and deceit into an arena that values honesty. If you want to have long talks and spend hours cuddling in front of the feel-good movie of 1963, find someone who wants to do that with you.

Brian and I hooked up in mid-October of 2000, and we both enjoyed it so much we decided, the next day, to go on a date. The date was fantastic too. More than 8 years later, we're still together, and these have been the best 8 years of my life. 

Hooking up is not some sort of evil social phenomenon that will destroy our culture; it's a no-bullshit way of getting to know someone for people who are interested in sex. Frankly, a lot of sadness has been reaped in this world because of marriages (or relationships) between one person who loves and needs sex and another who can do without, or would just rather not. What's wrong with these two pools of people having such drastically different "loving" styles that they become less likely to mix? 

Don't get down on hookups, get down on the dishonest, lying jerks who have sex with people in order to wheedle something out of them. Be master of your sexual destiny: have fun and get yours every time. Expect nothing. Sex doesn't create obligations, unless, of course, you're renting it out. In which case, say so.

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