We all know the scene. It’s a Wednesday night, probably around 3 a.m., and the sound of your phone buzzes you out of that study-coma with a superbly eloquent, “Yo, wanna come over?” text. Come over? At 3 a.m.? Who in the world has the nerve to text you at this hour? Oh. That’s right. Your booty call.
For many college students, being a booty call, having a booty call, or being the unwilling third party participant to a booty call happening next door is fairly common. To those lovey-dovey couples caught up in all the romance of their Notebook-ish togetherness, hooking up with random guys or gals might seem ridiculously promiscuous. But to everyone else who finds themselves climbing out of bed at odd hours to spray on a little Axe or find their “good underwear,” this is just another night in this “Wonderful World of College Dating.”
When it comes to forming relationships during the four years of our higher education, the black and white zones of “boyfriends” and “girlfriends” has long since drifted into the murky territory of “fun buddies,” “one night stands,” and “that person I rubbed up against at the bar.”
“For the majority of students, they’re not going to dinner and a movie unless they’ve hooked up with someone. Some physical interaction comes before the dating,” says Justin Garcia, a postdoctoral fellow at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction & Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior at Indiana Univeristy in Bloomington, IN. It’s more often the case that “dates happen after a relationship, rather than before.”
Over the past few years, stripping down to our skivvies has become less intimate than it used to be. Why is it that hooking up with a sweaty stranger on the dance floor is far more ordinary than an actual, full-blown relationship? Why do college students, who spend countless hours slaving over schoolwork, sacrifice their precious sleep to do the naked tango with someone they barely know, let alone care about?
Well, if you’re a member of the “Friends With Benefits” school of sexual thought( or maybe if you really just like Mila Kunis’ and Justin Timberlake’s on-screen chemistry), stripping down with the most intoxicated, yet remarkably talented grinder-erh, “dancer” you can find is simply a matter of economy: It’s quick. It’s dirty. It’s done. Our generation is one that prefers texting over calling and short expressions of 140 characters or less over lengthy conversations. Why would our approach to relationships be any less casual?
When there are no strings attached, there are presumably no feelings attached. Without said feelings, there aren’t time-consuming text sessions, money-consuming dates , or life-consuming emotions. Chances are, the guy you were Jersey Turnpiking with last night in the darkest corner of your favorite frat probably won’t mind if you opt out of sending him a “Good morning!” text.
This endless parade of string-less rendezvous has led to the extinction of the traditional date. For students venturing abroad or spending a lot of time interning, eschewing a committed relationship seems to work in their favor. Hooking up seems to offer the best of both worlds. You get out the frustration of your C+ grade in OChem between the sheets and, if your partner is seasoned in booty call etiquette, you don’t have to deal with the clingy confusion that follows. Win-win.
This practice, as winning as it might be for some, withstands its fair share of criticism. Gone are the days of wearing letterman jackets, or giving someone flowers on a random Tuesday, “Just because.” We’ve gotten lazy in the romance department, and not everyone likes it.
If you’re not a fan, don’t let this seedy, underground world of ambiguous sexual deviance get you down. A 2007 study by Duke University surveyed 1,500 freshmen and seniors and found that 40% of men and 53% of women said they were still virgins.
Furthermore, James Wagner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington-based non-profit, says, “The hookup culture seems to be predominating, but there might be the beginning of a pushback and relationships playing a much stronger role.”
Casual sex isn’t the be-all, end-all to your college dating career, and somewhere out there, someone is patiently waiting for you to put an end to their 3 a.m. sojourns. They’ll tape flowers to your window, which might creep you out at first, but you’ll eventually find it sweet. They’ll take you on a real date, like with movies, and food, and manners. They might even hold your hand and nervously kiss you on the cheek. And stop there.
Whether you relish your status as a die-hard hook-up buddy, living the independent lifestyle unwilling to sacrifice your sexual appetite, or proudly shout from the rooftops that you’re a born again virgin, there is no definitive right or wrong when it comes to dating. Just make sure your path is one you want to be on.
Quotes and statistics taken from a 2011 article by Sharon Jayson of USA Today