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Sex + Relationships

In Which We Upgrade Your Hook-Up Buddy to Boyfriend Status

There is a question all of you love to ask Her Campus. It’s not about how to get the dream internship or the perfect job, how to deal with frenemies, psycho-killer roommates or professors who give out failing grades like Student Health hands out condoms. It’s not even about how to get a flat stomach (although that’s a fairly close second). The greatest concern facing HC readers today is this: “How do I turn my hook-up buddy into a boyfriend?”
Yet inherent in this question is a problem. Girls have a reputation for being complicated, but our male counterparts are pretty complex creatures too. In thinking our f**k-for-fun friends are only six steps away! from becoming bring-‘em-home boyfriends, we’re painting boys to be as one-dimensional as Hemingway wrote his women (“Oh darling, let’s don’t be sore about how awfully dull I am in this book!”). Alas, the frogs to princes transformation is anything but straightforward.
So instead of pretending there is a formula for changing a hook-up buddy into a boyfriend (and okay, fine, there is a formula, but you’re going to need Felix Felicius which is extremely difficult to obtain during a recession) this is a list of signs that your current boy of choice might be worthy of—and interested in—an upgrade to boyfriend status. Signs are crucial. As the great philosophers Ace of Base once said, “I saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes.”
Is some of this obvious stuff? Sure. But when you like-like someone, even what’s right in front of your face can go unobserved. See if your boy passes these tests. Besides, if you’re hooking up with random boys, you should probably be getting tested anyway. To keep things on theme, all of these pictures are somehow related to hooks. HOORAY. Read on for enlightenment.

It worked for me!


Did you ever bring home a pet your parents wouldn’t let you keep? They’d do all this stuff to prevent you from “getting attached”: not allowing you to name the pet, referring to the animal as an “it” instead of a “he” or “she,” always referencing the immediate future without the little furball. Humans utilize the same skills to prevent ourselves from getting attached to people with whom we’d rather not be serious. So if you’ve got a code name for this kid and/or if he only refers to you by generic girl nicknames (sweetheart, babe, beautiful, etc.) that’s not a good sign. On the flip side, if he’s interested in learning the names of other people in your life and then actually remembers them—say, your siblings or your best friend from high school—that totally qualifies as a plus. It’s just like in class: if you won’t need to know a fact, you don’t bother to learn it. Why would he need to know your sister’s name if he wasn’t going to need that knowledge in the future?

If you really want to freak Captain Hook out, sneak up on him while saying “tick-tock-tick-tock.” Or, bring him a crocodile.


Figure out how much time you spend together in a given night. For every hour, how many minutes do you crazy kids spend talking? That is, legitimately communicating, not just putzing around while waiting until you feel enough time has passed to move on to non-verbal activities. Anything less than twenty minutes and you’re in non-boyfriend country. More than forty minutes and he might not be into you, like, at all. Sorry.

Hook-er. Until he sent her shopping, Richard Gere had never seen Julia Roberts during the day. Somehow, those lovebirds still made it work.


This one is very straightforward. If you haven’t seen him during the day, he’s either A. a vampire B. not interested in dating you or C. extremely unattractive, in which case (I assume) you’re probably not interested in dating him. Catching a glimpse of him as he finishes tying his shoes and sprinting out your door in the morning does not count.



Think really hard. Have you ever seen this guy when both of you are sober? Might sound like no-duh territory, but unless you’d like to take the first step down the slippery slope to alcoholism, you should get some non-s**tfaced face time. Still enjoy his company? Good sign. Barely recognize him and wonder what you possibly could have seen in him or said to him even when your sight was blurred and speech was slurred? Very, very bad sign. And regardless of your dating plans, you might want to think about cutting back on the booze.

Is Jon Hamm worthy of an upgrade to boyfriend status?  He’s got his hooks crossed!


Has it occurred to you that maybe your hook-up buddy wouldn’t make a good boyfriend? Because that’s a possibility. Some guys are hook-up buddies for a reason. Don’t feel so bad if this is true. Not everyone is boyfriend material.” Think of Cooper Nielson: he was an amazing dancer, and a great choreographer, but as a boyfriend, he kind of sucked.

Playing hook-y.


If you want your hook-up buddy to stop treating you as a hook-up buddy, you will have to (…wait for it) not be a hook-up buddy. Yes, it is possible to randomly make out with a guy against a wall in a bar and one day bring that very same boy home to meet the parents as your serious honey of choice. It is also possible to clean a fraternity bathroom with nothing but a toothbrush. Marines do it all the time. Just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should, or that you’d actually want to.
It might be that the thing standing between you and a relationship is you. WHOA. I’ll let you collect yourself and recover from that mind-blowing revelation.
Okay. Maybe you’re scared/easily bored/commitment-phobic/whatever. Or maybe you’re nineteen and don’t need a boyfriend to be happy. Unlike what the romantic comedy universe would have you believe (sidebar: the vast majority of those movies are written by men) sometimes the best boyfriend is no boyfriend at all.

Jess (Penn ’11) left her Pleasantville-esque hometown of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey to study English and creative writing. At Penn, she has been an editor of 34th Street magazine and its blog, underthebutton.com. Jess is also the Adventure Editor of The Lost Girls travel website. If you find a way to score her Bruce Springsteen tickets, she’ll probably marry you or at least make out with you. She had a pretty deprived childhood (no TV allowed on school nights) and is compensating for lost time by consuming pop culture like Don Draper downs martinis. This summer she worked as the entertainment intern at Seventeen magazine, where she hugged Kellan Lutz. Unrelated fun fact: Jess is a book nerd who will read just about anything that is not a Twilight book. Sorry, Kellan.
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