Social media – it is both a blessing, and a curse. Most notably, social media has become somewhat of an avenue of debauchery. Being in college, I am constantly bombarded with the bright lights of an iPhone zooming in on the owner’s drink, or sitting in a meaningless “conversation” dominated by quick-witted and risqué DMs (direct messages, for you older folks). One thing the world was not prepared for with the rise of technology and social media is the ease of success the “hookup culture” has had.
“Hookup culture” simply refers to a new wave of romantic interaction. While romantic interaction has consistently changed from generation to generation, the hookup culture took older generations by storm and shock. Why? The hookup culture is based mostly (though not all the time) on meaningless, quick-to-access sex – something that made our parents have heart attacks.
To be fair, the idea of “hooking up” is not a new concept; instead, the shock lies in the lack of emotional value found in the hookup culture and the ease and frequency at which it occurs. Generational dissonance such as the debate of the hookup culture brings up tons of questions of morality, feminism, and societal graces and norms. But with all this information, I had to ask myself: How do you find a solid relationship in a culture based on quick usage and quick discard?
For the most part, navigating relationships in college is already hard enough. As a girl coming into college, you carry the advice of “watch your drink” and “they are only after one thing”. Overall, going into college and thinking you will find solid relationships seemed like a joke.
I, for one, just wanted a drink. I had just gotten out of a tumultuous and somewhat emotionally dangerous relationship and really had no desire to look, much less touch, a boy. However, being a girl in college is like being the only lifeboat on the Titanic – you are a hot commodity. So I did my share of elbowing in the sides when I got danced on, and I did my fair share of curving boys on Tinder when they got too nasty. For a while, I was really enjoying the hookup culture in that it was easy to find people (but hard to keep around).
Then I very quickly realized the boy magnetism does not necessarily stop at a hookup attraction and I ended up with a lot of guy friends. A lot of guy friends. So much so that I ended up spending my weekends watching football and poorly shot-gunning Natty Lights instead of being actively involved on campus and finding strong female friendships. And then I very quickly realized that a lot of these guys are only friends with me specifically because they want to hook up.
Thus, the hookup culture does not just permeate romantic relationships, but it ends up effecting, if not dictating, platonic relationships as well. Once I reached this unfortunate college enlightenment, I decided I need to start hanging out with some girls more to avoid the awkwardness of the perpetual hookup culture vibes that underlined my relationships with my guy friends.
Eventually, I met a good guy who ended up being really genuine. After that, all of my friendships just fell into place. Now off the market, my guy friends finally saw me as just “one of the guys” and our relationships became easy and carefree. Now that I was not worrying about avoiding the sexual tension of guys, I was free to focus on my female friendships and now have great relationships with people of both genders.
In essence, there really is no way to avoid the hookup culture and its far-reaching effects on both platonic and romantic relationships, but you cannot let it deter you from still finding a real relationship or discourage you from pursuing friendships with people of the opposite gender. Societal norms will continue to change and transform, but solid friendships will not.