What’s the DEAL with HOOKING UP?

By Jessie Holeva
October 9, 2008

Shannon Keough

Is it that first kiss? Heavy petting? Or is it more? Can it mean sex or simply everything that comes before intercourse?

What is a hook up? Kathleen A. Bogle asked college students and alumni to find out the dirt on the hook up scene. That’s exactly what Bogle’s book, “Hooking up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on the College Campus,” is about. It has real stories from real college students and popular culture references from movies such as “Old School” to fill readers in on the term hooking up.

College students are in constant conversation about sexual conquests.

Guy: “Dude, yeah last Thursday night I hooked up with that really hot chick from math class. It was awesome.”

Girl: “We didn’t do much, just hooked up.”

Chats like this are the norm on a college campus. It’s the college students’ version of “yada yada yada” from Seinfeld. Hooking up is that filler phrase to use when referencing anything sexual. To the listener’s ear, hooking up can be interpreted as nothing more than a few wet kisses. For a girl that went a little further with a guy and didn’t want to make it seem like much, saying “just hooked up” is her get out of jail free card. It lets her friends know that something happened but saves the girl from having them know just how much she did sexually.

Dinner and a movie is out of style. Going up to that cute girl that lives down the hall and asking if you can pick her up this Saturday night is old fashion. Daters like this are a dying breed.

In the ’50s it was about sitting at the malt shop with your sweetheart and sex before marriage was taboo. Now, a typical night out would be drinking with friends, picking a party destination and finally making your way to the main event. After greeting all fellow peers, they split up and generally [pairs of opposite sexes] form. That’s when the “hook up” likely happens.

It can be a one night make-out on the walk leaving the party. It can be more, much more. The female may go back to the male’s dorm and potentially go as far as having intercourse.

Male/female interaction has reversed the order of operation when it comes to romance. Courting has been replaced with creeping. Based on research, Bogle feels many don’t want this, but because of the college environment and believing everyone else is doing it is a major factor. Cosmopolitan Magazine surveyed and found that 73 percent of women wished dating was more typical verses becoming extinct.

Maybe a hook up is a lengthy make-out session. Maybe it’s intercourse. Maybe it’s the gray area between. Odds are you’re reading this wondering about the actual meaning as well.

The phrase of hooking up has grown in popularity, depending on who you ask will alter the meaning given behind this sly phrase.

Perhaps, that is the point. Perhaps, like an actual hook up, there is mystery. When it comes to a hook up, does it mean dating will result or was it simply a one time thing? Maybe knowing what a hook up means is all up for interpretation.

Jessie Holeva

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