By Laura Vanderkam
The scene: my college dorm's basement bathroom on a Sunday morning early in my freshman year. As hungover girls crowded around the sinks, I caught afriend's eye in the mirror. What happened when she left last night's party with a boy neither of us had ever seen before?
"Oh," she said with a knowing look, "we hooked up."
No, not planes refueling inmidair. Hookups are when a guy and girl get together for a physical encounter and don't expect anything else. They've all but replaced dating at most colleges, according to a study released Thursday bythe Institute on American Values, a non-partisan family issues think tank. Only half of the women interviewed had been on six or more dates during college; a third had been on no more than two.
As anew college graduate, I can attest to this. I've had as many dates in my first 2 months in the real world as I had during my whole college career.
Lest you think college students are all libertines,hooking up doesn't mean having sex, although it can. The term includes all of the bases, and the ambiguity is intentional. Modest types can imply that less happened than did, and braggarts can hintat hitting a home run. Hookups are defined by alcohol, physical attraction and a lack of expectations in the morning.
While the study found that only 40% of the women interviewed admitted to hookingup, the practice pervades college culture. Dates and, for the most part, love affairs, are passé. Why bother asking someone to dinner when you can meet at a party, down a few drinks and go hometogether?
I hear the traditionalists clucking. Sex without commitment. Sounds like a male plot, right? But women are going along.
Some blame the sexual revolution. Some blame co-ed dorms and alcohol abuse.I blame something else. Hookups are part of a larger cultural picture. Today's college kids are the first generation to have had their entire childhoods scheduled. To them, dating is simply not a...