et’s get real. This school has many types of cultures, all carrying their own sets of problems. There is the pre-professional culture, the Greek culture, the party culture and so on. One culture less analyzed may be the hookup culture: the culture in which just about all Penn kids partake in at least once in their college careers. Common to all schools, this culture is usually the one that brings the most gossip come Monday morning. If anything is true about the hookup culture, it’s that it manifests plenty of wild stories, regretful memories, but also very valuable, lifelong lessons.
Let’s get real about hookups on the dance floor. It’s safe to assume that much of students meet their hookups at parties, mainly frat parties. The term “DFMO,” or dance floor make out, describes that quick, yet often sloppy kiss session between two people at a party. Sometimes the fun ends after a couple of minutes, and other times it continues into one of the partner’s bedrooms until the next morning. It’s the quintessential college hookup. It’s the dreaded or beloved one-night stand. If all goes well for both parties, the two might even decide to meet up again and then possibly again after that.
Let’s get real about online dating. A new platform for meeting hookups has started to rival the classic “DFMO.” The social media app Tinder is great for meeting new people, finding potential long-lasting relationships, and just having fun swiping through random people in the area. Moreover, it is infamously known for the risky, yet convenient way of “getting it in” without going through all the common obstacles that have previously stood in the way. This app is popular because of its easy accessibility to people you’re attracted to. The app, and its gay counterpart, Grindr, are also criticized for removing what some believe to be essential human interactions. This includes working up the nerve to ask someone who you find attractive out. However, both claims just show preference. There is nothing wrong with wanting to meet people you would’ve never known if not through a social media site, especially if the person you meet turns into someone you really like. If you’d rather find a hookup the old-fashioned way, that shouldn’t be frowned upon either. One aspect that both methods share is that neither can prevent those awkward interactions from unexpected run-ins and unintended eye contact that follow the days after the hookup ends.
Let’s get real about defining relationships. “Catching feelings” has been a common term used to negatively view becoming emotionally attached to a hookup. Based off general observations on Penn’s campus, it seems like most people who don’t want a serious relationship prefer “regulars.” Consecutive hookups with the same person have their definite benefits. You’re familiar with the person. They know what you like and you know what they like. You don’t have to work too hard for the hookups. Thus, Tinder and “DFMO’s” can take a back burner for a minute. However, defining what these consecutive hookups are can be complicated and cause a lot of tension. Is it a “friends with benefits” type of relationship? “FWB’s” require some degree of standards and trust that both parties need to abide by. With less constraints, the relationship could be considered “no strings attached.” Therefore, if one partner catches feelings, the dynamic becomes straining. Overall, “DTR” or defining the relationship is crucial for any partnership to work, largely when oxytocin is involved.
Let’s get real about the discussion surrounding hookups. It’s no surprise that there is a double standard when it comes to the way women and men are viewed in these situations. Slut shaming is well and alive, even at a liberal establishment such as the University of Pennsylvania. So, let’s be clear about this. No female should ever feel embarrassed for what she does while her male counterparts are repeatedly praised for doing the same thing. The walk of shame isn’t just reserved for women, yet somehow that has always been the connotation. To each their own is my personal motto. Therefore, if safety precautions are being taken, both parties are happy, and boundaries are respected, we should all mind our own businesses about what other people choose to do in their free time.
Finally, let’s get real about consent. This should go without saying but hookups only work when both parties say “yes.” Rape culture exists too. If you think someone is too drunk to leave with a potential hookup, stop them. On average, 23.1% of females in college experience rape or sexual assault. 5.4% of males experience the same treatment. Let’s change the statistics and make Penn and other college campuses #rapefree. If you need a reminder on what consent is, here’s a video that was played during this year’s New Student Orientation explaining how this concept is as simple as sipping tea. Given, hookups are not for everyone and no one should be pressured to do anything they don’t want to do. However, students should be able to enjoy sexual relationships without the fear of sexual assault. That is as real as it will ever get.