Many an academic scholar has wondered at some point “what is college hook up culture like?” I am not educated enough to adequately answer that question, but I can provide an anecdotal summary of what the past two years of my “love” life has been like. I present to you: A Series of Unfortunate Hook-ups.
When I arrived at college, I decided I was not going to hook-up with anyone for the first couple of weeks, because I wanted to be mature and settle in. One week later, I was making out with this guy, and I asked if he had ever dated anyone before. He said no. I asked him if he had hooked up a lot in high school. He said not really… I asked him if he had ever kissed a girl before. The answer was no. This in itself didn’t bother me, but the following assertion that he was ready to be exclusive was enough to put that relationship to rest.
Later on in September, I hooked up with this guy upstairs from me. The tables had turned, because I’m a virgin and he was experienced. It was all going decently until one night when we were having a particularly good time. With baited breath he asked me: “Wait, Caitlin, are we having sex right now?” WHAT DO YOU MEAN ARE WE HAVING SEX RIGHT NOW? YOU’RE THE EXPERIENCED ONE, AREN’T YOU SUPPOSED TO KNOW THESE THINGS. HAVE I NOT BEEN A VIRGIN THIS WHOLE TIME? AM I PREGNANT? Our interactions went downhill from there.
Silence is Golden, and Tall
At the beginning of second semester, I was hooking up with a very tall guy who rarely spoke. As you can imagine, communication was difficult. I would’ve had more fruitful discourse with a league of crickets. One Saturday we were both so intoxicated that I almost threw up on him, and he was okay with it. However, I wasn’t supposed to bring him back to my dorm because my roommate was sick. A rational, sober human being would have ended the night there, or like, taken that two person party to an empty classroom in J. Walter Wilson. I, on the other hand, trek back to my dorm with this dude in the middle of a snowstorm. I head into my room very inconspicuously and proceed to remove my mattress from my bedframe. It is hard to explain the logistics of this, but suffice to say, it was a very disruptive process that muted any consideration I was paying my ill roommate by not sexiling her. Finally, I removed the mattress, dragged it down the hall into the lounge, made a nest for us to be together, and of course, fell asleep 5 minutes later. I wake up to him putting his clothes back on, saying in as few words as possible that he can’t sleep because of the noise. After he walks out, I start hearing the noise he was referring to. I wrap myself in a blanket, step out into the hall and am greeted by two firemen, who inform me that I need to leave the building. I step outside barefoot, with my entire dormitory as an audience to my repetition of the phrase “he left me.” My acquaintances took turns holding me like a child so that my feet wouldn’t get frostbite in the snow. Finally, when we could re-enter the dorm, I had a conference with my RA in nothing but a blanket, to talk about how we, as a community, could avoid less property destruction in the future.
The Bearded Lady
The next time I dared put myself out there, I was dressed in a fake grey beard and holding a makeshift trident. Pitifully, I was drunk once again, and didn’t have the sense to communicate to the next guy that I was a virgin. In fact, I can’t even remember if I was still wearing the beard when we started making out. When we got back to his place, I remembered as I was taking my shoes off that I hadn’t told him about the status of my V-card. I informed him that we would not be having sex. He looked at me and asked: “but then what are we going to do?” A sober Caitlin would have said “we take our clothes off and play patty-cake for an hour”, but at the time all I could manage was to take my trident and leave – shoes untied.
I decided that it was high time that I had a sober hook up. I did what any girl would do when she had a free room for the night – I went to Jo’s prowling for men. I found one, but he wouldn’t come to my room unless I met him at the door with a blanket to drape over his head. He felt that he needed to protect his identity, because he had an ex in the building. When at long last we got to making out, all I could think about was how he tasted like Pop-Tarts and I didn’t love him. I called it off after five minutes. He left without the blanket.
Trapped in the Kitchen
I came back on the alcohol scene with a fury. I had pre-gamed a screening of R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet”, and afterwards, I decided that R. Kelly was a very sobering experience, and I needed to drink more. I proceeded to pound shots at the Clueless themed party I was at, and this very sexy guy started talking to me. I immediately realized that I was not feeling too sexy myself, and went in the bathroom to puke. Upon my return, I realized that this guy was talking to me a lot and I was not being terribly interesting, so I told him: “Hey, I’m down to go home with you, but I’m a virgin, so there won’t be any sex.” He said he was cool with that, and when the cops busted the party we headed back to his place. In bed, I told him that he attended a 90s themed party, so he was sort of obligated to dry hump me. Then he took a ten-minute phone call from a friend. Later that night, I slipped away and got dressed in his kitchen.
In the beginning of sophomore year, I hooked up with a guy who shared a lot of interests with me. Actually, we shared a lot of interests because we both were in the same, tight-knit extracurricular group – a rookie mistake to say the least. Things were awkward but manageable, and I decided to take another sabbatical from drinking. At the next bonding event for our shared extra-curricular, I was sober and he had five too many sake bombs. Out of nowhere, he starts shouting “Hey Caitlin, remember when we hooked up before!” He went on to elaborate on some vulgarities to the entire table, and then have selective amnesia as to why everyone in the room was extremely uncomfortable and edging away from us. He then spent the next hour profusely apologizing for whatever he didn’t remember doing that offended me so much.
All of these unfortunate encounters were peppered in with some standard experiences of bad dance floor make outs and “hey you can find the door yourself, can’t you?” As self-deprecating as my story is (I frequently debate just becoming celibate), I’ve learned that the bad hook ups that don’t kill you can only make you stronger… Unless you’re my friend, who last year was sent to the hospital after the guy she made out with had eaten a trail mix that triggered her anaphylactic allergy to peanuts.