Hook-up culture is on the rise amongst millennials, especially those of us who are still stuck in the college grind. Gone are the days of bashfully earnest flirtation; we live in an age where getting someone into bed doesn’t necessarily equate any desire to get to know him or her.
And we are at an age that is confusing and slightly stressful — between worrying about classes, internships, and the nebulous black hole that is the Real World, who has time for romance?
I can’t even count the number of times this week that I have had to comfort my girlfriends who were upset that X boy didn’t text them back or that they saw Y boy making out with a freshman at some party.
These little things used to bother me as well, but that’s exactly what they are: little, insignificant things. The solution is not to stick your face into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s (we’ve all been there). Instead, it is to learn how to embrace hook-up culture for what it is; that way, you’ll have fun instead of consistently getting hurt.
I’ve compiled a list of tough-love pointers that will keep you on the winning side of your next college hook-up.
1. If he says he will text you or that you’ll hang out again, don’t count on it.
Dudes (and people in general) say a lot of things they don’t mean — especially in the heat of a moment and especially if they’re trying to get you into bed. For the most part, take their promises with a grain of salt; it will keep you from feeling too disappointed if you two never “hang out” again.
2. Any form of communication past midnight is a booty call.
If a dude texts, messages, or calls you after a certain point in the night, it’s not because he wants to snuggle up next to you with a glass of Pinot Noir and watch The Notebook. First, no one can afford fancy wine in college. Second, most dudes hate The Notebook. Third (and most importantly), if he wanted to actually hang out with you, he would have contacted you earlier. When it’s late at night (and especially if this is the first time you’ve heard from him in a while), he’s just trying to get laid.
3. Don’t assume exclusivity.
Just because you’ve hooked up a couple of times (or even if you’re hooking up regularly) doesn’t mean that he isn’t hitting up other girls on nights that you don’t spend with him. Realize that 80 percent of dudes in college are just trying to bag as many babes as possible and understand that you are fully entitled to the do the same. Also realize that you may have awkward run-ins with him, while he’s with another girl; learn how to brush it off — just as you aren’t obligated to him, he isn’t obligated to you.
4. If he ignores you on campus, it’s because he’s awkward.
In a perfect world, two people who have seen each other naked would be able to have cordial — even friendly — interactions when they see each other around, post facto. However, we live in a tragically imperfect world (if Miley Cyrus’ VMA twerking disaster weren’t enough indication) and people are often awkward. Don’t get offended if you run into a hook-up on campus and he doesn’t say hi or pretends not to notice you. It’s really not you; it’s because he has the social graces of a 12-year-old.
5. Hooking up with a boy who is on the rebound prowl is rarely a good idea.
There are few things that will make you feel worse than hooking up with a dude who has just broken up with his girlfriend. For the most part, dudes on the rebound prowl are looking for anyone who is sentient and willing to hook up with them. They are probably still reeling from their break-up (especially if it was particularly painful) and you were probably the first confirmation for them that they’ve still got game. They’ve often got something to prove, and they will rarely try to hang out with you again.
In addition, you sometimes have to deal with their ex because gossip spreads like wildfire in college.
6. Don’t hook up with friends.
Speaking of gossip, if there is one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that dudes are no more immune to gossip than girls are. In fact, I’ve often walked in on my dude friends trading war stories about their latest conquests over brews and Madden. When you hook up with dudes in the same social circle, you can almost rest assured that they will talk about it — sometimes in more explicit detail than you’d like. Is that really what you want?
7. If the goal is to remain unattached, don’t sleep over.
Nothing will make you fall for someone faster than if you sleep together — literally, not figuratively. It will be even worse if you have consistent sleepovers and — God forbid — if you spoon. Spooning is always off-limits if you trying not to develop any sort of emotional attachment to your hook-up. You will begin to develop ooey-gooey feelings for them.
Go in and get out as quickly as possible if you’re trying to avoid that.
8. If he doesn’t respect you during the hook-up, cut it off.
This one is fairly self-explanatory. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, and even though it sometimes feels difficult to resist social pressure, “no” is always an acceptable answer. If he makes you uncomfortable at any point during the hook-up, cut it off. Call your friends and get a ride home, if you need to. Or, just get up and leave, even amidst protests and complaints of “blue balls.” They can deal with it themselves.