“You don’t look like my type, but I guess you’ll do” … Third rate romance, low rent rendezvous…
“Everyone looks good at closing time!” I’m not sure about that… I think the better quote is “last night’s “10” is this morning’s “3””. I’ve never been able to make a relationship last “forever”… considering some of my choices, the Ebola virus would be better than “forever”. I won’t get started on that… the last time I did I was sued and made to pick up dog poop at a homeless dog shelter.
This being said I have to ask myself why am I drawn to hookups and one night stands (yes, someone actually spends the night!) over a committed relationship… so, I went looking for answers. Unfortunately, all I got was similar opinions… Alexia LaFata is a writer from Boston and she and I should probably meet ‘cause we certainly think alike…
So, what’s the difference in a hookup and a date?
The best analogy I can think of is the difference between an enlisted member of the Navy and a Navy SEAL. As men, we have two very distinct sets of standards. Generally speaking, the “hookup” standard is anywhere from a tick to a massive chasm lower than the “dating” standard. Want my body tonight? If you’re reasonably attractive, not a total bore/annoyance, and interested, you can make it happen. It’s no commitment, so there’s no need to delve too deeply into it. Many, many girls can pass the “hookup” standard.
However, dating means commitment. Dating carries a tremendous opportunity cost for the sexually active single male. You are throwing away an unknown amount of pussy, of unknown quality. It’s like telling a game show contestant not to take the mystery box. Experience tells you that the prize inside is going to disappoint, but it’ll all be worth it that one time when the box has tickets to Hawaii in it. Similarly, your experience tells you that most drunken random sexual partners will range from “mediocre” to “above average,” but the fantasy of going home with the double-jointed gymnast overpowers that.
So if a man can find sexual satisfaction while single, the cost-benefit analysis of a relationship is pretty uneven. In order for the perceived benefits to outweigh the perceived costs, the girl in question needs to be an absolute no-brainer. Meeting the bare-minimum hookup standard isn’t good enough. You’ve got to be a total package. Physical attractiveness, intelligence, sense of humor, core values, etc. Sexual compatibility is huge, too.
Just because you meet the hookup standard doesn’t necessarily mean you meet the dating standard. It’s unfortunate, but true.
The problem is, most women don’t operate this way. The gap between “hookup-worthy” and “couple-worthy” is usually a lot smaller. From my experience, if a girl is willing to sleep with you then she’s at least curious about a possible relationship. If things are going well and you’re seeing each other regularly (even if it is only for sex), she takes this as a sign that you want to see her, and things are progressing. Even though there is a better-than-average chance that it’s just a sign you want to act like naked Velcro for a few minutes.
No one is ever on the same page if “hookups” become a regular part of life…
Why make life harder?
Casual hookups are so draining on your emotional resources. They’re supposed to have no boundaries (because they’re “casual”), but then weird unspoken boundaries pop up that you’re just supposed to know. A whole new social code emerges once you’ve hooked up. And if you don’t know the code, you look stupid.
Let’s say you hooked up with a guy you weren’t particularly into, yet he was very into you. If you see him at a party and he tries to talk or initiate another hookup, what do you do?
Obviously, you can reject his advances, but if you’re a half-decent person, you’ll probably feel bad turning someone down who has feelings for you, even if, to you, the hookup didn’t mean anything.
This could go the other way, too. If, at that same party, you see a guy whom you hooked up with who ended up not being into you, you have to ignore him and act like you’re fine — all to avoid seeming too crazy, too emotional, or any of the other ridiculous stereotypes that plague women.
“Communication, just normal talking, is considered clingy and too intimate, so nothing important is ever discussed,” a friend of mine recently lamented about the aftermath of casual hookups. “You just spend every second over analyzing because no one will ever be able to validate your thoughts.”
It’s true. Was the hookup a one-time thing, or will you hook up again next weekend? What happens if one of you develops feelings for the other? We’re only human, so it’s normal for feelings and the curiosity of “something more” to arise out of sexual activity.
Can nothing happen at all because this is supposed to be “casual”? Who defines whether or not this was casual anyway?
You better not text him to ask about any of this, either, because you can’t communicate outside of a weekend night. If you do, you’re clingy; you’re crazy; you’re breaking the code.
I don’t have the energy to think about any of this. Casual hookups offer no closure in any sense of the word, and nobody ever knows how to behave. Well, just because sex was involved doesn’t mean we have to stop treating each other like regular people.
The act of hooking up itself is so intimate that I’m surprised how frequently we do it with people we don’t fully trust.
We grant people access to ourselves, literally, and we give them free rein to roam our most private, personal parts. Fluids are exchanged. Orifices are filled. In the heat of the moment, secrets are disclosed and real intimacy is cultivated.
I’m not saying that having random sex is wrong, but I am saying that engaging in casual hookups means you must accept the extraneous shit that comes with being at your most vulnerable, for a fleeting evening, with another person who may end up sucking.
I mean, even though you’ve talked and laughed and sweated in sheets together, you don’t really know this person, so how would you know what he or she is actually like? You wouldn’t.
Despite all of this, though, everybody knows somebody who would rather have tons of casual sex than get into a relationship of any kind, ever.
It’s like wanting a relationship or any semblance of exclusivity automatically makes you some kind of uptight Stepford. Relationships are exhausting. Relationships are limiting. Relationships are too much work. Blah, blah, blah.
Honestly, I’d rather have a relationship over a series of awkward, fumbly, how-do-we-proceed-now casual hookups. Relationships are not these exhausting second-day jobs that everyone makes them out to be.
With relationships, you don’t have to worry about any of the stupidity that you worry about with casual hookups.
There’s no worrying about whether or not your feelings are returned, no worrying about whether or not you can communicate your thoughts. Feelings are returned, and you can communicate anything.
Also, the sex is better, 100 percent of the time. That’s the beauty of trust, comfort and openness.
Playing games might seem fun in the moment, but they’ll only leave you feeling sad later. I’d rather be sure that when I text something flirty to the guy I like, he won’t ignore me and leave me feeling oddly embarrassed. I’d rather know that he’ll respond positively, and maybe invite me over to watch a movie and eat pizza.
I’d rather not pretend to take a really long time figuring out what kind of sandwich I want in the dining hall to avoid making eye contact.
I just want to order my sandwich, pay for it and move on with my day without faking my way through a conversation that really just involves me wondering if you like me or if I even like you or if we’re going to hookup again this weekend or if you remember that oddly shaped tattoo on my butt… and if you do, can you please forget about it?
Is this so much to ask?
This is my journey…. This is my life.