“Yah, we hooked up.”
“I mean, we didn’t have sex but we hooked up.”
“I hooked up with him. Yah, we went all the way.”
“We hooked up at the bar last night.”
All valid sentences…all with different meanings.
This term is used so loosely it could basically refer to me “accidentally” bumping my hand on that hottie’s hand in line at Starbucks this morning.
All us girls know that the moment your girlfriend murmurs (or screams from the rooftops) that she hooked up with some guy, details are needed. You immediately ask the questions, how far did you go? What exactly did you do? Sex or “everything but”? The term “hooked up” doesn’t tell you these need-to-know crucials.
It’s the phrase used by all Millennials, squeezing its way into our popular culture. It can be used every weekend and everyone knows what it means. (or do they?)
I’ve observed that all women have different ways of using this term and use it at their leisure, even though this leads to confusion in the conversation and a case of vagueness. Is this why we use this term so loosely? Is it a safeguard to protect ourselves from the direct communication of having to admit we DID in fact, go all the way with that dude.
This girl in my psych class surely won’t judge me if I just say I “hooked up” with that guy, as if it was a one night make-out thing and downplay the fuck out of it. And I won’t even be lying.
We might be doing this without even realizing we are.
I feel the real reason we use this term is because it summarizes things nicely into a kind little phrase that doesn’t sound dirty or sexualized and is basically PG.
According to a study done by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on the way college students perceive and treat the term, 84% of students stated that they had talked about hookups with their friends in the previous 4 months. Although, the understanding of what exactly a hookup is was uncertain and non-conclusive.
94% of students had heard it in relation to sexual activities.
54% reported engaging in a sexual hookup throughout the year.
90% of students assumed that a “typical” student had been involved in two or more hookups.
“The study found, such regular talk about hookups had a “normalizing” effect on students’ views about the practice. That led to a more approving attitude toward hookups and, often, riskier sexual behavior, researchers said.” (ScienceDaily)
It’s interesting, because maybe the phrase itself is allowing us to be riskier individuals. Dubbing it as “just a hookup” allows us to downplay what the act really is.
Calling what you are doing with the most recent guy “just a hookup thing” or “just hooking up” as if it’s a type of formal relationship makes it more acceptable among our peers and among our social circles.
Are we all using the term “hookup” so loosely because it allows us all to be a little more careful about what we are communicating to others, and a little more vague?
Maybe the phrase will never die. Maybe it will live on, recited from the lips of our children and our children’s children to describe the latest make-out on the couch after too much wine, or the latest one-night stand Katie brought home from the bar.
What we do know, is that this interpersonal communication among our peers is key in how we treat the actual act we are discussing. And if I’m honest, I think the term “hooking up” is allowing us all to be a little more risqué because really,
Who knows what you’ve actually hooked?