As a freshman guy, I have frequently engaged in the post-party, bro-talk that buzzes throughout the Davidson suites on weekend nights. It is the ritual practice of counting the night’s bounty, i.e., the hookups that one had that night. And it is on these nights that I reflect on Union’s hookup culture.
Clearly demonstrated by the number of couples holding hands on campus (zero), the hookup culture dominates weekends and social interactions. It is not unique to Union; throughout the country on most campuses, the culture of the inconsequential one-night stand thrives.
It makes complete sense to me why this is the case. Not only do I have a packed schedule, I also have a penis. Being able to receive physical fulfillment without the burdensome obligations of getting to know someone is ideal as a rushed college student. It just makes sense.
But on these late nights of nameless bounty counting, I realize that — at least to me — engaging in this culture still feels uncomfortable.
Now, do not mistake my statement. I am not stating that hooking up is morally wrong. I am not saying that I condemn those who choose to participate in it. Actually, I applaud those who are able to truly separate their emotions from their physical pleasure.
However, I am saying that I do not believe that it is for everyone. And people ought to be honest with themselves about who they are, what they want and what they value.
A one-night stand does something interesting to the two (or more) partners. Inherently, it forces someone to objectify the other as a means to his or her end. People become tools; it creates an environment where human character is stripped away and replaced with the rush of the unknown. And with alcohol, this environment is much more easily created.
For some parties, this occurs on a basis of mutual understanding. It embodies an exchange in which partners equally allow a personal connection to be absent. For those people, they accept it at face value and are able to engage in the one-night stand productively.
But, personally, the concept of treating someone like an object repulses me. Conversely, being treated like an object feels fundamentally degrading. I know I am not alone in this; the unpleasant drama that ensues the morning after is like clockwork.
One-night stands are not for everyone. No one should feel like he or she needs to participate in that sort of relationship in order to find fulfillment. There is no guy or girl I know that will honestly admit that they do not want someone to value their internal character.
While it may seem frustrating amidst the weekend party scene, do not be afraid to get to know someone and even learn to trust the good ones. If you choose to value yourself, then others may learn to value you too.
I am told college is about experimenting, discovering and ultimately defining yourself. If you are truly able to detach emotionally from the one-night stand, then more power to you. But if not, do not feel coerced by the current norms; conforming to a pre-existing culture is not what leads to personal growth.