If I never hear the term "hook-up culture" again, it will be too soon.
Everything that is seemingly wrong with our generation has been attributed to the above phrase. Do you have a fear of intimacy? Are you unable to take responsibility for your actions? Blame it on the hook-up culture.
A certain moral panic has arisen and it's centered on the idea that all our generation wants to do is have casual, no-strings-attached sex. This thought process is wrong on so many levels. The idea of casual, promiscuous sex was embraced by society long before Generation-Y began engaging in coitus.
Free love? Woodstock, hello! Careless and, often times, meaningless sex pre-dates even the hippie movement of the 1960s. The point is, casual sex is not an innovative experience attributed to Millennials. So why all the panic?
Our generation does appear to have some relationship issues, but it's not because we like to have a lot of sex. The idea that he who cares less will somehow "win" has become governing in the "game" of dating.
This, in turn, begs the question: Win at what? The acceptance of and adherence to the idea of caring less has turned relationships into a losing game.
Whether you're trying to calculate exactly how much time you should wait before replying to a text or trying not to lose your cool over the third canceled date, the more aloof you seem, the more appealing you become.
In a situation like this, no one truly wins. If two people are so consumed with acting like they don't care or aren't invested in the other person, how is a relationship ever supposed to blossom?
We're constantly presented with useless advice that's meant to help us read between imaginary lines. Why can't we all just say what we mean and cut out the Miss Cleo mind-reading crap? The only purpose this advice serves is to drive us further into madness.
I'm not sure about the rest of the world, but when someone acts like he doesn't give a sh*t about me, I start to believe that he's completely uninterested in getting to know me any further.
There are many potential explanations for this "don't-give-a-f*ck" attitude. For one, no one wants to have an upsetting, "it's not me, it's actually you" conversation. Instead, we take the easy way out by ignoring texts/calls and seemingly disappearing off the face of the earth.
No one wants to believe they've been rejected. We'd much rather spend hours on end analyzing a text message we received two weeks ago. I'm still not sure what he really meant by "see ya."
We act aloof because it spares our feelings. When we pretend we're not emotionally effected by getting snubbed, we appear less vulnerable. There's less of a chance of getting hurt.
Let's consider pre- and post-hookup behaviors. In the pre-hookup stage, chances are you and the other person may talk to each other frequently. You may even consider letting down your fabricated armor.
In the post-hookup stage, there's a good chance the other person will disappear so fast, your head will spin as you're left in the settling dust. A disappearing act after sex isn't uncommon. We don't want to deal with the emotions, so it's easier to ignore someone, regardless if we've seen him or her naked or not.
Often, a lack of communication enforces this behavior. There's no rule that says two people can't have sex without being committed to each other. Do people assume that after sex there are certain expectations? Chances are, I'm not planning our wedding just because we boned.
Not only is disappearing after sex offensive, it's also confusing. How are we supposed to ascertain when aloofness is just part of a coy (and frustrating game), or when it really means the other person isn't interested?
There is one thing we can be sure of: Sex is not the issue. It's the reaction post-sex.
Gen-Y hook-up culture is not the problem. Sex remains the only consistent part of dating these days. It remains physical, enjoyable (hopefully) and exciting. It continues to be the reason why we put up with so much of the additional bullsh*t that blurs the line between relationship and hookup.
Sex has yet to be replaced with a hearts-for-eyes emoji or an abbreviation that makes me weep for the English language. The problem is the emotional response to sex.
Couple the demand for nonchalant attitudes with the fact that society has basically replaced feelings with stupid little emoji characters and you're presented with a recipe for disaster. We've all been taught to believe that skirting around the idea of relationships and keeping our feelings under wraps is okay.
I'm not suggesting we start shouting about our feelings to anyone who will listen. I'm merely suggesting that maybe, when it comes to casual sex and dating, we should try initiating the trend of saying what we really mean, instead of letting people fill in the blanks.
While you may think you're protecting yourself by remaining aloof and emotionally guarded, the only thing you'll probably gain is a headache and a lot of frustration.
Photo via We Heart It