Happy Wednesday! Here’s some more great content from one of our PACT volunteers. If you’re interested in contributing or getting involved, contact Elaine at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Hook Up Culture & the ‘Morning After Club’
While riding on the Joey down to Davis, I hear spliced conversations of the night-to-come. The anticipation. The preparation. The expectation. The evidence only a digital camera could immortalize.
I hear one girl tell of forcing herself out of sweatpants and into something sexier (the night is to attract, and, like hunters, have something to show for the hunt). “I had to drag myself out of bed,” her friend adds. “I know…all I wanted to do was sleep.”
Ironically, this sentiment is not rare or contagious or “weird” however quietly it lurks. The initial threshold to go out is high – mostly something you might have to talk yourself into at first. So why do so many have to persuade themselves of something that should be a supposedly preferred option for a Saturday night?
In the Dewick dining hall the next morning, a group of guys is sitting at the table behind me. I hear one exaggerating certain claims about a girl of interest. His hands are expressive and his voice is over-animated. It’s hard to decipher whether his friends actually believe him, or just simply want to. Regardless of this fact, much of his story seems fabricated.
Instead, being “there” last night, wherever “there” was, is the point. The authenticity of the night is blurred by relentless spins and no one feels authority enough to defy alcohol’s perception (usually because it is more interesting anyway). Whoever wasn’t there couldn’t possibly know what happened, even with tagged Facebook pictures and fossils of drunken voicemails. Even those there aren’t likely to question the craziness of the night which makes it oftentimes more “impressive.”
Hook-up culture’s value is in the “morning after club”, the elite who were present, often only physically, and were a part of it. The morning-after members have the granted privilege of reveling in it, storytelling, and piecing back the faded pieces as a sort of bonding (something both relate-able and interactive).
There are many motives to go out and “hook up” (the continuum of ambiguity) on a whim, but it seems oddly prevalent that the rewards are secondary. If tomorrow at breakfast, the conversation swirls around the hysterics of the night before, going out perpetuates social connections, participation in the after-thoughts, and inside jokes (someone who wasn’t there couldn’t possibly understand). On the other hand, if your friends aren’t part of that culture, the pressures to go out in order to stabilize social connections are probably less powerful and the dread of trading sweatpants for something else is less a social requirement and more something to look forward to.
In many ways, hook-up culture is an extension of high school where insecurity – whether bragging about number of conquests, rivaling tags, or even maintaining unstable friendships that seem to require constant maintenance– feeds on itself. Many times the more ticks on your list of “who I’ve hooked up with” determines status. You could be the person with the best show-and-tell contribution at Dewick tomorrow. But it is completely dependent on your friends, table conversation topics, and library gossip.
As a transfer student, I am new to the overwhelming work where most students do go to the library every night and often can be found in the campus center on Fridays finishing four-hundred pages of reading. As Tufts students, whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, I feel comfortable saying (after being at another university) that we have to work hard here for our grades, sports, community service, and simple interests. Harder than many. By the weekend, exhaustion tries to tame us.
Trust me when I say that just because everyone is going out, hooking up, and partying doesn’t mean they necessarily want to. Though the social aspects are tempting (in other words, staying in might stub social momentum), it is ok to stay in too. As always, everything in balance – the yin and the yang.