The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

85° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Pillow Talk: The Rules of college hookups

    Odds are that you came to college looking to run away from something: overbearing parents, clingy friends or a pseudo-relationship with your senior prom date. The first few weeks of college are tailored to make you feel like you’re barreling away from your former life at high speed, doing keg stands and raising your middle fingers the entire way.

    If you’re one of those few lucky freshmen who didn’t come to Tucson still tethered to your elementary school sweetheart, then go to parties. Whether you’re fraternity-hopping or mobbing a random house party with 18 people from your dorm floor, parties are the place to meet the boy or girl of your College Algebra 101 daydreams, or at least to find someone to make out with obscenely in the bathroom while you’re waiting another 30 rack to show up.

    I’ve been there and done that, and it’s a phase I’m glad I grew out of. You’re not in the wrong for hoping all the new outfits, taxi rides and Friday morning hangovers pay off by meeting someone that makes it all worthwhile, but you need to have the right expectations. The bottom line is this: don’t mistake hooking up for dating or exchanging phone numbers for a guaranteed future. When you arrive, leave your baggage at the door because it’s highly unlikely someone is going to pick it up and carry it for you. Fraternity boys rarely moonlight as emotional valets.

    Going to parties and looking to hook up is hardly a new trend for college students. A 2007 survey of two state universities commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice found that 26.3 percent of college females attend at least one fraternity party per month, while 26.3 percent of women and 21.5 percent of men engage in sex while drunk or high at least once in that same time period. The study was used to document cases of sexual assault among college students. Hooking up while under the influence doesn’t mean you’re engaging in sexual assault, but the line can be blurred between what you want and what you’re just choosing to go along with when you get physically involved with a stranger.

    Always be mindful of what you’re comfortable with, and don’t be afraid to speak up when things go too far. A good policy is to never sneak off somewhere without letting at least one friend know where you are. Announcing an imminent hook up may not always roll off the tongue, but a trusty wingman can be a lifesaver. My boyfriend and I met at a party. Our story changes based on the relative age and tendency toward judgment of the person who asks, but usually I have no qualms with being honest. To me, it’s a success story in a long line of unfortunately memorable anecdotes, because my choices in companionship freshmen year were dubious, even on a good day. I did things I couldn’t have even conceived of before high school graduation, so that by the time first semester ended, looking back was equal parts exhausting, amusing and painful.

    The boys I hooked up with in those early months of college weren’t entirely at fault— I showed my hand too readily, hoping that they’d linger once they saw the cards I held. They were, in theory, all “nice guys,” but distinguishing between a keeper and a reprehensible douche bag is ambiguous at best when your entire history is composed of a few shared mixed drinks, some enthusiastic grind sessions and a couple late-night dorm visits.

    If you’re not meeting the type of people you could imagine yourself spending time with in the absence of a raucous beer pong tournament or discarded bottles of Popov, you might need to rethink what you’re looking for. You don’t need to settle for being anybody’s “Thursday Night” if they’re not even willing to make eye contact in the Starbucks line on Friday morning. Trust me, this campus is much smaller than you think.

    We’re young, and let’s face it: on the grand scale of the universe, we’re often lacking in practicality where our hearts and minds are concerned. I didn’t stop making mistakes once I got into a relationship, I just switched genres. But I’m happy I hung in there, or I might have become that one girl who still hits up the Sigma Chi Halloween party as a fifth-year senior, latching on to all the pledges. And that’s just awkward.

    It takes more than a few digs to find a gem in a room full of rocks, guys, so break out your pickaxes: it’s going to be a long, horny semester.

    Follow us on Twitter @wildcatarts and follow Kate @katenewton18.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search