New book deconstructs college relationships
“I was wasted. I put like five shots of rum in a cup and drank it all down. And ended up hopping on the good foot and doing the bad thing with this girl, and she looked like Andy Richter.”
Such is the recollection of Paul, 22, a senior at Temple University, about a hookup so embarrassing that he didn’t want his last name printed.
It wasn’t just her appearance—"that’s the one I regret the most because I didn’t know her. I don’t know her name. I don’t know anything about her. I couldn’t pick her out of a lineup now if I had to,” he said. “There was nothing special.”
The popularity of hooking up (instead of traditional old dating) is the subject of the aptly titled Hooking Up by La Salle University sociology professor Kathleen Bogle.
The 240-page book, subtitled Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus, embodies the findings of a study about how couples get together that Bogle started as a graduate student at St. Joseph’s University. For the study she interviewed 51 current students and 25 alums in their 20s.
Bogle, 33, says hooking up is nothing new. It was the thing to do when she was an undergrad too.
“The media has paid attention to the one-night-stand version [of hooking up],” she said. “But hooking up I describe as ‘a way to form a sexual or romantic relationship. Anything from kissing to intercourse or anything in between.’ “
Paul’s friend Stan Sinyakov, 21, another senior at Temple, has some ground rules about hooking up.
“Don’t shit where you eat. It’s the truth. There’s a difference between business and pleasure,” he said with a smirk. “When you work in an office, it’s not a good idea to have a relationship.”
“Unless it’s with the boss,” Paul chimed in.
Other friends of the two—Tommy Coleman, 22, and Sarah Scalzo, 21—aren’t too big on hooking up.
“I think when I was in high school is when I first heard about hooking up, and I was like 14, but I think people are doing it younger now—like 12-year-olds, 11-year-olds, and they’re doing it better than me,” said Coleman, shaking his head and smiling.
He was more into hooking up when he was 18 and a new college student, but now, “I’m very much single by choice,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind being in a relationship. But hooking up? No.”
Scalzo, 21, has a steady boyfriend whom she’s been dating for more than a year, but she wasn’t too into the culture before that anyway.
“I didn’t hook up like crazy,” she said.
“It’s a lot less inhibited [for homosexuals],” said Grant Uhle, 20, a junior at Temple. “I’m not speaking for everyone obviously, but a lot of times [homosexuals] repressed a lot of those feelings in high school or whatever, so when they get to college and they get to be this age and start going out, they kind of let loose and go wild and probably do things they later regret.”
Uhle’s worst hookup experience was when he found out his hookup was cheating on his boyfriend with him.
“It sort of burned me, but it burned them more, you know? I try to keep it under control and stay out of situations like that as much as possible.”
Uhle also expressed interest in reading the book Hooking Up, which Bogle says she wrote from an academic point of view but also with a wide audience in mind, from high school seniors to college students to parents.
As far as Sinyakov is concerned, when it comes to hooking up, some minimum standards apply: “I’d never touch a girl who’s been with a lot of guys. It’s disgusting.”
Paul nodded, then chuckled. “I hope my mom never reads this.”