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Birds, Bees, and Clarkies: SAFE’s Hookup Culture Talk

Students discuss hookup culture around campus

Students discuss hookup culture around campus

Emily Morang

Emily Morang

Students discuss hookup culture around campus

Daniel Juarez, General Manager

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Editor’s Note: Due to the nature of the topics discussed at the event, all participants have been kept anonymous.

        With the conference tables pushed to the back, blankets and pillows spread out in a circle, and sweet treats up for the taking, the UC’s Lurie Conference room looked as welcoming as ever when it hosted the “Trick or Treat: Hookup Culture” event this past Thursday. Set up by Students Advocating for Feminism and Empowerment (SAFE), and attended by students of all genders, the safe-space social featured discussion of the college relationship culture at Clark, as well as its emotional and social effects on participants and nonparticipants.

After some swift introductions and a chance at candy, the meeting rapidly took off as attendees got the chance to write up relationship-related questions to guide where the discussion would go. Reading off from one of them, the first topic of discussion was chosen: “What are Clark students’ attitudes towards sex and hookups? How much hooking up do we think actually goes on?” Going around in the circle, answers ranged from, “a lot” and “a decent amount,” to “less than everyone thinks.”

“I feel like it has a lot to do with how people individually view ‘hookup’ as,” offered one attendee, explaining that she believed it to be depending entirely on the person.

“If it’s something that’s thought about after it’s done, they’re going to be awkward about it for the next four years if they hookup with someone freshman year, but if your attitude towards it is more as a casual thing, I think you can kind of get rid of the awkwardness.”

As more discussion questions were read, more questions and answers sprung from the circle. When the topic of what a “hookup” actually means came up, opinions again varied, ranging from a simple make-out session to anything involving sex.

“Yeah, but how do we define ‘sex?’” someone asked.

“Anything involving hands,” suggested another.

“There are hookups that are just making-out and hookups that are more than making out,” one said, “depends on the person involved.”

When the group members were asked for their favorite euphemisms for sex, opinions– amidst laughter– again ranged far and wide, going from “bang,” “boink,” “doing the devil’s dance,” “frickity-frack,” “coitus,” “diddly-do,” “making whoopie,” and the ubiquitous, but simple four letter word.

Whether they were shouted out or shared one-by-one, the opinions were plentiful and worthy of discussion. It went about this way for the rest of the meeting, as the group discussed topics ranging from if it were possible for hookups to lead to dating, to safe sex practices, to how hookups are different for queer students at Clark, to personal dating experiences, to whether hookups were better between friends or strangers, to how one might be able to tell if someone is interested in them– each time transitioning as seamlessly as the topic had been brought up.

On the latter, one student shared an unfortunate experience she had heard about.

“I’ve had so many friends who thought a guy was into them because he held her hand, or took her to a party, or danced with her all night,” she listed, “and one of my friends would come back thinking ‘oh, I think he really, really likes me.’”

“But then at other parties,” she continued, “she’d find out that that he’d be doing exactly the same stuff to other girls.” She ended her tale by asking the group how people can hope to enter relationships when seemingly romantic gestures might not mean anything at all.

“If all these gestures are supposed to define someone’s romantic interest in you, then it just becomes, like– ‘what exactly is happening?’”

It was the question that no one seemed to be able to answer.

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Birds, Bees, and Clarkies: SAFE’s Hookup Culture Talk