What’s driving U.Va.’s thirst for hookups?
A first year’s perspective on a seemingly single-minded student body
“I just wanna hook up with him and get it over with, you know? I need to move on with my life.”
I snorted and shook my head as I stirred my Cheerios, slowly taking in what my refreshingly blunt hall mate, “Stephanie,” was telling me. Surrounded by chairs being pushed in and out, silverware clinking against plastic plates and the general buzz of mid-Saturday meal conversations, I was recapping Friday night with some friends at O’Hill.
“I know,” my friend “Sarah” replied. “You only texted me about it eight times last night.”
We laughed as we went through the telling, mistake-ridden iMessages. Stephanie sighed, sat back and asked herself aloud, “Why am I so thirsty?”
After pushing in our chairs and putting away our dishes, I found myself in another meaningful conversation with my friends — this time on the established criteria for the perfect hookup buddy. The three factors we decided on were attractiveness, skill level and reliability. In case you were wondering, the debate lasted until we reached McCormick.
Outside my small realm of groundbreaking theorizing, things are happening. Important things. The country is debating deploying our troops back to the Middle East. Graduate students are working in labs to further the public’s knowledge of the human capacity to manipulate genetics. Britney Spears was spotted on the Corner. And yet, conversation among my friends invariably reverts back to the boys and potentially romantic situations we’ve encountered here on Grounds.
Why is that? Why do I instinctively analyze the style and demeanor of every male individual I pass in the library? Why do I make it a point to ask every guy where he’s living and proceed to mentally calculate the relative distance between my dorm and his — as well as consider whether or not that distance would be a reasonable one to walk regularly, if you catch my drift? Why, if I’ve never been the type to give it much thought in the past, are we all so concerned with hooking up?
I was sitting in my literature discussion the other day and my professor — a young, extraverted tattoo enthusiast with thick-framed hipster glasses — was presenting some point of interest to the class. I’d been staring through the window with my chin in my hand for a while, watching a giant American flag be raised above the amphitheater. I think I was about to yawn when I perked up just in time to hear my professor emphatically wonder, “I mean, what do you think? Is it like telling your friend to go ahead and hook up with a guy she went home with last week by saying, ‘Eh, you’ve already been there once, you won’t burn up any slut points by doing it again’?”
I’m not sure what led her to delve into such a subject but, needless to say, I was fully attentive after that. Of course, we were all loving it, repeatedly prompting her to enlighten us on this outdated concept of “slut points” from her high school days. Apparently, you can only use so many before it starts to take a toll on your reputation. This led me to wonder: how many points do we hypothetically start with and, of course, what happens when we run out?
The attempts to persuade my professor to discuss in detail the terms and conditions of this point system were futile, and she swiftly directed the conversation back to literature. As the class delved into manipulation of syntactical structures, though, I couldn’t help but think to myself about how the subject of hookups seems to be inescapable.
I have to keep asking myself why “finding a guy” is an item on the agenda for every night, and why I convince myself my night just isn’t complete without having made progress on some kind of romantic prospect.
I can’t help but speculate: what’s driving this seemingly insatiable thirst around here, and will it ever be satisfied?
Victoria’s column runs biweekly Tuesdays. She can be reached at email@example.com.