The hookup culture definitely has its benefits. The perks of casual sexual encounters can leave both men and women feeling empowered, confident and satisfied. However, especially at Colgate, the hookup culture has a tendency to make us feel like we are left out of some complex equation. With variables like sexual experience, vulnerability and confidence, it’s no wonder that so many people can’t find a single solution. When we struggle to love ourselves, instead placing our self-worth in someone else’s bed, it becomes difficult to discern where our own heart lies. Are we just the acts we perform when the party ends, or do we mean more than just a hookup? As I sat in my room, listening to one of my best friends pour out her own struggles with Colgate’s hookup culture, it became more apparent how isolating hookup culture can become when the constant phrase out of her mouth was, “I just don’t think I’m enough.”
Hearing her say that, I couldn’t help but wonder, what is enough? What do we look for in a hookup? I know some people who prefer not to see their former partners again during their next four years at Colgate. Others continue to hook up with the same person for months at a time without changing the status of the relationship. If someone doesn’t have a steady hookup to call at the end of the night, does that mean they aren’t desired?
In order to answer that, I think you have to be honest about what it means to be in a college dating environment. We struggle over whether to text the person we want to hookup with during the week or wait to Snapchat them right before going out. We see the light on our phone flicker with a notification from them, but deliberately wait hours to respond so we don’t come off as needy. We wrestle with our conscious about acting like we care or like we don’t know who they are when we see them at Frank. In all of these internal battles, we get caught up in presenting ourselves in a manner that will best respond to a hookup at the expense of losing sight of what will truly make us happy. It becomes more about being a good hookup than being who we really are.
It’s in these types of situations where people can feel lost in this culture. When you are someone who does have a huge heart, and does care, and does want to listen to all of your friend’s/lover’s/hookup’s problems, how can you successfully present an authentic version of yourself and still not walk home alone at the end of the night?
At the end of the day, I think the answer lies in being honest with yourself. The hookup culture inherently implies that you have to be capable of casual, meaningless and sporadic sexual encounters. If this isn’t something you are comfortable with, you shouldn’t feel the need to conform just to feel validated. A hookup doesn’t determine your worth at the end of the day, you do.
So, to my friend, and to anyone else who thinks that they aren’t enough for Colgate hookups, you are more than enough. Just because someone doesn’t come up to you at the Jug or ask you out on a real date, does not mean you aren’t worthy. Just because someone doesn’t invest the same time, energy and care into your relationship doesn’t mean you aren’t deserving of that attention in your life. Just because someone doesn’t invite you to their date party because they know you aren’t going to satisfy them at the end of the night, doesn’t mean you aren’t attractive to them. Maybe it just means you’re more than enough for them … and maybe that’s something you should be happy about instead.
Contact Helen Misiewicz