Last May, Jordan Suaste released a song called ‘Hookup Culture’, lyricising the beginning of a relationship involving someone who doesn’t want to be part of what he calls ‘hookup culture’ because he is, I quote, ‘expensive’ (I didn’t know human beings could be expensive, but I guess we have to thank TikTok for this one). The song seems to promote ‘real relationships’ over what our parents would probably have called a fling. You know, the fling we all heard about when we were kids, that summer-camp love, the casual thing. In 2021, this basically translates into a hookup (I don’t want to sound like I’m forty-five, but I think fling sounded cuter than hookup…).
I googled the word to make sure I had the right idea before starting to write this piece, and it was funny how even Wikipedia seemed confused about how to define a hookup. Here’s what it says:
“Hook-up culture refers to a culture built on the approved practice of engaging in hook-ups, or sexual encounters between two or more individuals where it is understood that commitment, relationships, and emotional feelings are not expected outcomes. […] Hook-ups typically only last a short time and those involved are typically only interested in experiencing sexual intimacy and pleasure.”
Now, reading this, some of you will probably think “ah, the good old pre-covid days”, and others might not relate at all to this kind of situationship. It seems indeed that for a while now, students have started to refrain from engaging in real committed relationships during their studies. Some prefer to focus on their studying, others avoid them because they’d rather feel free to explore their sexuality during their college years. No-strings-attached, no feelings involved, the promise of a heart that will not get broken, and sex à volonté, isn’t that the dream of a lot of students? And what a better setting than clubs or pubs to meet someone you’ll probably never call again? Or for the most introverts of us, the dozens of dating apps flooded with thousands of people looking for the sweet comfort of physical intimacy without the stress of the-next-morning-breakfast. Yes, hookup culture is great (for some). Or should I say, was great?
Indeed, over the last twelve months, our world has gone from the advent of free sexuality and kiss-whoever-you-want-in-a-club culture to stay-in-bed-in-your-Disney-jammies-on-a-Saturday-night, and that dear friends, did not help hookup culture. Keeping up with this lifestyle has been made very difficult by the now famous social distancing. It is already hard to keep in touch with your college friends and your cousins, so how could you even think about engaging in a non-committed relationship? What do you do before on a tinder date, ask for his PCR test and wear your mask? It does defeat the purpose of looking extra-cute to impress on the first date, doesn’t it? And since we don’t even have clubs to look for one-night stands anymore, it makes life harder for the most dating-apps reluctants.
It is safe to say that hookup culture is being damaged more and more by the day by the sanitary crisis. If we cannot go to clubs, let alone outside our homes, then it makes it very hard to find the special someone to spend a wild night with. Now, what some of us miss the most during this 4th (or 5th, I cannot keep up anymore) lockdown is going to a nice restaurant, or studying in a café for the afternoon, or maybe after work pints. But for others, it’s definitely the exciting feeling of making-out with someone in a dark club, where the music is too loud to even ask for a name afterwards. Jordan Suaste must be happy, he will certainly not become part of the hookup culture he seems to dread, because dear friends, that culture is being seriously damaged by Covid-19. For better or for worse, according to your personal preferences, current times are for either seriously committed relationships, or Saturday-alone-in-your-jammies. One question remains then, will our society be able to welcome the hookup back after the sanitary crisis?