Oh, another article about hook-ups
It is the duty of us highly esteemed writers to forge through the dank murk of the new hookup culture and bring lucidity to our transient sexual encounters with our glowing lantern of cultural analysis. Take our moralizing prescriptions and avoid mixing with alcohol.
Our over-analysis of the hookup culture just seems weird. We love to indulge in exploring its theoretical underpinnings and itch to either demonize it or impose it on others. Of course, the “Love and Lust in the Bubble” series does a commendable job of at least trying to show a diversity of experience on campus and some personal stories are poignant warnings that help protect us from harm. But anything that pushes beyond that into preaching — anything that begins with “In Defense of” — you know is ripe with generalizations and ill-founded moralizing.
The format of a column on hookups is something like this: A personal experience is extrapolated into generalizing claims about everyone’s sexuality. The comments give forum to people justifying their own actions and — in a rare moment of intellect for ‘Prince’ commenters — hold each other up to a philosophical rigor never found once in precept. Anytime some journalist comes to Princeton and tells us we lack “moral articulateness,” just start discussing hookups.
Street-goers will save the pious from their shackles of sexual inexperience. The pious will save Street-goers from their moral depravity. From reading these pages, it seems like Dave Kurz is not the only one trying to do some saving here; everyone is saving others from their sexual missteps. The campus is starkly divided by those that go out to the Street and those that don’t, with a fair share of judgemental comments crossing the well-demarcated border. One side sexless eunuchs, the other an amoral cesspool — or so the rhetoric would suggest. Opposing the other side is taken with a certain passion usually reserved for actual issues.
It is nice that we are all reflective and thoughtful and critical thinkers, but if you are subjecting your Thursday and Saturday nights to intense theoretical scrutiny, you are doing it wrong. We’re used to making fun of religious and conservative arguments against hooking up, but any kind of fundamentalist analysis is just ridiculous. Some will treat hookups with a strict utilitarian framework: Hooking up is about extracting utils of sexual gratification. If this is you, you are taking yourself and hookups far too seriously. Attaching your hookups to any overarching –ism should raise some red flags. By your own definition, you’re meant to be having fun, so stop keeping score.
Although David Brooks would like to disagree, we are actually quite pushed to find moral justification for our actions. We are, after all, at an age when we are starting to fully articulate our beliefs and values, and as Ivy League students we have particularly conceited intellects. Under all this scrutiny, we are also pushed to subjugate our actions to the beliefs we subscribe to — without fail. We are obsessed with moral consistency. Vacillation and uncertainty is weakness or stupidity. This partially explains why students are so defensive about their sexual behavior and why they often stick to either hookups or relationships. In the real world hookups exist as a quite natural state in between relationships and people seem much more comfortable acting on their own impulses — whether emotional, sexual or both. In taking an approach to hookups that is neither theoretical nor frothing-at-the-mouth, people are more likely to pursue love or lust on their own terms instead of trying to fit their behavior to an extreme standard. Surprise! Sex (or relationships or whatever hookups describe) is personal.
In our childishness and pettiness we have completely lost the purpose of sexual liberalization — to have fun, fulfilling and healthy sexual encounters or relationships defined on our own terms. Princeton: Just chill out and enjoy yourself. At a school where students often forget that socializing is singularly for fun, the “hookup culture” is equally mired by over-analysis, strategy and insecurity.
William Beacom is a sophomore from Calgary, Canada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.