Essay / Lauren Stevens

BANGING ON A FUTON MATTRESS MEANS IT ISN’T THE FLOOR: COLLEGIATE HOOK-UPS

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Hooking up in college can be tricky business. Even if you manage to snag the hottest person on the dance floor as your one night stand, and are capable of making it back to their place, there is a possibility of things going terribly wrong. I don’t think I’m very good at the act of hooking-up. I like holding hands too much to be good at one-night-stands or ‘friends with benefits situations.’ You know that scene in Clueless where Cher is attempting to seduce Christian and she does a hair flip and rolls off the bed? That seems to be the equivalent of my hook-up prowess.

The “before” the hook-up is a struggle: whose place are you going to, how are you getting there, are they even interested or are they just drunk enough that making out seems like a good idea? The “during” part is usually the easiest to navigate and hopefully the most enjoyable section of the evening. And then there is the “after” where things can get tricky again. After could be the next morning, like waking up with day old make-up, and a pile of your clothes on his floor, plus four dudes gathered in the doorway trying to figure out who their roommate boned. The after is a few days later, running into them on your walk to work and having them ask you if you’re enjoying the recent weather pattern. Or the after is realizing your two most recent fuck buddies are best friends – it’s not my fault, I had never seen them together in public and all Facebook photos led me to believe they didn’t know one another.

Moments like these can best be described as “college experience.” Just put on your pants from the night before and politely show yourself out. If you’re looking for a hook-up, you do have options, and there is a high probability you’ll be much more successful than I ever was.

The Acquaintance

Approach: I’ve seen you milling around campus and maybe we’re Facebook friends but I know absolutely nothing about you, except that I enjoy the layout of your face. The conversation leading up to the hookup tends to involve the dialogue, “We should hang out sometime!”

Upside: You’re not friends, don’t run in the same circles, so if it totally sucks, you won’t have to suffer the embarrassment of seeing them all the time.

Downside: You’re going in blind. You’ve got no idea if you’re in for a good night of minimal-clothing fun, or if you’re going to have zero sparks. I spent the night with a super attractive dude at the beginning of September who had no idea what he was doing. None. And he was a guitar player so my hopes had been high. The night was ruined when he stuck his tongue in my ear. In. My. Ear. And then what? You’re stuck at an apartment across town at two in the morning weighing the options between calling a cab or spending the night with a dude who sticks his tongue in your ear.

“Friends With Benefits”

Approach: I mean, it’s pretty self-explanatory right? Go from being just casual buddies who joke about banging, and actually start banging.

Upside: Here, you’ve got foundation. You probably know some of their exes, or even better, you know someone who has hooked up with them which allows you opportunity for recon. Hell, if you’re good enough friends they’ve probably already told you about what they like in the sack. You’ve spent time at their place, know their roommates, their schedule – which means you can plan accordingly and stay the night when they’ve got nowhere to be in the morning. You’ll even know what type of bed situation you’ve got working for you. I hooked up with a dude who was rocking a futon mattress on the floor. He didn’t even bother owning a frame.

Downside: There are so many. You’re risking companionship to get your rocks off. This can lead to permanent damage to the friendship. Or even worse, one friend wants more than just benefits, the casual hook-up disappears and you’re planning a weekend of apple picking.

“Party Friends with Benefits”

Approach: Two kids, running around in the same friend group, hitting up the same parties. Any day of the week, they’re just regular pals. Give ‘em a box of wine and a dirty basement to dance in, and all of a sudden they’re making out in the corner. Come Sunday, they’ll pretend they don’t know what the other one looks like on Saturday morning.

Upside: It’s like a standing date! You’re at a party, they’re at a party: you’ve got someone to suck face with.

Downside: Living with the overwhelming elephant in the room every time you hang out during the week. The thoughts “I know what you’ve got rocking in those jeans” will consume you, even when you’re just getting together for a friendly House of Cards marathon.

Backsliding

Approach: Oh, the ex. We all have that one ex, right? Where we don’t miss their habit of biting their nails or their love of Star Wars or the stupid Christmas scented candles they burn: but dear God, do we miss the sight of them without a shirt on. This is the epitome of the booty call. The approach includes text messages late at night. Or re-friending them on Facebook. And probably sucking it up and saying “I miss you” when the truth is “I miss your bed.”

Upside: Most likely involves zero romantic emotions. You’ve already gone through the relationship part, and now you just wanna get physical. You already know their likes and dislikes, and they know yours, so no surprises.

Downside: It is a dangerous little rabbit hole to talk to exes. It’s never intentional but those nasty feelings may just creep back up and get you. Or you realize that you still hate them as much as you did when you broke up, and then you have to revert all your energy to hating them again.

The moral of the story is you have to be ready for anything. Maybe that cutie from the gym will invite me to a party. Or that kid from my Public Relations class might be single, and if he is I wanna know cause damn. An old flame might text me out of the blue on a Saturday night and ask me what I’m doing. I probably wouldn’t handle any of these situations well, but who knows. Just be prepared kids. And for god’s sake put your futon mattress on a frame.

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