Welcome to Hookup Culture University! This pseudonymized blend of the campus hookup cultures of Duke, Yale, George Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania is a totally representative hotbed of a
burgeoning sexual marketplace where women exchange emotion-free sexual favors as rapidly and recklessly as high-frequency traders. To further protect the identities of the young female participants of hookup culture (the sexual revolution hasn’t gone that far), we’ve condensed them into seven stock characters. (Hookup Culture U does not admit men.)
The Woman Who Secretly Wants a Boyfriend
This reluctant participant in hookup culture — a virgin when she first arrived on campus — doesn’t like casual sex, but she’s trying to adapt. She doesn’t know how else to get guys to like her! You can tell she wants a boyfriend because she loves Taylor Swift, Twilight, and Glee and has sweetly naive romantic expectations, like being asked out to a frozen-yogurt place or not being date raped.
Although everyone in the story uses cell phones (and not just for hooking up), this woman’s text life must be revealed in order to show old people how young men find women without coming to their doors with flowers. A mode of communication she uses easily with friends becomes utterly foreign in the hands of men. “Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret,” she says. The grammatically impoverished brevity of his 1 a.m. booty calls is a metaphor for their unsatisfying sexual encounters.
The Lady Bro
Also known as a Female Chauvinist Pig, she is best exemplified by Duke University Fuck List author Karen Owen. By learning how to have sex like a man, she is reaping the spoils of hookup culture. You can tell she has sex like a man because she enjoys vulgar jokes about “snowblowing” and “pink socks.” She says blow jobs are actually super-empowering, if you think about it.
The Girl Who’s Just Really Busy, Okay?
She could totally have an old-fashioned boyfriend, if she wanted one. (You will be made aware that she’s hot enough.) But this former varsity swimmer/first chair cellist/debate team president — now a double major/Phi Beta Kappa/intern-at-large — just isn’t convinced a boyfriend will grow her human capital as quickly as all her other extracurriculars. “I can’t have a meaningful romantic relationship, because I’m always busy and the people that I am interested in are always busy, too,” says one, who will only be quoted as her middle initial/personality type, “A.” You will be made to suspect she doth protest too much. “I know this sounds really pathetic and you probably think I am lying, but there are so many other things going on right now that [a boyfriend]’s really not something high up on my list.” She’s a staunch feminist, after all. It’s a miracle she found time to comment for a trend piece.
Poor Little (Possibly Non-White) Prude
An object of pity among her privileged peers, her sexual hangups are blamed on her firsthand knowledge of teen pregnancy and deadbeat boyfriends, with some religious beliefs thrown in. “She would always talk about how she couldn’t wait to get married and have babies,” is how one woman describes her. “Then she just crazy dropped out of school and wouldn’t contact any of us … The way I see it is that she’s from a really small town, and that’s what everyone in her town does.” She is the only one with an interesting critique of of her peers’ perpetual sexual adolescence. “Everyone else seemed to live life, not really care about what they were doing. Like, ‘You’re only young once,’ they had that sort of mentality,” she tells the Times.
The One Who Might Have Been Raped
The trend story martyr, she reveals hookup culture’s dark underbelly. She gets drunk and can’t remember some of her hookups. (She takes sick pride in the resulting bruises.) Others end in exit-fellatio: “By the time she got back to a guy’s room, she was starting to sober up and didn’t want to be there anymore; giving the guy oral sex was an easy way to wrap things up and leave.” She is the tenuous link between the trio of campus plagues — binge-drinking, hookup culture, sexual assault — not the guy who is into sex with half-conscious women.
The Meddlesome Older Journalist
Wherever young women are hooking up, women writers like Susan Patton, Donna Freitas, Caitlin Flanagan, and Laura Sessions Stepp are not far behind, ostensibly to report. Suspiciously gratified by young women’s unhappiness, they offer up some conventional wisdom: No one will buy the cow if they give away the milk for free. But he might buy the cow if it makes him muffins: “Guys will do anything for homemade baked goods.”