Hooking Up in the Shadow of Facebook

“Hooking up” as a phrase makes absolutely no sense. We’ve all come to accept this. “Hooking up” in college is like the illustrious baseball field of high school, where you had no idea where any of the bases were or what they meant. (If you touch a boob over the shirt is that sliding into second? No? Ok what about touching the bra, that’s clearly second base territory. No? Ok, what about if she touches my chest? No?! Come on, throw me a frikkin‘ bone here.)

“Hooking up” in college can mean just about anything from making out to engaging in an all-out bestial orgy. If you at all care what is going on in someone’s pants, you have to ask for clarification. Otherwise, you’ll make some kind of ridiculous assumption about the sex lives of others and die a horrible social death BECAUSE IT’S JUST THAT IMPORTANT TO ACCURATELY KNOW WHO IS BOINKING WHO. As of right now, facebook has no option to show who is boinking who, but pray for patience, as this is only a matter of time.

Sometimes hooking up can be more than just a one-night occurrence. Hooking up, in fact, can be used to describe an ongoing “fling” of sorts in which two people continually end up with another person for physical purposes. Why we don’t use the phrase “meaningless fling” to describe this ongoing “hooking up” boggles the rational mind as “hooking up” as a phrase is confusing enough to understand already.

See, usually, in a relationship involving two people (in sociology we call this a diad) there is usually an uneven power balance. This uneven power balance can stem from a number of different variables, but most frequently it is one person’s deep aversion to the term “relationship.” Contrary to popular belief, they do not actually fear the concept of a relationship, more or less, they just fear the literal word “relationship.” If you wrote the word “relationship” on a piece of paper and put it in front of their face, they would let out a girly scream and run away.

You must understand that most sane people in the real world would call many of Wesleyan’s “hooking up” relationships actual relationships, as they take on many of the characteristics of a real relationship such as courting, monogamy, routine and well, physical relations. But not at Wesleyan. No, at Wesleyan no one is really “in a relationship” until facebook says they are in a relationship. Everything else is just “complicated” (Which now, also thanks to facebook, you can finally apply an appropriate label to the mess your fuckbuddy refuses to label! Because that makes sense!).

(Actually, by the way, people who are in diads where one person labels it on face book as “complicated” you can almost always count on the other person to be “single.” Unless of course two girls who are friends and are both themselves single [you can tell they are straight because their profiles say they are only interested in men] decide to involve themselves in a complicated facebook relationship. [Because let’s face it, facebook is complicated.] Before “complicated” was an option, you could “marry” your friends and fill the facebook void that way.)

So again, if you examine a hook-up diad closely, you’ll quickly understand this uneven power balance concept as it applies to facebook. One person may stick with the diad in hopes of turning it into an official, society-accepted relationship. They both may stick with the diad because physical relations is all they seek out of the relationship and making it official would obligate them to invest emotionally into someone they actually have no feelings for. Perhaps they are practicing to be porn stars. Who knows. But the entire act of making a hook-up official or not making a hook-up official on facebook implies leverage in a diad which gives one person in the relationship more power over the other. (In fact, if you are really a nerd and want to learn about the balance of power in diads, I recommend reading Sadomasochism in Everyday Life by Lynn S. Chancer.)

What’s really fucked up about this is is that this is a relatively recent social phenomenon as facebook has only been available at Wesleyan for two years. See, before facebook, historians theorize that if you were in a hook-up diad, quite a number of people a) either didn’t care about you or your love life, b) confused you for being in an actual relationship or C) talked to you enough to distinguish that you are simply just hooking up and no, she is not your girlfriend. Now, thanks to facebook, your status is on the internet for everyone to scrutinize and there is no more gray ambiguity involving your penis. See, before facebook, people applied real-world social logic to your penis, but now they apply facebook logic, which is completely different and thus makes absolutely no fucking sense (and it burns a little when you pee).

So that’s hooking up at Wesleyan as far as facebook is concerned.

The end.