The NYT on Hooking Up: OK for Older Women, Drudgery for Younger Ones

Editor’s Note: Who is the wisest of them all? Who is more dedicated to your pleasure than anyone on earth? Who can help you when you’re going online for the first time to find love; or when your lover’s children hate you; or when you want to strangle your husband? Why, the Love Goddess, of course. She promises nothing less than celestial wisdom, heavenly sex, divine dating. Read on …

A New York Times essay by Charles Blow this last weekend laments the fact that dating, as we know it, has ended. Anyone who reads or speaks with The Love Goddess knows that dating as courtship, that orderly ritual by which a man and women get to know each other in order to proceed to intimacy and, it has always been hoped, marriage, ended ages ago. The writer’s point is that hooking up – that is, having sex (usually with a friend) before getting to know him or her, with no plans to continue afterward toward emotional intimacy – is a sad way to conduct the getting-to-know-you process, even as he admits that “hooking up emphasizes group friendships over the one-pair model of dating,” and also takes away the stigma of being in a group but without a date.

For you grown-up women with rich pasts and rich futures who are dating anew, hooking up isn’t so bad. It allows a busy, high-achieving woman with little time on her hands to have sex, with the same casual feelings about it as a man always has had. Hooking up, unromantic as it is, reflects the fact that a strong woman now makes her own choices about how she wants to live and with whom she feels like sleeping at the moment; and she needn’t proceed to Relationship or to Emotional Intimacy as if she were a young girl of long ago, warding off her sexual urges until that relationship takes hold. 

What I worry about isn’t grown women dating again after a long time, but your daughters and granddaughters. Here’s why.

Of all the things this new paradigm has going against it, it’s still men who decide whom to see AFTER the hooking up and hanging out (yes, still). It’s still women who get the bad reputation for hooking up too often (yes, still). And for college women, one holdover reflects the very worst part of the old paradigm: In coed dorms, where the whole notion of hooking up and hanging out began and continues to flourish, it’s women who can’t stand the mess men leave and do the cleaning up. Yes, still. It’s women doing the laundry and making the breakfast. Women washing men’s sweatsocks and sweatshirts. Women vacuuming the rooms, changing the sheets, putting flowers around. Women trying to bring some elegance and charm to their newfound lives of sexual equality. Why? Because that’s the way it works. Yes, still.

Hooking up was supposed to free everyone from the tangle and the work of relationships by allowing them sex with no strings. But this goddess has spoken to many people hooking up and hanging out, and the women are stuck in a time warp. So beware: The equality part is great. The age-old drudgery part, not so.

Do you agree?


Like all savvy goddesses, the Love Goddess has her own blog, which you can visit by clicking here.

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