For most of us, the number of people that we’ve hooked up with isn’t that large.
Unfortunately, neither is Yale.
I frequently feel like I’m being dragged down Sexual Memory Lane as I go about life on campus.
I have not (yet) made the mistake of getting with my roommate, a kleptomaniac homeless person, a TA or even someone in my entryway — but there are still hookups that haunt me.
Everyone could always just stop hooking up with people. That can’t be too difficult. You could hang out in the weenie bins of CCL until closing time every night. As long as your GPA doesn’t go down on you, will you really care if nobody else does either?
Or you could fool around exclusively with the Q-Pac students who so dependably invade Toad’s on Saturday nights. (But though they may be gone in the morning, chances are you’ll have an STD that will bring back the memories for weeks to come.)
Or — as those lovely pamphlets so wisely suggest — you could focus on hugs, holding hands and sharing rainbows.
Tempting, I know.
But I don’t think that the promises of straight As, scabies or elementary school-style expressions of affection are enough to make us change our ways.
So how should we proceed? How do we deal with those inevitable encounters with the people on our booty trails?
I identified five basic relationships people have with their former flings:
1) The Ex-hookup Who “Doesn’t Exist”
There are a couple ways to go with this one. You can always ignore the person completely. That’s a really good idea if you have the emotional maturity of a six-year-old. But when you’re in the dining hall sitting next to the cute ’09er you brought back to “see your suite” at Bulldog Days — and because you’re just plain studly, he then matriculated — your unwavering attention to a bowl of Life Cereal looks pretty ridiculous.
Or if by some cruel stroke of fate you end up in a discussion section together, pretending that he doesn’t exist (and thereby preventing yourself from responding to his blatantly incorrect and occasionally offensive arguments) is neither good for your stress level nor for your educational experience. Trust me.
Maybe you can just acknowledge the person but pretend that you never hooked up.
This is, in theory, a decent idea. However, like Communism or being pre-med, good theories sometimes crash and burn in practice. Try having a good conversation with somebody you met once and then hooked up with. It sucks. If you forbid yourselves from talking about your only encounter, you either have nothing to talk about or else you’re introducing yourself to somebody you already swapped spit with. And that just feels cheap.
Plus, most of the time I feel like they’re picturing me without my shirt on. And that just feels awkward.
2) The Ex-hookup Who You Hate
While emotionally unhealthy, I find this one pretty entertaining. I mean, who doesn’t love reading the Rumpus’s exposes of booty gone bad?
My personal favorite: after a particularly regrettable hookup, one of my good friends actually threw out her sheets. Frankly, this could become an expensive habit, but damn it’s funny. And, to be completely honest, there are few things more satisfying than a united bash-session with several past partners of someone who turned out to be a complete ass. It’s even more satisfying if that ass was a lousy piece of ass.
In all seriousness, though, I can’t bring myself to recommend such spite and ill-will towards the skeletons in your closet. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, right?
3) The Ex-hookup Who Wants to Get With You
It’s flattering to know that somebody who actually knows what they’re in for is coming back for more. So it can be difficult to tell him that you’re just not as inebriated as you were the last time, or that the fist-sized hickey she gifted you with has blocked her from ever entering your bed again. Hold your ground.
Unless they were truly excellent.
Then I say go for it.
4) The Ex-hookup Who Wants to Get With Your Friends … And Everybody Else
As I’ve said before, a random hookup is not sufficient grounds to fingerprint. It is, though, sufficient grounds to feel a little uncomfortable when your former futon-mate suddenly has his arms around your friend.
This is the appropriate time to pretend you never hooked up. You two now have a connection besides that first-semester sack session, so talk about how great your friend is, and pretend that your own encounter never occurred.
Sometimes, it turns out that your ex-hookup just gets a lot of play. If Person A met you and randomly got busy with you, why wouldn’t Person A do the same with somebody else next weekend? Yes, it’s horrifying to realize that you’ve fooled around with the sketchball sucking face at Popeye’s in his ’80s windbreaker after Zeta Psi, but what do you expect? Get over it, get tested, and get on with your life.
5) The Ex-hookup Who Is Your Friend
If you can do it, more power to you. This is by far the most mature approach to your ex-hookups. You somehow manage minimal awkwardness. Seeing each other naked has had no impact on your relationship, and seriously, you are awesome.
But if you can’t do it, join the club.
And then come join me in CCL. Because I’m staying down there til 2 a.m.
Sarah Minkus doesn’t swap spit in fluorescent-lit fast food chains.