Hooking up ousts firm relationships



Teenage relationships commonly consist of casual hookups or long-term couplings.

Rachel Selvin, Contributing Writer

To say this generation is inadequate in forming organic relationships is probably the understatement of the century. Instead, we seem to be confounding  non-relationships relationships. Just the other day, while walking through the hallowed halls of Brookline High School, mindlessly eavesdropping and people watching per usual, a ubiquitous anomaly (quite the oxymoron, I know) caught my attention: A couple that seemed to possess every characteristic of what could be called “exclusive” or even the enviable or dreaded, “dating.” Yet it was made explicitly clear (by verbal corroboration that is) that these two were neither of those things. This thing, so to speak, did not need any explanation because “everyone” knew what it meant, right? To be clear, this thing I am alluding to is what some call relationships of this millennium.

From what I have seen, the progression of these “things” is as follows: 1. Become friends. 2. Hookup as friends. (Hooking up could cover a wide spectrum but that is another topic).  3. Deny either party has feelings for the other. 4. Reluctantly admit feelings may be present. 5. Hang out together in a “date-esque” fashion. 6. Refuse to call it a relationship and continue to coin phrases like, “I mean, we are a thing.” This progression seems very different from the courting our parents and grandparents must have experienced. But I am not here to dwell on the chivalry of years past.

Here at the high school, there are few real couples. Instead, casual hookups and general apathy rule the “dating” scene. In a world where I get annoyed when my Instagram does not reload in three seconds and my friends barrage me with complaints about how their iPhone 5 is too old, it seems the same mindset has permeated the scope of physical partners as well. Steadfast relationships have taken a backseat to the sexual fluidity that dominates mainstream culture.  

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Students at BHS seem to have developed a strong sense of worth, maintain solid work ethics and have a variety of interests and activities. Such conditions can make fitting a significant other into one’s schedule a bit tricky.

It makes sense. You have a lot of work, you are focused on getting into your top college, you play three seasons of sports and/or have tons of other extracurricular commitments.  You have got a lot on your plate. But of course, you still want some physical intimacy, as any adolescent might, but feelings are gross right? Right. The perfect outlet? A casual “thing” with someone who you do not hate (maybe even like?) and are physically attracted to. What could go wrong?

In a perfect world, there is mutual contentment and agreement on what constitutes this relationship. However, in most cases, “things” end in one or more parties leaving with hard feelings.

Perhaps this is because we are products of an environment of individualism and not being “together.” Neither are objectively negative conditions, but if we take those and add the media’s depiction of relationships being all about sex and very little personal connection, it can get a bit more complex. Anything from music to Instagram to Snapchat sees to promote a culture of minimal effort to receive instant sexual gratification.  

One could argue that modern media’s presence has empowered people, especially females, to be more confident with their sexualities, but the age old objectification of women seems to play to the detriment of this argument. In many ways, teens seem to have become desensitized to intimate connections and have begun to view relationships as almost taboo.

Of course, things sometimes do progress into relationships, but more often than not, couples experience non-break ups from these non-relationships and everyone acts like it was no big deal. It is not like they were dating anyways! Teens are often trying to make themselves seem so “chill” and no one wants to mess that up by publicly displaying a disdain for the casual and passiveness of today’s “dating” scene.

Webster’s dictionary defined the word thing as “an object that one need not, cannot, or does not wish to give a specific name to.” That seems to sum it up pretty perfectly, I suppose. People do not wish to give it a real name, so they call it a ‘thing’. No, this is not an attack on Brookline’s hookup culture, nor am I implying anything more than exactly what I have written. All I am trying to say is maybe we should rename this period between being a casual hookup to a real relationship with a little more of a comprehensive title.

The passiveness towards relationships of our generation has left many unfulfilled and lonely, yet no one seems to want to do anything about it. It is only fitting that I conclude this piece with a quote from everyone’s favorite half-Jewish, emotionally in touch, rapper: Drake.  “Wish we could learn to love people and use things and not the other way around.”