Obsessing over how to hang out with someone in whom you might be interested is nothing new. We’re all familiar with the insane scheming and the manic over-interpreting of any and everything that might be a “sign.”
“Was he looking at me?” “Did he smile or is that more of a wince?” “Is that his girlfriend or his mom?”
We can become nervous, hyper-aware, hyper-anxious versions of ourselves when we’re around someone we have a crush on. Or when we’re talking about said person. Or even just thinking about them. As Ke$ha said, love is a drug–but she failed to specify is that it’s not a chill drug like pot. It’s more like meth. You get jumpy, riled up, confused, unproductive and then suffer through crazy, asocial periods of withdrawal.
The reason that I bring this up, however, is the strange fact that actually hooking up with someone that you’re interested in makes all of this worse. The overthinking, the self-doubt, the crippling anxiety…all of that is magnified when you’ve already seen this person naked. I’m not judging the hook-up, but it’s noteworthy that something that is in fact very intimate can actually alienate you even more from someone else.
For me, the fear of reaching out to someone with whom I’ve already hooked up stems from the possibility of them thinking I’m taking things too seriously. This might be exacerbated because I’m a woman and women tend to be perceived as relationship-centric and incapable of having random hookups without falling in love, but I do worry that contacting someone with whom I’ve been intimate will lead that person to believe that I now think we’re dating. Which of course I don’t. That doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it, though. Hookups often come from somewhere. It’s like that old adage – most jokes begin in truth. Well, most hook-ups begin at least with some semblance of interest.
I think the lack of communication probably plays a role in the ensuing awkwardness when you see someone with whom you’ve had a one-time thing. Hookups mean different things to different people, and if you don’t have an explicit conversation about what this is going to mean in the morning (which, let’s face it, would either ruin the mood or be too emotionally complex for the drunkenness) you have to assume that the other person doesn’t care at all or else you risk looking like an idiot. No one wants to be perceived as over-interpreting random sex. This is seriously a sticking-point for our generation. You have to be able to hook-up and move on, no questions asked.
I think there is plenty of room for random hookups. I think they’re fun and they can serve an important purpose. But the fact that reaching out to someone after you’ve had an un-clarified hookup can seem “needy” is strange to me. Why shouldn’t we be able to say, “Hey, I saw you naked. Want to get drinks or something? I’m not obsessed with you, I’m just asking” without feeling like it’s crossing a line?
I wonder if this is more of a girl problem and not wanting to be perceived as this stereotypical bimbo who hooks up with people and then waits for them to call her. Somehow I think that we all share this anxiety, though. We are taught that hooking up is fun and normal and we should want to do it, but also that there is a delineation between “just a hookup” and “this has potential.” Why? What’s the difference? We used to date people in the hopes of hooking up with them – why does the reverse order seem so implausible?