Relationships: The Next Endangered Species

I often randomly text my friend, Rose, proclaiming my excitement to move to the city and live some hybrid life of, Friends, New Girl, and Sex and the City. The ironic thing about my dream life is that I have never actually watched, even a clip, of Sex and the City. 

To be fair, my mother did give me a rather well rounded 90’s T.V. education. When I wasn’t watching Rugrats, Doug or any other 90’s Nickelodeon favorites, I would be curled in her bed, eating Cadbury’s fruit and nut chocolate watching Ally McBeal, Friends, ER, and occasionally That 70’s Show. 

She did, however, draw some motherly line when it came to the latest Carrie Bradshaw column. Which probably would have prompted way too many questions I was much too young to know the answers too, like who is Manolo Blahnik?

So, here I am, two days of classes left before finals, 19 days until graduation, the absolute best time to start binge watching Sex and The City. (As if doing this to myself wasn’t bad enough, Kate, has decided to rewatch the series. Safe to say, I will miss living with her).

Episode one, love at first watch! I laughed aloud several times, and not just at the insanely 90’s fashion. The most striking component to the first episode is how relevant it still is (a fact I pray stays true for the series).

The premise of the episode is to “have sex like a man”, without feelings. Like Carrie and her friends, Kate and I have often discussed when men and women interact, they are each seeking something different.

With this in mind, I have become fixated on human relationships in the modern technological era since beginning my Politics of Diversity course. In class, we have been debating if the hookup culture, is here to stay. Now that sex outside of commitment is more socially acceptable, are committed relationships obsolete?

Prior to the sexual revolution of the 60’s, sexual promiscuity was taboo. Therefore, to engage in such activity, human beings had to get married, to make committed relationships. Since the 60’s, societal perspective on sexual behavior and sexuality has changed dramatically. With the added bonus of developments in birth control, exclusive commitment seems less necessary.

I am the first to admit dating is expensive. When I look around my college campus and realize how many of my peers are engaged in the hookup culture I cannot help but understand it is more economical. It is also less time-consuming. You no longer must devote yourself to the emotional and supportive part of the relationship. All you must do is go out on the weekend, have a few sips of liquid courage, and go home with someone.

It all seems simple enough. Until I am standing in my kitchen or sitting on my friend’s couch consoling them. Either he didn’t text her the next morning (because apparently, the call feature on cell phones is like the old sweater in the back of your closet, you still have it but never wear it). Other times they don’t expect to get a text, but cry because they hate just hooking up with people and yet they’ve done it again. Or sometimes they cry because they really like the guy and didn’t have sex with him only to discover he only wants sex.

That is the worst one. When you stand your ground, you resist temptation and try to be a class act when he asks you to go home with him and you reply directly “I like you, but I am not going to sleep with you”. Then he shrugs, says that too bad, walks away and starts chatting up some other girl who is DTF.

Carrie tried to experiment by having sex like a man. When she hooked up with an old fling she had two rules no expectations and no reciprocation. A few nights later when she ran into her old fling, Kurt, he told her how pissed he was when she took off after not returning the favor. BUT, and this is a huge but, after a while, he thought “how great! You finally understand the kind of relationship I really want and now we can have sex without commitment” (Sex and the City episode 1).

Carrie maintains her cool, but as he walks away she isn’t happy with this new-found leverage and control… actually she feels just the opposite “Did all men secretly want their women promiscuous and emotionally detached? And if I was really having sex like a man why didn’t I feel more in control?”

I think the answer to her question is, no one ever feels in control. When I talk to my guy friends, they feel pretty much the same as the girls. They don’t want to date the girl who slept with you right off the bat because chances are she sleeps with everyone. Although they might also want to date someone exclusively, until they find the girl worth that, they are going to sleep around because they can. 

They won’t text the next day because truth is they are not interested in talking to you, they know exactly what they need to do to sleep with you and texting more often than not, isn’t part of that formula. Sometimes they wake up the next morning equally as unfulfilled. The feeling of unfulfillment sucks, but we can temporarily elevate it next weekend when we sleep with someone new.

This cycle is vicious. With perfect timing my friend, Pat, sitting across from me ask if he is correct in saying our generation is guided more by rational than emotion. To which I tell him he is wrong. He has it backward, if we rationalized it out, we wouldn’t hookup because we know two things: 1. we will wake up unfulfilled and 2. we want the long-term commitment and hookups virtually never lead to this.

I say virtually because as pointed out in the film, He’s Just Not That into You, we all know the exception to the rule. Yeah, I have a friend who had a one-nightstand about three years ago and he has been dating the girl ever since. This is the exception NOT the rule.

The trouble is, we hope to be the exception and we, therefore, perpetuate the cycle. As the cycle continues it becomes harder and harder to find someone to have a relationship with. Even if most us are seeking a full commitment emotional and physical relationship, we also have desires.

Like the many great philosophers, I have studied, we must practice temperance. We cannot allow our emotions and desires to control us. If we were more rational, we would be more fulfilled.

To my classmates, I do not think this hookup culture is here to stay. At some point, I hope, reason will kick in. According to Mr. Big, who is the rare man not looking for just sex, reason kicks in when at some point, we finally ‘fall in love’.

Whatever that means.

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