Embrace hookup culture

Long road through dating apps might be worth it



We should have a Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide-esque attitude toward dating. We are all just figuring it out.

JORDAN AHLSTEDT, Evergreen columnist

Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Grindr and OkCupid are only a few of the dating apps and websites that have made meeting that special someone a whole lot easier. 

Our very own Cougs are their users. As an ex-Tinder girl myself, I can attest that the online dating game is not for the naive nor the faint of heart — and you should definitely be 18 when you make an account, for your own sake. 

My personal opinion on online dating varies. My first time on Tinder led to me dating someone for a year. Another experience taught me the unfortunate lesson that the creeps you see in movies are real people. But that is just my experience.

I have heard my fair share of horror and success stories, and I am sure you have, too. So, if you were sitting in your bed alone watching the second season of “Tiger King” and the thought of making a profile popped into your head, listen to what our Cougs have to say before you decide to swipe. 

When it comes to why our students are using dating apps — preferably Tinder and Bumble — the answer was pretty obvious. 

Sophomore marketing major Nate Trahan said he uses dating apps to find casual sex or meet girls to go out on dates with. Junior education major Gabrielle Warren said she uses them because she is bored. 

Personally, I relate more with Warren. I thought, “Why not? Everyone else is doing it.” In my own experience, it provided a confidence booster. I never had attention in high school, and I wanted to see how I would fare as an adult in the dating world, but from a safe distance.

It seemed that being at a distance was not a unique thought, as Trahan and Warren said the in-person dates are minuscule compared to the number of matches, let alone swipes. In my experience, and in the experiences of others, it seemed that most people actually had no intention of meeting in person and simply enjoyed the feeling of being wanted, or even lusted, after.

When it comes to preferences, we all have a type, and we all prefer to see and hear certain things over others — which brings me to my favorite part of analyzing dating apps: red flags.

Trahan found that some women express very specific preferences in their bios. 

“They filter out people automatically based on race or astrology,” he said.

So, when it comes to us ladies, we do not need to be so picky about a guy’s outward appearance and not take a guy’s star sign so literally. It also shocked me to hear that race had a part to play in our meaningless hookups and ego-stroking. Are we truly that particular about who we choose to have romantic or sexual encounters with? It is 2021 people, grow up and take some more diversity courses. 

Apparently, some men take aggressive approaches when texting their matches. Junior psychology major Lindsay Mcnally said she has had a few bad experiences with this. 

“Red flags are people that want to meet up too quick, who ask for social medias way too fast, who are pushy, use really sexual pickup lines or remarks,” she said. 

Despite all of us knowing that the end game is usually a sexual encounter, people, not just men, need to be more respectful to their matches. Consent is key here. Even though it is online dating, the tea rule many of us learned in sex ed classes still applies. When it comes to red flags, there is an abundance, but please, for the sake of yourself and your matches, take this advice into consideration when creating your profile and interacting with others. 

Trahan said dating apps impact hookup culture by practicing quick judgements. 

“You’re just evaluating people off sexual attractiveness before even giving them a chance to see who they are as a person,” he said.

I could not agree more. There have been countless studies done proving the negative impact social media has on our mental health and body image as young people. This reality can only be assumed to be amplified by dating apps when we start looking for romantic or sexual partners instead of just liking photos on Instagram. 

But it is not a surprise that college students have immersed themselves into hookup culture. At our age, the majority of college students are not looking to get married. This is the first time that we get to be individuals without parental oversight. We can explore who we are, what we like and do not like, and even who we are attracted to. 

College is a time where many of us are exploring our sexuality through trial and error. So, why would we give up this cycle of objectification? Hookup culture is not a new concept, it has been around since our parents were our age and their parents before that and so on and so on. It seems to be effective. Our parents turned out alright. 

I say we embrace this hookup culture. Dating apps have their ups and downs, horror stories and success stories, but so does in-person dating. If anything, online dating gives us more power to control our image and reclaim the stereotypes that once defined us. 

I know that since I started using dating apps, I have become more self-aware of who I am in relation to others and what image of myself I put online. 

I have also learned how to date safer. For example, knowing what questions to ask first before deciding to meet in person. This helps me know if they are at least a halfway decent person worth my time. When I do decide to meet in person, I control the meet up locations so I can feel safe. 

Although it makes dating sound like a full-time and pessimistic job, it is quite empowering. Being an adult, making my own decisions and learning from and others’ mistakes. For me, I want to find a forever partner with a house, kids and a financially stable job.

I will not speak for others, but I can speak for myself when I say that I hope dating apps and hookup culture will help me get closer to finding that special someone.