January 23, 2019

SEX ON THURSDAY | The Friend Hook-Up

Print More


p class=”p1″>We are nearing the end of January, which means a few things. One, we recently returned to school and after a long and dry winter break, many of us are back to swiping right and left on our phones. Two, we are approaching Valentine’s Day, which personally doesn’t mean much, but renders me a little lonely nonetheless. And three, we are in the midst of cuffing season, and even the most free-spirited of Sex on Thursday writers are looking for a long-term cuddle buddy.

Unfortunately, the new semester plus cold weather plus a sprinkle of desperation can lead to some bad decisions. And there are few decisions more disastrous than the friend hook-up. Now, there are different types of friend hook-ups. There’s the “we started off hooking up but now we are just friends and hooking up” type. Of all the possible setups, this is one of the least problematic in terms of friendships but most problematic in terms of feelings. There’s the “within the friend group friends with benefits” type, which in my experience is pure chaos with respect to friendships and feelings. And then we have the “we aren’t attracted to each other but we are very drunk and for some reason this seems like a good idea” scenario. Yikes. This was unfortunately my situation.

On one chilly February night, I was invited to a friend’s apartment for a pregame. I didn’t really know the people there too well, so I brought along a friend for moral support. Once we arrived, I downed an embarrassing amount of Svedka (ah, freshman year) and stumbled my way across Collegetown. We ended up at an overcrowded, sweaty and loud frat annex, but I was too buzzed to care. And having come out of one or two failed romantic endeavors, I was looking forward to meeting someone new.

But after finding the boys to be either not interesting enough or not interested in me, I felt defeated. More specifically, I felt the unique kind of defeat that only a drunk 18-year-old girl could feel, and it did not look good. I glanced around and spotted the friend I invited to tag along, who gave off a similar vibe.

I cannot stress this enough: alcohol plus loneliness plus a little desperation makes a terrible mix.

What happened after that is a bit of a blur. The passing of time and my immediate urge to repress this memory helped to do that. I remember waking up the next morning, alone, but with a sense of dread and embarrassment. I remember frantically calling a friend from home to tell her what happened and keeping this is a secret from even my closest friend at school. I remember having dinner with our friend group that night, which includes said friend from the night before. We nodded at each other, talked over dinner and honestly, it felt as if he didn’t even remember. Which was a relief.

But then, my friends asked us about our weekend and we made eye contact. Crap. He remembered. We explained how it was an uneventful night, but bragged about how much we drank, again, in the special way only freshmen can get away with. I said how I didn’t remember much and didn’t feel very in control, and his face dropped. He texted me after asking me if I was okay, apologizing in case wasn’t, and hoping that our friendship would be the same. He wanted to make sure I didn’t feel taken advantage of, and after reassuring him I felt fine, we agreed it was a strange and drunken accident.

And that’s when I realized that the “we aren’t attracted to each other but we are very drunk and for some reason this seems like a good idea” scenario isn’t all that bad. It is cringey, yes, but just like any embarrassing moment with a good friend, it’s something to laugh about later. I’m thankful to say that he is still one of my closest friends to date, and I’m even more thankful that history has not repeated itself. A lot of friend hook-ups can be damaging, to say the least. I’m happy they all don’t have to be.

Sexless in Seattle is a student at Cornell University. The Virgin Diaries runs monthly.