Perfect Match is symbolic of how Cornellians pair off — in as low-risk a way as possible. We want the perks of a romantic relationship within the safe confines of our own plans. Perfect Match hand-delivers you five meet-cutes from the comfort of your bedroom while letting any potential disappointment fall to the math gods. The stakes literally couldn’t be lower.
And the sort of person who would be attracted by this highly efficient dating scheme is also the sort of person who goes to Cornell, isn’t it? We have been taught, often from young ages, to avoid risk — take the right classes, say the right things in interviews, don’t rock the boat too much, major in something sure to land a big salary. Our love lives play out atop the subconscious belief that the safest way is the best way.
On Oct. 23, The Sun’s headline read “Near-Naked Cornell Runner Attacks 2 Women, Threatens to Rape Them After Taking ‘Acid.’”
I remember reading that. I released an exasperated puff and thought to myself, “I cannot believe that this happens at Cornell.” As I pondered it more, however, I realized, obviously this happens at Cornell. In fact, I’m surprised (but grateful), we haven’t seen worse. We live in a world of athletes dropping acid and stumbling bleary-eyed around parties preying on freshman girls.
It’s Sunday morning at 11 a.m. and I roll over, hand slapping my phone to turn off an alarm that is blasting through the room and ringing in my ear, like God himself has placed a marching band on my nightstand and they are determined to play until my brain gives out. I need coffee and to figure out how to get the 190 lb man spread-eagle across the bed next to me home so I can actually finish the problem set I said I’d do on Thursday. A text sits unread at the top of my lock screen as I finally figure out how to shut the alarm off. “Did you have a good night and did you hook up with him?”
I start to write out a text explaining that I didn’t hook up with him as we had only made out and talked until 2 a.m., and then passed out unceremoniously on top of the blankets of my bed. Then I realized maybe that was a hookup.
To many, millennial “hook-up culture” is a disease infecting college campuses across the county. If that’s true, then Cornell has a fatal case. Over the years, I’ve heard many people try to explain the particularly strong grip casual sex has on the average Cornellian’s relationships. “We’re just so focused on school we can’t possibly put in the time necessary for a healthy relationship.” “Everyone was a nerd in high school, so now that people actually want to sleep with them, they have to do it.” “Sex is the strongest nonprescription stress-reliever.” The root of the culture is likely a combination of the three, as Cornell students are some of the most driven, thirsty and stressed-out people in the U.S.
No matter the causes of this trend, what’s really important is how it affects the typical social resident on the hill. Do we benefit from this system of apathetic hook-ups?
My professor asked a class of 217 if we knew what a “one-night stand” was. After the awkward “I-have-totally-been-there-and-done-that” laughter, he proceeded, “I think you guys call it ‘hooking up,’ You know, in my day, it was a single, one-night performance.” There are two social problems here. First, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists the sexual definition for a one-night stand: “a situation in which you have sex with someone once and you do not continue in a relationship afterwards” as the only significant definition, and, second, there is no way that every single person reading this agrees that a ‘one-night stand’ is the definition of ‘hooking-up.’
So, how do we define hookups? And why are they, however we choose to define them, integrated as such a norm in our lives? I’m sure you’ve either used or heard the phrase “Cornell has a really strong hook-up culture.” I think this can fairly be interpreted as a result of alcohol, grinding and *insert type of sexual activity*.