Hooking Up Sober

By Shannon Fieldler

In the olden days, dating began with a process of courtship. There was an emphasis on chivalry, and a girl expected to be wooed in order to be “in a relationship.”  In the 50’s, in order to be “going steady,” as they called it, a boy would have to give a girl his high school ring or his fraternity pin in the process of “getting pinned.”

These days, though, things are a little hazier. Courtship can often be distilled to a sloppy make-out on the ADP dance floor or a drunken text. But hey, maybe this isn’t so bad. Change and progress are good, and we do tend to look at the past with rose-colored glasses, assigning innocence and purity where it may not necessarily belong.

But the real problem is that with this new system, one key detail becomes very unclear: How the heck do you know when you’re actually dating someone!? Try following this guide:

1. The Dance Floor Make-Out: Also abbreviated to DFMO. This abbreviation also works for Drunk as F%*& Make-Out, which works since the two are usually one in the same. A DFMO is sloppy, public and rarely pre-meditated.  Your partner can be anyone from your best friend to the kid you’re crushing on who sits behind you in Econ, to someone you’ve never even seen before.

2. Going Home Together:  This is a tricky one. It comes either weeks or minutes after the first DFMO, or, rarely, you can skip the first step altogether and jump right into phase two, which never works. If things stop after stage two, the “relationship” can also be referred to as a One-Night-Stand, or just a Mistake.

3. Making Plans: This stage is slightly harder to recognize, and is a little blurry in definition. Making Plans is when your hook-up partner calls you early on in the night to find out if you’re going to an Atwater Suite or to Palmer. You no longer just happen to run into each other at a party and hook-up out of convenience; you’re planning to see each other.

4. Hooking Up Sober: This is it. This is when you know you’re relationship is going somewhere, that you’ve reached the big leagues. Your relationship has finally become real, and all your silly fantasizes are now somewhat legitimate.  In stage four, you guys are hanging out on weeknights when there’s not a red solo cup in sight.

5. And finally, Dating: You are no longer just the girl or the boy, you can add the suffix of friend and you are now the girlfriend or boyfriend. You can eat meals together and hold hands in daylight. You can introduce him or her to your parents at Family Weekend and you no longer have to stress about the proper allotment of time before you text back.

And it all stems from hooking up sober. This, I believe, is the distinction between relationships and hook-ups, between lust and romance. Each has its benefits, but for a hopeless romantic like me, the first time you guys kiss without feeling you might throw up, or wake up together without a blasting hang over – that’s when the second phase of excitement begins.

Along with all those awkward moments, there are the moments of happiness, the sparks of falling madly in like with someone and then maybe even using the L-word. It’s exciting and fun and full of awesome mystery. So maybe girls aren’t walking around with boys’ rings on their  necklaces, but that doesn’t mean courtship is a thing of the past. Like everything else romance has changed with the times – but it’s still here, and I don’t think, or at least I hope, it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

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