Yesterday I wrote that my current dating philosophy can be summed up by Kelly Clarkson’s song “I Do Not Hook Up,” and as soon as I posted I started thinking about what that actually means. Everyone and his or her mother has a personal definition of “hooking up” (though I don’t really want to know what your mother’s is). While some people define hooking up as sex, others, like me, define it as a little harmless making out, probably some nudity, and maybe a night spent (sleeping! or pretending to) at the other person’s place. So when I say that “I Do Not Hook Up” is a song I identify with at the moment, don’t worry—I’m not implying that I’ve taken a vow of abstinence or anything (no hate to anyone who has, of course).
What I am implying is that I’m in the market for something more than your typical meet-at-a-party-he’s-kinda-cute-oh-well-why-not tryst. As you probably already know from the name of this blog, I’m in the market for a boyfriend. I’m sick of hooking up with random dudes who I have no feelings for just for the hell of it. I hate how I always end up developing feelings for said random dudes anyway, and how those feelings are never reciprocated. I want something steady and long-term; I want someone who I can introduce to my parents—someone who they’ll actually like, too.
But—like everything related to dating, apparently—it’s hard. I keep thinking about my favorite cheesy movie, Keeping the Faith, the scene where the Anna (Jenna Elfman) and Brian (Edward Norton) are in Central Park and she asks him how he stays celibate as a priest (seriously, watch it). “There comes a point,” she tells him, “when I just crave contact. You know? Like I wanna touch someone and be touched.” Not the most eloquent of lines, sure, but I think she’s onto something. There are so many things I love about being single—not least the roominess of an unshared bed—but it also becomes incredibly frustrating very quickly. As much as I want to hold out for the right guy, to make my hook ups meaningful instead of mediocre, the waiting is not fun in the slightest.
Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration—dating is, or at least can be, fun, and playing the field certainly has its benefits. You get to know yourself and what you’re looking for really damn well, for one thing. But there inevitably comes that point when I find myself, like Anna, just craving contact with another person. And what to do when that mood strikes? Over the past few years my theory has generally been to go with it, but more recently it’s gotten old. I’ve realized that as great as the hook ups can be, hooking up in general is not something I find satisfying. So I’ve resolved not to do it before getting to know the person.
Sometimes I falter, but other times resisting the urge can lead to something a little closer to what I’m looking for. A few months ago, for example, I was leaving a bar with a guy I’d been flirting with all night. He put his arm around me and started walking me home, but before we got there I stopped and said point-blank: “I don’t think we should hook up right now, but I do think you’re really cool and that we should hang out sometime in the daylight.” He was totally okay with this, gave me his number, and we did hang out—the next day I asked him to coffee. He didn’t end up being quite as cool as I’d thought, but at least I knew that before anything went down.
Rock on, Kelly Clarkson.