One of the most common relationships you’ll find around the youngins these days is, in fact, not really a relationship at all: it’s the casual hookup. A no-strings, no-fuss scenario that offers the physical perks of an actual relationship without any of the admin shit. In other words, it offers sweet thotty freedom. It might be sexual, it might just be the odd cheeky peck. It could be a one-off event, or it could be a recurring flirtation every now and then. That’s the beauty of it; casual = flexible. One night you could hook up with your dealer, the next you might be fingerbanging on the porch at your mate’s 21st, and the following week you could fuck your ex without anybody being able to say a damn thing about whether it’s right or wrong (well. Debatable). It’s like a buffet filled with a whole heap of free meat and endless possibilities.
Initiating things is not hard. A cheeky DM on virtually any social media app will do it, as will downing some liquid courage and starting up a convo with a cutie at the flat party. In town the game’s even easier, although success requires skills in nonverbal communication, reading body language, and a dose of gumption. The process: make eye contact. Look away. Look back. Give ‘em a sly smile and fuck-me eyes. Repeat. Make your way over, produce some marginal chat. It’s on. This technique is especially prosperous if you happen to be a) devastatingly hot and/or charismatic or b) possess tits.
There is, of course, the odd risk: seriously underwhelming roots, hookups that bite your lip and suck your neck so aggressively you look like a victim of battery meets an episode of Botched, and, of course, the anxiety that persists for weeks after rawdogging while you debate whether you could, indeed, raise a child.
Sex without commitment doesn’t come without its complications. Some folks are much better at the emotional detachment thing than others. I’ve known friends who’ve talked and hooked up with someone on and off for months, only to be essentially ghosted the moment they screwed. Or mates who’ve had massive crushes on their casual root, only for said crush to then fuck their best mate. People who’ve used each other as a sexual scratching post while they go back to their ex, or who have a weekly roster-like rotation of different partners on the d-low, etc etc. My logic? Go into it expecting the worst. Expect that you might never get with them again but the moment was fun, expect that they’ll be fucking someone else in a week’s time, expect that it’s not going any further. After all, the problems with casual hookups arise when one person views the sitch as totally non-committal and the other catches feels. Things can quickly get saltier than my father’s tears if he ever found out I write a sex column.
You have to have a certain mindset to partake in the casual relationship unscathed. If someone tells you they’re not in interested in a relationship, you’d better bloody believe them. Don’t you dare pull that “Oh yeah, I’m good with casual!” line when you know you’re secretly dreaming they’ll spouse you up. It’s almost as bad as anybody that says “I’m NoT LiKe ThE oThEr GirLs” (yeah, you’re right – you’re even more fucking basic than the rest of them, Brittany). You can’t disillusion yourself and act like you don’t care when you know you do, then berate them for being an arsehole if they pull away. When you say you’re looking for casual, you’re signing yourself up a certain contract, and they’ll take your word for it.
When you feel like you’re catching feels for your hookup or vice versa, you have options. You could address it, find a way of having a convo about how they feel without pulling the ‘WHAT ARE WE?’ card. You could pull back, give things some space and time, and see if they come to you. You could ghost. And if you’re worried about potential heartbreak, delay and distract – delay fucking them until know whether you’d be okay/distraught if they were on to a new beezy the next day; distract yourself by getting with other people. I’m serious. Just like my mother always told me, the best way to get over someone is to get over someone else (such bad bitch energy from mum). If you’re not sure if someone’s keen because they aren’t mirroring your effort, you’ve most likely got your answer right there. They’re just not that into you. Don’t believe a single thing anybody says in bed and/or while trying to get you into bed. Compliments galore, wired late-night dmcs, kisses and spoons the morning after; all of that doesn’t necessarily mean shit if the energy ain’t there the other days of the week. Keep some emotional distance and gtfo if you’re getting repeatedly hurt. Be smart about how vulnerable you decide to be with giving your heart to people that don’t deserve it.
I guess it’s a testament to casual hook-up culture, general disillusionment, and/or the development of commitment phobia that I tend to catch the ick as soon as the chase is complete or some dude acts too keen. Like a certain handsome, tall, older guy I met on the lash who started acting all gentlemanly and messaging consistently and making effort and shit, which instantly made me question what the fuck his problem is. It’s fun when it’s all a game. Keep some mystery, never rush anything, and make sure you play some catch-and-release, instigating things sometimes and letting them pursue other times. And if you try and tell me you ‘don’t play games’, I call bullshit. Fucking everything in life is about games and strategies, Brittany. It doesn’t mean it’s a BAD thing.
The odd casual fling can be an extremely helpful character-building phase of your higher education. You learn to balance the emotions that inevitably come with sexual relations. You realise that there are far more fish in the sea if some ‘lil fishy upset you, even if that sea is admittedly a pretty shitty eutrophied pond called Hamilto (like, do you not realise there are more floppy breather cocks out there where that one came from?). And you learn to read people‘s intentions better. Being used for sex and dragged into dramas is not fun. You need to be on the same page.
As I’ve said before, uni is a world of its own. Fewer responsibilities and more drinking than what would be acceptable in any sane reality inevitably leads to a little promiscuity and a whole lot of grey area. Let your hair down. Of course, we’d give up that absolute Ace of Slays of a booty call or your weekend selection of 3 am “U up? X” texts for the right person. But until that moment comes, luxuriate in the freedom. Enjoy it while you’re here, try not to obsess, and don’t take any of it too personally. And heck, you just never know, maybe that casual slay could one day blossom and turn out to be the one…😩