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  • Tiger Trends

Hookups with Hailey: Better Off as Friends

September, 2020

This column was written for and published in the publication Tiger Trends.

I wasn’t allowed to date until I was sixteen, so by the time I got to Princeton, I was immediately intrigued by the romantic scene. Quickly, however, I was introduced to the odd affairs of Princeton, insanely centered around hookups. To further explore this scene, I’m excited to present weekly interviews featuring two Princetonians who have hooked up and revisit their encounter by separately answering questions about it. Read about how they met, who made the first move, and whether they ever spoke again in Hookups with Hailey.

Q: How did you meet them?

John: The first time we seriously encountered each other was in a precept for an economics class. We didn’t talk, but she was very engaged in the precept and I guess I was the opposite. That night, I was in Tower with my friends and we danced into each other by accident.

Jane: So I knew him before because we were in [redacted club]. That entire group socially was pretty cohesive. But then I wasn’t really involved sophomore year, so I barely saw him on campus, but when I did see him, he would always kind of look at me a certain way. And then at Tower Heaven or Hell, I was doing my thing. I was dancing and he came up to me kind of randomly and I went with it and we ended up going home.

Q: Who made the first move?

John: I seem to remember it being quite mutual and quite sudden.

Jane: He did. He just came and started dancing with me. But it was also funny because the day after, my other friend, who I went to Tower with, was telling me that they were dancing with John and kissed right before John just left and came up to me. My friend saw us dancing and was like ‘who is that bitch?’ and then he realized it was me and said ‘omg, that’s my bitch’ *laughs*.

Q: How was the walk home from the street? What was the conversation on the way back?

John: I don’t really remember what we talked about. We had our arms around each other the whole way and I think we were both happy. It was a nice experience and it was pleasant to feel close to her.

Jane: I think we left kind of earlier so we didn’t have to do the walk of shame through late meal. I think we also both knew what was about to go down, so the walk wasn’t awkward at all. It was like ‘where do you live?’ ‘[redacted res college]’, ‘where do you live?’ ‘[redacted res college]. ‘Okay we’re going to yours because it’s closer.

Q: Who initiated the intimacy?

John: I would say potentially me, but it was pretty immediate once we got back. It was almost presumptive, given that we’d been making out at the eating club.

Jane: It was very mutual because we both knew what was going on and we had kissed at Tower, but he was definitely headstrong and directing the course of action a lot more.

Q: Did it become awkward at all?

John: I don’t think so. When we were at the eating club and on the way home, I remember being pretty absorbed. After we talked after sex and the morning after, I think I felt pretty comfortable, and I think she also felt she could be straightforward.

Jane: It wasn’t awkward when it was happening, but it was a little within certain things he said or just the amount of rounds. The first round wasn’t awkward, but it got more awkward as time passed in his room. I think I remember him saying something like ‘I saw you around campus, mentally I was undressing you’, so I didn’t know how to react to that, I think he was trying to say it to flatter me. He was very expressive throughout. It was nice, but it felt like he had expected this to happen and already knew what to say. For lack of better wording, it seemed like he had thought about this for a while and that’s why he felt less of the initial awkwardness when you are just getting familiar with someone’s body…He just made a lot of very frank but sweet comments about my body while we were doing it.

Q: How was the intimacy/the sex?

John: So I guess that’s two different questions. The sex, I did enjoy it quite a lot. She’s very attractive and I still think she’s very attractive. It was very enjoyable, but it would have been nice to have had more validation.

Jane: At first, it was really really good. He finished, I didn’t, which is the norm. But he tried to mess around until I was tired and said like ‘we’re done, I’m going to go to sleep now’. He woke me up twice in the middle of the night, so we did two rounds. And then he woke me up with head. I woke up and was like ‘Oh my’, in a good way though. And then again, right when we woke up. It was just kind of random. It felt very romantic and then the fourth time he was like ‘so we both know this is just casual?’ And I was like ‘yeah’. Just saying it out loud was so weird, did he think I was going to like ask him out for brunch? *laughs.*

Q: Did you reach out after? If so, who reached out first? Would you reach out?

John: We didn’t particularly speak afterwards. I think it was a bit strange because after the sex, we were quite intimate with one another. We talked, she stayed the night and I had no expectation that she wanted anything more, nor did I, really. So I was a bit awkward and didn’t really know how to behave. So neither of us reached out to each other -- just sort of that awkward glance when we bumped into one another in public. The first time we talked was I think a month or so afterwards. We matched with each other on Tinder and I think I sent the first message, but I can’t remember.

Jane: I definitely did not, nor did he. Oddly enough, I never really saw him on campus either. We saw each other on socials, but the next time I interacted with him was when I reached out for the context of this column.

Q: How did you feel about them and your hookup a week after?

John: I was glad it happened. I enjoyed it a lot, but it felt almost completely separate from the rest of my Princeton life, because I don’t frequently hook up with people and it was slightly surreal because I didn’t continue talking to her afterwards. I didn’t really know what I was supposed to think about it.

Jane: I think I felt like I should have left with someone else. Not because he’s a bad person, but because I realized that he’s not my type. I think it would’ve worked freshman year when I saw him a lot more and interacted with him. I think we had this image of ourselves and getting together freshman year, but perhaps I didn’t realize how much I had changed since then.

Q: If you could go back, would you do it again? Would you change anything?

John: I think I would, yes. I think I would have consumed slightly less alcohol that evening. But overall, I was very glad with the evening. I think one reason why was that our hookup allowed us to be much more open with one another and we did have a pleasant conversation -- a kind that is unusual with someone you don’t know very well.

Jane: I mean, I would not. I think I was feeling myself in the moment because I thought he was super cute freshman year, and he is very attractive still. It was in the back of my head when I’d see him at a [redacted club] social or when he’d post on instagram, but I just feel like so much time had passed. I expected something a lot different.

Q: Are there any overall lessons/takeaways from the experience?

John: I sort of confirmed my impression that I enjoy hookups because it’s nice to feel close to the person and less of the physical act itself is enjoyable, although obviously both are [enjoyable]. I think a second thing is that it’s weird in the sense that she’s very attractive and although I was never trying to make anything happen, I had always questioned if she felt the same towards me. I think that happens a lot and maybe more confidence in me would be warranted in those situations. Finally, I wish I had been more proactive in reaching out after, because I genuinely did feel close to her, which was really nice. I saw a side of her that I hadn’t seen previously.

Jane: I came to Princeton and was so amazed at the freedom that I could get right away and I definitely got carried away. I crafted this image and vision in my head about what it looked like and should look like. I think I valued that over what it actually did feel like. For so long, I felt like I had been controlled or restricted and the lesson that I learned overall was that… even if the allure of freedom looks good and appealing, if you are not okay with that or certain aspects of that, you’re allowed to retreat and change your mind about something that seemed so appealing and liberating at the beginning. I think I learned how to set my own boundaries about what I found acceptable and who I wanted to share this thing with that can be super empowering. I guess I learned how to redefine what empowering meant to me. I think hookup culture can be very empowering for women, but if you find that you’re not enjoying it and you’re feeling this pressure to enjoy it, you don’t owe it to anyone to take part in it.

Q: If you could say anything to him, what would it be?

John: I wish I’d reached out previously, but I don’t have any unique message that I’d want to say.

Jane: Better off as friends.

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