“A hangover is a small price to pay for an exoneration”

 

Olivia Rabbitt

Kimmel’s reading this week “Hooking up: Sex in Guyland” recounted what for many of us is the social norm while attempting to unveil negative a positive effects of such a cultural shift. However Kimmel’s attempt to present an unbiased review of college hookup campus soon leads to the underlying gender roles this culture perpetuates — and it’s nearly impossible to have benefits alleviate the costs of such a toxic “dating” scene. In this new act of the dating play very scripted roles require men to get drunk and wingman for their bros in order to get a potentially hookup to let her guard down (so he can tell his friends about it the next day rather than actually focus on the pleasure aspect of hooking up). Similarly it seems that women do not focus so much on the pleasure component of sexuality but rather on maintaining emotional unavailability with the hookup charade and on using the excuse of drunkenness to avoid the label of slut. For both men and women on college campuses hooking up is much more of a homosocial interaction with the actual act of a hookup as far from the focus until one hookup turns into a relationship.

A particularly disturbing aspect of this culture is the lack of proper sex education. I know from personal experience (Catholic school) that many schools do still teach abstinence only programs with oral sex not even mentioned outright but only alluded to in passing. In addition to a lack of proper physical sex ed there is also a lack of acknowledgement for the important emotional components of good sex. Why is our sex fixated culture so inept at addressing what makes sex good? Kimmel describes this often unattainable sexual encounter as both ethical and passionate, which at least to me, definitely sounds like a good alternative to empty hookups and awkward encounters in Harris on Sunday.

Ronen’s article Grinding on the Dancefloor also rang all to true with social life here at Conn. As a student advisor I attended the first Cro dance of the season with only freshmen and SAs in attendance. This first dance definitely has some grinding, but it seems more like a middle school dance with everyone dancing around awkwardly in large mixed gender groups and often leaving early. Fast forward two weeks to the first campus wide Cro dance and it’s an entirely different scene – one straight out of Ronen’s article with groups of women flaunting their sexiness and playfully dancing together to attract the male gaze. Once a pair starts grinding it is up to these same girls to get their friend out of a bad situation – i.e. the guy isn’t that attractive or the friend looks like she isn’t enjoying herself. Here again we see the homosocial nature of college sexual encounters. Women are responsible for “cooling out” a dance floor hookup while men are responsible to initiate and gain approval of both his partner and all of her friends. 

Anyone of us who has attended or participated in grinding at a Cro dance or other party here on campus knows exactly how potent the double standard for women is. While everyone in attendance knows that these dances are only an excuse to hookup, we still insist on looking on with mild disdain for any woman getting “too into” grinding or any couple that is grinding “too intensely.” However we only seem to do this when we haven’t found anyone to dance with. As soon as one of your friends starts dancing with someone, disapproval transforms into encouragement and we insist that we are all partaking in an innocent and fun script to prove how sexually liberated we all are. Meanwhile other students look on with disgust and judgement. 

 

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4 thoughts on ““A hangover is a small price to pay for an exoneration”

  1. Carly Ozarowski

    While reading these articles I, too, was thinking about Cro dances and how it is not at all different to Ronen’s article. My senior year of high school they decided to crack down on behaviors at school dances. They enacted stricter rules on being intoxicated, implemented a strike policy and also declared a “NO WALL, NO AIR, NO FLOOR, NO CHAIR” rule. This rule was referring to grinding that one could not dance up against a wall, people could not be picked up, hands could not be touching the floor and no lap dance-esque grinding was allowed. Even at the high school level with 14-18 year olds this type of dancing was seen. You also address abstinence only sex-ed and this is even more aggravated on Christian college campuses where birth control and condoms and are almost unattainable.

  2. Luis Ramos

    Unlike Carly, I never actually witnessed the act of “grinding” until I visited Conn for Explore Weekend back when I was a senior in high school. It was a horrifying thing to see with my own eyes just at 18 years old. It was the first time I realized what college life consisted of: getting drunk on a Saturday night, followed by hooking up with a total stranger in the middle of the dance floor. My high school never hosted dances, other than prom night. But even then, no one dared to grind in the middle of the dance floor. Grinding wasn’t our typical type of dancing, and teachers never had to remind us or enact a “NO WALL, NO AIR, NO FLOOR, NO CHAIR” rule, like Carly mentioned. That was unnecessary. It’s just crazy to see the things I experience and witness as soon as I got to college.

  3. Olivia,

    Your example of the first Cro dance with only the freshman and student advisors points out just how much alcohol is involved when it comes to hookup culture and grinding. That first dance happened either the first or second night that freshman got here and for the most part, everyone was sober. The fact that no one knew each other should also be factored in, but I think that if people had been drunk during that dance, there would have been significantly more dancing. Like the articles said, people hide behind alcohol usage and use it to their advantage to act in ways that they wouldn’t had they been sober.

  4. Haris Kuljancic
    Like Luis, I attended Explore Weekend at Conn with a friend from my prep school in Connecticut. I also attended my first fro dance with high expectations. However I was greeted with great awkwardness and confusion. In high school, dances were fun and just a place to relieve stress and fool around with some friends. Hooking up wasn’t the first thing on your mind as you entered one. However, with the introduction of alcohol and the college scene, there are different expectations in a dance. On page 194 Kimmel mentions how this is a result of a lack of parental supervision, availableness, and hormones. The same was true in high school, but the one factor that was different was alcohol. The majority of students at conn are under 21, yet the majority consume alcohol. Could this be one of the major factors for awkward dances instead of fun ones?

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