Hooking Up

There has been an evolution of dating over the past 100 years that have provided scripts in guiding the intimate lives of young men and women. These shifts in cultures have started from calling scripts, to dating scripts, to hooking up scripts used more commonly today.

In her novel Hooking Up, Bogle informs that calling culture was used up until the mid 1920s where the mother and the daughter dictated who would court her. This included an intention to marry where there was an endpoint foreseen and the man had to be invited into the home and life of the young woman. This script was very structured where the mother had to oversee all aspects of the relationship and determined the mans suitability beyond love. There were also strict sexual boundaries set in place through this cultural script of dating.

Dating culture evolved from this where the man and woman went out and did not have the role of an overseer. Originally, this script was a lower class function where the family did not have the room to entertain and court the men into their homes. It was eventually adopted by the upper class for youth rebellion in escaping the structured calling culture under the eye of an adult. This started a shift toward a more sexual script where the couples are going out and spending money and acquiring more freedom.

From this dating culture, hooking up has flourished in todays society where it is more typical for men and women today to hook up rather than date. Hooking up is very prevalent on college campuses where there are societal pressures to partake in this culture. Students are on their own for the first time living in dorms where they have freedom with out their parents supervision. Alcohol plays a crucial role in hook up culture where it is considered a social lubricant in the party scene. Alcohol can also be considered and excuse for bad behavior possibly leading to unintended hookups. It accounts for impaired judgments, but is encouraged by following social scripts and partaking in underage drinking. There seems to be a meaningless hookups that take place and it becomes the norm because many people take part in this script.

Bogle goes on to say that hook up culture seems to fade away once people leave the college environment. That they return more toward dating culture and take this process more seriously with out the meaningless hookups. She mentions that post graduate are looking for a relationship where that was not the case in college. Men are looking for a women who does not hook up with them quickly because that is more of a turn off and it is less likely they will go on a second date. Bogle describes this culture as going on a date and not going back to hookup but rather exchanging numbers or goodbyes. However, it seems very difficult for many people’s sexual norms to suddenly vanish and change due to an environmental setting.


This can be shown through media outlets, especially even dating back to the 1950s. The film, Pillow Talk, featuring Doris Day and Rock Hudson even incorporates elements of hooking up. Rock Hudson could be considered 35 years old and has different women come back to his apartment several nights a week. He has a light switch near his couch that turns the couch into a fold out bed for his quick and easily accessible hook ups. At the end of the movie he falls for Doris Day and has a long list of his women that he calls up for these hook ups. He goes through the list and tells each one of them that he has found someone and can no longer hook up with them. Not even in modern times, but previously there has been an existent hook up culture past this collegiate phase of life.

A more recent show, Sex and the City, for example includes a group of 35 to 45 year old women who are participating in the hook up culture. Samantha is one character that actively participates in hooking up with different men in each episode. She does not see dating culture as something ideal for her and she is way past the post collegiate time period. Carrie is another character who hooks up with men even though she is in her thirties. Charlotte is the character that focuses most on dating culture however she doesn’t fully reject hooking up, while she hooks up on certain occasions. Miranda is very focused on her professional life and does not actively hook up either. Bogle mentions this in saying that people who have jobs and are more focused typically stray away from hook up culture. This television show clearly shows and challenges Bogle’s argument that after college many people abandon the hook up script.


Sexual scripts have definitely changed over time as they have evolved from calling culture, to dating culture, and finally to hooking up culture. However, these examples from the media have the potential of being exaggerated or maybe even inaccurate. Do you think that people still participate in hook up culture after college or is the media misrepresenting this cultural ideal ?

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