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Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Playing hookie

Let’s talk Tinder. I know you use it. I know you also tell your friends it’s only on your phone as your go-to boredom app.

We all know you’re lying because we’re lying, too.

Tabling discussions regarding standards of attractiveness and judging a book by its cover, as a sex-positive feminist, I have no qualms with the idea of casual and consensual sexual partners.

Recently, however, I have found hookup culture to be deeply problematic. Tinder has become a metaphor for the way in which we treat individuals and relationships, because Tinder makes it easier to avoid meaningful human connections.

I know what you’re thinking. “It’s a hookup app, it’s supposed to be fleeting!” I agree.

I would then argue that, as a culture, we often mistake meaningful and committed as the same thing, shying away from both.

You’re probably not committed to the barista who gives you your coffee every Friday. But when that barista recognizes you and smiles, or even remembers your name, you feel good because it’s a positive human interaction.

Why can’t you have the same with your casual hookup partner? It is too easy for us to “swipe left” or “unmatch” these individuals because we are afraid of defining ourselves by our relationship to them.

I’m not suggesting you have high tea with your hookup partner.

I am suggesting you treat them like a human being.

We communicate with our friends. We talk out our problems, and we talk about our likes and dislikes because it makes the relationship more enjoyable.

Often I find friends feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled by their hookups and Tinder dates. I believe it is because they have lost the pleasure gamble.

No one is actively seeking what they want. They are hoping it happens without their own agency.

When dealing with another individual, the best way to exercise your agency is through communication and understanding. If one is communicating with and understands their hookup partner, the gamble of a hookup decreases significantly. When we “swipe right” we assume, but we do not understand.

Look: getting a match on Tinder is meaningless. Still, we use the “swipe right” function as if it is a vow of consent and a testament of implication. Because of “swipe right” we are creating a culture that looks for subtext in all interactions with other individuals.

Subtext is also meaningless. Much in the same way that sexual consent is never implied, you should not be assuming actions and feelings from other individuals. Assumptions lead from anything from regret to time spent in prison.

When we talk about Tinder, we are supposed to act ashamed.

This is also true with hookups. It is unhealthy and self-defeating to go into a hookup knowing you will have to frame it as a regret in order to talk about it acceptably in a social context.

If your hookup meant something to you, own it.

Being pleased with your choices should not feel regrettable if you have communicated and exercised your own agency in the relation. Tinder allows us to avoid vulnerability.

It allows us to replace vulnerability with simultaneous regret and shaming of human interaction. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and have good human experiences is not a loss of agency but a way to ensure you are treating people well and being respected in return.

sjplumme@indiana.edu

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