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In The Hookup Handbook, Andrea Lavinthal and Jessica Rozler have braved the hookup trenches to bring you the essential guide to the new, nondating game -- from the players and locations to the long walk of shame home.
Introduction: A Casual Affair
It's not sex and the city — it's sex and your city, your bedroom, your dorm room, or anywhere else two people get it on. Or maybe it isn't sex at all. Maybe it's kissing, making out, or getting to third base. One thing's for sure: It's not a one-night stand, it's not dating, and it's not jamming your foot into a teeny glass slipper in the hopes that you'll one day marry a Prince Charming who can support you in the princess lifestyle to which you hope to become accustomed.
It's "hooking up," the vague phrase used to describe what happens between two people who don't necessarily have any foreseeable future or even a hint of commitment. Hooking up is a bunch of things (or it isn't, depending on whom you ask). What we do know is that it has become the most accepted term for our generation's extracurricular activities. We remember first hearing it when we were in high school, but since then it's cast its commitment-phobic net onto college and beyond.
Yes, the rules have changed. Way back in the day, when Brazilian bikini waxes were reserved for strippers and Brazilians, and mobile phones could easily double as free weights, the term "hooking up" didn't even exist. Instead, a girl often found herself asking: "When do you think he'll call?"; "It's been three dates, should I sleep with him?"; or "Should I take him home to meet my parents?" Today we're more likely to hear: "When do you think he'll call — before or after last call?"; "We've hooked up three times, shouldn't he ask me out?"; or "Is it still considered the walk of shame if I take a taxi home?"
If you're unfamiliar with the term "hooking up," maybe this typical scenario will help:
Confused about whether Girl A and Boy B slept together, merely cuddled on the couch, or did some major rewiring of Boy B's home entertainment system? You are not alone. Ambiguity is key to hooking up. We've heard it defined as everything from making out to full-on sex, but for most people it's somewhere in between a peck on the lips and some grinding with your hips.
Or, as one of our male friends articulately put it, "It's not hooking up unless I blow my load."
And, while according to Amazon.com (as of the writing of this book), there are 22,395 books about sex, 1,985 books about dating, and 25,652 books about tricking some poor schmuck into marrying you, the only book we could find about hooking up taught us how to effectively design steam systems.
It seems we are part of the dawn of a new era. Dating as we know it has gone the way of dinosaurs, eight-track players, and stirrup pants. Extinct. Vanished. Kaput. Left in its place stand two mighty opponents. In one corner, wearing matching sweats and snuggled together watching Friday-night prime-time TV, we have the "Serious Couple." In the other corner, clad in his-and-hers Seven jeans and armed with open bar tabs, we have the "Hookup." By the looks of things, hooking up is the new heavyweight champion.
So even though hooking up is a national phenomenon whose popularity rivals the height of slap-bracelet fervor, the "it" phrase of single people everywhere has been left unexamined. That's where we come in: We're young, we've lived through the dawn of the hookup, and we've witnessed its reign everywhere from the sex-crazed campus of Syracuse University to the bars and clubs of New York City. We've endured endless dinners with our girlfriends where we dissected, analyzed, and discussed their (and our) current hookups. We've sat through countless morning-after brunches listening to the details of the previous night's hookups while trying not to lose our appetite. And we've heard "So, last night we hooked up..." so many times that we're now left wondering if that meant they had sex, swapped spit, or just watched the Food Network for a few hours while holding hands.
After months of investigation and years of observation, we've uncovered that while, like snowflakes, no two hookups are identical, there are enough recurring stories to identify fourteen types of these encounters with the opposite sex. But before we get to the good stuff, we had to ask how hooking up became the phenomenon that it is today. No one knows where the term came from, but our best guess is that it evolved from the more casual meaning of "getting together as friends." Here's a helpful time line (it's short, for all you readers with attention deficit issues) of the historical milestones that probably helped squeeze the life out of traditional dating.
A Short Time Line of Recent Events That Paved the Way to a Hookup Nation
1956: Elvis swivels his hips on national television and makes the squares all hot and bothered. Teenagers know better: Maybe it's time to toss away the Donna Reed pearls and get a little wild.
1960: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the birth control pill — finally, an alternative to the tried-and-true rhythm method.
1969: Woodstock brings thousands of hippies to upstate New York for peace, tree-smoking, and, of course, free love. Some things never change (except maybe the peace thing).
1971: Oberlin College in Ohio, the nation's first coeducational college, also becomes one of the first schools to permit coed dorms, allowing for easier access to booty.
1977: Studio 54 opens its doors, quickly becoming a haven for public grinding among the rich and fabulous (which was nothing compared to your office holiday party, but still, it was scandalous).
1981: MTV first hits the airwaves. Not a big deal at first, but it eventually gives the nation glimpses of a gyrating Madonna, kinky Prince, and, um, very naughty George Michael (and let's not forget The Real World), turning the temperature way up on American pop culture.
1983: Motorola markets the first portable cellular phone for consumers (weighing in at twenty-eight ounces). This little breakthrough opened up the possibility for the first mobile booty calls.
1985: AOL launches, paving the way for cyber-hookups and the ever-popular human-contact eliminator, the instant messenger. By 1994 over one million people were members, and by 2002 everyone was somehow involved in an Internet sex scandal.
1990: Salt-N-Pepa releases the pivotal album Blacks' Magic, which contains the safe-sex anthem "Let's Talk About Sex."
1993: The Reality Female Condom gets the go-ahead from the FDA and before long manages to gross out an entire nation.
1998: President Bill Clinton gets caught in a very compromising position with his intern. When he's forced to go public with his extracurricular activities, we get a taste of the first-ever instance of selective storytelling at the White House.
2001: Smirnoff Ice first shows up in bars across the country (not the first premium malt beverage, but much less pathetic than Zima). Finally, even the wusses could get drunk and lower their standards.
2003 AND BEYOND: Recent popular song titles: "Dirrty" and "Magic Stick." Enough said.
In addition to the chronology of it all, we also identified the more general "Big Four" societal symptoms — we like to think of them as enablers — that help explain this growing trend of choosing McBooty over happily ever after. Here is the incriminating evidence (drumroll, please):
In between climbing the corporate ladder; bonding with your girlfriends; going to the gym; reading this month's book club pick; staying abreast of the hottest TV shows, movies, and diets; and deciding whether or not to cut bangs; there is little time to devote to having an actual boyfriend. They need to be trained, fed, walked, and played with constantly. Just think how well you took care of your lucky bamboo plant — it didn't look so lucky when you forgot to water it and it shriveled up into what looked like a Slim Jim, right?
This is an uncertain world, where feelings are hurt, hearts are broken, and otherwise savvy chicks are duped into thinking some loser boy really likes them. So eventually you realize (like an Oprah "AHA! moment") that a relationship isn't the easiest thing to obtain, but swearing off boys isn't a viable option either. The result of this epiphany: You refuse to put yourself out there. Instead, you just put out. It may sound slutty, but when you remove the emotional from the physical, you end up making out with a cute boy without the whole "Where is this going?" agony.
Let's Talk About Text, Baby
Ask yourself this: "How did people hook up without cell phones?" As far as we're concerned, that question is up there with "What happened to Jimmy Hoffa's body?" or "Is Tupac really dead?" Unless you were actually there to experience it firsthand, pre-cell phone hooking up remains an unsolvable mystery that is tainted by outlandish theories. The bottom line is that if we didn't have these instant forms of communication (like text messages and IM), hooking up would be dating because you'd actually have to put more than just minimal effort into making something happen.
In case you didn't get the memo, here's the communication breakdown:
WARNING: Even though cell phones are a surefire path to hooking up, they are not foolproof, because his caller ID will pretty much give you away every time. Just remember this motto: Straight to voice mail, you're in luck; if it rings even once, you're totally fucked.
Alcohol, the Not-So-Secret Ingredient in a Hookup
We all know the basics about drinking: It can make you lose your inhibitions, your money, and your standards. So it's no surprise that brews and bubbly are huge players in the hookup game. Here are some other reasons why "drunken" and "hookup" are often uttered together in the same sentence:
Based on the impact that the above four factors have had on opposite-sex interaction, it seems to us that dating has evolved from an ancient mating dance into a down-and-dirty booty shake. We call it Relationship Darwinism: Only the strong survive, and in this case, the strong heartily hook up.
Now that you're armed with the facts, we present you with The Hookup Handbook. We hope you will find it delicious, informative, and hilarious. After all, this isn't about following a set of rules to find a husband, cutting carbs to whittle down your waist, or donning a tiara and proclaiming that you're the reigning princess of your studio apartment. This is about what single girls are doing right now. And right now, we'd like you to buy us another round.
What's Your Hookup Style?
We know you needed a Kaplan class to get you through the SATs, but fear not: There are no wrong answers here.
1. I hook up:
a. every once in a while. Who doesn't?
b. my DVD player to my TV.
c. only on days that end in "y."
2. I wear thongs:
a. on my feet.
b. when I don't want visible panty lines.
c. when I'm lucky enough to find them on
the floor the next morning.
3. My longest relationship lasted for:
a. six months.
b. six years.
c. six beers.
4. True or false: Drink till he's cute.
5. If variety is the spice of life, then my romantic life is:
b. white rice.
c. wasabi smeared onto a paper cut.
6. True or false: Manolo Blahniks.
7. The morning after a wild night on the town, I wake up:
a. with my pjs on, alone in my own bed.
b. with a massive hangover.
c. with a massively well-hung man.
b. Can't live with them, can't live without them.
c. need to take a number if they want to get
into my bedroom.
9. The song title that best describes my social life is:
a. "Let's Get Drunk and Screw," Jimmy Buffett
b. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," Cyndi Lauper
c. "All By Myself," Celine Dion
10. True or False: Happy hour.
11. Complete the following analogy: Me : Monogamy
a. J.Lo : Marriage
b. Britney Spears : Virginity
1. A: 2; B: 1; C: 3
2. A: 1; B: 2; C: 3
3. A: 1; B: 2; C: 3
4. True: 3; false: 1
5. A: 2; B: 1; C: 3
6. True: 3; false: 1
7. A: 1; B: 2; C: 3
8. A: 1; B: 2; C: 3
9. A: 3; B: 2; C: 1
10. True: 3; false: 1
11. A:1; B: 3
If you scored:
11 to 15 Bootyphobic: The Once-in-a-Blue-Moon Hookup Artist
You do hook up — as often as February has twenty-nine days or solar eclipses darken the midday sky. In order to irrigate your romantic desert, you need to break your standing date with the remote control and live a little! You're young, you're single, and you're fabulous. A little make-out session here and there never hurt anyone.
16 to 25 Bootylicious: The Healthy Hookup
You are a healthy, normal girl. You kick back, relax, have fun, and every once in a while, hook up. Don't change a thing. You'll do fine.
26 to 33 Bootymonster: The Hookup-a-holic
Stop in the name of love...and STDs...and liver damage. We could go on and on, but we are writing this under a deadline. You are a science project gone crazy — a hormone-driven, alcohol-fueled queen of random sexual encounters. Part of us wants you to stop, but the other part wants you to keep doing what you're doing. Obviously, you have a lot of friends who are enjoying the free entertainment you provide. And who are we to deprive them of that?
Text copyright © 2005 by Andrea Lavinthal and Jessica Rozler
Illustrations copyright © 2005 by Cindy Luu
Posted June 8, 2005
I have to say, I really did love this book. It was all so hilarious and true to life. I also have to agree with another reader who suggested getting 'The Happy Hook-up' for more practical advice. I think the two books actually complement each other really well. I highly recommend both of them!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 5, 2005
Yes, while it's true that this isn't really an advice book and it doesn't seem like it was meant to be, I thought it was absolutely hilarious commentary on the current dating landscape. So funny because it's true.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 16, 2005
Posted March 23, 2005
The title of the book says 'a single girls guide to living it up'. There was no helpful hints such as what to wear, how to dress, etc. It was just a book of scenerios and types of guys. I was very disappointed and it was a waste of 15 dollars!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 23, 2005
This is a humor book. It won't change your life, but I thought it was really entertaining. If you have a sense of humor and are single, you¿ll probably like it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 7, 2005
I can see that this book is supposed to poke fun at what slutty women are doing these days, but I thought it was pretty dumb. It's like, 'hey, look at us! we're sluts and it's fun, let's make some money off it!' Not such a good idea, not so funny. I feel a little sorry for these authors.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 13, 2005
The hookup handbook truly captures what goes on in the mind of a single twentysomething girl. I couldnt stop laughing out loud while at the same time identifying with every scenario presented in the book. Its a must quick read for absolutely everyone.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 18, 2005
this is a fun, great read. a must-have for any girl living out there in the crazy dating scene today. it's also a blast to read if you are attached. anyone will enjoy this one!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 13, 2005
Whether you are going to college, in college or married, you will love this book. These girls capture what dating is really like... a GAME!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2005
Posted February 14, 2005
I was feeling lonely on a Friday night after work and I had recieved a copy of this book from my close girlfriend. I sat in bed and red cover to cover in one night! I was laughing so hard I couldn't control myself. This was one of the funniest reads I have had in long time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 16, 2005
This book is one of the best reads of the year by far!! I couldn't put it down for one minute. A definite must-read for all single and committed girls AND GUYS alike who have been exposed to the complicated intricacies of the world of 'hooking up.'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2005
A wonderfully observant take on modern singledom. From the all-too-familiar detailings of groping drunkenly with a semi-stranger to the reinterpretation of the walk of shame, this book speaks to the 20-something generation in its own sarcastic language.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 13, 2005
I just finished reading the book and let me tell you, I have been raving about it since I finished the last page!!! It's an easy read, very clever, and a great book to own whether you are a guy or a girl! The stories are so true-to-life and I absolutley loved reading it! I am so glad someone else is able to relate to the ups and downs of dating life! Thanks guys!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 14, 2005
A hip and witty read, this book is as fun as a Sunday-brunch-dish-session with your best girlfriends. Lavinthal and Rozler break down today's new 'non-dating scene' with humor, heart and a lot of sass. Excellent gift idea for any girl still mourning the end of Sex and City. Too much fun to miss!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 14, 2005
What would I do without the Hookup Handbook. As a single guy in New York City, this book provides the insight I need to know how to score with City Women. Thanks ladies for the well-written and funny book...I am a better man after reading it!!.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 14, 2005
WOW. I've never read a book that has been able to pinpoint exactly what I feel when I go out, especially handling all kinds of guys. It's incredible, insightful and so fun to read, with all the quizes and great pictures. You will love it, there is no way not to.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 30, 2005
like others have said, this book doesn't seem like it's intended to offer real tips. it's more about the humor you find in hookup situations. if you're looking for advice on hooking up and how to do it, there are a few like that. one is called 'the happy hook-up' (which is a smarter version of this one) and there's another called 'brief encounters' coming out soon.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 25, 2005
Single girls out there rejoice! Finally a book has that truly captures the life of a single girl in the 21st century. 'Hookup Handbook' is the modern-day version of Helen Gurley Brown's 'Sex and the Single Girl'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 22, 2005
Truly an ingenious take on today's single life. From musings on the all-to-familiar late nite gropings with a semi-stranger, to new takes on the term 'walk of shame' these ladies pinpoint the plights and joys of the unattached with unmatchable wit and humor. I read it in a day.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.