Hooking up in the Twenty-First Century.
We all remember Mom's sage advice: "Nice girls don't. Why would he want to buy the cow when he can get the milk for free?"
Do these rules apply in the 21st century? On one hand, we all remember six seasons worth of HBO's Sex and the City, with four highly liberated women living, loving and hooking up with men all over Manhattan (and some of them marrying the men they picked up). On the other hand, we still have traditional moral and religious rules saying that we just shouldn't entertain one night stands, and (in some cities and states more than others) people still whisper about women who play fast and loose with their... affections. At risk of sounding like SATC's resident sex columnist, Carrie Bradshaw, one has to ask: Is it really acceptable for women to hook up?
According to a recent article in Science Daily, women are just not that good at unattached involvements, despite how liberated we might say we are. During a study performed by Professor Anne Campbell, a research scientist at Durham University in the UK, a sample of 1743 men and women were asked to rate their positive and negative feelings after a one-night stand. Eighty percent (80%) of men rated the experience as positive as opposed to fifty-four percent (54%) of women, a significant difference where women predominately reported feeling "used" and according to the article, "Women were also more likely to feel that they had let themselves down and were worried about the potential damage to their reputation if other people found out."
What about real women on the street? Women in their 20s, 30s and 40s concurred: if you do it, protect yourself both physically and emotionally. Tara, 28, is single and says, "I think you just have to be smart and safe. Obviously, you have to use protection, but you also have to be realistic about your expectations. If you're never going to call someone again, don't ask for phone numbers but you also can't get your feelings hurt if someone doesn't ask for yours."
Elizabeth, 37, who is in a relationship says, "I think it's fine for women to hook up as long as you don't make a practice out of it. If you're out there every night, people are going to think there's something wrong with you."
Alonda, 41, and married, says, "I've been married for a while but I used to do it and I have single girlfriends who do. I think if you can remain unattached, that's great but how many women can actually do that?"
The bottom line: do we or don't we? If you have zero expectations of the next morning and feel confident that there won't be any hard feelings or regrets, go ahead and exercise your options (safely – use protection, ladies). But if you think you might be disappointed, hurt or otherwise adversely affected, this might be one time to take your mom's advice: if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.