Gettin’ Fresh: The Freshman Hookup Phenomenon

Guys out prowling, Photo | Stephanie Crumley
Guys out prowling | Photo by Stephanie Crumley

It’s not hard to get laid in Boston. The city is dense with weekend frat parties, dance clubs and bars laden with horny college students, all with the same goal in mind: to pull ass.

But when analyzing any one of these open-to-the-student-public drinking and grinding extravaganzas, the majority age group tends to be 18 to 19, especially females. As girls gain experience in the partying scene, they come to realize that frat parties and 18+ club nights exist for the sole reason of hooking up.

My boyfriend’s roommate, a moderately attractive unemployed 23-year-old, recently asked a young cocktail waitress–he guessed her age to be approximately 18–to go out on a date with him. When I pressed him further for details and asked what he wanted to do with her, he responded with: “Psssh. I just want to get laid at the least possible expense to me!”

Now, I have many good guy friends, and most of them confide in me the same ideal: they all want to have non-serious flings with girls. While I don’t discourage that –because, let’s face it, we could all use a summer romance or a no-strings rebound as a temporary pick-me-up now and then–most guys seem to target underclassmen, who are so new to the college partying and dating scene they don’t know what they’re getting into.

Recently, I was able to observe a fun social experiment involving underclassmen. My roommate over the summer was an entering freshman at BU, and she threw a party at our apartment the same weekend that many fellow freshmen moved into their dorms. She invited a few people that she knew from Facebook, imagining a small to moderate gathering where the “fresh meat” could get buzzed, socialize and meet new people.

What we didn’t expect were the hoards of crowds showing up on our doorstep. As we all know, word spreads fast in the freshman community: god forbid one of your floor-mates overhears you’re heading to a party, or your going-out group grows immensely. I estimate between 50 and 60 freshmen traipsed in and out of our apartment that night,  drinking our booze with a blazing ferocity.  This party was their first college experience, and they seemed well-impressed to make it a damn memorable one.

Your typical rowdy Allston Party | Photo by Stephanie Crumley
Your typical rowdy Allston Party | Photo by Stephanie Crumley

After going through case after case of cheap beer and noisily slurping shots from $11 handles of vodka, the fun really started. While there seemed to be more girls than guys in our apartment–a fact for just about anywhere you go at BU-– everyone at the party seemed to get around regardless. I had to stop six to eight different couples from engaging in intercourse in either my or my roommates’ bedrooms. A couple started making out in our front hallway, stopping their public heavy petting for nothing – even as a crowd of people crowded around, hootin’ and hollerin’, with pictures being snapped. An observer egged the guy on, screaming, “Take her shirt off for us!” He promptly did, with no shame shown from the girl whatsoever.

I saw guys making out with one girl for a few minutes, only to promptly be led off somewhere private by a different girl moments later. I saw at least five to ten people bouncing around, looking to make out with anything that had a mouth. I invited four or five of my single 21-and-up guy friends, at least three of whom (that I know of) ended up getting action with giggly freshmen girls with whore-mones gone wild.

Women Studies Professor Barbara Gottfried says that women feel pressure to be sexualized, caused by peer pressure and by racier styles of mainstream fashion.

Freedom in college, after the sexual restraints of dealing with parents and privacy in high school, also fuels younger women to loosen their morals – and their jeans’ buttons.

“It wasn’t convenient to have sex in high school; I think people fooled around, but young women weren’t having intercourse,” she said. “It’s a lot easier in college because there’s no parental control.”

Gottfried expressed concern that young women are the ones getting hurt in this modern “hook-up culture,” since girls tend to layer sex with emotional meaning and college-aged guys generally like unattached sex.

“Men are getting for free what they used to have to pay for,” she said.

A female coworker of mine, who graduated from University of Hartford in 2007, said she regularly attended frat parties as a way of making new friends, but ended up with hook-up buddies instead.

Frat parties are a great source of proving Gottfried right: guys can expect to make a contribution of at least five bucks at the door, while the party-throwers invite girls in for free. This is obviously a ploy to increase the odds of going home with an unknowing underclassman chick, excited and proud of the special treatment.

My coworker remembers liking the special treatment she received from being invited into parties on her college campus of University of Hartford.

“For any girl that was pretty enough, guys were like, ‘Sure, come on in,’” she said. “To an extent, once you got into the party, it could be a real confidence booster.”

So, this is my message to you, freshmen girls: hooking up no-strings-attached can be fun. But during your first year in this crazy and sexually-fueled city, make sure you’re not getting played before going home with the hot guy you’ve been ogling all night at a party. Make sure you know what you want and what you’re getting into, before it’s too late.

About Jackie Reiss

Jackie Reiss (COM '11) writes "The Hookup," a sex and relationships column, for the Quad.

View all posts by Jackie Reiss →

8 Comments on “Gettin’ Fresh: The Freshman Hookup Phenomenon”

  1. This was a terribly written article. This post, with its haphazard quotes and anecdotal evidence, reeks of a personal blog post. I hope to whatever deity you pray to that you don not call yourselves journalists. Real student journalism is somewhere, but is sure isn’t here. Consider more the value of what you write instead of what carries your name on it.

  2. Oliver, speaking of terribly written things…when you criticize someone you should take a look at the content of your own comments.

    That being said, Jackie, this is an interesting article. I think the topic needs to be addressed more strongly, especially since it’s not just freshmen girls who are susceptible to the “phenomenon”–plenty of older girls willingly subject themselves to these crappy, self-deprecating situations.

    I’d like to hear opinions from more experts like Professor Gottfried, and what more can be done to empower college women. No offense to you, but the guys mentioned in this article seem to lack respect for the women they’re soliciting, which is the big difference between a no-strings hook-up and something that could easily escalate into rape. This can definitely change, but I think the women have to stand up for themselves first.

  3. Ok, guys do abuse of the “hook-up” culture, but not all girls are as stupid or innocent as they seem. Girls KNOW what frat parties / 18+ nights are about – why else would the skirts be short, the cleavage so eye-popping, the heels fuck-me-high? You don’t dress like that not to be noticed. And you definitely don’t go into a house full of horny guys dressed like that if you don’t want to get hit on. A lot of us know that a kiss is just a kiss and that one night with a guy hardly guarantees a relationship. Girls are guilty of encouraging this culture by being desperate enough to hook up with whichever frat guy pays them some attention – maybe if guys had to work a little, this wouldn’t be a culture at all. Girls should realize they’re worth more than a one night stand and act like it.

  4. “Oliver”, you clearly have an awesome notion of what a “terribly written” article is. It’s not like this one got national recognition and is a prize-winning article or anything… Oh wait, it did and it is.

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