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The Hook Up

Written by Justin Jones

Pants first. No. Shoes first. Then belt. Then pants. Clothes off. My heart is too loud. Too fast.

Shirt next. Kissing. Lots of kissing. Passionate. Intense. Lip biting, face grabbing. Things move too fast around us. Room spins. The television is on. I don’t care. I can’t hear it. I hear and feel only the heartbeats. It beats so hard it hurts.

Fall on the bed. Toss and turn. Stomach in knots. The good kind. Sweat beads. Mixes. Stings our vision. Tastes salty. Wine spills from the nightstand. Red on carpet. So?

Mouthwash is the taste. Cologne, the smell. Skin, all of the above. It isn’t passion. It’s ferocity. It’s going a million miles an hour in the same place. Standing still in the middle of a hurricane. It’s the whole world crammed into a single moment.

Passion climaxes. The story enters resolution. Nighttime and alcohol approve this message.

Morning comes and the wine is dried. CNN drones on. The clothes are as disheveled as they were–a floor-fashion eruption. The heartbeat has softened. The smells are almost the same. Cologne, yes. Breath, eh.

Question 1. Time? Find phone. Ignore those texts. Am I late for anything?Question 2. Regret? Absorb the room in the daytime. Absorb him. Evaluate my judgment. Is it what I remember it being? Do I remember anything at all?

Question 3. Stay or go? Always go. If he is your knight, he will rescue you again. Leave politely. Graciously. He has a schedule, too.

Question 4. The cliffhanger: But will I see him again? Factors to include: his enthusiasm, my enthusiasm. Consider cuddling, and Question 2.

Question 5 (2 parts): What do I tell my friends? And how do I get home?

Our questions answer the overarching introspective: did I hookup last night?

We write entire romances in one night. One night might encompass: Courtship, Honeymoon, Trial, and Heartbreak. It also often includes the optional foreword: alcohol. But that it lasted only one night doesn’t mean it’s a hookup; it also doesn’t necessitate the title “one-night stand” and the baggage (or lack of baggage) that comes with the label.

To the status quo, the term “hookup” packs a wallop. It references a dalliance with suggestions of poor judgment, and reflects grander ambitions. A hookup is meaningless. It’s selfish and stereotypical. And it’s fun. Acceptable to some and practiced by many. Contrary to popular belief, though, duration has no relation to the label. A “hookup” may last one night, or it may last many nights (“Friends with Benefits” or “House Account,” anyone?).

Likewise, romance–true and impassioned–may last one night only, when the situation is unrequited.

When he decides not to call you; when, to him, the episode was one-night only, it becomes a hookup for him. Not for you. For you, a romance has taken place. Complete with your own tragic ending. To your friends, then, you answer honestly: “No, I didn’t hookup.” Smile.

Perhaps there is a sixth question we romantics should add. One that we ask ourselves before we decide–in our drunken stupor–that he is the one: Can this wait for another time, maybe after we get to know one another? A million dollars says the answer is no, but it never hurts to ask.

I hookup. Rarely. Very rarely. Okay, I hardly have a sex life. By choice, I hope. It’s not my style to have meaningless sex. You can do that with yourself. To me, it’s more about the story. To make love instead of f—. To cuddle rather than feel indifference. To wish for more instead of an end. To close your eyes, cross your fingers, and hope that he feels the same.