How I Imagine One Does Research For A College Hookup Trend Piece


I graduated from college ten years ago. I decide to return to my alma mater see how the girls are doing. I cannot disclose the name of my university, but I can tell you that it rhymes with “Linceton.” I arrive at noon, just in time for the three hour panel. There are twenty abnormally beautiful women gathered around the table, all looking at their iPhones and drinking lattes. Thirteen are white, five are Asian, one is African-American, and one is Hispanic. They are all straight, although one of them admits to making out with a girl once when she was, like, really drunk on tequila. This lineup simultaneously fails to accurately represent the women my school and young women in America. Fortunately, my professors here taught me how to extrapolate inconclusive data to make a story even more hard-hitting.

I use my journalistic techniques to discover the essence of the girls’ personalities in just ten minutes. One is vegan. One doesn’t eat gluten. One is much poorer than the rest, so she gets a $5000 need-based scholarship. She is also the group’s sole virgin. I decide to come back to her later. She is probably the only virgin at this school, so my editor will want to hear her perspective. The first girl I interview will be called A, for her personality type. She wants to work on Wall Street. She pulls out her iPad to show me what she calls “relationship financial models.” These have estimates for the correlation between the number of hookups and the amount of time she’ll spend texting, interpreting texts, “watching movies”, having sex, and getting tested for STIs. She explains that she did not make a model for relationships, since she already knows that they are high-risk investments with a low ROI. Thanks to her formulas, she’s concluded that seven is the optimal amount of hookups per annum. She has to leave for a meeting before she can explain what constitutes a hookup. I think I’ll just write something about the term’s indefinability.

I move on to the next girl and ask her to summarize her romantic history. “Well I’ve never had a boyfriend but one of my best friends has been dating this…” I cut her off before she can finish and banish her from the room. I’m not here to listen to stories of committed relationships. My flight takes off in three hours, and I have a trend piece to write! After she leaves, the remaining girls realize what type of information I need. They willingly provide details of their brief romantic encounters, complete with anecdotes of how they cut guys off if they got “too clingy.” These are truly empowered women. They openly admit reading 50 Shades of Grey!

I make sure to spend five minutes talking with a girl who regrets some of her hookups. Her perspective will be summarized in a very important paragraph somewhere in the middle of the piece. I also remember to talk to SV. (It stands for Scholarship Virgin.) She explains that she is the first person in her family to go to college and wants to get good grades. She makes the mistake of telling me that she wants a boyfriend. She’s the only person in the room whose annual household income is less than 200K, so I will be forced to include her in my article. After I listen to her, I turn my focus to the other girls. Their anecdotes actually portray the Genuine American College Experience.

I could have spent forever listening with these women who I will soon describe as “inspiring”, but I have a flight to catch. I talk to one man on campus as I dashed back to my rental car. “Bro,” he grunted. “Bro beer bang chicks bro bro fratty hashtag yolo!” At least I think that’s what he said. I wasn’t really listening.

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image – H o l l y.