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Secondhand Hook Ups: The Con Of Second Semester

The other night, in a break from the frigidity and classic girl-on-girl rush flirt, two of my housemates brought out lists of everyone they’d ever hooked up with--or at least those they could remember. Agreeing to skip over my own slutty whimsies of middle school (at camp one summer as an act of rebellion for being my improv partner’s beard, I got it on with every straight guy in the spin-the-flashlight circle), since I still had braces, not to mention the ghosts of high school boyfriends’ past, we concluded that our respective lists should focus on the college years, summers included.

I didn’t want to admit it at the time, but I make and edit my own list fairly regularly. Sometimes it’s every sexual encounter ever. Other times, I’ll exclude the ones I don’t think should have counted, because it was a sympathy 4-seconds with tongue in a parking lot. The most important edit though, is the group of people who definitely counted, but you wouldn’t want a soul to find out. I unfortunately have a generous pocketful of those, due to the insecure but sexually charged mid-adolescence most of us had.

Two things came to mind as I looked at my own chart (yes, chart. I'm neurotic): first, as my own father has pointed out, my standards are pathetic. Only three guys on my list are universally considered attractive, as in, if I were to see them out and about, friends would congratulate me on my accomplishment. The second realization: for every guy at Penn I have hooked up with, I have indirectly hooked up with way more of my friends than I could have ever anticipated at the time, as I attempt not to think about track records as a guy is unhooking my bra.

The Secondhand Hook Up epitomizes the smallness of our campus. Even as we returned to Smoke’s this semester and welcomed back our junior expats who are now 21, it’s inevitable to sense the presence of a good half the people you’ve hooked up with, and all of their previous partners (who at some point have also hooked up with your platonic brother-like friends too), whose booth you just so happened to stash your coat in.

I generally thrive on awkward encounters and can come up with a few resolutions to this situation that only continues to spread like an epidemic as the cold and our boredom rage on. One would be to grab a Secondhander, approach the guy and ask “who’s better?” Another would be to collectively embrace this incestuous environment and start asking your friends which of their guys you would most enjoy for a night of passion, and to swap. The third, the obvious: Hillel. I mean, let's be real, your own ethnicity aside: that’s why we all really came to Penn, right?