Last week I had an idea, a revelation if you will: what if there were an app where people could click "yes" or "no" to indicate whether or not they want to hook up with someone again? No awkward text conversation which involves spending ten minutes crafting the best response to "what's up." None of that general confusion that arises if you don't have his number and can't even have that conversation in the first place and have to guess what he's thinking based on the quality of the high five he gave you. Literally no need for mind readings or misunderstandings -- this app would solve a lot of communication errors.
But then my next immediate thought was: WTF is wrong with our generation -- I need an app to be able to have that conversation with someone? That's an absurdity.
People are always telling our generation that our main problem is that we grew up with technology and now don't know how to talk to each other. While I hate how holier-than-thou these statements are, these Gen-Y haters are on to something. We don't spend nearly enough time or effort talking to each other. We sit next to each other three hours a week in class and have had upwards of six conversations at the bar downtown, but no -- we ignore each other on the quad, in the library, at the gym when we are running next to each other on the treadmill ...it's absurd. Two days ago it was like "wow you have pretty eyes" or something stupid and now it's "WHO ARE YOU WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME." It seems to be easier to ignore and pretend to not remember meeting that person than it is to say hi and feel vulnerable for caring too much.
I acknowledge that I am only talking about heterosexual relationships and am speaking in the gender binary here, and am in no way trying to make generalizations about behavior and expectations. I am trying to suggest that it is impossible to generalize in today's social climate -- there is no longer behavior typical to one gender. I hear women (attention: colleges age females are NOT. GIRLS.) consistently say, "oh my God he totally ignored me." But it's like look, did you try to say hello? No, you didn't, you both saw each other from fifty yards away and pretended to be refreshing Instagram for the two seconds it took to pass each other on the stairs. Both people feel awkward, it's not on one person to initiate The Hello.
If you say hi first, the other person might think you are asking for monogamy and breakfast in bed. And if you don't say hi, the other person thinks you're a douchebag.
Literally no one wins. How do we fix this?
We say hi to each other. It says nothing about being in love or being obsessed. It's a thing of respect. I am not suggesting yelling his or her name across the quad. I'm saying that both people feel weird about things, and nothing is going to change until you say hello. Maybe 50 years ago, it was expected a guy would acknowledge you and want to get meals with you other than a 2 a.m. piece of pizza soaked in ranch. Today, it's every person for themselves. The responsibility doesn't fall on one gender anymore, it's on everyone. While this has given more power to women in heterosexual relationships, it has not made navigating the "hookup culture" any more transparent. If you want to be acknowledged, then you gotta acknowledge the other person. Yeah, saying hi can be scary, but a hookup warrants a hello.