May 19, 2023 | FEATURES | By Alexis Cornachio and Anna Mackey 

Is getting coffee in the morning with someone you’ve just hooked up with the night before more intimate than the actual hookup itself? Why is it “jarring” for some to see ex-situationships at Rastall Cafe? What makes a casual hookup solely transactional versus intimate? Are you looking for someone to go home with after a night out just because all your friends are? 

In raising these questions about the nature of hookup culture at Colorado College, we explore a theory that the structure of the Block Plan works to inform how we interact with casual sex. 

We interviewed students to share their perspectives on this topic and compiled some of our findings here. Full disclosure: this is a narrow set of people and does not serve to represent the perspectives of everyone in this community. Although we tried to interview as many perspectives as possible to come to some general consensus of what hookup culture is like, we want to acknowledge that these experiences are very different for everyone based on identity and background. 

The Web:  

What we came to realize was that the foundation of hookup culture at CC lies in “The Web.” If we could imaginethe web, it would be every social group connected by messy and confusing lines that make up the community. This web is not just a hookup map – it’s a social web, where people are easily traceable. The web and a lack of anonymity has come to characterize the essence of hookup culture at CC. 

Who you hookup with and how much you partake in hookup culture can come to define a little bit of who you are.

“If you’re not getting with people it’s like, who are you and where do you fit in? Where do you lie?” says Maddy Meister ’25. 

The web is not insular, as Esa George ’25 said, “This person is going to be around you a lot, you could have a Block with them in the future, you definitely know some of their friends personally.” 

Being Intimate on the Block Plan & Ghosting:  

The Block Plan provides a constant reminder of time. The start of the block not only brings a fresh class but also an entirely new set of people. In turn, the infamous ‘Block crush’ has become a quintessential element of CC culture. 

For some students, when they talk about hookup culture, they find themselves using “Block time” to refer to how long their casual hookup has been going on for, and determine if it has run its course.  

Some sources that preferred to remain anonymous expressed how they conceptualize their Block Plan lifetimes as paralleling their hookup lifetimes.  

“Oh I’ve been with this girl for two Blocks… Is it going anywhere? It’s Eighth Block I have to hook up with someone,” an anonymous student shared.

The Block Plan endorses the impertinence of connection. In a Block, we learn to learn our peers quickly and then let them go in a matter of weeks; we ghost our Block friends. 

But what happens when you ghost a Block hook up? 

We actually got to talk to a ghoster themself: “It’s hard to disassociate from a person you’re hooking up with when you’re with them every day. But when the Block ends, it’s easier.” The ghoster, who preferred to remain anonymous, said they waited until the end of the Block, then, “just said deuces and left.” 

Given different definitions of intimacy and lines of communication, has it become the norm to just bail? 

“The ghost keeps the hope alive” said Annie Bowens ’24. “I don’t ever sleep over because I don’t want them to think that I want something more. Leaving at 4 a.m. has become the norm.” 

So, why is going to coffee so goddamn vulnerable?  

Going to get coffee with a casual hook up the next morning can feel high stakes. “I knew that one of my friends had a hookup with a guy before she had even told me because one of my roommates saw her with him at Loyal Coffee on a Sunday morning,” said Bowens ’24. She expressed how a level of surveillance plays into the whole anti-vulnerability narrative. 

“Vulnerability is one of the biggest drivers in how close you feel to the other person,” said another anonymous source. “Having sex and being physically intimate with someone, isn’t that the pinnacle of vulnerability? I think there are a lot of different pathways to becoming close with someone, but sex is like a highway.” 

Given this logic, can casual hookups serve to create the illusion of intimacy? Of vulnerability? Is that what students are chasing, or is hooking up casually functional for some?  

“I think a draw of hookup culture is the lack of communication,” said a different anonymous source. “Some people have a lot of desire for simplicity and fun and that manifests itself in not communicating.” 

There are still a lot of questions surrounding the nature of hookup culture at CC. How can students breach the gap between the intimate connections they are searching for and realities of what they are finding? Perhaps the Block Plan intensifies this disconnection, or it could be that hooking up is similar on every college campus.  

Maybe we’re overthinking it.

Leave a Reply