It is finally the holiday season, and the comforts of home are right around the corner. There is so much to look forward to; home-cooked meals, family gatherings, and the inevitable hookup with your high school love interest. But, of course, we all know rules go out the window when the college kids flock home at the end of November. These early winter weeks are known as “cuffing season:” a time when all the singles who enjoyed their carefree summer months look for a partner to cozy up with in the winter. Although cuffing season generally refers to short-term partnerships, many relationships thrive and stay together. So, what better way to kick off the holidays than with a little taste of home?
Maybe you spent the last few weeks snap chatting with an ex , or you are preparing to casually bump into your middle school crush at the local cafe. Whatever the case, it is a fact that these hometown hookups are beginning to defrost! Over the holidays, when everyone is horny and listless, the usual rules no longer apply, and things just happen. Interestingly, the power of the hometown hookup has become more evident in the last few years, offering a utopia where you make love and a memorable story.
What would have been considered “weird” in high school is just part of the fun; it’s as if there are no rules because the environment no longer holds such high stakes. So, you might as well hook up with a former lover. Some people make significant changes in their life after leaving for college. Habits, physique, and attitudes change. College students use the holiday bar scene to show off “the new me.” For instance, if a former science bookworm came home from college acne free and without his braces, all bets were off, and he was bound to hook up with one of the “cool kids” from school. Someone with this mentality is secretly hoping that you will text your high school friend group announcing the return of the “nerd” from AP Chemistry.
The term “Zip Codes” has also become much more popular for high school couples who didn’t want to lose contact after four years together. Some couples decide to be in a non-exclusive relationship and commit to hooking up when they are in the same geographical location. Some people swear by this method; they enjoy a good nostalgic bang when they are home from school. For others, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Surprisingly, a rising number of adults are getting back together with their high school sweethearts, who they consistently hooked up with through college.
There are usually two mindsets stepping off the tarmac at your hometown airport. Some people come home just for fun; some rekindle that young love. Further research into the relationships of Tulane students through an anonymous survey sent out to a group of fifty-five individuals, ages 18-22 helps us better understand the breakdown of the holiday hookup. 55% of respondents said they had a long-term relationship in high school. Of that 55%, 23.4% said they broke up because of the inevitable college separation, making this the most common reason reported for breaking up after high school. Many couples decided to call it quits before moving away from home. The stress of a long-distance relationship can be challenging for a first-year student trying to settle into a new environment. However, there was never a heinous fight or falling out between these couples. So, when Thanksgiving break came around, the once anxious freshmen are settled in their new dorm rooms and might be thinking about rekindling that old flame.
We then asked the students if they were in touch with their high school hookups. Again, there was a clear majority, with 73.9% of people reporting staying in touch even at college. One student said “she had been talking to a guy from [her] high school [she] hooked up with right before [she] started college. [They] talk every now and then. He’s always there when [she’s] bored. [They] were finally in the same place this Thanksgiving, and he was annoying, and [she] got the ick and didn’t see him.” So even though old lovers might talk a dirty game, not everyone is prepared for the follow-through.
Participants were then asked whether they had hooked up with a high school friend over the break. Over half the responses said yes, and many even shared stories. It can be challenging to hook up with an old classmate, especially when that person was never in your social crowd. One student says they “[were] at a party when [they] were home for New Year’s Eve last year, and this guy who used to be a total weirdo and on the social outs, came back from first semester literally stunning and [they] hooked up in the bathroom of the bar.” Not the most glamorous comeback story, but it certainly stirs the pot. Some towns host social gatherings or have a local bar that college kids return to the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. However, not everyone is determined to publicize their love affair. One student said, “he hooked up with his ex-girlfriend in the parking lot of a Target”… They didn’t want to have to explain themselves to their family and friends.
Clearly, there is a trend, but what happens when we return to our lives outside the bubble of our niche hometowns? It seems young adults are eager to enjoy the multifaceted dating world college has to offer. When asked if they have rekindled their relationships with their high school exes after hooking up over break, 56.8% responded “No,” while 21.9% said, “Yes, but just for a booty call.” Interestingly, no one reported wanting to get back together with their ex or attempt a long-distance relationship. Sometimes we just need to have a little fun; a junior girl said she “had the weirdest kinda threesome ever with [her ex and] one of his best friends, but just because [she] was desperate to see him.” Late-night booty calls are a right of passage; stories about high school lovers having sex in pools, in gyms, in the shower, in their childhood bedroom, on the guest bathroom floor, and on trampolines get passed around.
Sometimes exes who were once just a booty call catch feelings again, which usually turns into a “situationship.” 18.4% of participants said their situations are definitely complicated, someone even said, “[she and her] ex hung out after a year, and he told [her] he loved [her] while he was inside of [her].” If that’s not sending mixed signals, I don’t know what is! Maybe your past hookup unintentionally ends up leading the same life you do. One participant said, “[she] hooked up with a kid [she] went to preschool with, and now [they] go to college together. Bound for life?” While this may not have been planned, sometimes you get a second chance at a relationship, so why not jump at the opportunity?
But we can’t forget the high school sweethearts who felt love at first sight. 14.3% of participants said they still date their first serious significant other. Some couples unintentionally end up at the same college, and although a new school is a big adjustment, they are comfortable having someone to experience it with. Other couples have to commit to maintaining a long-distance relationship. While sometimes the eagerness for one another and the physical aspects of the relationship are enhanced by the long distance, other times, the emotional torment is challenging. A sophomore participant said, “[she] was a senior in high school when [her] boyfriend was a freshman in college and [they] split up because it was too hard on [her] emotions.” But some couples are just right for one another and never need to break the ice on a first date again.
It’s hard to forget your first love, your first time, and the plethora of other “firsts” that evolve from a high school relationship. Some people have their first heartbreak in high school, and losing someone they love is devastating enough to prevent them from looking for future relationships, so they go back to what is comfortable. For others, high school was just a shallow pond, and they are now ready to jump into the depths of the deep end. Whether you talk to none of the people you went to high school with or all your friends regularly, the holidays are the perfect time to break the rules and have some fun. Hometown hookups undoubtedly add a little sugar and spice to the chaos of the holidays. But whether you are interested in your former boo or just need some eye candy and a palate cleanser, everyone deserves a holiday bonus!
Featured Image via Zoe Gellert.
Zoe Gellert is a freshman Staff Writer from Westchester, NY. She is majoring in psychology with an intended SLAM minor. You can almost always find her on the front porch, writing or hanging out outside. She also loves to play with her dogs, experience the city of New Orleans, go out with friends, and watch good documentaries.