“Do women want a hookup app?” That’s the $64,000 question posed by Salon writer Tracy Clark-Flory in a piece published earlier this week. As much as I like Ms. Clark-Flory’s work, I think she skirted around the likelihood of whether women really need a hookup app—and the answer to that is a big, resounding no.
I understand why hookup apps seem appealing. They’re discreet (no one has to know you’re cruising for a one-night stand); they’re convenient (do you want pizza, or a casual romp between the sheets? pick one (or both!), and have it delivered to your door in less than 30 minutes!); and they’re relatively easy to use (just select, download, and go). But most women know that if they want a casual hookup, they don’t have to click anything—except their heels as they make their way to the closest bar, where a myriad of options await between their arrival and closing time. It’s not rocket science; it’s human nature.
According to one of my guy friends, the demand for these hookup apps exists not because women have a hard time finding casual flings if they want one (see above), but because women have a need to feel desired by potential mates—and that until men stop agreeing to engage in casual encounters, the apps will serve only as “vanity-boosting projects.” (Ouch.) One could also argue that a person, regardless of gender, uses hookup apps as a way to avoid the sting of in-real-life rejection (even though the speed at which a theoretical hookup occurs via app versus traditional pursuit is probably much higher), never mind the fact that we have a hard enough time staying detached from our mobile devices.
Clark-Flory offered other points for consideration in her overview: whether or not women feel safe using hookup apps (or hooking up with strangers period), for example; and whether we’ve finally reached a point where it’s socially acceptable to acknowledge the fact that not everyone wants the same things when it comes to relationships—yes, that includes casual flings. Maybe the deeper issue here is that we’ve expected women to give us answers to burning questions about their private lives—and frankly, it’s no one’s business but their own.
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