In the 1950s dating would love

Thursday, June 14, 2018 by Brian

“Just what do boys consider petting? Everyone seems to have an idea — but nobody really knows. I would appreciate a frank answer to this question.”

Well, you certainly have asked a big question. And the answer is not an easy one to give because necking definitions vary with the area in which one lives. But, generally speaking, when a boy talks about necking he means casual kissing and embracing. Heavy necking usually consists of prolonged and passionate kissing. Petting most often involves kissing, embracing, and fondling. Heavy petting consists of kissing, embracing, fondling and active stimulation. However, within the framework of even this sketchy series of definitions, there is a great deal of variation possible.

— Datebook’s Complete Guide To Dating, 1960

Personally I wish we still used the terms “necking”, “petting”, “heavy necking” and “heavy petting.” How simple! But no, we have to make this needlessly complicated with the dreaded phrase…

…hooking up.

What exactly is “hooking up”? We know that Kelly Clarkson does not do it, oh no, SO DON’T EVEN ASK HER TO. As I’ve previously mentioned, I hate this phrase. It’s cold. It sounds like I am the internet (i.e. “I hooked up with Almie last night.”). I AM NOT THE INTERNET. I DO NOT HAVE A CORD. THERE IS NO WAY FOR YOU TO HOOK ME UP INTO ANYTHING. I AM NOT A REPLICANT. I AM NOT A MODEM. YOU DO NOT HOOK ME TO ANYTHING NOR I TO YOU.

Now petting is hilarious. It makes me sound like a goat. But I like that. It’s lovely. It describes what you’re doing without being too literal. Necking is a little grosser. It brings to mind an unsavory act. Like fucking dead people.

Anyway. The biggest problem with the phrase “hooking up” is that it has a wide range of definitions. For some it’s a physical act. For others it’s the practice of an act. And for others it has something to do with myspace and is evil because Oprah and Gayle King warned them about it and Oh my God Newsweek is reporting that your children are sexting and won’t someone think of the children?!

What do you consider “hooking up”? How far into your “relations” with your “partner” do you do it? Can we start a movement of reintroducing “petting” and especially “heavy petting” into our daily vernacular?

And finally, I blame “Sex and the City” for introducing hook-up cultureto this generation. Just because Carrie Bradshaw and Samantha Jones have sexy affairs doesn’t mean that you, you texting high schooler, are entitled to the same. They’re adult women. And they’re fictional. So of course their affairs are going to lead to major plot points or relationships. If every episode ended with SJP voicing over, “And that’s when I realized. I was a slut who was hooking up out of feelings of massive loneliness for my 40 something boyfriend who was not plannig to commit to me ever” then no one would continue watching, because that’s sad.

One more thing: just WTF is “active stimulation”? The poor girl was asking for frankness and that’s the best the dating book could do? BRB, stealing “active stimulation” to use as my phrase from now on.