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A Winter Hook-Up Guide

It’s October. Pumpkins are out, leaves are turning and nights are gradually getting colder. For those of us above the equator, fall means holidays, family and loved ones and locking down that winter lover.

Plenty of single folks would agree that a relationship would be great, but it’s not at the very top of many women’s priorities. I’m not regularly looking. However, as much as I love my friends and family, nothing beats zoning out in front of the tele with my head on someone’s shoulder, so therefore… it’s about that time to find a cold weather situation.

Seeing that we are all adults now, college-era rules no longer apply. As grown-ups, a seasonal hook-up is very realistic, but it must be played smart. In the past I’ve managed to keep the following tips at the forefront of my dealings, leading to healthy, temporary relationships during the cold months that don’t end with total heartbreak come the spring. At the end of the day, it’s all about staying focused, healthy, honest and up front about things. Besides, who knows what will happen when the sun comes out? Maybe a summer love!

1. Define Your Terms, and Stick With Them
Are you looking to just hook-up with random peeps and keep it moving? Are you looking for a relationship eventually but just testing the waters now? Can you deal with having a more physical than emotional relationship? Are you currently in an emotional and/or physical relationship with someone? Do you want everything with “no strings attached” and are you willing to be on the receiving end of that type of relationship? Or do you just want to fuck and then be done with it?

Be clear with yourself and your situation. If you are looking to date, know what your dating terms are before bringing others in to your personal life. If you are just looking for the physical without emotional or social relationship, please be upfront with your intentions. If you want a relationship, say it and approach accordingly. As women, we tend to be reactive in defining expectations because we’re generally groomed to be chased and not initiate things. However, in the age of HIV and Antonio Cromartie the need to keep yourself emotionally and physically safe important, and if the two of you are on the same page about things, it’s a good start. The adult thing may be the hardest, but it has the sweetest payoff.

2. Know Your Place and Personal/Social Boundaries
OK, it’s on. Meet-ups are scheduled, hook-ups are awesome. Will heads roll if you two decide to go to a holiday party together? Are you ready to explain that post-coitus brunch date if innocently asked? Can you stand being on the low? This will definitely define your level of situation which should also inform your expectations. If it’s not official, and boundaries haven’t been set, then your expectations should be vague as well. If he wants to hang with his boys all weekend, it’s all good. And if you want to flirt at a bar and mani/pedi/shop/gossip with your girls all night, it shouldn’t be a thing. Set boundaries that make you happy, not that make you look cool. Relationships like these are unique in the fact that being selfish may actually help you in the long run as long as the both of you know what the deal is. Holidays and gifts are fully debatable, by the way.

3. Like the person. No really.
After following what my best friend calls “mantis law” (ie. sex followed by a dramatic decrease of interest) for a few months after my last major relationship, I had to check myself on no. 1 and no. 2. Ask yourself, do you like this person? Not “see them at parties and I like their style/face/ass/career” like. Is there a genuine sense of MUTUAL attraction that can sustain a basic relationship? Even if you and your hook-up aren’t planning on making it official, if you are embarrassed to be seen with someone in public, you are wasting both their time and yours. Trust me, the sex will be better.

4. Don’t Be Messy
If you read Parlour, you will see that the editors and guest contributors represent all types of women who enjoy their life, but still handle their business. With that, keep it really simple ladies. If you are being physically intimate with one person and then decide it’s not for you—speak up before engaging in a romp with someone else. Want to get down with a few people? Be up front. Multiple sex partners can be managed, but don’t get to the point when your bed is seeing more visitors than the emergency room. And if you are, not all at your house… just my opinion. Even if you know that this won’t go anywhere past President’s Day, be sure you have clean slate with your boo. Did they sleep/go out with a friend of yours? Be honest with both parties first. Are they in a relationship? Run, don’t walk. The sexually liberated woman, or as with both sexes, ethical slut, is an attainable idea but when done correctly she still maintains her sense of responsibility and reputation.

5. Supplies, Supplies!
You must have the following: blankets, condoms (you should have them, yes), DVDs, vitamins, delivery menus, wax appointments, water (or wine, beer, etc) and car services on speed dial.

6. Tell Someone
Recently, I went on a fabulous date. It was awesome, it was spontaneous and it ended with a kiss, text and plan for number two. And my home-girl knew all about it: where we went, what I wore and what time I got home. More than likely, you already have a bestie that you confide in, and the same should apply to your winter lover. Even if you are trying to fly below the radar, this rule should apply in all situations in case any funny business arises. Real friends won’t judge you, we may talk about you to your face but we won’t judge. Also, she’s gonna check you on your BS if you start to go crazy. PS. On our second date, he proceeded to freak me out completely by over-sharing and mentioning that he’d dated three good friends of mine in the past. Pas bon for my personal taste.

7. Be Prepared, And Not Surprised, For An Ending
As with anything seasonal, you may try to ignore it, but it’s going to end. So what happens? Discuss the exit plan at the right time. If you guys have a good thing going, and have already taken things up a notch socially, then play it by ear, but be prepared for an amicable end. It always helps to have a trip planned or another distraction to base your schedule around. Both egos may get hurt naturally, but depending on your emotional investment and how honest you two are/were, this reality check should go pretty smoothly. Depending on what you both want, all this cold weather cuddling could result in a summer relationship.

Note: All of the above can apply to both sexes, but ladies, if you have children, remix it to keep the kiddies happily oblivious until something is official.

– Your Best Friend

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