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It’s that time of year. We’re going home.
Very soon there will be a massive hometown congregation of family members, “aunts and uncles” that aren’t actually your aunts and uncles, and *ding ding ding* you guessed it, childhood friends.
You’re already thinking about it, aren’t you? I know I am.
As the temperature drops, you’ll start cataloging the old friends, high school hookups, and friends older siblings, determining who you will have to see, who you want to see, and who, if your internet stalking proves accurate, is looking real good lately. You’ll wonder how Sarah is after that very public breakup with her college boyfriend. You’ll think about Derek. He always really got your obsession with Linkin Park – is he single? You’ll remember how Alexandra used to sleep over every weekend and how you drank your first beer together, is she still with that horrible girlfriend?
I wouldn’t be surprised if a few facebook messages or well-placed Instagram likes start popping up. If DMs are good for anything, it’s to remind the first guy you slept with that you would “love to catch up!”
Sure, going home for the holidays can unlock anxieties we neatly pack away the rest of the year. The fear of untapped potential, the slightly unjustified visceral hatred for your mother’s husband (he is NOT your stepfather. He is Larry), or the panic-inducing realization that all of your closest friends are getting married.
Along with the bullshit, however, is that warm feeling. It’s that nervous anticipation, the giddy excitement about going back to a place that knows you the best, to the people that understand you to your core, before real life happened.
For full disclosure, I am always home. In all of my 23-year-old glory, I live not only in my hometown, but also sleep in my childhood bed. My bedroom does in fact still have a “No Boys Allowed” poster on the wall. I wish it was ironic.
Regardless, the holidays are different than the rest of my life here. In June, I’m not particularly interested in re-getting to know the kid I sat next to in Spanish 3 who’s now an accountant in the same office building as me. But the minute the holidays come around, I’m immediately curious as to what he’s up to. I’m nostalgic as shit for all things familiar, youthful, and reminiscent of the days when shredding the gnar on my roller blades wasn’t vintage.
That is why I take great issue with the notion that hometown hookups should somehow be avoided. Screw that. We’re going home, baby. Let’s make it count.
I don’t know when the stigma around hometown hookups being something you should avoid started to really penetrate current cultural ideology, but I sense a growing judgment over the rekindling of old flames around the holidays. For some reason, there’s a lot of side eye thrown at the hometown hookup, as if it is somehow a regression back into a more irresponsible version of yourself, a “slippery slope” of sorts.
Here’s the thing, it’s a slippery slope to what? An awesome evening with Tiffany from science class? I say we turn this proposition on its head and declare the hometown hookup to be not only respectable but something to which we should aspire. We deserve that much.
Hometown hookups are familiar, low risk (childhood neighbors never have STDs), and have a natural, predetermined expiration date. Once you’re back home in Atlanta, and she’s getting off the plane at JFK, the rendezvous is nothing more than a story to tell your work friends.
No one is really responsible for what they do in the pseudo-reality that is “home for the holidays.” Repercussions simply don’t exist when you’re lit off tryptophan.
For the sake of a well-developed argument, let’s put aside the convenience and unadulterated good time associated with a romp in the childhood sack, and talk about something serious. Feelings.
Hometown hookups make us feel hella warm and fuzzy. They make us feel safe, dammit, and in today’s political, social, and economic climate, we sure could use some of that.
Hometown hookups are so nostalgic, it’s like watching When Harry Met Sally, your best friends wedding montage, and listening to R. Kelly all at the same time. They are Fireball, Four Loko, and watered down vodka from your parents’ wet bar. They are setting off firecrackers on the beach, or wherever you used to loiter as a kid. Hometown hookups are a walk (or roll, rather) down memory lane.
In fact, the HTHU is so familiar it’s like, yes, okay, I’ll say it – riding a bike. Things just fall right back into place. That being said, they’re also exciting. This person, who you know so well, has changed. They are older and more experienced than when you were 16. They’ve learned things, and hell, so have you. So flex on each other, give them whatever you didn’t know how to as a teenager, and brush your shoulders off the next morning as you walk of shame back to your childhood home.
My biggest qualm with adulthood, aside from how much I have to pay for my phone bill, is when other adults try to make you feel guilty for having more fun than them.
We’re all on the same team, aren’t we? Why must Sally from down the street shame me for letting loose in, quite literally, the most well-contained place in the world? My hometown is like the safe zone in tag, you can’t get in trouble in the safe zone.
Honestly, who knows who you might come across at a random bar in New York City? Let me tell you, it’s probably nobody good. But, in smalltown Ohio, the worst you’re probably going to pick up is a friend’s older brother or the hot substitute teacher from high school.
I would go as far as to say that by being irresponsible in your hometown, you’re actually being highly responsible. It’s entirely sensible to let loose in a town where you know the route home like the back of your hand. You’re parents probably feel much better knowing you’re turning up at O’Reilly’s with Jennifer from kindergarten than in some godforsaken club in Lower Manhattan.
The hometown hookup is exactly what the holidays should be – comfortable, enjoyable, enhanced by liquor and carbs, and only once a calendar year.
So go out there and enjoy yourselves! If anyone tries to throw you shade, tell them Victoria says they should hop off their high horse and see what’s up with Richard from homeroom. They’ll thank me later.
Happy holidays, my friends! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. .