Sex & Relationships

Do Dating Manners Apply to Dating App Hookups?

Should you expect a call or text the morning after? Our super-smart sex and relationship columnist Kate Carraway to the rescue

Love Kate CoupleDear Kate,

I slept with a guy I met on a dating app. I wanted sex, and I went into it with my eyes wide open and don’t regret doing it, but when he didn’t at least text me the next day, I admit I was hurt. Do the rules of dating apply to app hookups or not? —Tanis

Let’s get some stuff straight: How a date came to be—gilded invitation passed from a confirmed virgin to your father to your mother to you, or an “r u up?” text message rolling in past last-call—is irrelevant to the date, and to the sex itself.  “Nu-dating,” which is what I like to call any romantic and/or sexual activity that is primarily conducted over an iPhone (Tinder, texting, sneaking into each other’s DMs with a half-empty bottle of wine and some condoms) is harsh and cold and not, like, etiquette-oriented, but you’re not less owed a human response from someone you met, dated or did it with because you met via data. OK? OK.

Here is a basic rule that I am so totally sure of that I’ll take the “sexist” hit for it: unless the date went bad-bad (like, your hookup’s wife came home in the middle of it, or you’re calling your best friend in tears instead of champion-mode) in heteronormie dating situations, a post-date communication is required, and it is required the next day, and—wait for it—it is required (by me) that the communication be initiated by the guy. (Somehow, somewhere, a gong was just struck indicating the sexist-ness of what I just wrote. GONNGGGGG! Can you hear it?)

In the Paleolithic dating era of ten years ago or whatever, you basically had to speak to someone in real time to ask them out—which, from a millennial perspective, is Titanic-romantic—but then the “next day” or “three day” or “next week” thing involved a lot of literal waiting around for the phone to ring, and traumatic answering-machine drama. This generation of dating has been given internet-telephone dating power, and with that comes great—or even just the teeny-tiniest possible amount—of social responsibility. And, sorry to everyone, but women are still at a disadvantage when it comes to most aspects of dating and hooking up, so, much like genuinely offering and expecting to pay for dinner, sorry again, the points of additional dating vulnerability should theoretically fall to the guy. I think we should make it easy on everyone and just agree that if a thank-you note is expected after your cousin hosts you for lasagna at their house, a text message is an appropriate expectation after you host some guy’s body inside of your body.

So, that is the actual answer, but the reality is, as usual, different. I think you are focusing too much on the shitty outcomes of a foundational (and in your case, possibly unfixable) problem, not the problem itself. Because, yeah, he should have texted, but various “he’s and “her’s in your life, dating and otherwise and for the rest of time, should do a lot of things that they won’t, and your responsibility in all of this is to understand why, even after the quick sex you wanted and got, you were still hurt by the no-text-situation.

Sometimes—not all the time—a woman—not all women!—will want more of something after a hookup, even when they came for and got the just-sex kind: reassurance, usually, and connection; it might be a vestige of growing up with so much anti-sex sexism, I don’t know.

Is this what’s up with you, maybe? You’re probably not waiting for a coffee ask-out, but a confirmation that it happened, that it was good, that everything is cool. And sometimes—not all the time! Not all men!—what is stabilizing for one person will feel like too much, like an expectation, or overkill, or unfun, to someone else. The next-day text can alter and even undermine what happened under much different atmospheric circumstances, so even though it’s “manners,” it can also be kind of wrong, depending on your perspective. In the end, you’re right, but, that’s not enough.

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