Hooking Up: True Stories of What Makes Her (or Him) Say ‘Yes!’

What pushes men and women over the edge to have sex or a steamy makeout session?

Most women seem to regard men’s interest in sleeping with them in one of two ways. It’s either, “Yes, every guy wants me, and I have to beat those horny devils off constantly!” Or it’s, “Guys want to sleep with me? That can’t be, I look nothing like the GQ covergirl, and I haven’t waxed in weeks, and I’ve been told I talk too much sometimes…”

Naturally, the truth is somewhere in the middle: No, straight men don’t want to sleep with every female they know, and conversely, if you think nobody’s interested in you, you’re just not paying attention. For men, it’s much the same story – half of you hunks seem to think nobody finds you hot and the other half are hitting on everything in a brightly colored dress.

Being that the above is the case – that is, that we are all totally confused – when it comes to hookups and dating, but still thrill to the whole thing, what are do we do? (Come one, we are modern folk here. Yes, most of us want relationships, but sometimes a good night of sexing is totally great). What is it that makes that kinda-cute, totally sexy person across the bar from us give us the green light for a bed-party in their mind?

We all want to know what it takes to hook up. Here are some tales from the trenches:

Sometimes It’s Just Italy: (Florence D’Italia, early 40’s):

“I was working on the mess deck of a merchant ship en route to Africa, Italy, Spain and Portugal and would work cocktail parties when we came into port. These parties were great and attended by well-to-do consuls and Navy admirals amongst others. When we ported in Genoa, Italy, I met a handsome American who was there as a translator for one of the consulates and we hit it off. I agreed after my shift was over, I’d meet him on the dock. He was really funny and I was more into laughing and running around Genoa having an adventure more than anything.

Adventure we did, all over the city. He was an architecture student at University there so we snuck into all kinds of cool buildings so he could wow me with all his knowledge. We finally made it to the  highest point in the city and were looking out over the harbor, with all the lights and I turned to look at him and he suddenly seemed the most handsome man alive and we had a full make-out session that lasted for a loooong time.

I had no plans on ever seeing him again and we were both completely ok with that. The problem was when he showed up on the dock the next morning with a bouquet of flowers and my elderly roommate woke me up to tell me “That young man you were gallivanting around with last night is out on the dock!” By the time I threw on some jeans and a t-shirt we were far enough away that I could see him waving. I never saw him again.

That’s Italy for you.”

Sometimes It’s Not That Complicated: (Freddy Fairlane, mid-30’s):

“In my wild single days I met a local girl on OKC and arranged to get together at a pub. Five minutes after we first sat down with our drinks she was telling me, in lurid detail, about the time she was gang-banged at a swingers party. It turned out that she was polyamorous and really really liked to have sex. We left five minutes after that. We quickly walked to my car and had steamy backseat sex.”

Sometimes It’s a Well-Stocked Library: (Shegot Millayd, early 30’s):

“After coming out of an almost seven-year relationship when I turned 30, I was ready to date! I had never been out on the scene before, and I had a lot of fun saying yes to every guy who asked me out. After over a year of nonstop dating, I still had never had a one-night stand. I had slept with a couple guys, but only after seeing them quite a bit first. I couldn’t believe I was a liberated, fun-loving almost-32-year-old and I had never had a one-night stand. But I was dating in NYC, and going home with some guy before I knew him seemed dangerous. But one night, I met an online date at Toys ‘R Us in Times Square (he wanted to take me on the ferris wheel! How cute. We also played in the life-sized Barbie dreamhouse). We proceeded to a nearby Australian bar where we both got very drunk in true Aussie style, and when he invited me back to his place with the lure of homemade snacks, I said yes.

I was thinking about if this guy might be ‘the one’ (that I finally have a one-night stand with, of course), on the cab ride over, but thought maybe it would be a better idea to wait – though I knew I also didn’t really want to go on another date with him. He was attractive, but somehow just not the kind of guy I could see myself pursuing anything long-term with. When he opened the door to his rather large East Village apartment, and piles of books teeter-tottered in every room (and he started showing me his favorite vintage photo tomes of NYC), this bibliophile was sold. A guy with that many books  got the prize. My first – and only – one night stand.”


Sometimes It’s the Ex-Factor: (Luffer Von Leavher, mid-20’s):

“I’m not the world’s greatest-looking guy, but I do ok with women. I realized when I was a kid that they like it when you listen, so I do. I think hookups are fun, but recently, after I got out from under a bad relationship, I wasn’t feeling like just a random thing with any chick. I was really hurt and missing my ex, who picked a job opportunity over me, saying she ‘cared for me, but didn’t really think I was worth staying in town for.’ I knew she wasn’t right for me anyway, but still. She had this really distinctive curly blonde hair, and one night a couple weeks after the ex had left town, I was out with my buddies, and this girl with the same kind of hair was at the bar. I couldn’t help but talk to her, and it turned out she looked a bit like my ex face-wise too. She was very flirtatious.

I wondered if it would be a bad idea to get with someone who resembled my last girlfriend, and thought it might be weird. But when she grabbed my butt and looked me in the eye, I got so turned on I had to take her back to my place. Did I kind of imagine I was doing my ex? In the dark, in my bed, yeah, I did. Lucky for me, she was a lot more fun. But it was too strange to actually date her, so I never called her after that.”

Sometimes It’s No Way Even When There’s Cocktails: (Heidi Roller, late 20’s)

“I had been single for a few years and was really hitting up the online dating scene. My date appeared to be cute and funny and we were to meet at a bar/coffeehouse I had never been to before. After spending the usual amount of girlie time getting ready, I was on my way when I received a call – he had a flat on his bike. I offered to pick him up at the 7-11 he was stuck at with his broken bicycle.

When I met him at the 7-11, we proceeded to get into a slight argument about the value of putting his bicycle in my car as opposed to dealing with it later. Apparently, there was a bike shop next to the coffeehouse and he could get it fixed and ride home. After I realized I was getting nowhere with words, I let my date get in my car, we left his bicycle, and proceeded to the bar/coffeeshop.

He proceeded to order only a coffee and informed me that he only orders coffee because it is the cheapest ($2.00 to be exact) and has unlimited refills. It was at this time that I decided to start drinking alcohol. A few hours and alcoholic drinks later, I informed my date it was time to get back to the 7-11 for his bicycle. When the tab came, he offered to give me a few bucks for my drinks but I felt too bad for the guy. I ended up paying for my drinks and his coffee.

I drove him back to the 7-11. He then asked me if I could drive him to his house. I nearly left him there but did end up driving him to his house with the bicycle in the back of my car.

After arriving at his house, he tried to kiss me and then invite me in.  I declined both offers.”

Editor’s note: All names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.

Image: DavidMartynHunt, Scented_Mirror, kainr,

Starre Vartan

Starre Vartan has been covering eco fashion, natural beauty, ethical travel, and sustainable design for over a decade. She's written for magazines (Whole Living, Metropolis) and online (Huffington Post, MNN, Elle.com, Inhabitat) and she has been honored as a thought leader by Glamour and Self magazines, as well as quoted in the New York Times (thrice). She's the author of "The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green" (St. Martin's Press) which was based on her longrunning blog, Eco-Chick.com. Starre was born Down Under in Sydney, Australia and has dual citizenship with the United States, as she grew up and was educated in the Hudson Valley of New York. She has a Bachelors of Science degree in Geology from Syracuse University and a Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction writing from Columbia University. She splits her time between the Connecticut coast and Manhattan and loves to read, hike, snowboard, horseback ride, travel, and she will swim in almost anything (from lake to sea, cenote to mountain swimming hole).