Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Last Night I Hit That...


One of my favorite lines from a TV show last year occurred on "House MD." The long-awaited kiss between Drs. House and Cuddy finally occurred, and was actually rather romantic. However, the next day at the hospital, House downplayed the event by tipping his head toward Cuddy and telling his team, "Last night I hit that and now she's all up in my jock."

I can't tell you why I found this so hilarious, except that it was completely unexpected, and well, I always find House hilarious. Meanwhile, however, the irony is that in general I find this attitude toward sex pretty annoying.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude. While I've never indulged in a one-night stand, I've had a couple short flings and am certainly capable of being shallow about sex from time to time. I also understand the human insecurities that prompt us to downplay our romantic encounters out of a desire to protect our egos (which clearly was House's motivation, and made it therefore forgivable). But what does irk me is when the objectification of the sex partner becomes a regular and chronic practice, when every lover is referred to with an impersonal pronoun, as in "I hit that."

Casual sex is the oldest act in the world. I have no reason to believe it's any more prevalent now than in any other age. However, the words our society uses to describe sexual activities currently don't exactly thrill me. "I hit that" is funny in contexts like the one on "House," but when it honestly expresses the sentiment that the sex partner was no more than a toy with flesh, it's actually pretty sad.

And while I'm not one to criticize the vernacular generally, I'm not a big fan of "hooked up" either. I'm not sure why exactly...I guess it just sounds so mechanical, and well, almost boring. "Hooked up" conjures up this picture of two people saying to each other, "Well, I'm here, you're here, we're horny, why not?" There's no seduction--heck, it doesn't even sound like there's much fun involved!

"Getting it on" at least sounds energetic. "Making out" sounds goal-oriented and like you are happy about succeeding. "Pitching woo" and "making whoopee" are cute and silly, which is still an improvement. "Hooking up" just sounds so intentionally temporary, so unmotivated, so dull. Even when a friend exclaims excitedly "You mean you guys actually hooked up?" the excitement is ironic. You might as well be jumping up and down as you say, "You guys ran into each other at the mall?" or "You guys ended up on the same elevator?"

I understand that words are just words, and the affect behind what is being said is what matters. But I can't help but wonder why this kind of phraseology prevails at the moment. Is everyone so highly motivated to make sure the significance of any sexual encounter is downplayed? Is that because we really don't take sex seriously, or because we do, and therefore we are terrified other people will find out it matters to us?

It was pretty plain on that episode of "House" that the doctor did care about having kissed Cuddy, so much so that he made a point of belittling the encounter at his earliest possible opportunity. And I suspect that's the most common reason for the nonchalance of our current sexual terminology.

Heaven forbid we should call it "making love," hey? :-)

8 comments:

CC said...

I think you're the first person I've ever known who used the noun form of "affect." :-)

Diana Laurence said...

You know, CC, there are times when there's one, and only one, perfect English word for the occasion. And the fact that it is no longer in common parlance (maybe "parlance" is another one...LOL) does not dissuade me. Sometimes I wish I lived in England where I think there is more love of vocabulary. I wonder if they use "hooked up" there.... :-)

CC said...

We should find someone from England to ask... I just can't imagine "hooked up" in a British accent. :-)

Cherie Burbach said...

The brits like to say shag a lot. Plus I love how open they are about the whole thing.

But I agree, "I hit that" .... ewwww.....

Jennie Brown Hakim said...

When I hear the term "hook up", somehow it reminds me of fishhooks...

Miss Organizized said...

Wow I never thought about this at all, but you're right! How do you feel about "I got 'er did"? ;)

Diana Laurence said...

"I got 'er did"??? Is that like the sleezy version of "git 'er done"? Whoever thought of that is, yeah, not really my kind of clever...[shudder]

Nitish said...
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