You hear the word used a lot. Heck, we use it all the time (but it’s kind of our job, so…). But what is a hookup?

Thing is, there’s no solid definition. The word just means different things to different people. For a guy, “hooking up” can translate to getting together, physically, for anything from kissing to sex, which, let’s be honest, is pretty much the entire spectrum (unless you use your imagination, that is).

A hookup can happen fast (and with Lucky, really fast, since you only have a few hours to start chatting once you’ve been matched), so it’s easy to worry about killing the mood by doing the dating equivalent of sitting at a conference table and going over a contract. But because your expectations might be different, it’s really a good thing to start off on the same page.

It’s all about how you say it. Depending on your comfort zone, being straight-forward and a little fun is the way to go. If you’re new to online dating, you might want to say that you haven’t done this too much, and that your tastes aren’t very extreme, and get some feedback from the other person (they may even prefer that — not everyone wants to go crazy).

Or, if you’ve gotten comfortable with hooking up online, you might just want to start off with some ground rules. Type something in advance, and save it in the notes on your phone so you can just copy and paste it. Something like, “So, if you want to have fun, there are a few things you should know:

  • 1) I won’t do X, Y and Z;
  • 2) I’ve been wanting to experiment with This Thing, though;
  • 3) [add whatever else you want to — where you’ll meet, if you want this to be a one-time-only thing, if you have any preferences about stuff to try. If they’re into something different, that’s totally okay, but at least you’re not wasting your time.]”

Most guys are pretty cool. You know for a fact that there are some absolute creeps out there, but for the most part, most guys learned good lessons from their moms. Still, refer to previous statement about “creeps out there:” you can never be too safe, especially if you’ve been hooking up enough to have gotten comfortable with how it works.

Always start a meetup with an air of cautious optimism. You’ll know in the first two minutes if this guy is cool, or if he’s blah, of if he might actually be kind of dangerous — finding that out in a place where there are other people around is never a bad idea. Nothing out of the way; just a little bar close to one of your places. If things fall apart, you’ve got an easy out with as much anonymity as you want. If they don’t, then pay the tab, head to the nearest bedroom, and have a great time.