The Hook Up: Living Up to an Online Persona + Diving into Dating

Photo: (Everyone Is Gay)

Photo: (Everyone Is Gay)

The Hook Up is a weekly relationship advice column from MTV Act and the It’s Your (Sex) Life campaign, written by the very talented Kristin Russo and Dannielle Owens-Reid.

From the awkward to the complicated to the down-right-adorable, these girls have you covered. To submit your question about love, lust or anything in between, email us at We’d love to hear from you, and your question could be chosen for a future column! Plus, the first 30 people get free MTV Act shirts. FYI, in case you’re a little shy, all questions can be anonymous.

I think I’m in love but I’m not sure. How do you know you definitely are? Question submitted by Lisa

Dannielle Says: 

Shiz, son, when you find out, LET ME KNOW.

Jaykay, yallls. I just think it’s on a person to person basis. Is that how that phrase works? I think there are different kinds of love. I think you can be in love multiple times. I think you can be head over heels in love and then when it’s over you realize you weren’t in love at all. I think you can see someone for the first time and be overwhelmed with emotion, your heart falls into your stomach and you forget to breathe, you can’t stop staring at them and in one minute you can feel like you’ve met the person you’re going to spend your life with, but then you never see them again. I think you can see a Nick Jonas interview and realize he’s exactly what you want in a boy/man and skin IS SO G-D CLEAR IT’S NOT EVEN FAIR. You can imagine yourself with someone forever and then forget about them in five minutes.

Love is a strange thing.

When you know, you know. That’s how I feel about it. I don’t know that there is one person for everyone. I don’t know if everyone has single soul mate. I don’t know what to tell you, anonymous, because love is not black&white, it’s not simple and it’s not the same for you as it is for me.

For me, love is a strange mixture of feeling like the luckiest person in the world and more terrified that I’ve ever been in my life. It’s feeling completely comfortable and lazy but totally motivated and adventurous. I don’t feel like I have to prove anything to anyone and I don’t care what anyone thinks. I can’t imagine my life without her and I swear to god she gets prettier everyday.

but that’s just me.

also, THIS.

Kristin Says:

It would be so much easier if, when in love, a small, heart shaped beauty mark appeared over our left eyelid…then we could just close our eyes and KNOW.  Wait.  That would actually be awful, because then in first grade when I closed my eyes at my teacher, she would totally know that I loved her and that would be so embarrassing.  Revising plan: It is really, really awesome that there isn’t a foundational, unequivocal way to ‘know’ how to define love.  What makes it so intriguing and wonderful and complicated is that it is near-to-impossible to completely pin down.

The important thing to know is that there are a hundred-million-thousand-infinity types of love out there in the world, and you are capable of feeling them all, sometimes several at once.  You can be in love with your girlfriend of three months, and then fall in love with her all over again after a year, and then fall out of love with her after five.  You can love someone after five months and understand an entirely new form of love that doesn’t change, but just attacks you in moments with its incredible strength.

Sometimes love feels out of control and makes you lose six pounds in three weeks, sometimes it feels like the only thing that is grounding your feet to the floor, sometimes it feels like a really deep breath of salty air, sometimes it feels like crying.

I know.  It is really confusing.  It is one of those things that you cannot know until you are like, “Oh mannnn, I KNOW.”

If you are feeling at all discouraged by that answer, I also have been fortunate enough to have my opinions on the stages of relationship-love formatted into an easy-to-read Powerpoint slide!

I talk to girls online fine but when I’m around them I feel like my personality is different and I’m not as funny. Help! Question asked by Travis

Dannielle Says: 


I’m so serious about this right now. You guys, one time I met a girl that I had been talking to on the internet AND I WAS COMPLETELY SILENT THE WHOLE TIME. I literally couldn’t get a word out, I was so nervous. She was chit chattin up a storm and I was just staring at her totally frightened and not knowing what to say. It was the worst. I’m soooo funny on the internet and I’m soooo funny over text message, but get me next to a girl I have a crush on in real life and I’m like a deer in headlights.

However, I’ve managed to learn a lot from being totally nervous and unable to speak. First and foremost, if it’s supposed to work out, it will. If you can barely breathe, much less carry a conversation, just remember that 6 months from now your boo is going to be giggling about how cute you were when you first met and you couldn’t speak! OR SHE’LL SAY you kept trying to make jokes and failing miserably, but she couldn’t stop laughing. OR she’ll mention how you literally talked about AdventureTime for 45 minutes and you’ll both laugh. Things have a way of working themselves out.

IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE AWKWARD, I suggest making a list in your head of good solid questions to ask and remember that hanging out isn’t about being hilarious, it’s about getting to know your potential boo. Show interest in the things she likes, listen to what she’s saying, and care about her as a human. That’s all anyone REALLY wants, and once you both feel comfortable, you’ll loosen up and your true hilarious internetty personality will shine bright like a diamond.

Kristin Says:


I feel like I should answer this question from the other end of the experience – as the girl who goes on a date with someone who is SO FUNNY but then is like #PANICEYES the whole time we are on a date…


The thing about the Internet vs Real Life issue is that most everyone knows that if you are funny and charming and wonderful via social media and phone-thangs, you are a smart and charming and funny PERSON in general. Anyone who doesn’t attribute awkward first-date / getting to know you moments to nerves is a straight up fool. You should enter into the date feeling confident that even if you aren’t confident… potential-future-boobear will get it.

I also think that screaming out your feelings in the first few moments is goddamn hilarious, so when you pick her up at her house you should just look her in the eyes and shout “SOMETIMES ON FIRST DATES I GET NERVOUS SO I PROBABLY WON’T BE AS FUNNY AS I AM ON THE INTERNET BUT JUST GIVE ME TIME OKAY?!?!?!?!?!” Then lean dramatically on the doorframe and ask for a glass of water.

Now you’ve communicated your feelings, cleared the way for some awkward, and made Kristin Russo die laughing. Good work.

Kristin Russo and Dannielle Owens-Reid are the co-creators of Everyone is Gay, a website and organization promoting kindness between all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. The views expressed in these blog posts are the viewsof the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of MTV, KFF or the It’s Your Sex Life campaign.

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