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NEW YORK — First-time authors Andrea Lavinthal and Jessica Rozler say dating is dead, and they’re shedding some light on its replacement with their new book, “The Hookup Handbook: A Single Girl’s Guide To Living It Up” (Simon & Schuster).

Hooking up, under Lavinthal and Rozler’s definition, is an all-encompassing Gen-Y lifestyle choice. It’s often fueled by alcohol; includes petting, smooching, groping, or full-on sex, and applies to anything on the relationship continuum from the one-night stand up to, but not including, the serious boyfriend.

“Hooking up is about not being ready to settle,” explains Lavinthal, a beauty editor at —where else? — Cosmopolitan magazine. “You’re still finding yourself and having fun, not forcing yourself to be in a relationship you’re not ready for.”

Which makes for a book filled with first-person accounts (Pepper, 25, says, “A hookup is anything but sex.”), quizzes (How Shameful Was Your Walk of Shame?), typecasting (the Ex-Boyfriend, the Urban Metrosexual, the Older Man) and a “Sex and the City”-inspired quiz called “What’s Your Hookup Style?” (One sample question: “True or False: Manolo Blahniks.”)

For those who are wondering exactly what a Walk of Shame is in the first place, a list of hookup-centric vocabulary is even included (Lavinthal and Rozler define it as “having to walk home from someone else’s residence after a hookup…identifiable by disheveled hair, smudged mascara and an outfit that just doesn’t look right at 10 a.m. on a Sunday”).

Lavinthal, all citified sorority girl in knee-high Michael Kors boots and honey-colored highlights, and the more cerebral, reserved Rozler seem at first glance an unlikely pair, but it was these differences that drew them together. They met as journalism majors at Syracuse University, where they got together to write an article on hooking up after realizing that everybody was doing it but that no one quite understood what it meant.

A couple of years later, out of college and living in New York, hooking up was still a very real part of their — and their friends’ — lives. (Both Lavinthal and Rozler are still single.) “We were like, everyone’s still talking about hooking up,” says Rozler, who now works at a small book publishing company. “I mean, people date, but not in the traditional sense.”

This story first appeared in the March 14, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

What’s replaced it, they say, is text messaging, e-mails, and an all-around more laissez-faire approach to the experience of finding a mate. “When you can send a message to someone’s cell phone that says, ‘Meet up later,’ instead of making a concrete plan and sticking with it, by definition everything is more casual,” says Lavinthal.

And it’s become more and more of a reality, they say, as increasing numbers of women hold out on the serious relationship while they pursue a career, a social life and time for themselves. “It’s like boyfriend-lite,” says Lavinthal. “Our parents told us we could be anything, do anything and we believed that. So why settle for a guy when you’re not sure he’s, like, The One?”

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