Welcome to Man-day with Jensguy!
I have reached that awkward time in my life where I am starting to see the pictures of girls going to prom posted on Facebook by the mothers of the girls that I myself went to prom with. Ahh, Technology! My children are blessedly younger than that so I have a few more years to personally deal with that myself. (With good behavior my 12 year old daughter might be able to attend a prom when she is 21.)
Seeing these pictures has taken me back to my teenage dating years that I tried to repress, and made me consider some things that might not have been common knowledge to you women:
1. Prom Pictures. How many people out there have kept copies of their prom pictures? Unless you ended up marrying the guy in them I would suspect precious few. You need to know that unless his mother got a hold of them first, most guys dropped those things in the garbage can right after he gave you a copy, if you wanted them. Here is the real thing about those pictures, they amounted to an “I don’t dance” tax. So unless you were all:
chances are that you didn’t have enough moves to fill up a couple of hours on the dance floor, let alone being able to bust them in a rented tux. So in order to delay, delay, and delay, you visited the punch bowl a few dozen times, and waited in the interminable line for prom pictures. That alone could kill half the time you were supposed to be on the dance floor. And how badly did we want to avoid dancing? This bad:
Incidentally in the 6 years that I have now been attending elementary school daddy-daughter dances, this phenomenon is still in full effect. A lot of daddies are still afraid of the dance floor and even today continue to wait with their daughters in line for pictures.
2. The Phone Call. If any of you ladies were ever called on the phone by a poor boy asking for a date, I hope you were nice to him. Honestly, I have handled a number of challenges in my professional life and have been placed in a number of uncomfortable positions, perhaps none of them quite as excruciating as dialing that last digit of a telephone number preparing to ask a girl on a date.
In retrospect, much of the fear and pain was unnecessary, but for somebody as unfamiliar with life, things, and especially girls, it was certainly life or death. Consider: If she answers the phone, you are going to have to make up small talk before you actually ask her out. You can’t just blurt out, “Hi, this is Jimmy! Will you go out with me?” (Well, except that roommate I had in college that often employed this approach.) You need to identify yourself and then move smoothly to “Sooooo, what are you doin’. . . .”
What if she says no? Because it isn’t likely she is going to say “Get lost, creep!” She is more than likely going to say that she has something else going on. Should you try again at a later date, or assume that she wants noting to do with you. Teenage boys are going with option “B” almost every time, unless he is a stalker, or just really confident. Chances are he was a stalker.
What if she says “yes?” Now I have to plan a date. That is a whole different set of worries and pitfalls. If I feel the need for moral support, I will need to go on a group date. That will entail me waiting for my friends to sit through the Hell that I just endured. What if they give up and I’m left to fend for myself? That is why it was important never to be the first to ask, which is probably why a lot of girls aren’t getting asked out in high school. It is possible that things are different post-Carly Rae Jepsen, however. . .
3. Budget Woes. It’s really hard to impress a date on a high school student budget. You can have dinner OR a movie if you are lucky. Nowadays, I suppose couples split the cost, but I was, and still am a gentlemen, so unless it was Sadie Hawkins (whoever that was) the guy was paying. Fortunately I grew up rural so I had a lot of options not open to city folk. We did night hiking, cow tipping, ice blocking on golf courses and a bunch of other things that will likely get kids arrested today. Here’s ice blocking for those wondering what it is:
Also, some boys also had to resort to driving the family station wagon when going on a date, which was a step better than needing their father to drive said station wagon. In this, I was lucky as I had my own set of wheels, which looked a lot like this:
except with a lot more Bondo to cover the rusted out parts. It was all ready for the paint job I was never able to afford. It would have been sweet, and went perfectly with the stereo system that was easily worth more than the car. Yeah, it was pretty much a Love Machine that cost so much in gas that I could barely get to school and back.
So, yes, dating was hard and didn’t resemble at all most of the teen drama shows on TV. I don’t know if there will be a lot of advice that I can give my son that will help him ease through those years, other than to Cowboy Up and Soldier On. I did stick with it and became proficient enough that I was able to finally catch Jennifer, so I suppose it wasn’t all bad. I never have taken her ice blocking, however. You all should nominate that for her next Pinterest challenge.