A recent Wall Street Journal column (Nov. 1) by Jeffrey Zaslow describes dating today that was new to me. A boy asked his 16-year-old daughter to a homecoming dance. They all dressed up with gowns, tuxes, and corsages, met together at a friends backyard so parents could take photos, but none of the boys actually bought tickets to the dance and none went. Instead, they went to diner and hung out at someone’s house afterward. The girls were disappointed, all dressed up with no place to go, but they accepted it, as teens now socialize in packs rather than one-on-one.
Dances are falling out of favor. Teens prefer casual “hooking up” (meaning sexual privileges) rather than the romantic dating we knew. Zaslow mentions Cardinal O’Hara High School’s class of ’06 selected a homecoming queen but had to call off the dance from lack of interest.
College boys no longer call a girl on Wednesday for a date on Saturday. Instead, they text message “R U busy?” at 2 a.m. for a hookup. Many girls we see clutching their cell phones are waiting for just such a message.
Girls miss romance and are often depressed by one-night hookups that rarely lead to a dating relationship, but few even know about being treated with deference or the thrill of simply holding hands. (See the blog on sock hops, 11/22/05)
Zaslow’s column was followed by many letters to the editor debating who was at fault—the boys for taking the easy way, or the girls for permitting it. But no one denied the truth of the situation.