By Mike Pound
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
I guess I had it easy as a high school kid.
At least I had it easier than the high school kids of today. When I was in high school it was pretty easy to determine if a girl wanted to go to, let’s say, the homecoming dance with you.
The first thing you did was to approach the girl you wanted to ask to the dance. If the girl, when she saw you walking toward her, didn’t scream and run away, you took that as a good sign. Then if your name was, let’s say, Mike, and she didn’t say “Hi, Merv,” you took that as another good sign. And then if, after you asked the girl if she wanted to go to the dance with you, she didn’t respond like this: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA! You’re so funny, Merv,” you took that as another good sign.
What you did back then was take your best shot. If the girl in question said “yes,” then you had to figure out what a wrist corsage was and where you could get one. If the girl in question said “no,” you simply nodded your head, went back to your locker, stepped inside, closed the door, crawled into a fetal position and sobbed into your history book.
But that is not how it is done today. As it has been explained to me by our 15-year-old daughter, Emma, teenage boys don’t just ask a girl to go to a dance with them. What teenage boys and girls do is start out by “talking.”
Say I was to ask Emma if a girl she knew was going to a dance, she would say, “Not yet. But she might go with Scooter. They’re talking.”
“About what?” I’ll ask.
“They’re just talking,” Emma said.
“I see,” I said, even though, as I have said many times before, I seldom do see.
According to Emma — and she’s a freshman, so she should know — if a boy and a girl talk and discover the talks are going well, they might move on to the next step of talking about going to the dance.
However, the rules allow either party to break off the talks. The other day, Emma mentioned some kids she knew and said they were talking, but the girl decided she didn’t want to talk anymore.
By the way, you may have noticed that I’m avoiding using actual names in this column. Well, I did use the name Scooter, but that was a joke.
Emma has threatened to sue me if I break any sort of high school code of secrecy in my column. I’m not even sure I should be writing about this “talking” stuff.
When Emma was explaining the whole “talking” thing to me, I said that her friend Katie’s dog, Ralph, might ask our dog, Shilo, to the dance.
“They’re barking,” I said.
Emma tried to hide a smile when I said that.
“Now that was funny, admit it,” I said.
“OK,” Emma said. “It was funny.”
The other thing about asking girls to a dance these days that puzzles me is the fact that a guy just can’t walk up to a girl and say, “Uhhhh, wanna go to the dance?”
Nope, today a guy has to come up with a creative way to ask a girl to the dance. He has to make a poster and decorate it with cute stuff. Or he has to come up with a theme and make the dance request conform to that theme.
As if trying to learn how to tie a tie wasn’t hard enough.
Hey, when I was in high school the most challenging thing I had to do to get a girl to agree to go to a dance with me was to convince her that my family’s station wagon was cool.
That’s right. I took dates to dances in our family station wagon.
I want to discuss all of these new dating rules with my wife, but I can’t. The other day she told me she didn’t want to talk anymore.
Do you have an idea for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.