Archie Doesn’t Live Here Any More

“And this isn’t Riverdale High, either!”

I’ve been chaperoning high school dances for 3 decades, and this was a first for me. At a recent formal, a number of boys showed up with not one but two girls as dates.

I’m not quite sure what to make of it all. The better angel of my nature thinks that it’s generous of a boy to invite a couple of friends out for a night of food, music, and dancing.

But there is a part of me that wonders about gender equity. Are there dances where it is acceptable for a girl to bring a couple of boys as evening companions? Was this particular event an aberration or is this the start of a trend?

And how does one even ask the question, “Tabitha, would you like to be one of my dates for the evening?”


6 thoughts on “Archie Doesn’t Live Here Any More

  1. The other plausible explanation to this “phenomena” is that the age when our young people develop from craving mostly group behaviour and into coupling has moved ahead and is no longer happening when you thought it should be. If young people are not planning to marry until they are 40, why should they worry about exclusive dating at 16?! They are friends with girls, and one can have many friends, right? The prom is no longer a gateway into a married future, it is just another opportunity to have fun with Other kids!

  2. I’ll go the other way on this one. I don’t think young adults are more promiscuous, or less attached. I think, actually, for many it is as likely as not to be the opposite. I do not know anything abut these gentlemen who brought two dates, so this is pure pectulation. However, given that there is significant pressure (and, it is fun) to attend prom, it’s not hard to imagine that, for someone who has otherwise not been part of the dating scene, asking a couple friends (or organizing with a group of friends) is a great deal less awkward than one friend-date thing. Besides, I’m not convinced that prom (is the Bat Ball a prom?oars aims loaded with the romantic/sexual connotations that it once was. Particularly in the context of single-gender schools.

  3. Hard to imagine how things can be so different from our good old Prom days, don’t you think?

    No, I do not believe that we have seen this trend of multiple dates … “yet”? I think it speaks a young person’s sense of not wanting to be overly committed to anything, which I see in teenagers, particularly in their relationships. Also the impact of social media as an avenue to developing relationships, partnerships and intimacy cannot be ignored – Perhaps it fuels an attitude that “If I take 2 or 3 girls to the formal, I am not tied to anyone in particular yet I might still get lucky before the night is out…but have no obligation to a relationship with one person”. This is just one idea that springs to mind…not particularly flattering for the teenagers in this world, but a thought that does cross my mind nevertheless…

  4. Can you imagine a scenario where two young men agree to be shared by a female at a dance? I can’t. It upsets the traditional gender power dynamic and challenges the “this is my property” thinking that sometimes goes along with the adolescent male dating experience — so I doubt we’ll even have to address the issue at our school. (Maybe we should encourage it, however, as a form of female empowerment!)

    As for one young man bringing two dates to a dance……there’s something disturbingly Charlie Sheen-ish about this scenario. Perhaps I’m getting old and staid, but I’m troubled that girls wouldn’t think more critically before agreeing to be shared in this way. While I highly doubt a young man would ever agree to be one of two men accompanying a young woman, I suspect the boys who brought along two dates were awarded with a few “way to go dude” remarks by their fellow classmates. Perhaps we should just agree that one date per student will allow them to provide the “appropriate attention and respect” that any well-mannered young person should afford their guest when invited to a dance.

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