Friday, July 30, 2010

The Date

This is a shot of the second floor of the Islander motel, where the bar and dance floor lounge used to be. There are many stories to tell about this lounge, the site of countless happy social gatherings in my late teens and early twenties.

But today the pressing topic on my mind is dating, specifically does anyone date any more?

Although it's come as quite a shock to me, it appears I am the mother of a teenager who is ready to go to the Islander lounge parties and social functions and such things, when only yesterday I accidentally dropped him out of his baby carrier right onto the kitchen floor was giving him baths in the kitchen sink.

Don't get me wrong. Dating is not on his radar screen yet, at least not overtly. But already I sense a major shift forthcoming, sort of like the tectonic plates in California.

Here lately I've come to realize that teenagers nowadays do less dating and more "mass gathering, " i.e. boys and girls going to someone's house to do God knows what hang out, listen to music, or do God knows what lollygag around a bonfire. Or they go as a group to a movie, for example.

This never happened when I was growing up. Never. Other than my high school graduation party down Port Haywood, I do not recall any mass gatherings that would have been sanctioned and even chaperoned by parents, unless you want to count that one time my mother let us have a party for the girls' basketball team post season the dances at school or the skating rink in Gloucester, both very rich and flavorful topics for another time.

From a parental standpoint, there are many benefits to this newfangled group approach, including the knowledge that the kids are in one central location under adult supervision (in theory), as opposed to gallivanting up and down the road in cars going to nowhere in particular doing God knows what which is what we did.

Chesapeake Bay Son went to a high school party of sorts last night and has recently announced that he'd like to have a going away party for a friend of his next weekend, and a birthday gathering the following weekend-- a gathering that will consist of two girls and two boys. Ahem.

I, of course, am very happy to oblige and honored that he wants to have people over rather than wanting to escape somewhere else to do God knows what.

But when I think back to when I was his age, I can't help but make comparisons--and the differences are very shocking. This may be a good thing for him, because most of my early high school stories involve introversion, awkwardness and an utter and complete lack of social skills. Actually that still holds true today.

In the next episode of The Date, I'll talk about my first high school dance and try not to cry. Future episodes, documenting several of my favorite dates of all time, will delve into some of the differences between then and now, up to and including my use of Morse code the rotary telephone vs. Son's use of a so-called smart phone (i.e. a phone that makes me feel dumb).

Mothers of teenagers: Do they go on dates anymore or is it more of this group dynamic? Is the mother supposed to disappear into her room where she can play on the internet all night long or does she need to keep an eagle eye on the God knows what festivities?

Anyone still awake: Did you go to group parties/gatherings as a 9th grader?

Clearly, I have a lot to learn.

Serenity now.


TSannie said...

I am praying for you...

BTW, my most appropriate WV is: filigh What your son would say: "MOM! I don't give a FILIGH what you think!"

TSannie said...

And this WV is: reldi

As in the response you will give to your son: "RELDI???" "Are you kidding me???"

TSannie said...

I am done now.

(My WV is encessy and that is too darn close to incessant which I've heard is a bad habit to possess/do, which I may very well have done here, what with 3 (THREE) in a row comments...(o dear!).

TSannie said...

I'm going to bed now.

WV: mitme: Just mitme go to bed!

(Obviously I'm having too much fun with this and really and truly need to GET A LIFE!)

deborah said...

Mine are past that age but still gather in groups, two by two now. Its a great compliment that he wants to have the events at his house! You are free to surf the internet all evening!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

I'll be reading the comments with interest as my oldest is the same age as yours. He, too, is doing the group thing now. They like to hang in this one neighborhood where the streets are excellent for longboarding - and there's one girl in the group who I can tell is everyone's buddy but is cute as a button and has figured out that showing interest in a guy's hobby is a good way to meet guys.

I remember double dates, I think, and maybe a hayride or two, but otherwise, I think the actual dating started a bit later, maybe 10th or 11th grade.

Lynne M said...

Oh, I will also be reading with a keen eye - mine is also going into 9th... ugh...

The WV is weeptedi - I would say: "I weeptedi because my son is going into the 9th grade.."

Ann Marie said...

1. If you hover like one of those hover crafts you see in the movies with the dude with the gun.... you will NEVER have then at your house again...

2. They really don't do God Knows What.. they act silly and do things we would never have THOUGHT of doing at that age.. they talk and just hang out which is WAY different than Hooking Up.

3. We won't talk about Hooking Up because CBW will do number 1. As in up there not number 1 like the number 2 that was in a cornfield.

4. It is Friday I am at the beach and I didn't even leave Thursday cause I am counting my comments.

5. Leaving now.

Jamie said...

Oh, CBW, we NEED to talk... my daughter will be 16 this September. Seriously, they date (she has a steady boyfriend) and they have group gatherings/outings. I prefer having some control over whatever they are doing. Oh, and younger siblings make GREAT chaperones. You can borrow Ethan, he's a pro as he finds kissing "ah-gusting" and he thinks Bridget's BF is there to play with him so he even sits between the two...

Mental P Mama said...

OMG! Annie--GO TO BED! Now, the gathering business: You want to be the hang out house. Believe me. It makes things very easy. Really.

Mrs F with 4 said...

My eldest is nine. Not grade nine, just nine. I am totally going to learn from your experience. Whilst quietly holding my breath and thanking all the powers that it is NOT me. Yet.

Although.. number 2 son, T, (he's 6) is Mr Popularity with the girls. He told them, as they were fighting over him, "Girls, girls, you'll have to learn to share me. There's enough T for everyone".

Does Number 1 and Number 2 mean the same as it does in our house? REALLY? You did a number 2 in a CORNFIELD?

These Nine Acres said...

We used to always date in groups until it was a serious relationship. Around these parts there is nothing to do besides hang out at the barn with your friends or have a bonfire.

Unless, of course, you consider cow tipping a great date night.

Anonymous said...

We have had the group gatherins here in the glebe and make the circle outside....every now and again and keep watch out the kitchen window and have helped to chaperone a few others they dont mind the old folks at really your just going out there to fill up the bowls of chips and stuff right!!!
Good Luck!!!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

A few responses here random order.

Mrs. F. - COUNTRY GIRL(AKA CORNFIELD) Kate is the one who had the emergency pit stop. Look on Facebook on the Blog Fest page - there's a shot of her peeking around the corner of that building near the field that is priceless. Also, I think I love your son, tell those girls to save some for me.

Jamie-Ah-gusting is my new favorite word. And I've already enlisted my youngest/daughter to serve as a sort of informant so that it doesn't appear that I am hovering, etc. It works very nicely.

AM-I agree about the hovering. I'll pretend I didn't read anything about hooking up because I don't have any smelling salts handy.

TSA-You are too, too funny. Reldi and seriously.

deborah-We may be soliciting advice from you since yours are already past this stage. Yay! I can surf the internet! (While occasionally sending my daughter in to spy and every so often filling up the chip bowl, I guess.)

Meg-Yeah, double dates happened here and there, like the Prom, but it was a rarity for me. that sounds like fun. Even now...

Lynn-I weeptedi with you. We'll have to keep bringing this topic up so we all can learn/benefit from all the experienced parents of teens out there.

MPM-I feel that way also even without much experience in this area yet. Guess it's time to clean out the basement and declare it teenager space.

TNA/Tracey- There was nothing to do here either except ride up and down the roads, which we did a lot. Cow tipping does count, as does toilet papering someone's house, but that's a story for another time.

Anonymous (KL?) - Sounds good, I'll definitely remember to always have a chip bowl in the midst of things.

Thank you all - clearly there's a lot to learn.

Trisha said...

Dating still exists - I think it just moved out of high school. When I was in high school most of the time kids did things in groups but there was some dating. In college- more dates but still group stuff. Once out of college - it was all dates.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

For the love of pete Annie will you please shut up!
No girls on the menu here yet but I see it coming. I feel sick.

foolery said...

Group stuff is the best! All we ever did in high school was group stuff (10-20 of us), and half the time it was at my house. You may wish to ignore this comment altogether seeing how I turned out (I was in the arty-nerdy-brainiac-band geek group, but I wasn't a brainiac, I was everything else).

Riding a tectonic plate across my office floor,


Daryl said...

okay . first Jamie has a 16 yr old? Impossible. Meg has a child old enough to date? Impossible. Did you two get preggers at birth? How could you have such grown up kids and look 20? I am doing something wrong.

Anyway ... in Junior High we went to parties with boys .. not too well chaperoned as I recall kissing games in closets ... after that no group parties but often double dates as in 'I have a friend, can you fix him up with someone and we can go out together?' ... or vice verse.

One such double date ended with a short stop and the car literally turning over and landing on its wheels which I still think is a miracle.

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big hair envy said...

Group events have prevailed throughout SW's high school years. (Yep. It's a foreign concept to me, as well.) It's a good thing she's going to college so far away....I really prefer to remain in denial about the whole dating thing!!! Please pass the ice cream:)

wv: wikew Wikew were here!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Daryl, I would also admit to kissing games in basements, such as spin the bottle and two minutes in the closet, but I don't think that's gonna help CBW. And yes, in fact I was married at 13 and gave birth at 15, because you see, I am still 29. Again. Or something like that.