I was with a group of friends recently and we were discussing teenagers dating. We were a mixed group of women. All ages and skin colors.
I listened as some of the women spoke about how their first boyfriend was when they were 13 years old. One woman said her boyfriend would come over and study or watch television with her and have dinner with her family. She would go to his house sometimes too, but not as much.
They were never alone.
As the years progressed, she had different boyfriends and dated. They'd be dropped off to the movies with other friends and picked up. Same with school dances or fairs, plays, football games, etc.
Dating and having a boyfriend/girlfriend was normal.
Their dates knew to bring them corsages for the big dances and bought them snacks at the movies, etc. Their boyfriends were always on their best behavior around parents and anything out of sorts was corrected.
The conversation turned to me.
My first date was my senior prom and it wasn't really a date. We were just at the same place together. Simple.
I didn't date until I was on my own. The advice I got about dating...I received from my peers. I wasn't GUIDED while dating. The only advice about boys my parents ever gave me was to not be a fast tail lil girl and end up pregnant.
But dating is far from simple.
As we continued to have this conversation, I noticed that all of the Black women weren't allowed to date, FOR REAL DATE, until they were 17. No boys period. No conversations even about LIKING boys. They always received the same warnings...don't get pregnant.
The White women? Dating and liking boys in middle school and high school was no biggie. It was never an issue...it was just what happened naturally. Basically...it was DATING WITH PARENTAL GUIDANCE.
Once they'd gone to college, dating was the norm and they knew what to expect from dating as opposed to being overwhelmed with it and dating, for the first time, WITHOUT parental guidance. Just on their own with their own instincts to guide them. There wasn't a norm to it...it wasn't all brand new. They didn't lose their minds and go boy crazy during a critical point in their life. Boys will always be there. They always have been.
I have had this conversation since with other girlfriends and we were trying to break it down. We tossed it around back and forth.
This has all lead me to think that hey...when kids HAVE to listen to you...wouldn't it be okay to have them listen about something as important as dating? When they get to be 17 and older...they pretty much think you're lame as hell and can't WAIT to get out of your house so they don't HAVE to listen to you right? That said...doesn't it make snese to let them date while you can GUIDE them?
I'm rambling trying to get my thoughts together on this but I'll leave it here for you guys to discuss. What do YOU think? Does this make YOU go hmmmmmmm?????
How old were you when you had your first date? Who did you get dating advice from when you were actively dating on your own?