Editorial: Dating in the Middle School

DATING

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines it like this: Dating (v.) – An appointment, especially to go out socially.

The Middle School definition of dating: Dating in Middle School (v.) – A title or label promoting the idea of romance that children are not yet capable of.

So why do it? You could probably ask a select circle of boys and girls in each grade, but as The Corner Editorial Board, we decided to think about this subject for this issue’s editorial.

We accept that, thanks to hormones, people have crushes, or romantic feelings directed to someone in particular. Somehow, the word “like” has been used so much in this sense that it now makes sense to say “Well I mean I like him, but not like, like.” Or “I like like her” which is somehow different then the “like” that you use to describe your teachers or your favorite books. The chances that the person you “like like” likes you in the same way are, let’s face it, kind of small. But on the off chance that the person who you “like” just happens to “like” you back, what would be the proper response?

That’s where “dating” comes in. Dating is a term mostly used by adults who are looking for someone to share their lives with. But as much as we write off, ignore, deny, or just plain oppose it, we are all children. So really what’s the point?

What even happens in a middle school relationship? We discussed that in our meeting and we have come up with a basic summary of the brief life of a middle school relationship. It goes something like this:

They dance. Admit grudgingly that they “like” each other. He asks her out (mostly), then that’s it for about a couple of agonizingly awkward days/weeks/months. There are some couples—to whom we would like to give props—who actually go out on a “real date” before classifying themselves as “dating,” so as not to give a false representation of the relationship. (By a real date we mean going to see a movie or out for ice cream).

Then they break up. And that’s it.

So why would anyone really bother?

The percentage of middle school relationships that last the three years until high school is less than ten percent, while eight percent of high school relationships work until marriage, and only five percent of the relationships that are started in high school lead to marriages that do not end in divorce. (We actually researched this online.)

So, to be clear, if you are in the ten percent that make it to high school with their relationship, then you have an eight percent chance of getting married, but a ninety-five percent chance of getting divorced. Not great odds if you ask us!

So, when you think about it, the chances that your middle school relationship or that couple that is “just so cute’s” relationship is going to work is extremely small. But, we do it anyway.

Think about it. When someone says to you “So what’s the latest gossip”, nine out of ten times they will be really hinting for you to say something like “Well, Andy just asked Emily out” and in all honesty, many of us in middle school secretly desire to be known. Using this logic, it makes sense for someone to want to be in a relationship. Maybe it’s that and the fact that every time someone says the name of the person you “like, like” to you, it makes your stomach fly. Maybe it’s that you want to claim that person for yourself.

Let’s say it again. We are children. We are not adults. We have our whole lives for romance, but only a couple more years of childhood. Savor it.

~ The Corner Editorial Board 2012-13

~ Illustration by Cassie C