(Also read “Dating etiquette brochure sparks controversy.”)
The pamphlets on dating etiquette, which were passed out during advisory on Jan. 30, offered a traditional yet outdated perspective on how boys and girls should comport themselves.
Including a quotation from Jean-Baptiste La Salle’s “The Rules of Christian Decorum and Civility,” the pamphlet was slanted towards Christian ideals. The quote even included the line “for we are the children of God.”
And while this pamphlet may have been appropriate for a Christian high school where such perspective is encouraged, it was inappropriate for our secular school.
The contents of the pamphlet concerned heterosexual couples with a dominant male who is in charge of planning and paying for the date in its entirety.
The pamphlet even says the boy should walk closest to the street to “protect” the girl.
What about couples who take an egalitarian approach to gender roles? What about “going Dutch”? The pamphlet mentioned neither of the above.
The cost of dinner and Winter Ball admission for two people could easily surpass $120. Not everyone can pay for themselves and their date.
At our school, too, most dates to dances are “friend dates” and the parties pay separately.
And what about homosexual couples?
One gay student noted that only the for-girls section of the pamphlet applied to him, making him feel abnormal.
What an awful message to send.
Our school prides itself on its open-mindedness and its acceptance of many perspectives.
So why did the high-school administration think it fitting to administer a how-to with such a singular and slanted perspective?
Because a parent and former student wrote it?
We don’t think that’s a valid reason.
Some teachers were unhappy passing out the pamphlet—some were even apologetic.
And while some students laughed at the pamphlet, others were clearly offended.
To be fair, many students had no problem with the pamphlet. And one section did discuss what a girl should do if she asked the guy on a date—perhaps in a Sadie Hawkins setting.
But there was no section for an egalitarian date.
And of course the authors of the pamphlet had good intentions. The ultimate goal was to teach teens proper manners.
The traditional dating style the pamphlet discusses is prevalent these days for high schoolers. But the pamphlet failed to go beyond that one scenario, and therefore it was inappropriate for our school.