Hey dopers of a certain age! Talk to me about dating in high school!

I’m specifically interested in asking for a date/getting asked for a date in high school way back when. Or if dating was even a thing.

I was in high school in the late 70s, and for a while I went through a soul-crushing process of calling a girl up and asking her to dinner or a movie, and in retrospect I am sure the girls I called found it incredibly awkward as well. But I was clueless, and was never successful with that approach anyways.

Thinking back, it seems like it must have been a hopelessly outdated approach even then, but I think I was just modeling what I saw in older TV and movies (and a book entitled something like “Male Manners: A Guide for Teenage Boys” or something from the 1950s that my sister gave me when I was about 12.)

(OK, a quick google says “Male Manners” was published in 1969, but as I remember it I think the style it advocated was still more 1950s than 1970s.)

I now imagine that even in the 70s it was already becoming much more common to go out in a mixed group as friends, and then closer relationships might form out of that; it certainly seems to me now that would have been more fun, but I don’t really know if that was happening much back then.

I didn’t get into a group like that until my senior year. Before that, painful, dreadful phone calls were my stock in trade. And why I as a sixteen year old was asking girls to dinner instead of to do something fun, I have no idea. I just thought that was what you did when you liked a girl, I guess.

(And no, I wasn’t calling random girls I just saw from afar and thought were cute. These were girls that I was at least acquainted with and had had conversations with. There was a limit to my cluelessness.)

So how about it? Share your anecdotes or perceptions of what high school kids were doing back then, or whenever is relevant for you.

I graduated from high school in 1976 in New Hampshire, and the old-fashioned, “boy calls girl, boy asks out girl, girl says yes or no, boy pays for date if there is one” model was pretty standard.

It was a bit awkward, but I’m sure it was worse for the guys.

I graduated in 1980 in Ontario, Canada, and I was very fortunate to have had a girlfriend for most of my high school years.

The first one, in grade 9 was a carryover from grade 8. I broke off with her at the end of grade 9.

In grade 10 I dated, albeit briefly (a few months), one of the most sought-after girls in my grade. I don’t even recall how we got together. Neither of us drove in grade 10, so I would hitchhike to her house and we would just hang out. She dumped me after a class ski trip where it was clear we had different priorities.

And then in grade 11, I met the most wonderful girl ever. My friends and her friends started hanging out together and one thing just led to another. We dated for three years before she dumped me. She had settled on someone else, unfortunately.

The thing is, I never really had to go through all the dating rituals; things just fell in my lap, so to speak. I loved my high school years. I never wanted for friends or girlfriends.

I actually never dated in hs … one night stands happened once or twice but I tended to find older possibly inappropriate people

Are you a woman or a man?

I’d ask the girl out, she (no doubt picking up on the sheer terror in my voice) politely turned me down. This was the usual routine way past high school. Then, at 30, a woman I met at a party asked for a ride on my motorcycle. Me: Any time. Her: How about tomorrow? That was the first time the process wasn’t terrifying. We got married less than a year later, so I never had to deal with asking anyone out again. It would still scare the hell out of me if I had to do it again.

That same old cliché.

The high school prom was a big deal for many years. Is it still?

Anyone remember going? Tell us about it.

Leaffan: Clever…

I’ve tried it explain this recently in light of the current understanding of consent. In my day, girls couldn’t consent, lest we be judged to be sluts. So, we relied on the boys to be a little bit aggressive…so to speak, and we went along with it. Not the optimal situation, but most of us made it work.

In HS I had boys ask me to be their girlfriend over the phone, boys randomly show up at my house, and boys send me notes in class. It was a different time.

My high school prom was fantastic!

It was held on a small ship that cruised up and down the St. Clair River between Ontario and Michigan.

We brought coolers of booze on board and partied our faces off. There was a bar too. The drinking age was 19, and some people were of age, but the ship didn’t care.

I recall a lot of people not having a date, but just coming along for the ride. It was super!

ETA: Buy a a ticket and come and party

I didn’t date in high school (graduated in '78). I’m assuming standard practice would have been dinner & a movie, a night out in San Francisco, or maybe a ski weekend in Lake Tahoe, but with my lack of funds, I knew I couldn’t afford it. That, and the overwhelmingly crushing shyness and introversion probably didn’t help much, either.

Oh, and, rock concerts. Probably a lot of rock concerts.

It turns out I am retroactively cool. :confused:

I grew up in a very small community, split by state lines. My high school was the smaller of the two. No way was I getting a date out of this crowd. It so happens, I worked summer jobs with many other teens from “the other side” and ended up dating one in my Senior year. I didn’t think anybody at my school knew about it until I showed up at the prom with her.

Years later, at a reunion, it turns out I may have been the talk of the cafeteria, since I showed up with this exotic beauty from “that other school!”. :eek: It was perhaps positively scandalous!

Had no idea. And therefor, couldn’t capitalize on it. :rolleyes: :smiley:

Yep. Can’t. Sorry. :wink:

Bad person to ask. When I turned 16 (mid 70s) I already had a Harley (the common thing was a Honda 90), a full beard, and a job after school with money in my pocket. While other guys were trying to figure out how to score a 6-pack for the Big Game I was trying to figure out how to talk that 27 year old Mexican chick into going to Daytona with me for bike week. Most of the girls my age I went out with it was basically just for fun and tickles and something they could recall with “that bad boy”. It was basically “wanna go out Saturday?” and nothing much more. I was cool with the answer being no and cool if it was yes. I was me and a known factor so it pretty much worked well all around.

I can say that because I am still friends with several of the girls I went with on and off and the girl I was engaged to before I met my wife was a dear friend of ours until she died. So I wasn’t average even back then ------ but it worked.

I wasn’t real popular in high school but I didn’t have problems getting dates. My problem was wear to take a girl on a date. I usually settled for a drive in movie a bite to eat and cruising the boulevard. Most all of my relationships were under 3 months and it seemed like about 3 months before I had another girlfriend so I did ask out a lot of girls. I am guessing about 60% success ratio as I usually tried to get some positive vibes going before I asked for a date.

I had a weird high school situation in that our last mandatory Gym Class (Junior year) was a choice between “basketball” and “ballroom dancing.” Naturally, all the boys and the dykes picked the first. So I was in “ballroom dancing” with most of the girls and only two other boys, of which I was the least physically repulsive.

The girls all wanted to dance with an actual male, who could LEAD, in preparation for their eventual careers as Ginger Rogers, so I was very popular. I used the opportunity to hold the most luscious girls in our class in my arms as we twirled about the dance floor (don’t worry, I am enough of a gentleman to have danced at least 40% of the time with less attractive bits of jailbait). And we all conversed. This made me realize that even the most bodacious babes are actual thinking human beings and not demi-goddesses.

Armed with this information, and a brain that could determine interesting events and activities in the Cleveland urban area, I could entice even the shapeliest and most willowy young ladies into going out with me. “DUCK SOUP is playing at the museums. It’s a Marx Bros flick. Want to go?” “Who are the Marx Bros?” “Oh, you’ll like them.” “There’s a play based on CATCH-22 at the Atheneum. Want to go?” “What’s CATCH-22?” “Oh, you’ll like it.” “Max Beckmann show at a gallery on the East Side. Want to go?” “Who’s Max Beckmann?” “Painter. You’ll like it.”

So my steady girl for my last two HS years was a stunning blonde cheerleader smart enough to be a fun companion, plus stepping out with a variety of lovely brunettes just for the hell of it. I ended up pairing with brunettes (and marrying one) for the rest of my life.

Stunning Blondie was also elected Homecoming Queen and Prom Queen BOTH, which stuck me in the embarrassing situation of royal consort.

She also nailed the romantic ingenue lead part in the spring musical. I landed the role of the mustache-twirling villain who was out to capture her virginity. So THAT was appropriate.

Also too: graduated HS in 1978. And I asked girls out face to face, never on the phone.

Ike, I’ll bet you got all those mad skills tucked firmly in your back pocket, ready to reign terror on the female population at a moments notice if you so desire.

You DA MAN! :smiley:

Most of my high school age boyfriends came about from parties - you’d go to a party and meet someone - you’d hit it off and maybe spend some time cuddling on a couch (I never did much more than cuddling, but one of my former boyfriends I had in this manner became a father through one of these parties). If it seemed to click, you’d start hanging out together, after about two weeks or a month - you’d be “dating.” There were seldom dates involved.

I had a lot of Sibs, so there were countless dating opportunities running in and out of our house. At one point there was one of us in grade 8-12. And a big brother in the local college. Yeah, I dated. Seems like it would be a consensus type decision. Sometimes set ups. I only remember one phone call asking for a date, I blew* him off. I was ‘going’ with a guy at the time. I remember the group dating thing too. Usually associated with a group activity, as in choir or cheerleader/football player. House parties were a way to get close to your latest crush.
ETA, unfortunate word choice…

  • I don’t mean literally, I meant ‘turned him down’:wink: