I was recently out with a friend who was explaining to me to “unspoken truths” about her son’s all-boy school and the all-girl school close by. It seems that the girls at their school believe they “own” the boys where her son is getting his education. Our conversation centered on the first dance of the year and how her son’s date (not from the all-girl school) was treated by the other girls in attendance.
It seems that the faux pas may have landed upon the shoulders of her son. He is new to the school and wanted to bring a friend from his old school to the first dance of the year. The dance was hosted by the boy’s school and everyone was encouraged to attend and to bring a date. That was all the direction the students were given.
It seems that there is an unwritten rule that only girls from the prep school are supposed to attend. Having grown up in the public school realm, where everyone is welcome and included, it never occurred to this new boy to invite a stranger or be set up with someone he didn’t know. He wanted to bring a friend from his neighborhood, someone he knew. He wanted to bring someone he knew he would have a nice time with and who would be comfortable enough in a new situation to have a fun time herself.
It turned out to be an interesting lesson on outsiders vs. insiders. This has prompted me to write an article about expected behaviors of girls when in attendance at a dance. This is not limited to prep school dances. Social mingling on all levels from all walks of life at all stages of life should consider the following.
Often when taking part in a social occasion, there will be outsiders and insiders. The insiders usually out number the others and might feel a bit more powerful. When this happens the insiders should not assume ownership. In the case of the girls from the prep school, they should always be polite to the new person.
Momma always said to put yourself in another’s shoes. Consider how this new person might feel. She probably feels a bit insecure and nervous. She might feel lonely and awkward. That in itself if hard enough, so why would you feel inclined to be rude too? Perhaps because there are more of you and only one of her?
Consider also how well she knows the boy, her date. In this case he is an old friend. They have family connections. In most cases when a boy and girl go out on a date they’ve know each other for quite a while. He will probably be seeing her again. Which may mean that those at the dance might run into her at a dance in the future.
Whether you are polite or rude, your behavior will probably be reported to others. Consider what she might way about your school or you in particular. Is she going to say that you believe you are you too good for others? Will she have a reason to say that girls at your school are rude and cliquey? You will want to make sure she has only honorable things she can say about you and those who attend your school.
Life extends way beyond school. For those who are teenagers, it might be hard to believe but life is going to extend far beyond high school. There’s always the chance that you will meet in college, where the playing field is much more level. When you’re in college will you be proud of how you acted? Your actions now are something to consider if you plan to live beyond the wall of your current high school.
When you are young it’s easy to get wrapped up in the moment. It’s easy to think that you “own” boys at a certain school, or social event. The truth is there is a great big world out there and you are only as big as those you surround yourself with…..when you aren’t alone. And we all end up alone and in need of friends at one time or another. You want to make sure that how you act now won’t leave you feeling lonely in the future.