What can you do if you’re nineteen and you have never had a date?
previous next

“What can you do if you’re nineteen and you have never had a date?” New Era, June 1971, 44–45

“What can you do if you’re nineteen and you have never had a date?”

Answer/Sharon Staples

Cry a lot—which is probably one of the healthiest emotional releases under the circumstances. However, what you tell your friends and how you spend your Friday and Saturday evenings may require different tactics.

If you lived in one of several Latin American countries, you would be too young to date at nineteen; if you lived in one of several aborigine villages, you would be married at age twelve and would not have to worry about dating at a later time.

What I am saying is that in America, our society, the mysterious ruler of our social behavior, tells us that it is okay to begin dating in our high school years. And if we do not begin our dating career at approximately this time of life, we are punished individually, not by society but by our own feelings of inadequacy. What a penal system! The mysterious “they” set up the rules in such a manner that if we cannot meet those rules, we punish ourselves. Unbelievable!

If we could only get the criminal element of society to do the same, what a lovely and peaceful world we would have.

I think the problem of how to deal with our own feelings of “not-quite-making-it” is a challenge, one that must be met individually, because our society does not provide for a collective substitute.

First things first: (1) I am nineteen and not dating. (2) How does that make me feel? (3) What am I going to do about those feelings? (4) Will what I do, change my dating pattern or my attitude? (5) If it changes my dating pattern, Hurrah! (6) If it changes my attitude, Hurrah! (7) If it does neither, I need to try again.

Situations, problems, and difficulties are not the real issues in life. It is how we handle them.

Since boys are people, not dating may be an indication that one is not relating well on any level to other people. This is a concern worth working on.

A positive attitude about not dating should be supplemented by positive action to improve your social status. An honest personal appraisal is a good starting place. The things that need improving or enhancing in your appearance, grooming, personality, or disposition ought to be dealt with.

Go where the boys are is also a suggestion worth considering. During your dating years, plan your classes, your involvements, your committees, your hobbies so that you are in the company of young men. You aren’t likely to get a date if you don’t know any boys. Getting interested in things makes you more interesting, and that makes you more attractive and more likely to be asked for dates!

Counting friends, not dates, is a better pastime. Life is the greatest gift we have, and to lose even one day worrying about one of society’s silly, unwritten rules is a self-punishment we should never allow.

  • member of the YWMIA general board