Advice to teen was sexist and wrong
By Dr. Robert Wallace ’Tween 12 and 20 September 20, 2013 3:28PM
Updated: October 23, 2013 6:06AM
DR. WALLACE: I’m a big fan and read your column faithfully. I’m writing about your response to the girl in Texas who danced with a boy at the senior prom while her date was outside talking to his brother on his cellphone. When her date returned, he was extremely upset that she was dancing with another guy and left the prom saying, “The guy you’re dancing with can take you home.”
The girl’s brother came and took her home. But she wrote that the prom was ruined for her.
She wrote to you asking if you thought she had done anything wrong. You told her that her date was 100 percent wrong for not taking her home. But you added that she should not have danced with another guy unless she had asked for and received permission from her date.
I strongly disagree! I can’t see where the girl did anything wrong and was disappointed when your answer suggested that she might have. This seems very sexist. Did we time warp back to the Victorian era? I thought women were way beyond having to ask for permission from a date just to dance with another guy. I’m still a big fan, but felt I had to speak up for the Texas girl and for all women.
Nameless, Cumberland, Md.
NAMELESS: I told the girl that I wasn’t sure what the proper protocol would be in that situation, but I believed she should have asked her date if she could dance with another guy. It’s obvious that I gave her the wrong answer!
More than 100 young women wrote or emailed me informing me that my answer came directly from the Dark Ages. My humblest apologies to the young lady in Big Spring, Texas, who should have been told: “You did nothing wrong. Teens go to the prom to dance, not stand around and wait for a date to return to the dance floor. Your date was a big jerk and leaving the prom without taking you home showed serious immaturity and insecurity.”
When I was a principal at Garden Grove High School in California, students could not leave the prom for any reason until the end unless there was an emergency. I was the one who decided if a student could leave the prom early.
DR. WALLACE: I’m in the 12th grade. I’m a good student and work hard so I can earn a scholarship to attend college. My school counselor is doing all she can to see that I get one. Of course, my grades will determine that. My dad is from the “old country” (Poland) and wants me to get a part-time job during my senior year. I had a summer job, but I don’t want to jeopardize my GPA by working while in school. Your comments are welcome.
Justin, Hammond, Ind.
JUSTIN: Work experience is good, but never at the expense of your grades or your education. Indeed, if a part-time job kept you from earning a college scholarship, the result would be a net loss of income.
Write to Dr. Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org.