By Stacey Avnes, 13, Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies
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Stacey says a perfect date is a movie night at home with loads of junk food.

When I was little, my grandma and I used to watch movies on Lifetime. I would see couples going on dates and calling each other on the phone every night. The guy usually asked the girl out. Women wore dresses and high heels, and they’d go to fancy restaurants.

I wanted to date because it seemed mature and I wanted to feel like an adult. There was a guy I had liked for a while. I liked him at the beginning of the sixth grade and he was in a couple of my classes. A few months later, I was at a friend’s house and he and I were instant messaging.

Him: hey i got 2 tel u somthin   
Me: wat?   
Him: I like u
Me: ok…  
Him: ur probly laffing at me now.   
Me: NO! i thnk its sweet, but i got 2 tell u somthin 2  
Him: wat?  
Me: i like u 2 
Him: really?
Me: yaa…

Illustration by Brian Lopez-Santos, 16, Marshall HS

I really liked him. He was nice, sweet, honest, just the kind of guy I imagined


going out with! He asked me if I wanted to see the new Harry Potter movie with him. I said yes. I was so excited! I wondered if my mom would actually go for this. When I told her that a guy asked me out she kept telling me how happy she was, but nervous at the same time. She asked me everything I knew about him—his family, friends and grades.

After my mom said yes, I started dreaming about what our date would be like. I imagined one of those Lifetime love stories. My mom and I would pick him up, he’d give me flowers, then our date would whiz into him opening the door for me, reciting poems and telling me how wonderful I am. Now doesn’t that sound clichéd?

My mom gave me our mommy-daughter chitchat the day of the date while I was getting ready. She said, “No kissing … at all.” We couldn’t hold hands, hug or have any other physical contact. Being in sixth grade, I didn’t really mind this. Then my mom warned me about the dangers of early dating, about how “early dating can lead to pregnancies, then you’ll drop out of high school … have no life … blah blah blah.” She was speaking so seriously that it almost seemed like she was mad at me! Of course I took it seriously because those things really do happen, but I think she needed a chill pill. Luckily, my mom trusted me.

The day of our date I put on my cutest outfit (which I look back on and frown). It was a dark green mini-skirt, with a lime green shirt, and these ugly, uncomfortable black flats. My mom told me I couldn’t wear any makeup other than lip gloss. My mom and I picked him up from his house. At the movies, we met up with my friend, who was on a date too, and a bunch of friends. My date and I sat separate from the group because we wanted privacy so we could talk without the constant questioning from my friends. But I was nervous because we weren’t talking. I wondered what he was thinking, what he wanted to say to me. I think he was nervous too. I would try to ask him questions about himself and he gave only one-word answers.

Should I let him pay?

After the movie we went to the mall to eat and hang out. When we went to get food at a Japanese place called Sansei, we were standing in line talking as if we were friends, which made things easier. Then he did something I didn’t expect. He offered to pay for my food! I said, “Umm,” because I didn’t know what to say. So I said, “No, I’ll pay for it. I’m fine.” I felt like a complete idiot. When we were eating he explained that his mom told him to pay for my food to make a good impression. All I could say was “Aww, really?” but what I really wanted to say was, “You’ve already made a good impression on me, why do you need another one?” I blushed. After we ate we got ice cream and this time when he offered to pay I let him. It was really sweet.

While eating we talked about things I would usually talk about with friends: the latest gossip at school, grades and siblings. I felt that since he wasn’t talking enough I should talk more, which I did. When I caught him staring at me like I was an idiot, I asked him, “Am I talking too much?” “Yes, but that’s OK,” he said. I had a feeling he was nervous too. Sometimes when he was talking he would ask me if what he said was OK, which made me laugh, then he would blush.

My mom picked us up at about 7:30. He said, “Goodbye, see you at school on Monday!” I expected a hug, but didn’t mind I didn’t get one. I had a lot of fun and that’s what counts. I learned a few things, like if you’re really nervous, and you’re babbling, stop yourself before it gets worse. Also, if the person you’re with doesn’t talk as much as you’d like them too, don’t worry because they are probably just as nervous as you are. When I was on that first date I wish I would have relaxed about the silences. Silences give you a chance to think about conversation starters, like “What are your favorite bands?”

It wasn’t like the Lifetime movies, but I thought it was pretty close for a sixth-grade version. I thought if all dates were like this I was definitely ready to date.

I waited for a couple weeks for him to ask me out again. When he didn’t, I thought of asking him out. But when I tried, I would choke up and make an excuse to walk away. We never went out again. Why? I don’t know. Oh well, his loss.

Click here to read Daniel’s story about looking for comfort after getting dumped by his girlfriend.

Click here to read advice from L.A. Youth writers about dating and asking someone out.

Other stories by this writer …

Rockin’ at the Cobalt. Cool bands, a teen crowd and mosh pits—Stacey, 13, found all this for less than $10 at the Cobalt Cafe in the San Fernando Valley. (March – April 2008)