I sit at the lunch table, ruminating over the lack of falafel balls in my salad. A crowd of girls sits on either side of me, their conversations ebbing and flowing like a swift tide. Out of the corner of my eye, I see someone start to gesticulate angrily, and the words “semi-formal” suddenly fill the air.
“Why don’t I have a date yet? Oh god, I’m going to turn into a bitter old hag with 20 cats,” one cries.
Another consoles her. “I’m sure it won’t be 20 cats…you’ll probably have five, max.”
A girl from a different side of the table joins in, “Can anybody find me a guy? I’ll owe you for eternity.”
Her friend leans forward and whispers conspiratorially, “I know one. He’s so hot: a water polo player, you know?”
The first raises a questioning eyebrow. “How tall is he?”
The other grins. “5’11.” Her smile falters, and frown lines crease her forehead. “He’s kind of a jerk, though…”
The conversation follows this pattern for the rest of lunch. The whole affair is faintly reminiscent of a cattle auction; each boy is discussed in minute detail, from the texture of his hair to the shape of his feet. I keep waiting for someone to break out a branding iron.
Since the first day of School, the topic of semi-formal dates has been a popular one, especially among the sophomores, who have never attended the dance, which will be held in the penthouse crown of the AT&T Center in Downtown LA on Jan. 14. The consensus throughout the grades is that boys are needed for a fun time, and to get boys, girls must bring dates.
Many of the students are feeling intense pressure from themselves and from their classmates to find a male to drag along, and it seems to be causing serious stress. In fact, when asked about how badly they needed a date, a group of sophomores responded with, “Can we just not talk about it?” When pressured for an answer, one girl cried, with wild eyes, “So, so badly!”
The lack-of-boys situation has become rather dire, according to many students. Girls are setting up dates for their friends right and left, roping in anybody they know: family friends, cousins, brothers, etc. Some girls, however, have been prepared for this night for quite a while. For instance, one student was unknowingly set up by her friend in the middle of last November with a boy she had never met before, because the friend, like many other tenth graders, was worried about the number of boys in attendance. How very like Marlborough girls to be overly prepared, even for a dance!
Of course, not all students are dreading semi-formal like the Day of Judgement.
“I’m excited because usually Marlborough girls have no social life, and so I’ll get to meet a lot of new people at the dance,” Kate ’14 said. Kate said she has been actively participating in the tradition of setting up her friends with all of the guys she knows.
The issue of needing male companionship arises often for Marlborough events. The prime example of this would be prom. In fact, while girls make such a fuss over semi-formal dates, the truth is that prom pictures are really the ones family and friends will look back upon. Seniors are under the pressure of finding a boy who will stand the test of time. “You’re going to have the pictures for the rest of your life; you want somebody standing next to you,” Rebecca’12 said.
One year, the senior class wrote the names of each girl on the whiteboard in the Senior Lounge, and when that girl had a date, they would write his or her name down next to hers and check her off of the list. It was cheekily named “The Database.” According to the seniors, members of the class of 2012 are already on the hunt for dates. Luckily, they have about five more months until the actual event, while semi-formal is nearly upon us.
Therefore, with only three more days until the Big Day, the UltraViolet would like to officially wish the best of luck to those girls still hunting for dates. (And P.S., you don’t need a boy to have fun).