Your Teenage “Dates” Are Still Fun as Adults

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, The Dating Game

In June, I will have graduated from high school 10 years ago. High school was not the greatest time of my life so in some ways I’m happy to be that far removed from it. On the other hand, that timeline makes me feel old –- and slightly nostalgic for some of the weird things that our millennial generation did as teenagers – like putting up emo away messages and updating our MySpace profiles and watching TRL after school, just to name a few.

We had a few interesting ideas for dates as teenagers as well. But, we don’t necessarily have to kiss those dating standbys good-bye just because we’ve reached adulthood. Here’s a few “adultier” twists on old standbys.

Ice Skating/Roller Skating
Yes, we’ve already talked about ice-skating, but let’s elaborate a bit more. There’s no age limit for ice-skating or roller-skating, even if you’re just not good at it. In fact, that’s kind of what makes it fun. Plus, you can wear comfortable clothes when you go, and who doesn’t like that?! Unlike your teenage years, comfort is welcomed at the ice rink or the roller rink in adulthood –- for both you and your significant other.

The Carnival
Do you remember what it felt like to go to the carnival as a couple? You were on top of the world, and you still can be. If you really want to remember what it felt like, don your favorite ‘00s trendy summer fashions when you go.

Friday Night Lights
Did you ever go to the big game on a Friday night with your high school boyfriend or girlfriend? Local high school games are usually open to anyone. Pack your school mascot blanket, warm up a thermos of hot apple cider (but the spiked version you couldn’t bring along when you were under age 21) and prepare to relive the glory days.

Mall Rats
Come on, you know you were a mall rat as a teenager. There’s no stopping you now –- and, believe it or not, both you and your significant other can wander around the mall without buying anything. Take it a step further and create a mall scavenger hunt to do together.

There’s Always the Diner
If you live in an area where diners are plentiful, you know where we’re going with this. We spent our high school years with the running joke that no matter what you’d do, you’d end up at the diner –- whether with your friends or your significant other. Head to the diner and take no prisoners… order the milkshake, the waffles and the black and white cookie.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few of the best places to go on a date as a teenager. What were some of your old standbys?

On The Road (Finally)

Author: Kerrin Frappier, Real Life Stories

Unlike most of my millennial peers, I did not relish the process of obtaining my driver’s license.

Sure, the thought of being able to roam from place to place freely sounded convenient, but the reality of it was terrifying! Although my fear of driving has largely dissipated, I still see my car as a nice but necessary evil.

In the seven years I’ve been on the road, I’ve been in accidents — some the fault of others and some not–braved the highway, been stuck in the snow and trapped in miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic. But I have to admit, my journey to receiving my license has been the most harrowing of all my driving mishaps.

Firstly, I avoided even discussing the prospect of getting my learner’s permit or taking driver education classes. In Rhode Island, you can take driver education and take the test for your learner’s permit at 15 years and 10 months, but it was not until my younger cousin was preparing to take that first step towards driving that my parents all but forced me to tag along.

So there I was, already a year older than my driver’s ed classmates learning about passing fellow drivers on the highway, yielding to pedestrians and watching countless ancient, nightmare-inducing videos on the dangers of drinking and driving.

On that first fateful day, my instructor asked me if I was “tall enough to drive.” I just had to remind myself I simply had to survive 33 hours of torture in a sweltering week during my summer vacation. Afterwards, I would be a step closer to independence and closer to getting this whole thing over with. I aspired to get my license about as much as I look forward to flu shots and blood work.

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I passed my written learner’s permit test with flying colors, two weeks after completing the course, but this success was bittersweet for me. I dreaded those required driving lessons with the local driving school and even more so with my own parents whose driving styles differed so dramatically. I came up with every excuse to avoid practicing, and so it should come as no surprise that my first attempt at my was nothing short of anti-climactic.

It was a bitter Friday in late January. Snow was falling lightly and I was so nervous I could not even remember how to defrost my own windshield. Thankfully, the examiner was kind enough to simply say I did not take the test and I would have to reschedule, instead of failing me. I returned from the car my parents had bought for me sobbing — not because I would not be driving home unsupervised, but because I would have to do this again.

My mother reminded me to reschedule my driver’s test every few weeks and each time — one way or another — it never came to fruition. My permit expired two times before my mother put her foot down and took me to get my permit for the third and final time.

Rumor had it that there was a branch of the DMV whose test course was easier than the site closest to my house. Naturally, my parents and I all felt that the hour drive would be worthwhile if it could increase my chances of coming away from the experience a licensed driver. So once again, my mother chauffeured me to the DMV, pointing out all the rolling fields along the way, while I silently picked off all of my remaining fingernails. I attempted to assuage my nerves by repeating to myself that in two hours — either way — I would be on my couch watching a Jersey Shore marathon.

My scheduled time slot was near and I could feel my whole body vibrate with anticipation. We drove up to the line of cars to test the functionality of all the lights and as luck would have it… I had a taillight out. My mother sped to an auto repair chain down the road and we made it back in time for me to take my test–much to my dismay. My mother tried to encourage me by saying that I got the “nice” examiner — but she was wrong!

I made several critical errors during my test. I could hardly focus on anything but the palpitations I seemed to be experiencing. I felt short of breath and certain that I would vomit if I turned the wheel too hard. I half-wished for a sudden bout of…anything.

As much as I did not want to fail, I didn’t really want to continue the test. Maybe that’s why I got points deducted for speeding! Not that I did it intentionally, but on a subconscious level, I wanted to usher this test along. I then made a wrong turn and was warned that I could not afford another mistake.

I steeled myself for failure. I was instructed to back up straight along the curb of a side street–probably the one thing I did correctly and confidently–and then park in the lot of the DMV. I turned off the engine as I was told. The disgruntled DMV worker turned to me and delivered her verdict.

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“Well, I should fail you but your permit expires in a few days” she said hotly. I was stunned–relieved but stung all at the same time. Surely, I was one of the worst drivers in history, at least by the looks of this lady next to me. The examiner exited my Jetta and reiterated to my mother her opinion on my driving, adding accusatory questions towards my mother.

“Why hasn’t she gotten her license already? She’s 20.”

My mother did not dignify her question with a response and instead encouraged me to look at the examiner’s criticism logically. My mother was clearly more excited about my “successful” (by the skin of my teeth) pass than I was.

“They cannot give you a license just because your permit is expiring,” she said. “Everyone would have a license if that were the case. Think of the lawsuits!”

We waited for three hours to get my photo taken. As if it were a reward for all my trepidation, the picture on my license actually looks as if I’m thrilled to be officially on the road. My mother then asked me if I wanted to drive home, which I sharply declined. Later that day, my mother hurried off to work. As she passed by the kitchen on her way out the door, she proposed the unthinkable.

“I’m going to leave the keys on the counter,” she said. “‘Cause you can legally drive now. And you have your own car. So you can go anywhere you want,” she stated, her explanation fragmented and slow — as if I did not understand the implications of having a car and a license.

As soon as she locked the door behind her I rushed to the phone to call my dad. We were going out to dinner to celebrate.

“What time can you pick me up?” I asked.

High School in the ’00s

Author: Kerrin Frappier, Entertainment

8tracks_mix_cd-4395Some days it feels like I was a frantic freshman five minutes ago… and then some young whippersnapper comes along and doesn’t even own a CD player…and I’m reminded how things have changed. My younger cousins grew up with Smart Boards in every classroom and no knowledge of floppy disks, or the beauty of a perfect, freshly burned mix-CD. Things were different ten years ago — simpler in some ways and more complicated in others…

While I cringe at some of the fads my classmates and I obsessed over, I find that some things have withstood the test of time.

Fashion
Fashion in my suburban high school was not very diverse. Most girls I knew wore graphic tees and brand name sweatshirts and flared-leg jeans from a select few stores in the local mall — Aeropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch, or my two personal favorites: Gap and American Eagle. Pair with a pair of knock-off Birkenstock clogs — and that was my everyday school outfit.

Technology (or, 2000s Social Media)
After enduring six hours in the crowded halls, I would race home for the chance to hop on my family’s Dell desktop PC and turn on MTV before my mother came home from work. Before Facebook and Instagram, we tracked our peers’ every move through two mediums — AOL/MSN Instant Messenger and MySpace. The tricky thing was, one could not just connect to WiFi. Back in the old days, an internet connection was established through a cable — that’s right, your phone cable.

dial-up
Getting online was not only more of a hassle then, connecting to the internet was also accompanied by an annoying, screeching, static-y noise. If someone wanted to make use of the phone line, your internet connection was lost until the person finished his or her phone conversation.

Once you screamed at your brother or sister to get off the phone so that you could use the computer, you were free to stalk your friends and enemies on AIM, a free instant messaging service that required you to set up a screen name most of us would be too embarrassed to share (my first one was MiracleBaby02917).

In your AIM profile it was essential to write out the initials of your friends or romantic partners, and a favorite song lyric or movie quote. When you stepped away from your computer, you could put up an “away message” that told your friends you would “BRB” and that they could “leave it here or hit the cell”…even though your friends would rather wait for you to “return from away.”

Most importantly though, your away message could be used to passive aggressively alert edit-away-message-enter-label-so-angry-enter-new-away-3314028someone that you were angry by posting lyrics like “…thanks for the memories even though they weren’t so great…”.

Since most peoples’ profiles were not set to private, you could keep tabs on their day-to-day drama just by following the changes in their profiles and away messages. Changes in a person’s “Top 8” on MySpace might also indicate that someone was at odds with friends or had called it quits with a boyfriend/ girlfriend for the second time that week.

TV Shows
While searching for the perfect default picture for my MySpace account, I tuned into MTV to watch the best music video countdown show ever created – TRL. Total Request Live was filmed in a studio in Times Square and featured the hottest musical guests of the day, all of who would stand before the enormous glass windows waving to their ecstatic, teenaged public.

Technology, Part 2: Old-School Computers
Homework assignments in the 2000s were completed the old-fashioned way — with paper and pen, or printed on paper and saved on a recordable CD or more often a small square storage disk called a floppy disk.

funny-save-icon-floppy-diskThe After-School Special
After suffering through hours of homework, I liked to relax with some more television –usually programming offered by the WB (before it became the CW), or make mixes of the newest music from my growing iTunes collection to give to my friends (whether they wanted it or not). I would then pack my monogrammed L.L. Bean messenger bag for the morning and prepare to do it all again the next day.

 

Let’s face it, while we’ve moved on from wide-legged pants and Livestrong bracelets, we continue to be preoccupied with putting our best face out there on the internet and documenting our most mundane everyday chores for the world to see.

We still enjoy sharing the latest music with one another – although these days that task does not involve carting around cases full of disks or risking harm to your computer in order to download it illegally. Instead of “adding” an artist on MySpace to hear said artist’s newest tracks (hello, Boys Like Girls and Colbie Caillat), you can now subscribe to the artist’s page on YouTube.

No matter how cheesy the fads of yesteryear appear to be, without the influence of MySpace or AIM, the features you enjoy on social media or even blogs, like the one you’re reading right now, may not have been possible.

Long-Term Relationships and Millennials Can Be Used In the Same Sentence

Author: Chelsea Mulligan, The Dating Game

We all know the sweet story of how our grandparents fell in love as teenagers. In my case, my parents grew up as neighbors and also fell in love in their teenage years. Call it genetic or just a coincidence, but I too fell in love in high school. Our long night chats on AIM have turned into short text messages and quick tags on Instagram. Our daily routine used to be meeting up at each other’s locker and now it’s the main question that we all ask: what’s for dinner and who’s cooking?

It’s been almost eight years since we started dating, and I wish I could say it’s all been great and carefree, but that would be a lie. Being a millennial and in a serious relationship is no easy task. We have been through some difficult times. High school was filled with as much drama as expected. After high school, we were faced with him being older and going out to places where I couldn’t go for a couple of years. Things that seem so petty now were extremely difficult then.

There were instances where we thought “we might not be able to get through this one,” but we’ve always overcame our issues. We are both extremely hard-headed and competitive, which definitely comes into play when we argue, because one of us has to win the argument (usually me). We have learned the ins and outs of one another and developed an amazing relationship over the  years. For a lack of better words, we now just “get” each other.

Over the years, I have been asked numerous times by people, even strangers in town, if I ever feel like I’m missing out on the single life. My answer has always been, no. Sure, it’s funny to hear a comical/drunk story about my friends meeting guys and girls out, but I’ve never pictured myself in that element. I’ve learned a lot by being with my boyfriend throughout high school and college — and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. It’s the best because I always have the following:

A Friend
Whenever I think in depth about our relationship, I realize that over the years, my boyfriend has become my best friend. He is the person I want to tell all my secrets to and call first thing in the morning to see what we can do for the day. If there ever comes a day that we part ways, I would (obviously) be devastated that I am out of a relationship, but I would be heartbroken to lose my best friend.

Someone To Share My Life With
Our memories together have become such a vital part of our relationship. They give us reasons to look back and laugh at what we’ve been through. We’ve gone to proms, graduations, family parties, vacations, concerts—practically everything together. I often find myself saying “we” instead of “I” when talking about all the things I’ve been through, because he’s been right by my side through it all.

My personality has given me the ability to laugh and talk with anyone, but it’s when I’m feeling sad that I realize how much I need him in life. Sharing the hard times in life with someone means everything. We’ve sat in hospitals many nights, cried in funeral homes, taken care of each other when we are not ourselves and just overall been a strong support system for one another. Even when we fight, he’s the shoulder I want to lean on, no matter how mad I can be at him in that moment.

Someone To Be Comfortable Around
“You look fine, can we just go?” It’s something I constantly hear from him when he’s hungry or we are trying to catch a movie. As I try to get my top eyeliner straight or try to make a presentable messy bun, I tend to get frustrated with him while he’s rushing me, but then I realize how lucky I am to have someone who doesn’t care what I look like when we go out. We could be watching Netflix for hours and he doesn’t mind taking me out right afterward.

I never have to put a smile on my face when he knows I’m not feeling well. I can express what’s hurting or bothering me. He’s all ears and tries his best to make me feel better, whether it means getting me a Payday candy bar or turning down the lights and letting me watch my favorite movie or a couple of episodes on HGTV. I don’t have to feel uncomfortable expressing how I feel and it’s truly a great thing in our relationship.

I can also be extremely dramatic. With him, I know I can turn up a Backstreet Boys song and belt my heart out or bounce in my seat when a good house song comes on. It’s okay that he necessarily isn’t laughing with me—and more just laughing at me. I can be myself, have fun with him and act out our favorite song together.

Whoever said “it’s about the little things in life” is 100% right. I have learned to appreciate so much in my relationship over the last seven and a half years. Never, ever would I have predicted to be with him in this day and age. I thought it would be a high school thing and there would be a time where we would go our separate ways to grow on our own. But fate has kept us growing together and I am able to confidently say that we are still going strong and probably will for many more years to come, if not forever.

My main piece of advice would be: put the phone awayI can promise you that there is nothing more important on Instagram and Facebook than spending quality time with the person you are dating. We don’t use our phones at dinner or while watching a movie. That quality time leads to great conversation and it is something I cherish.

I am enjoying this roller-coaster we are on. To fully answer the question as to why I am in a long term relationship and why I don’t have the urge to explore what else is out there? I am too happy to give up what I have. Why would I give up everything that I’ve built with him to meet all new people to learn about, when at the end of the day all I really want is what I already have? (Make sense?) I am with someone who lets me be myself day-in and day-out, who understands me in every way possible and who most importantly, loves me on my worst days and makes them better for me.