Commentary

Reverse the Roles

As a new student at Andover, I was constantly bombarded with questions about the famous “girls ask guys” Sadie Hawkins Dance. It was such a strange concept to me that, at first, I thought it would be a great thing for girls to ask guys. It would be a change of pace, and it would finally help girls understand the type of pressure and anxiety that guys have to go through when preparing for any formal dance. I was completely wrong. Sadie should be an opportunity for girls to learn what guys are put through at a formal dance, but every other formal tradition is the same besides who asks. It is a common misconception that male students can deny a girl asking them to Sadie. In truth, they can do no such thing without significantly hurting their reputation. Girls ask guys in such ways that they have no option but to say yes: in front of big crowds, through friends or even on the phone. Girls claim guys within their friend groups, and some girls will even pick their preferable date in a process not unlike the NFL draft. As “draft day” approaches, the girls begin to trade picks. The few guys who reject invitations to Sadie are not likely to be asked again because they are now tagged as “the kid who denies Sadie invites.” This is an unfair label that guys will receive, and it is extremely hypocritical on the part of the girls who give out these nametags. If a girl denies a hopeful request to Blue and Silver, for example, there is no more talk of it. It is normal for girls to deny guys. But a male who rejects a Sadie date is a jerk? This double standard produces many unfavorable dates. But why is this? It partly comes from the gray area girls often present when they ask a guy to Sadie. When a guy asks a girl, he asks someone he genuinely wants to go with. He doesn’t ask someone his friends set him up with. He doesn’t ask a girl he does not like that much. For the most part, guys ask girls that they at least want to consider being intimate with, or more commonly that they definitely want to “hook up” with. For Sadie dates, it is frequently difficult for dates to determine if girls want to go as friends or like them as something more. This confusion creates unnecessary awkwardness if there are mixed signals at the dance, which can be destructive to friendships. The only difference between Sadie and any other formal dance is girls asking the guys. The guys, in most cases, still have to pay for tickets, buy flowers and pick up their dates. Why make the girls invite guys if we cannot be released from the other normal duties at a formal dance? Girls should have to buy flowers for the guys, and they should have to dig into their wallets and purchase the tickets. Girls should go meet up with their dates to pick them up and drop them off later on. Though some of the options I have proposed are exaggerations, guys have to spend sometimes $40 on a date who, admittedly, they sometimes do not even want to go with. The pre-dance traditions also become much more awkward and confusing, especially for dates who are unsure whether or not they are attending as friends. Girls will never really understand what it is like for a guy at a formal dance unless they have to go through all of the obligations guys have to go through for every other formal dance. The cons of letting the girls ask guys to Sadie greatly outnumber the pros. The issues that arise create discomfort for everyone, and the double standard that girls can say no but guys cannot is nothing but unfair. Girls will never understand how guys feel when asking girls to a dance unless all double standards and plotting between girls are dropped and the responsibilities guys normally possess are picked up by the female students at Andover. If the yearly ritual of Sadie being the dance where girls ask guys continues, then girls need to pick up the slack that the guys are usually responsible for. Sadie should be a learning experience: for people of different genders to switch roles and feel the emotions the opposite sex experiences at every other formal dance. Rory Ziomek is a new Lower from Amherst, MA.