Why Your Dance Date Doesn’t Define You

(Photo by Maylin Rowe)

Why Your Dance Date Doesn’t Define You

By Sarah Komisky

Lyrics are anthems. Some are epic and others are empty, but nonetheless, all lyrics are powerful. They are so powerful that they can make you stop in your tracks, which is what happened when I heard the song “Out of my League” by Fitz and the Tantrums. The catchy indie pop beat initially got my attention, but it was the words that caught my attention even more. “From time to time I pinch myself/ Because I think my girl mistakes me for somebody else/.” The chorus then professes, “You were out of my league/All the things I believe/ You were just the right kind/ Yeah, you were more than just a dream.” As popular as the song may be, the concept is even more popular when it comes to your date to the school dance.

I hate to say this but we humans feel exactly like the guy in this song. It is almost our generation’s (and the generation’s before ours) anthem, and we all know the lyrics! When it comes to school dances, we are excessively worried about who our date will be because, sadly, we have come to believe that our date defines us. Take a look at Pop Culture’s teen movies and you will get a taste for what our culture believes. Our culture screams, “Your date matters!” From the cool bad boy Danny Zuko and the sweet and pretty Sandy (Grease), to the made-over social outcasts who are dating Mr. or Miss popular (She’s All That, Drive Me Crazy). Even to the considerably “too cool for school” Bella and her mysterious, hipster-looking date Edward (Twilight). There is the rejection of outsiders like Andie and Duckie (Pretty in Pink), geeky Josie (Never Been Kissed), and Cameron’s pursuit of the popular Bianca (10 Things I Hate About You). Or how about when popular Celia drops Anthony when he didn’t meet her standards in Alexander and the Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. And who can forget Summer and Trisha’s mean antics when it came to ditching quirky Napoleon and new kid Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite. Who wouldn’t want to go with a guy who has sick dance moves? (But that’s besides the point). Sigh! Although, these are plots found in films, they seem to be not a far cry from the real world.

Ever heard of the Prom court? The school’s so-called “royalty” is hand picked by the student population, and guess who are usually crowned? The cheerleader, ASB President, football player, guy with swag, and possibly the honors student. Ah yes, the court speaks and dictates what we feel is valued and important.

When it comes to the school dance, more often than not, we are secretly crossing our fingers that someone on the high end of the school hierarchy will ask us to be their date. Or maybe that really cute or really cool guy from that other school. Either way, we are hoping for someone to meet the standard that has been set. The importance is not set on the dance itself, but rather on who we are taking – someone we believe is “out of our league.”

In high school I talked to a football player that I knew, and he commented on another girl’s date. He called the guy a “stud,” and seemingly gave approval. It goes to show that both girls and guys want to meet a standard. Shallow? Absolutely! We try so hard to gain approval from everyone else so we can fit in and feel good about ourselves. Many times, we girls prance around proudly with our good-looking, popular dates. We glow when someone says, “That’s your date?” or “You’re going with ______?!” Having a date that is “out of our league” gives us a confidence boost. When we snag such a date, their elevated good-looks, charm, status, intellect, or style, makes us think that we are better!

Why do we do this? Fear of rejection is one reason. We worry about being labeled as the dreaded “nerd” or “loser” for bringing ______. If the school dance is the social event of the year, then we want to maintain, or improve, our position on the social ladder. All this pressure can definitely send a person in a tailspin obsessing over finding the perfect date. But as we do this, our hearts reject those that we deem unfit. This rejection causes your heart to callous to the hurt you give others when you reject them.

Secondly, we act the way we do because we are insecure. Your “out of my league” person will launch you on an obsession thinking that they will make you look better. But may I gently tell you that that person is probably not what you think they are? They are certainly no dream. I had a friend who took a popular alum to her dance, and was left stranded shortly upon arrival! It goes to show that coveted dates are usually creeps. Instead, let God lead your decision and go with someone who loves God and will therefore accept and appreciate you for who you are. But before that happens, you must first accept yourself for who you are!

In the end, believing the “out of my league” myth will cause you to miss your special day altogether and make you miserable in the process. So instead of letting your date define you, ditch the “out of my league” lyrics everyone else is singing and instead listen to the Word of God saying, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV).