Ask James Tate – Romantics Sometimes Pay a High Price


Let James Tate Go to Prom

James Tate, a high school senior in Shelton, CT, tried to do something fun and romantic to ask his friend to the senior prom. He taped large cardboard letters to the school building, asking Sonia to the prom. No real damage done except what the school considered trespassing.

What did he get for his trouble? Suspension. And as a result  – banned from the prom!

This is a local story from my neck of the woods, but has gone viral in a huge way, becoming national news. It all happened this past week and he has already been on the Today Show for 7-minutes – that’s a lot of time! His Facebook fan page has nearly 184,000 fans! Honestly I’m astonished. But that’s not why I am writing about this.

James paid a high price for his romantic ideas and his actions.  All he wanted was to make a girl smile and look what happened.

In another CT town, a high school senior, (we’ll call Carol) had her mother drive to Jeffrey’s (not his real name either)house in a different town. Totally unannounced,  on a Saturday night, Carol arrived to ask if he’d accompany her to her prom.  Thankfully, Jeff said “Yes”.

Once again, very romantic. I’m all for romance, so don’t get me wrong, but this second example has really been bothering me. The rest of this blog is written to Carol’s mom who is somewhere out there and will probably never read this.

I’m all for women’s lib, equality of the sexes, etc. But, let’s take a step back for a moment and really think about this. Does this well-meaning mom really know how badly she is setting her daughter up for dating unhappiness later in life?

While Carol is only in high school, she is already learning a fatal flaw in dating strategy – man chasing. As a dating coach for women over 40 or dating after divorce, I cannot say this loud enough – NEVER CHASE A MAN. That means, don’t ask him out, be the first to call, buy tickets or any type of pursuit before you know a man is seriously interested in you.

How come? Because men, of all ages,  still enjoy the chase. Genetically, they are hunters want to woo and pursue you. It’s coded into their DNA. A man gets invested in winning a woman over when he has to work for it and it’s his idea. If you do his job as a man, what will he do? I’m dead serious.

Now, this doesn’t matter when you don’t care about the outcome. If you just want to be friends, are dating casually, or want an f-buddy, whole different story. But if you’re looking for love, its extremely rare for a woman to be successful  taking over the pursuit.  This is a problem of tremendous proportions that so many women fall victim to as they try to get something started.

I don’t think its so bad that Carol asked Jeff to the prom. What the heck? It’s just the prom and they don’t even live in her town. It won’t be awkward Monday when they go back to school, if he doesn’t want to start dating her.

My objection has to do with her presentation. All drama. Couldn’t she have just called or Facebooked him? Nope, Carol had her mom drive her over on a Saturday night, unannounced. She gave him flowers and asked him to prom with loads of drama, in a overplayed, romantic scenario that was cute when a boy did it in Shelton.

But Carol is NOT A BOY. And I feel for her, because with her mother’s coaching ( I do have the inside scoop on this one), she made a big scene of asking him on a first date. Not just any date either. THE PROM! So if they are just friends, why so much ceremony?

For you parents out there, listen to the wise words of singer Neil Young who says, “Teach your children well.” Carol’s mom has not done that or done her daughter any favors. She is teaching her that it’s OK to ask guys out and make a big show of it. Neither one is a savvy lesson.

I give Carol’s mom an A for romance, and a big fat F for understanding how dating works, even in the teenage years.




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