A way to de-dramatize boy-girl splits

These conversations actually come about while drinking cherry limeades, which is what we do when we?re bored, which is several days a week because we really don?t have a whole lot else going on. That, or we?re just ignoring our actual responsibilities.

One of the main points we came up with?and you have to understand that Becky and I are two very philosophical thinkers, on the same intellectual level of Aristotle, Socrates, Play-Do and Silly Putty?is that relationships that take place in the high school years are almost always bound to end in a certain amount of time, and that there will be, pardon my French, le beaucoup de drame inutile qui ennuie vraiment.

We happened upon this issue when the subject came up about the recent break-up of several couples we knew.

As I have observed, this is the way most high school relationships work: milestone events happen in shifts.

For example, this recent wave of break-ups involved about five couples who detached within about one month?s time.

Perhaps you think this is merely a coincidence, and that I am making this a big deal because nothing else noteworthy has happened lately. Well, perhaps it has been several years since your own high school days.

(This is not an offensive jab about your age. You look very young! Not a day over 25 at the most.)

Please allow me to map out how relationship status worked during the 2006-07 school year.

The first wave of coupling-up began toward the beginning of the year, when students were seeing each other for the first time in weeks.

At some point several months after that there was probably a small wave of break-ups, although I frankly was not taking notes at the time.

The second movement of pairings began at the beginning of the second semester, as the subject of prom began to settle into the backs of everyone?s mind.

Then, only weeks before prom actually happened, a frantic surge of separating and/or rearranging took place, as students who had coupled up back in the Februaryish period began to get tired of their other halves.

This gives you a pretty decent view of the mock-nuptial activities in the wonderful world of Teenager Land (where cell phones are never turned off and spit balls fly in the back of the chemistry room).

Naturally, with the dissolving of a couple comes a certain amount of commotion and personal crisis, which, from a distance, is quasi-entertaining to watch. However, up close, it is no fun at all, if not bordering on annoying.

With this thought in mind, Becky and I discussed the possibility of setting up a system for dating.

I took this thought a little further later, when I found myself with absolutely nothing to do, and the arrangement I came up with is not unlike our system of government, when it comes to electing public officials.

Here?s how it would work.

At the beginning of the school year, students would have a couple of weeks to get back into the swing of things, and potentially find someone they would like to date. They could then apply with that person, and if he or she agreed to the proposal, they would sign a contract committing themselves for a certain period of time, and would then be officially dating.

A roster would then be hung on the wall, with all the couples listed. For the next three months, these would be the official boyfriend/girlfriend arrangements.

During this period, no breaking up or getting together would be allowed by anyone?unless, of course, one member came down with a highly contagious virus such as mononucleosis. However, the process for this event gets very confusing, and I am still researching how to best handle it.

At the end of the three months, all pairings would be immediately terminated. No dramatic breaking up; everyone would have the same relationship status at once.

Immediately following, another three-month session would begin. As there is complete freedom of choice?after all, this is a sort-of democracy?a couple who had been together in the first sequence would be allowed to re-sign if both agreed they were happy with each other.

In turn, students would also have the freedom to find someone else they felt would be a better match.

This process would run its course three times throughout the approximate nine months that school is in session.

Because of this system, there would be no unexpected twists and everyone would be in the same boat at the same time. Therefore, students not involved to begin with will not have to be subjected to the theatrical displays put on by people when their sweetheart suddenly leaves them.

After all, this is high school, and we?re a bunch of teenagers. The last thing we need is drama.

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UFO: As if high school relationships weren?t bad enough, the average U.S. marriage lasts about 9.4 years.

Don?t ask why.