Be Smart and Other Rules for Dating in H i gh School

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Ji. emember Janis Ian's song, "I learned the rules at seventeen, that love was meant for beauty queens"? The fact is, unless you look like Brooke Shields, high school can be very rough. There's acne and not fitting into the "in" crowd, not to mention having to go to the prom with a group because you don't have a date. Our Rules for high school won't guarantee you a date for the prom, but they will bring out the very best in you and make you more attractive to the opposite sex.

1. If you have really bad acne go to a dermatologist. Cut out the greasy foods—pizza, potato chips, french fries—that make your face oily. Eat fruits and vegetables and drink six to eight glasses of water a day. It also goes without saying that you should never spend Saturday nights lying on your bed. Have fun, make plans. Start believing now that you are a creature unlike any other! (See Rule #i.)

2. Spend your baby-sitting money on manicures and some pretty clothes. Wear makeup, but not too much. The idea is to look pretty, not overdone.

3. If you have a crush on a boy, your older brother's friend perhaps, don't act like one of the boys with him. Don't wear a baseball cap and sit around watching a ball game with the group. If he happens to be around, don't talk to him first. Be reserved and slightly mysterious. Let him notice you.

4. Always be out; mingling, not indoors, worrying. Go out to the beach, to the movies, to parties, not in your room dwelling on your flaws or quoting Sylvia Plath. When you go to parties, dances, or the beach, don't look wildly around for a boy to talk to you or ask you to dance. Don't chew gum and cackle. Walk erect as if you were balancing a book on your head, look directly in front of you, and seem self-contained even if you're lonely and bored to death.

5. If you have decided to have sex, wait until you are in a steady relationship. Use birth control, specifically a condom. You don't want to end up with an unwanted pregnancy or disease. Impulsive and irresponsible behaviors are not The Rules. In the '90s, it can be even cooler and safer to simply wait until you're more

6. Don't smoke take drugs, or drink alcohol, even if a very cool and good-looking boy is pressuring you to do so. Cigarettes are unhealthy, drugs and alcohol are mind altering and addictive and might make you do something that you don't want to do (like sleep with him on the first date). To do The Rules you must always be one step ahead. Drugs and alcohol make you messy and stupid—definitely not Rules behavior.

7. High school is a good time to take up sports like jogging, aerobics, swimming, or tennis. This is not only good for your body, but also for your social life. Lots of socializing goes on at running tracks and tennis courts. A healthy hobby will give you something to do in the summer. If you have the money, you might think about going to tennis camp where you can meet athletic boys your age. If you spend the summer working, on your days off make sure you go to the beach, get a (safe) tan, wear short shorts and bikinis, and go swimming, play tennis, or go Rollerblading.

8. Act confident even if you don't feel it. Notice what kinds of clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, and hairstyles the most popular kids in high school are wearing. Don't try to be too different or frugal in this area. You'll feel lousy, so it's not worth it. To see what's hot and not, subscribe to Seventeen and Glamour. Don't let your mind tell you that all of this is superficial and beneath you. (Save your mind for final exams and the SATs.) Don't you like boys who wear Polo shirts and cowboy boots when that's in fashion? Well, they like girls who wear what's on MTV and in Seventeen.

9. If the boy you like doesn't ask you to the prom, don't ask him. Better that you go with someone else who asks you or with a group. Start being a Rules girl now!

10. If you are lucky enough to have a boyfriend during high school, let him be the one to worry about the future. Choose a college that's good for you, not necessarily the one he is going to. (Who knows? You could follow him all the way to college only to have him dump you for a prettier girl in his dorm.) Go to whatever college you like and if he wants to see you, let him travel to your campus. Let him call and write you. Unless you're engaged, date others. Don't spend every weekend with your high school boyfriend, as some girls do who have a hard time separating. If you're meant to marry your high school sweetheart; it will happen despite the distance between you and despite any other men you meet in college.

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