As part of teaching girls how to survive in the real world, Salt Lake City’s Highland High School assigned girls in the class to pair up with a male classmate and go on a “Five Dollar Date.” The idea was to prove that courtship didn’t have to be expensive.
But the instructions didn’t end there. The girls were issued a pink sheet of paper with a list of “requirements” that men supposedly have for women with whom they’d consider pursuing a serious relationship. Among the requirements: she should “dress appropriately,” “be feminine and lady-like,” and “if you think you’re too fat, keep it to yourself.”
The paper also suggests that girls should “eat the food you order” so as not to waste a man’s money (it’s a five dollar date), stay out of the bathroom, stay away from mirrors, and don’t criticize your date’s driving.
Helpfully, the paper also reminds girls to “relax” and be themselves.
Boys in the class also received a similar handout—and theirs was just as bizarre.
The fliers were part of a “Purposes of Dating” unit that also included things like a “love quiz” administered by television psychologist Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and a list of ideas for the “perfect date.”
One student’s mother, Jenn Oxborrow, shared the girls paper on Facebook so that others could see exactly what their nearly adult children might be subject to in school.
Oxborrow told the Salt Lake Tribune that she objected not only to the guidelines, but also to the idea that students were being forced to go on dates with members of the opposite sex, whether they wanted to or not—and that the assignment did not take into account whether any students were LGBT.
Administrators at Highland say the assignment was intended to be a lighthearted exercise in social norms, and that the teacher pulled the flier off a website of state-approved teaching materials. The school also said that the teacher, who they claim is “mortified,” never meant students to think they were required to go out on a date, but could just as easily use the opportunity to spend time with a friend.
Regardless, administrators say they’re jettisoning the assignment, and the Utah Board of Education is pulling the materials off their site, calling the handouts “inappropriate.” They’re also determining whether the class, going forward, should include the entire “Purposes of Dating” unit.