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SPECIAL OCCASIONS



Published: Fri, February 1, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



By VERONICA GORLEY

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

It's time for the big dance. You have the perfect clothes, the right shoes, everything.

It's a special -- and usually expensive -- occasion, and you want everything to be perfect, including the person you take to the event.

Who, then, fits the bill for the "perfect date"? A friend, a crush, a significant other? Anyone who will say yes?

"Someone nice," said Lindsay Knight, 19, of Columbiana.

More specifically, Knight said she would prefer to go with a friend, because "you'll always have more fun with a friend."

Curtis Golden, 17, said he might ask someone he had a crush on, but he would feel more comfortable taking a friend.

"You'd have a better time if you ask a friend to go," the McDonald resident said.

Guys' view: Two 18-year-olds from Newton Falls, Steve Barnhart and Brad Rosenberger, agreed they'd rather take a friend. Barnhart's reason was to meet other girls or perhaps have the friendship develop into a relationship.

Rosenberger, who would prefer taking a friend because she would be easier to talk to and compatible with him, disagreed.

"I wouldn't want it to develop into anything else because it would ruin the friendship," Rosenberger said.

On the other hand, Poland resident Pam McCoy, 19, would much rather take a longtime crush.

"You can hang out with your friend any night," McCoy said. "If you had this crush in high school all your life, and you didn't even know he knew your name, and then he asks you to the prom, it'd be awesome. It'll give you goose bumps -- the warm, tingly feeling."

Danielle Pape of Cortland and Jessica Lockwood of Howland agreed they would rather take a crush than a friend.

"If you like someone, you should go with them," said Pape, 16.

Criteria: Pape's description of the perfect date is "someone good looking, of course. Someone who likes to have a good time." Fifteen-year-old Lockwood added he had to have a good personality.

The first date qualifier Ashley Anderson, 16, offered was, "I'd like him to pay [my way] for me."

The Warren resident also cited personality and sense of humor as desirable qualities in a date for a formal occasion. She warned against going with a friend.

"I'd rather go with a boyfriend, because if you go with a friend, he may think you're more than friends, and he may try to make a move on you," Anderson said.

Not only does James Brainard of Warren want to take a girlfriend to formal date functions, but he would prefer taking a longtime girlfriend.

"If you've just started dating someone, you don't know them well," the 18-year-old explained. "They might just be using you to go."

He admitted he's interested in looks.

"She's got to be cute," Brainard said, adding, "She has to have a sense of humor and just want to have fun."

What really matters: Though some teens may be interested in a good-looking date, most agree they'd want to go with someone they can talk to and who wants to have fun. They may not agree over whether going with a friend or crush is better, but looks aren't that important to teens when they need a date.

Girls don't need Julia Roberts' smile, Neve Campbell's nose, Catherine Zeta-Jones' locks, Pamela Anderson's figure, Charlize Theron's eyes or Jennifer Lopez's you-know-what.

Likewise, guys don't have to have Adam Sandler's sense of humor, Denzel Washington's smile, Brad Pitt's baby blues, Ryan Phillippe's hairstyle or Will Smith's physique.

These teens aren't shallow. When it comes down to it, they just want a nice date who wants to have a good time.




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