“Kendra still remembers what it was like when she had the same second- and third-grade teachers I had. They called her Samantha by accident all the time; one even called her “Little Samantha,” much to her dismay. Apparently, they expected her to be exactly like me and she worried about disappointing them.”
— Samantha Schwartz, February 2010 Double Take
Wes: Wow. I wouldn’t want to be Kendra Schwartz. Not only does she join Double Take this week in the footsteps of Katie Guyot, a talented and popular co-author, she does so in the shadow of older sister, Samantha. In her application, Miranda Davis (2011-2012) said, “I used to read Sam’s columns and I thought she was the smartest teenager in the world.” Katie based her own standard for Double Take on Samantha’s writing. It must have worked.
So, in welcoming you, dear Kendra, let me say publicly and clearly: Don’t worry.
Even I slip and call you Sam on occasion, but we all know you are not she. Each co-author brings a unique style and perspective. Each develops over the year in prose and wisdom. The only shoes you need to fill are your own.
Besides, when it comes to teenagers there’s no going backward. The world is so different now than in the four years since I wrote my August introduction to Sam’s first column.
Life moves forward. I’ve no doubt you will lean in and take us all there.
On the air
Join Dr. Wes, Kendra and William at 11 a.m. Tuesday on Up to Date with Steve Kraske on KCUR 89.3FM or catch the podcast at www.dr-wes.com. They’ll be discussing long term dating in a sea of random hookups and taking listener calls.
Kendra: Not only am I now a legacy co-author of Double Take, but I continue our family tradition of monogamous dating and today, writing about it in Double Take.
Like Sam, I met my boyfriend, William, during my sophomore year of high school and have been dating him since. It makes me wonder: is anyone the “monogamous type” or is it just a Schwartz family idiosyncrasy?
Perhaps it comes from having such great examples of love, not only in our parents, who adore each other after 25 years of marriage, but also from our godparents, who’ve been happily together my entire life.
I prefer to see monogamy as a choice.
The other night, William and I attended a party where we saw firsthand how the hookup half lives. Our friends played a game that involved assigning “punishments” for losing. One point lost meant kissing a random member of the opposite sex. Three points lost meant drinking ranch dressing. In other words, ranch dressing was deemed a worse punishment than kissing someone you had no feelings for.
In another game, a roll of the paper dice determined what bit of affection the player might plant on another person’s body and where.
As we observed this second game, William squeezed my hand. “Is this what we’re missing?” he whispered.
“We have it so much better,” he said as he kissed my cheek. He knows I despise PDA, but in that moment, this particular kiss made me smile.
We were certainly an oddity. One of two couples in the entire place, we stood out like a goth kid at a One Direction concert. Yet together, we had more fun than anyone else in the room.
My mom once told me she never went to a high school dance because she never had a boyfriend. Nowadays, she would be the typical teen, though it’s hard to imagine my mother choosing to play casual hook-up games. It’s hard to say what members of earlier generations would do if forced to navigate today’s dating culture.
I am not monogamous because I fear being single, nor am I suggesting that my peers who are part of the hookup culture are irresponsible. I am simply acknowledging a huge cultural shift away from real coupling, one that adults tend to blame on the media and teens blame on the opposite sex. Either way, it’s a choice.
And for me, I choose monogamy.
— Wes Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP, is author of “Dear Dr. Wes: Real Life Advice for Teens” and “Real Life Advice for Parents of Teens.” Learn about his new practice Family Psychological Services at dr-wes.com. Send your confidential 200-word question on adolescence and parenting to firstname.lastname@example.org. Double Take opinions and advice are not a substitute for psychological services.