Tag Archives: courtship



I asked one of my classmates about game she played as a child while waiting for class to begin.



Her: Okay, so, when I was in elementary school, and I must have been in 4th or 5th grade, one if those, I don’t know exactly, but it was when those people were still in school with me. We used to play a game. And I say that loosely, because there was no winning, really, it was just like something we would run around and do, ’cause like we had a big grass field that we could run around in and there was obviously kick balls and soccer balls and that stuff. So we called it “Pegging” and I don’t think, I don’t think we thought it was, ’cause I’ve heard like yucky references to what that is and I don’t think we knew that, and that’s why we called it that.

Me: ‘Cause you were in like 4th grade.

Her: Yeah. But, but like, I didn’t make that name up. Like someone else did. But We would run around and it was usually like the boys vs. girls, and it was me and another one or two girls against like three boys we would usually play with, and we would just try to hit each other as hard as we possibly could with a soccer ball. Like, we would throw it at each other, and that’s like the whole point of the game. And I think somehow we, ’cause I would talk to the girls and I would think some of us liked those boys.

Me: Oh, oh, oh.

Her: So I think there was a whole thing. I mean, We would hit hard. I mean we would have like welts,

Me: Oh, wow, yeah.

Her: And we realized we were doing that, and we wouldn’t do that anymore. And yeah, we used to do that when we were in 4th, 5th grade. It was like a form of courtship or something. Demented courtship. But like, well God, we would hit each other hard. Like, as I said, falling down would be normal after being hit.



This game was clearly a kind of courtship game. It was played between pre-pubescent children, who were just beginning the slow process of transitioning from a child into an adult. As it was played as boys vs. girls, it was a way for the girls (and possibly the boys) to “peg,” or “mark,” the boy/girl that they liked or had a crush on. How hard one could throw the ball could be seen as a posturing move, a show of strength, of accuracy, and perhaps even of the level of interest the person had for the target. Though much more painful than various other pre-pubescent “courtship” games, it is a game that lets children explore the new kinds of feelings for members of the opposite sex as they begin the transition into adulthood.

Pickup Lines

Man: Did it hurt?

Woman: Did what hurt?

Man: When you fell out of heaven?

My informant was actually told this pickup when she was out on the Row last weekend. She says that a guy jokingly asked her this and then she rushed for the door afterwards.

This pick-up line has been made popular in several movies and shows and suggests that the one being “picked up” is an angel that is fallen from heaven. Since the popularity of pick-up lines has increased, they have quickly become less useful and instead have become a matter of humor between friends. In fact, many times when someone actually uses a pick-up line on another person they are thought of as sleazy or cheesy.

Pick-up lines have since become a way of breaking the ice in a joking manner or a form of lighthearted flattery between friends. Though, I am unaware of how the pick-up line first originated, they have proliferated into a subcategory just as large as Knock-Knock jokes or other forms of humor.

Ritual – Mexico

When a girl is still living in her parent’s house, any boy that wants to go out with her must come and ask her parents first. He has to sit down with them and ask permission before she is allowed to see him. This occurs for every new boyfriend she has, not just her first.


The subject told me that in Mexican culture, the daughter is very protected, and that when she becomes old enough to date, it is still gone about in a very special way. She said that the boy had to come to her house and ask her parents, in particular her father for permission first before he can go out with the girl. The subject said that a few boys had to come over to her house when she was younger and that she was very embarrassed because her father gave them hard times, and that he was a very strict man. She was afraid that all of the kids at school would make fun of her, but to her surprise her father let her go out with the boys. She said that this is widely practiced in Mexican households, and that that is probably why boys actually did come over, because she said she was afraid no one would want to come to her house just to go out on a date. Then I asked her if it was only for her first boyfriend, and she shook her head and told me that every new boy that wanted to ask her out had to come to her father and ask permission.

This tradition reminds me of the idea that the boy needs to ask the parents permission to take the girl’s hand in marriage, which I think that this custom is derived from. In the past, girls were married at a much earlier age, (the same age that they are now allowed to date), and therefore the boy had to come ask for the hand in marriage, but now since girls don’t get married at 15, they ask permission to date the daughter. This tradition also reflects the idea of respecting your elders, a popular belief in Mexican culture. The fact that the boy has to ask the father for permission shows the importance of the father in the daughter’s life, he is her protector, and thus acts as a guard to turn the unsuitable boys away. The subject said that for the most part her father let most of the boys date her, and that he was not too harsh. Its hard to imagine this custom in American culture, because kids have “boyfriends” at 10, and I think that a lot of the boys even at age 16 would shy away from having to talk to a girl’s dad. There has definitely been a loss of respect for the elders in American culture. This is why it is so interesting that this custom is still practiced. It is much like the quinceanara, the celebration of the daughter’s fifteenth birthday in which she becomes a woman and is allowed to dance with a boy after she dances with her father. It is obvious that the father and boy are two recurring symbols in the girl’s life, and the father always comes first. This reflects the respect issue and the idea that she will always have her father to support her.