Monday, May 07, 2007

I think Dear Abby printed a fake letter

I think today's first Dear Abby letter is a hoax. It's alleged from a father warning people that the latest thing among teenage girls is to have a "prom baby" (i.e. get knocked up at the prom) to get out of going to college. But consider:

1. If someone is smart enough to get into an Ivy League school, they would know that taking care of a baby is harder than going to college. These people are 17, not 13.

2. In what world would it be easier to tell your parents you're pregnant than to tell them you're not feeling ready for college?

3. If they really wanted to sabotage their own chances of going to college, wouldn't they just submit a poor application? Don't US colleges require essays and interviews and all kinds of stuff like that rather than just filling out a form? Why not just submit a crappy essay or blow the interview?

4. If they really wanted to have a baby, why would they put all their eggs in one basket by depending on getting pregnant on one specific night? Wouldn't they instead work on arranging their lives so they have multiple opportunities to "try"? Even highly supervised kids, in their final year of high school, could arrange to have some "group projects" that required a lot of work at a conveniently parent-less house, or find some way to be alone in a car. This does take some stealth and lying and good luck, but if it's really that important to get pregnant, it's not that hard to make it work.

5. When I was that age, the thing to do if you weren't feeling ready for college was to work for a year. It was considered a responsible, perfectly respectable thing to do. Surely they've heard of that!

6. All the Google results for "prom baby" (excluding those where the two words appear next to each other but aren't intended as a single term) point to a) this column, or b) references to babies that were born at proms, not conceived at proms. The only Google Blog Search results or Technorati searches (again, excluding those where the words appear next to each other but aren't intended as a term) are referring to this specific Dear Abby column. If this were really a trend, it would have been mentioned on the internet by now.

What I'm surprised about is that Dear Abby didn't clearly see that this was a hoax.

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