Sex + Dating

My 11-Year-Old Niece on How Kids Date These Days

illustration of a kid talking about dating
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

It's 2016 and I have absolutely no idea how courtship works outside of my generation. Am I so out of touch? No, it's the children who are wrong.

In an attempt to "reconnect" with the youths of America, I made a phone call to my 11-year-old niece to get the scoop on what it's like to date in the age of texting, Snapchat, and those little rubber bracelets that mean different things based on the color. Do they still have those? During the conversation, my niece enlightened me and also made me feel incredibly uncool for not touching a female until I was 15.

OK, so dating at 11. What’s that like?

Well, I'm single... so I’m clueless.
 

But I'm sure you have friends with boyfriends, right?

Yeah. Not me, some of my friends do.
 

How did that happen?

Um, so in fifth grade, they were all flirty with each other. And then she asked him and he was like: OK. They flirted for a while and started holding hands and kissing on the cheek.
 

Do love notes still happen?

Yup. My friends who dated for three weeks would always Snap each other and talk on Instagram and text.
 

How do dates happen when you can't drive?

Usually they just, like, meet up and go for ice cream, because we're all close to Downtown.
 

Who buys whom the ice cream?

They just bring their own money, but my friend told me that her boyfriend paid for her once.
 

Where does this money come from?

Drugs.
 

What?!

Just kidding, um, like from birthdays and Christmas. And drugs. And strip clubs.
 

How long do kids date?

Most of them date for a few weeks. One of my friends dumped her boyfriend for someone else. She texted him and the guy was like, "it's too late to say sorry now."
 

Just like Bieber

Two of my friends have done that -- texted their boyfriends and broken up with them. Some friends casually break up, because they've lost interest in each other.
 

Is there a lot of dating in your grade?

One of my friends is a player. She's dated, like, seven guys this year. She's the one who text-dumped her boyfriend.
 

Do kids still ask for each other's numbers?

Most of my friends talk over Instagram and Snapchat, but they started out getting each other's numbers. It still happens.

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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist who is glad to never have to go through middle school again.