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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Message Megan: Leading a Double Life

Dear Megan,

I feel like I’m living a double life. I spend my time at high school as a regular kid, with friends, classes, maybe a bit of romance in the works. But when I go to work, I’m a totally different person. I act, and apparently seem, like I’m 18 or 19. I hang out with coworkers who are of age and who drink and so on (although I’m never pressured to do the same), and most importantly, there’s a guy who I like and who likes me, and who’s six years older than me. I kind of want to have a relationship with him, but 1) it’s illegal and 2) it would be difficult and awkward. What do I do? If I keep pursuing my coworker, that goes into dangerous territory, but if I let it pass by and focus on my high school life (which I sort of want to do), I could lose a great guy or even a great friendship. Help me!

Sincerely,

Girl with a Dilemma

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Dear Girl with a Dilemma,

This is a very sticky situation, but it’s good that you have restrained yourself from going any further until you really think about the important decision you have to make. First of all, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that your work life and acquaintances are so different from your academic environment. As long as your older coworkers are not negatively influencing you, work can provide you with the escape you may need from the stress and havoc of high school life.

But moving on to the real issue at hand, what to do with your coworker, a potential romantic interest. To set the record straight, there is no legal “dating” age in Maryland. Instead, there are consent laws, which deal with the age one is legally able to have sexual intercourse with an older person. According to The People’s Law Library of Maryland’s website, a relationship between the two of you is legal assuming that you are at least 16 years old. So regardless, if you do end up deciding to date your coworker, it technically is allowed under Maryland law, whether or not sex is part of the equation.

Despite its legality, there are other potential barriers that may arise in your relationship. In 10 years, a six year age gap won’t matter at all. But right now, it is important. You are an underage high school student; he is a legal adult who has been out of high school for quite some time now, and perhaps well into college or beginning in the workforce. You two are in different stages of life, connected only by a part time job. You told me in your letter that a romantic relationship with said coworker would be “difficult and awkward.” To be frank, yes, it probably would be. Also, consider the social changes in your life that may occur as a result of this relationship. Although I would never tell you to take judgment from your peers to heart, people are going to judge based on the fact you are dating someone who is significantly older than yourself. You need to be prepared for this. Additionally, will your parent(s) approve of this relationship? If not, maintaining a relationship with your coworker may be very difficult. 

Lastly, I obviously don’t know the nature of your current relationship with your coworker, but I’m going to go out on a limb and ask why he wants to be involved with a high school student. There are plenty of people in their early twenties who are interested in dating, so it strikes me as odd that he would want to date someone much younger. Shouldn’t he be interested in people his own age?

Consider the points I have made above and re-evaluate your situation. Is dating your co-worker really worth it? It is up to you to decide whether you want this relationship enough to go through the social obstacles that come with it.

Sincerely,

Megan

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About the Contributor
Megan Chun
Megan Chun, Online Editor-in-Chief
This is senior Megan Chun’s third year on The Pitch staff, and her second consecutive year as the Online Editor-in-Chief. She is excited to continue her work on The Pitch Online with the new group of online editors. Megan’s activities (besides procrastinating and editing online blurbs) include Irish dancing, drinking smoothies, color-coding her closet, taking naps and watching cop dramas. Megan is eager to work with co-editors Emily and Claudia, in addition to the rest of the great 2013-2014 Pitch staff.
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