By Monifa Thomas
September 9, 2004
For teenage boys, there's nothing better than having a girlfriend, except maybe going to the movies.
Teenage girls, on the other hand, ranked shopping, going to the beach and even sleeping late above dating on their list of things to do.
Those are among the findings of a national survey, set to be released in October, by Teenage Research Unlimited, a Northbrook market-research firm.
Twice a year, the firm polls 2,000 12- to 19-year-olds to get a sense of what teens think, buy, wear and do. This is the 44th study.
When asked what activities they're into, 90 percent of teen boys and 93 percent of girls said going to the movies, making it the most popular activity for both.
What came next, however, varied by gender.
For boys, having a girlfriend came in second place at 87 percent, followed by dating at 85 percent.
Though 88 percent of girls said having a boyfriend is "in," six other activities got higher marks, including shopping, going to college and taking photos. Dating was the ninth most popular response among girls.
Rob Callender, senior trends manager at the research firm, said the differences in the way teen boys and girls rank relationships may be a symptom of how successful they are at attracting the opposite sex.
"For a lot of guys, it's something they desperately want to attain, but they find it somewhat troubling," Callender said. "Girls don't have to try that hard to get a guy's attention, which is why they probably worry about it less."
Seventeen-year-old Sable Collins, of Chicago, had another explanation: "Guys get more popular by having a girl, so basically, the girl makes the boy. We don't need boys to make us, so we're into other things."
And while guys build their reputations on how many girls they can get, girls can earn bad reputations for playing the field, Evanston Township High freshman Chris Metz said.
But Rebecca Rubin, 14, of Skokie, said, "Having a boyfriend is a status thing for girls, too. I think it's equally important for both."
Copyright 2004 The Sun-Times Company