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Fourteen: A teenager searches for a Homecoming date

Delanie Stratton
Basim Blunt

Dayton Youth Radio has a new story from producer Delanie Stratton, a teenager in Springfield, Ohio.

I myself, am painfully single. I've never had a real relationship other than an awkward fourth-grade crush relationship. And let me tell you why. I'm a very introverted teenage girl and it's hard for me to interact with many people at a time.

Most boys and girls in my school are with someone or talking to someone. I feel this weird pressure to have a boyfriend. I do. I really, really do. I've never had a real romantic relationship, and I've never wanted one until now. My name is Delaney Stratton. I'm 14 and I go to Global Impact STEM Academy. My parents are divorced. One week I'm with my mom, Renee. In the next, I'm with my dad, Aaron. I love reading. I'm an avid movie watcher and I'm a little obsessed with True Crime.

I'm constantly listening to music in my headphones, curled up in a blanket, listening to either The Neighborhood or The Weekend. Almost all of the music I listen to on my AirPods is about love. Whether the song is about a breakup or being in love, it's probably on my playlist. I think new movies are marketed to portray love everywhere and it's easy to obtain. I'm a big fan of Machine Gun Kelly. He's a musician and Megan Fox, who's an actress. They're the hot couple on social media. They seem obsessed with each other, always together. They're not afraid to show each other public affection, and it makes me sad that I might not find that.

"I personally think there's always going to be some kind of pressure on girls to be in a relationship, no matter what kind."
Delanie Stratton

One time, my mom and I went to a New Year's Eve party, and every time I felt overwhelmed, I would hide in the bathroom for five minutes. I struggle with high functioning anxiety and depression, and I was diagnosed in 2020. I pick up my nail beds really bad and hide from people at gatherings. But that's not the only problem I often fall victim to. I can't for the life of me, flirt with someone seriously. I usually tend to insult them and think that I was really smooth. It doesn't work.

Sometimes I think it's my sense of humor, too. It's a pitch black comedy that doesn't really land with some people. When anyone asks me what I want to be when I grow up, I usually say, "A hag that lives in a shack, in some sort of forest that eats children to live forever."

And lots of people don't think that is funny.

I personally think there's always going to be some kind of pressure on girls to be in a relationship, no matter what kind. I've seen kids three or four years younger than me in a real relationship. Maybe it's the feeling of being mature or the fact that you have someone. To be frank, I don't know if I'll ever know.

I'd like to say, "Hello, world. This is me, Delaney Stratton," saying, "Hey, it would be really nice to have a homecoming date."

I don't really know all the time why no one is in love with me. I don't get it sometimes. I took it upon myself to create the perfect recipe for a partner. First, add one cup of smart humor. I don't want toilet humor. It's not funny. Then, a half cup of charm, one full gallon of understanding, a squeeze of nice hair, preferably puffy and soft. And a zest of smelling nice. Let that simmer, and now when it's nice and thoroughly mixed together, serve when warm for nice special memories. I'm like, "Yo, I would really like a homecoming date," and hopefully I can get one by next homecoming because that would be really great.

Delanie Stratton is a student at the Global Impact STEM Academy in Springfield. Special thanks to Winkie Mitchell and Beth Dixon at Wellspringfield.org. Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.