Dog collar love

Ed Rood
Ed Rood

It was devastating ... probably one of the crummiest mornings I had suffered through thus far in my young life.

I had just settled down at my desk when I noticed several of the older girls strolling into study hall. Being a lowly freshman, I could only fantasize that they might notice me. 

One by one they paraded past the front of the auditorium to the desks reserved for juniors and seniors. That’s when it struck me: the dog collar Delores was wearing on her bobby sox was on her right ankle.

Delores just happened to be the most spectacular of the dazzling girls in high school. She was definitely the femme fatale of the senior class. But the dog collar on the right ankle left no question. She was now going steady – probably with a classmate. I was beyond heartbroken! 

True, Delores probably had no idea I existed. That’s wasn’t the point. In 1954, the dog collar on the right ankle was the ultimate indicator that the girl wearing it was spoken for and I must move on. The fact that I had nothing to move on from never occurred to me. 

The rules and regulations for the younger generation of the mid-1950s were unwritten laws meant to be adhered to without question. A girl wearing a dog collar on her left ankle indicated she was unspoken for and was still available. When the dog collar was switched to the right ankle she was taken (no ifs, ands or buts).

There were other indicators employed. Exchanging high school class rings for example. The girl would wear her boyfriend’s ring on the third finger of her left hand with tape wrapped around the base of the ring so it would fit. Her boyfriend would wear her class ring around his neck on a chain.

Another sign was a girl’s pant legs. She would roll higher her right pant leg if she was spoken for or her left leg higher if she was still available. 

As I look back at those days now it’s hard to imagine how simple things were ... even though it didn’t seem that way at the time. I guess today’s teens with Facebook and Twitter probably wouldn’t be caught dead with a dog collar around their ankles or a class ring hanging around their necks.

Too bad. They don’t know what they’re missing!

Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times.