Local 7th-grader Ahmad Hassan was in a study session with his classmate Zakiya Saleh when something peculiar caught his eye: she wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.

“I know it’s none of my business,” said Hassan, “but I couldn’t help but notice. Once you get to my age, you just assume that every woman is married. So when I saw that ring finger, I admit my heart kind of jumped.”

Is Hassan interested in pursuing a budding classroom romance? “I don’t know. I’m just so sick of dating. Being a bachelor for so long is getting to me. And as for Zakiya, well, if you’re unmarried at that age, you’re usually pretty desperate to settle down.”

With a magical look in his eyes, Hassan said, “Maybe I should just tell her I like her. No, it’s stupid! She might not even be interested. Maybe I should give it time, wait for puberty to kick in for us. Worse comes to worse, I could always just wire her father $20,000.”

At press time, Hassan was rationalizing about what a great husband he would make. “She’s probably had to date a lot of jerks, and I just hope she knows I’m not one of them. I would let her do anything she wants: drive a car, complete 9th grade, make financial decisions with guardian consent, you name it! She can even have male friends as long as they don’t meet in public. Maybe I should buy flowers?”

By William Boffa