Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Single 20ish Mormon Blogger

A while ago, my sister encouraged me to submit a few blogs for MormonTimes.com on being a 20ish, single Mormon. Some are more polished than others, but funny insights into the dating (or lack thereof) world of mine. Even though I didn't make the first cut, I thought these were pretty funny.



Mormon. Single. Adult.

These words don’t make any sense. They don’t go together. As a matter of fact, if you were to combine all of those words into a title or sentence, it would be an oxymoron.

It’s a phase of adulthood with puberty-like moments of awkwardness and growth spurts. You’re too old to be young, but way too young to be considered old. You attend church where there are 18 year-olds with their high school cap tassel hanging from their rear view mirror and 29-year-old doctors finishing their first residency. Some have rarely dated while others have been previously married. There are so many of us entering or exiting different phases of life and the only thing we have in common is…

We’re single, Mormon adults. We’re oxy-Mormons. We’re single adults in a marriage-encouraging, family-oriented, kid-producing Church.

During our first adolescence, Church leaders strongly advised an appropriate division between guys and girls. This was very evident in the stake dances I attended as a teenager. At first, I thought they were traditional Jewish weddings because the guys would be on one side of the dance floor and the girls would be on the other. Only the boldest of young men dared to cross the room to ask a young woman to dance. We heard cautions of “no dating before age 16” and “no steady dating period!” preached at every youth fireside and Sunday mutual lesson.

But as adults, we find that, though the Church doctrine remains unchanged, the message is much different. We no longer “hang out” with the opposite gender, but, instead, we’re counseled to earnestly seek out a potential mate. In fact, the first major difference that I noticed from my childhood ward to my singles ward is the social aspect. Now we have activities like mix-and-mingles so you can flirt with others right after church. Why wait until Friday night? There’re dances, service projects, FHE groups all designed for one purpose—matrimony, moving us out of this gangly, second-teenage-hood.

I don’t mind this awkward stage of life, of being an oxy-Mormon. It’s uncomfortable at times, much like my braces and glasses were at age 15. But I hope I can emerge from this second adolescence confident and stronger and, hopefully, without the acne.

Dead love life? Don't worry! There's still hope! Ya just gotta die first!

I am what I like to call, an oxy-Mormon. I’m 26, Mormon and single. And it’s okay to be all three attributes at one time.

Not only do I bear that weird title, but I feel I’m at a strange, like in between stages of life. I’m too young to be the innocent, dependent 21 year old, but also not old enough to get kicked out of my singles ward, (just yet.)

I served a mission, attempted to graduated from BYU-I Do, but my diploma actually says BYU-I Didn’t-Get-the-Ring, started one of those grown up jobs, bought a car and a place on my own within a year and now here I am. . . writing a blog on something people like me would like to see . . . .


Every CES Fireside, combined Relief Society and Priesthood meeting, General Conference talk on dating and being single is pretty much the same! It starts off with a message to the men and it goes something like this:

“Men, serve an honorable mission, come home, get an education, date, find a wife, start your career, raise a family and then celebrate your 23rd birthday."

“Women, get an education, prepare for a single life and always say yes to dates.”

And then they’ll sum it up in the most sincere and almost apologetic tone of voice. If I could type this next part in a little cute and crafty vinyl lettering font, I would.

“However, some of you may never marry in this life. (They’ll traditionally pause for three seconds, sigh and then they’ll hang their head) The Lord blesses you for your efforts in his own time he will fulfill your righteous desire. Just hang in there and endure to the end.”

I sit there and do you know what this oxy-Mormon is thinking? If I’m one of those people who never get ‘the opportunity,’ I’m better off dead when it comes to my love life!! Isn’t that what they’re saying? Because you tried to date and failed at it, your dating will be better once you’re dead.

Okay, I really don’t think that . . . it’s just a nice back up plan if you don’t get to the eternal jump off in this life.

But still. . . there is a bit of truth to that, isn’t there? (I need some ice-cream now. . .maybe I'll die from a heart attack and that'll be the start of a great love story! Come on Ben and Jerry! Help a sista out!)

Tap Dancing Blind Date

My blind date is tap dancing in the restaurant. While we’re eating. And everyone is looking at us.

Now, let me back up. Everything was normal before we got to this point in the evening. Brandon and I (names have been changed to protect the innocent and the embarrassed) went through the traditional blind date rituals: tentative Facebooking, brief texting and finally agreeing to a face-to-face meeting. We agreed on a restaurant and the date was set.

He seemed normal, outgoing and fun to be with. He was a returned missionary, went to BYU, was employed and active in his ward. What could go wrong?

As we ordered our food, I learned that Brandon was a dancer while at BYU and his forte was tap and clogging. Holding to true to blind date etiquette, I asked him about this hobby of his. That’s what we do on blind dates: learn about other people and their interests. Brandon’s response was enthusiastic, to say the least. He was still talking about the finer points of clogging when our food arrived.

As soon as the waitress left, Brandon leaned forward and revealed a fascinating tap dancing tidbit: “There are five different ways tap dancers can land on their feet. Do you know what they are?”

“Uh, I don’t know,” I said, while lifting my fork to my mouth. “Let’s see. . .flat footed, on your heel, on your toe and. . .I’m not quite sure about the rest.”

“Here,” Brandon said while standing up and placing his napkin on his chair. “Let me show you.”

He got up from our booth and performed a 45 second tap dance routine. In the restaurant. A public restaurant. All of a sudden the sound of causal eating ceased and all eyes were on us. I knew right away this was going to be a very interesting evening.

Now, I’d like to pause the story just like they freeze the frame in the movies. Picture me at the restaurant, watching Brandon dance and everyone is looking at him. . . or me. . . I had a choice right then and there. I could choose to think this was going to be the worst date of my life, or hoping I would never see Brandon after tonight, I could change my attitude and enjoy this talented, yet very unique kid for just a few more hours.

Dating is about choice. You choose to date, or you choose not to. You chose to flirt, or be serious. However, the most important choice a single, 20ish Mormon can make, is choosing to be happy. You choose to be happy or miserable. . . to learn new things or not.

As for me, I choose to learn.

Did you know that there are five different ways a tap dancer can land on his foot?