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Going it Solo

May 30, 2007

by melbo

I grew up in Wisconsin, the full blown mission field, where there are 5 Mormon kids in your high school and at least 3 of them are your siblings. You go to all the stake dances on the off chance that a cute inactive boy will show and sweep you off your feet. None ever do, but at least it leaves you free to act like a complete fool instead of trying to impress someone.

When I was a Laurel (and of dating age), the most eligible Melchizedek priesthood holder was also my best friend. Needless to say, we were the ones acting a fool together at those infamous stake dances. (No romance, though, which sorely disappointed our mothers.) With no other Mormon boys to date, I preyed on the nonmembers. I dated some of the nicest guys while I was in high school. Interestingly, I didn’t date naughty boys until I was surrounded by RMs in Utah (with at least one exception, that is)… Serving a mission does not a saint make.

I always vowed never to live in Utah, especially the notorious “Happy Valley,” but I somehow ended up moving there right out of high school. Much to my chagrin, I found myself completely immersed in Utah’s single culture during my prime dating years. I decided to make the most of it though, so I kept busy. My roommates and I used to say we “dated for food”. Even if a date wasn’t great, at least we got a meal out of it. And we wouldn’t forget to order some extra to bring home and share.

Utah culture knocks me out. The elaborate lengths people go to to ask each other out still mystifies me. I never would have believed that there are guys who write poetry and bake cakes just to invite a girl to dinner. Plain old asking seems so boring after all that hoopla. And the lingo they use… I still hear my husband asking his friends if they “scored” with their dates. It sounds dirty, but as it turns out, the Utah version of a score is much tamer than the Wisconsin version. A makeout seems to grant you clout in any circle on BYU campus. The best part is that Marc’s friends respond to his question the same way a guy would after a one night stand — with a cock of the chin, one raised eyebrow and an “oh yeah, man”.

Going it solo can get more difficult as the years pass on, though. The older you get, the younger the singles wards get – something the guys usually like and the girls usually don’t. I have a friend in my family ward who has threatened to go to the singles ward on a few occasions but seems hesitant. Her husband passed away a few years ago and she is raising their 8 year old son alone. As a single mother, she feels out of place in our ward and has had a difficult time relating to and building strong friendships among the other women. She’s also been stuck in primary for years, so that doesn’t make it any easier. She has said to me that my friendship is the only reason she’s stayed in our ward, but I feel it’s more than that. Even though her parents could take her son to church so she could go to the Singles ward, I sense that she’s afraid to face it all alone, in fear that she’ll feel out of place there. She’d be solo at church for the first time in years without even her son as company. She’d be starting all over, dating, making friends, etc. That’s a lot of pressure to impress other people, especially without a gaggle of girlfriends to support you.

I think that’s why I always say that I’d never want to be single again. I had fun while it lasted, but I sure thank the Creator for my ‘ole ball and chain. I got married at 22, which seems young now, but it didn’t at the time. Mormon women get a lot of flack for marrying young, but I think it’s a little unfair. Getting married young works for some people. My sister, for example, got engaged at 19 after a three week courtship. They have been together almost 9 years, have 3 kids and are perfect for each other. In my case, although I was young, I had known my hubbie for 2 years before we got hitched. Although I was sure about him long before he was sure about me, in the end we were sure together. Looking back at the 3 years we’ve been married, our timing was perfect. I guess all that dating paid off.

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7 comments

  1. Awww, come on Hoochie don’t tell me you miss donning leopard print and feathers for all niters in Vegas or at the Cardinal fueled by Red Bull and No Doze!!! Oh how the mighty have fallen… Has it really been 3 years?


  2. I intentionally left certain details out of my post AA. 😛 But for the record, I maybe wore feathers once and I decided early on that Red Bull was my preferred method for staying awake. (It still is.) I don’t think I could dance the night away anymore, though. All nighters take on a whole new meaning when you’re married with a kid.


  3. My heart goes out to your friend. It’s hard enough to lose a loved one, especially your spouse. But then to have to feel like an outsider (in a way) makes it even harder.

    And on another note, I would really like to hear more about feathers and Vegas. 😉


  4. Hmmm… considering that we’ve been married 3 1/2 years and starting dating about 5 years ago, I guess I’d be kind of interested in hearing about the leopard print, feathers, and all-nighters in Vegas too…


  5. JP, I’ll save that discussion for when the topic is “Mormons and fake IDs: how far is too far?” 🙂


  6. Gosh Miss sorry to bring up your Hoochie side – hopefully this doesn’t affect your new standing in the all secret uber-exclusive ‘moms club’.

    On a side note I do have pictures for those interested…


  7. AA, I’m intrigued. 🙂 Apparently whatever happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas. LOL

    I will also be speaking to the powers that be to add the fake ID topic ASAP…



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