Being single

June 2, 2007

by Josh

One of the first social mores we learn from the Bible is in the creation scene in the Garden of Eden when God observed that it is not good for man to be alone. So he took a rib from Adam’s flesh and used it to create Eve. Some take this story literally. I regard it as a great allegory. Woman was with man from the very beginning, created from his rib, or in other words, they were created side by side. It’s important to have a friend in life; someone who can be a confidante, critic, and a supporter, all in one. The second opinion will be much more realistically critical of you. Accomplishments will be sweetened and disappointments will softened because they will have been shared by people who can appreciate what they mean to you.

That’s why being single’s such a rotten deal. Recently I saw the movie Cast Away on TV. One of the most poignant points in the movie for me is when Tom Hanks’ only companion, a Wilson volleyball whose face is a bloodied hand print, was lost at sea, causing an emotional breakdown to Hanks; it is an example of what can happen in prolonged periods of isolation when you have noone else to talk to. You talk to yourself or to an alter ego that answers your own question. Either way, it does not bode well for the only real person in the room.

Dating in the Church is not for everybody. A temple recommend or a position as second counselor in the EQP is no guarantor of a person’s character or a quality date. Also, as a single in the Church I’ve felt a great deal of pressure to measure up to the ideal of the priesthod holder. In other words, getting with the program means you have to fake it until you make it. I’m sure some of you ladies chafe when you are told constantly that your role is to be a mother in Zion, before any other roles or jobs in society. And then there’s the social pressure that always comes with every church meeting and activity when Sister Nosybody backhandedly asks you, “when are you getting married?” or “when are you going to serve a mission?” Or when several ward members take it upon themselves to “encourage” you to date or to drop in little snippets of talks from General Conference and scripture.

Dating LDS girls can be tricky because they have standards and it ruins some of the courtship when you have to watch what you say and do. For me, a former Marine who is used to off-color language around the Barracks and innuendo, a squeaky clean LDS girl is downright Puritanical and impossible to get along with. And having standards inevitably means judging others and ostrascizing someone because they are not quite up to par. At the risk of sounding judgmental myself, judgmental girls are a huge turn-off for me. Breaking the ice in social groups is also a challenge for me.

Bottom line is that in the Church you either have to conform or you’ll be a misfit for a very long time. Finding the “right one” is also arduous, as it should be; but being Mormon makes it harder. I think courtships in the Church are too hurried, making it impossible to really get to know someone before committing to a marriage because one or both in the relationship may want to show the best face which is a facade more than it is reality.

Being single outside the church is far better because anything can go. Of course, I’d rather be married with the woman of my dreams but being single is alright too.

One comment

  1. Josh, your comments are taken to heart. I have had similar thoughts for quite awhile. As a “single LDS person” (I hate labels) I have unusual doubts and issues that do not fit in the typical LDS girl’s perspective of what is and is not acceptable.

    There is too much pressure to get married, that a first date tends to be an interview, with the girl mentally checking off her prince charming qualities that no one can live up to. Once I was rejected because I was one inch shorter that what she wanted in a mate. But who would really want to be with someone like that anyhow – I’m afraid that she will easily fall into the statistic of never married or quickly divorced.

    But it is easy to judge, just as I get judged easily.

    So is there an answer? Probably yes, but it’s different for everyone. But the best thing I have learned is to be friends first and foremost – be yourself, be a misfit, if you are, drop the facade, and it will attract similar people – and if a girl can’t dig it, then too bad, her loss.

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