So, I’m going to do something a little out of the ordinary here. I’m going to talk about my twenty-something Mormon feminist love life. *gasps all around*
Just as a general note, all names, and many locations have been changed for the protection and comfort of all involved….including me.
I am now 22. (This has not been changed. I actually am 22, but only have been for about 40 days. )
Now, for the most part, this has no dramatic meaning to the educated people of the world. It’s young. It’s a number divisible by both two and eleven. It means that, as an American citizen I can both vote and drink ( and I only do one…just guess.).
It’s a small enough number to mean that I’m still considered a youthful and energetic sort. But it’s old enough that my body is done with all those awkward changes. Within the last year my skin has become “grown-up” skin, which is clear all of the time. I don’t need to wear any sort of makeup now, which has been refreshing. My body has grown into itself. My legs and arms are strong, my period is consistent (finally!) and all body functions seem to be fully… functional.
But there is another side of my age that is very meaningful in the conservative Mormon Culture world.
It’s kind of like when a school system fails the standardized tests repeatedly enough that the government swoops down and takes over everything since the current leadership can’t be trusted anymore.
I’m a failed twenty-something in the Mormon dating world. I now have my own job and I managed to make it to the age that my Mom was when she’d been married and would have been pregnant with my older sister. The unwritten rule has taken effect. I am now , at least for the present, no longer entrusted with my own dating life.
It all began about a week ago. I get a call from my mom. Now usually this isn’t as foreboding as it is in this case. Usually.
I was informed that there was a young man, who we will call Dallen, who I would be set up with. The medical student son a friend of my Mom, Dallen’s facebook profile showed a stunningly good looking and tan male, wearing nothing but swim trunks and smiling, surrounded by what looked like some adoring friends which included at least one blonde girl in short shorts.
Now, I don’t know about the kind of person who would put a shirtless picture of themselves on facebook ( I know I, for one, would be busted in no time.), but I could at least appreciate the aesthetic beauty of what must’ve been quite an investment of time at the bench-press.
I was almost sad that our Moms were setting us up since now it is bound to fail…every time. It’s like a law irrevocably decreed in heaven.
But just wait, there’s more.
Then the real fun began. My mom had me open up my facebook page, with she and dad peering over their screens on skype hundreds of miles away,and for the next 2 hours, she ( with occasional comments and grunts of agreement from dad)directed me through every single picture ( not an exaggeration) , telling me which to delete or not and why. Here are a few gems.
Delete Number 23
Reason: not cute enough smile
Delete number 67
Reason: Looks too “Democrat”.
Delete number 145
Reason: could have better foundation application and light in the frame casts a bad shadow for my complexion.
Retain number 152
Reason: Jack Baily liked it (Note: Jack Baily is a guy I dated briefly in high school, did very poorly there, did not attend college, is a general womanizer and still lives in his parent’s basement. I have attended university and am at the top of my class, got a competitive internship, am fully employed and financially independent, managing taxes, housing, and investments. And yet Jack Baily’s opinion matters more than mine. No matter how hard I study and succeed I will never get a Y chromosome so my opinions may never matter. I would cry if it wasn’t so ridiculous.)
Retain 164 ( but an almost delete)
Reason to delete: some cleavage is showing
Reason to retain: some cleavage is showing
( and thus we see the magical paradox, where I must be trying to lure men in with my sexuality, while also appearing not to be luring men in with my sexuality. This gets really interesting in cases like this past weekend when I went on an early morning hike. I wore baggy jeans, no makeup, and my hair was contained only by a hat . All the other girls wore short shorts, flat ironed hair and makeup. Blast. I forgot this was a competition. So was I being a bad single Mormon girl for not putting forth an effort to be attractive and pleasing to the young men, or was I being a good single Mormon girl for not wearing short shorts and being practical? Actually a few guys talked to me, but I kind of backed away in the end. I knew I’d been beaten.)
Reason: “JD! You look so skinny! You are starving yourself!” ( I think this is a compliment, but I can’t be sure. Regardless, this picture made the cut.)
I didn’t delete most of the photos. I started, but then I realized this was just silly, and just nodded and smiled, while trying desperately to curb the insecurities born of being scrutinized so closely. Pore size, angles, weight, skin, height, perceived interests, tans, friends , clothing, location, posture, language, lips, hair, eyes….it all seems to matter.
After that the floods of suggested dates came pouring in, all from unrelated directions. “Hey Jddaughter! I have this cousin, and we were all just talking about he needs to get married and I thought of you!” “Yo, JD. So my friend Phil, he’s really into politics and I think you guys would be perfect for each other.” “Ms. Daughter, you need a man like Lucus, here. ” “My brother is still single!” “I’m giving your number to so-and-so.” “I gave your number to whatshisface. Hope you don’t mind?”
Just today I got a call from one of my Young Women’s leaders, who I haven’t seen in almost six years and who lives 2,000 miles away. Her reason? “I know this family, and I just love them, and they have this son, and he’s single, and, you’re not dating anyone are you?” She showed me a picture of the guy- a fairly good looking guy kissing an actual giraffe. *Shrug* K….I like giraffes?
Now, to be fair, I’ve actually been impressed by two things. Generally these guys have been pretty A: good looking and B: educated. This bodes well for what my friends think of me.
But no. I don’t want to be set up with your socially awkward cousin, or your hyper-obnoxious conservative friend…. I’m sure they’re very nice.
If I were to set myself up on a date, there are three possible options.
London Fielding ( name changed)
Mormon Liberal (only marginally aware I exist) Over 100 miles away.
Darnell McKay (name changed)
Mormon Liberal (only marginally aware I exist) Under 100 miles away
Who is dead.
Now, why don’t they have nosy mothers who have to set them up with me?