Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dating Post #1: The Mormon Meet Cute

Welcome to the first in my blog series about dating (as a Mormon)!

Being a single Mormon compared to being a single non-Mormon is frustrating, and not just for the more, ahem, obvious reasons.  I had this epiphany on the Green Line last week:

If you're not a Mormon, you could find love literally anywhere.  The gym, an elevator, a dog park?  A pub, even.  Any of these places could be the site of your meet cute with your future mate.  But if you're a Mormon (and not living in Utah)?  Church.  Should you be fortunate enough to meet the love of your life, it will probably happen at church.*  Let's think about that for a minute:  you spend three hours per week at church, four if you're a marathon mingler.  That means that you are spending the other 164 hours of your week NOT meeting the love of your life.  Doesn't this seem unproductive?  Especially when you're part of a culture that so heavily emphasizes active effort toward marriage?  I mean, what if the person you like isn't even there that week?  What if there just is no person that you like?  Kind of a bummer.

A meet cute.
This isn't all bad.  For one thing, it takes the pressure off during the rest of the week.  Last week, when I was on the Green Line, I had been rained on quite a bit and was looking rather tragic.  But I didn't care, despite the plethora of handsome men in suits sitting around me.  I was like, whatevs, not gonna date any of these guys anyway.

On the other hand, it can be dangerous.  There's the opportunity to put too much stock in the little things, like small talk.  For instance, if the lady you're crushing on asks "how's school going?" it doesn't mean she's invested in the details of your life; it just means that she remembered that you're in school.  Even the most benign of interactions can escalate to sure signs of attraction over the course of a week in the infatuated mind.

This is the part of the blog post where I offer my sage advice.  How does one make the most of limited time in a closed population of potential love interests?  Well, first of all, be yourself.  It's fine if you want to be a cuter, more snappily-dressed, better smelling version of yourself, but be yourself.  It's bad enough someone only gets to talk to you for ten minutes every Sunday; the least you can do is give them the real you for those ten minutes.  Secondly, and I alluded to this above, but take things at face value.  Don't be all, OMG, he let me have the last cookie at Linger Longer; he totes is into me! and then spend the rest of the week Pinning furniture for your first apartment together.  Because you may never date him.  So enjoy your ten minutes talking to the cute boy, but realize that it is just ten minutes.

Finally, the most practical advice is this:  if you like the person and you're sad that you only get to see them on Sundays, pick up the phone and invite them to see you during the week!  Takes courage, but it's better than feeling unproductive, right?  Although this does have its own set of problems, but more on those later.

*Unless you're into the "flirt to convert" mentality, which I'm not, personally.  But if you're one of those types who is actually good at being a member missionary, my hat is off to you.

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