Dating Again, Part 1: Nice Mormon Boys

For 22 years, I’ve been holding out for a “nice Mormon boy.” Here’s the problem though: “nice Mormon boys” don’t like me.

This survey was published this past week, and it suddenly makes sense why they don’t. While I certainly think I’m compassionate, a good listener, and have a great sense of humor, two key criteria stick out to me. First, the emphasis on physical appearance, and second, the near-disdain for having a successful career.

It shouldn’t surprise me–at least two “nice Mormon boys” I dated in the past 22 years told me I wasn’t pretty enough or thin enough to marry. One “nice Mormon boy” I dated didn’t think I needed to work at all–not even teaching a few piano lessons or writing or being adjunct faculty at a community college.

“Nice Mormon boys” have proven to me time and again–for TWO DECADES–that they don’t like me, yet I’ve continued to limit my dating pool. And honestly, up until about 10 years ago, I didn’t feel all that limited. I had options all around me for possible “nice Mormon boy” spouses, and then I turned 30 and the “nice Mormon boys” I could have been dating started dating way more fertile 20 year-olds. And suddenly, the only “nice Mormon boys” interested in me were actually “nice Mormon grandpas” in their 50s and 60s. And thus was my cross to bear for 10 years.

So in May, I decided I was done holding out for the “nice Mormon boy.” I looked at the men I worked with–all married, of course, and none of them Mormon–and they often complimented those very traits that the “nice Mormon boys” see as flaws. So if these non-Mormon married men saw me as a decent-enough woman, I thought that maybe there are non-Mormon single men who might see me the same way.

Like I told my parents when I broke the news to them that they needed to start getting to a place where they could be happy for me regardless of whom I marry, I’ve spent the past 40 years of my life alone. I don’t want to spend the next 40 alone. And if the “nice Mormon boys” won’t give me the time of day, then I have to start hanging around a different pool.

And so I have. I’m officially off the traditional Mormon fairytale bandwagon (though let’s be real: once I was 23 and still single, I was pushed off that bandwagon).

 I’ve been on three dates this summer–not a lot by a long shot–and my friend Kim has been nagging for me to blog about them, and so I will. But I wanted to explain first why I’m dating outside my faith. I know it’s not that big of a deal for other people.

But have you seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?” Take the familial and cultural pressure from that film, give it Alex-Rodriguez-sized doses of steroids, and then you land in the general ballpark of the pressure placed on Mormons to marry other Mormons.

So it really is kind of a big deal for me. But it’s a deal I’m happy to make, if it means that by the time I’m 50 I will have someone to travel with.

A Quick Update.

It’s been quite the week.

The highlights:

  • On my birthday, I “ran” a 5K because there was no way I was gonna let my 40 year-old body tell me what it would and would not do. My biggest mistake: I did it in new shoes.

  • Two days later when Jennie came to pick me up for brunch with my nieces, she also brought along Deanne. Deanne who once again braved the military hop drama and made it to Omaha unbeknownst to me. In a Facebook world, that’s pretty impressive.

  • Sang in a choir concert. ‘Twas fun.

  • Still fighting dizziness, the only upside of which is that a couple of people have taken to calling me Lucille 2. (The payoff is at the :45 second mark.)

And I’m mostly back to work now, which is actually a good thing because I’m craving routine and I’m suffering from not writing enough, and maybe the routine will fix the writing malaise.

Summer’s over. But at least I got to spend the last days of summer with these people.

I’m 40.

In the interest of keeping things light, I found this list of my favorite things from when I was 11:

My favorite color is purple because I think it’s pretty. My favorite song is “Don’t Let it End” because it’s a pretty song. My favorite thing to do is Calligraphy. My favorite rock group is Styx because they write good songs. My favorite food is pizza. My favorite book is Trumpet of the Swan because it’s a good book. My favorite TV show is Ryan’s Four. My favorite movie is Dragonslayer because it’s bloody. My favorite series of TV shows is Fraggle Rock.

The Dragonslayer one cracks me up because I can’t stand gory films now.

I’ve spent some introspective moments this summer, lamenting how my life hasn’t changed much in 10 years, and by default, I think I haven’t changed much in 10 years. Not that change is a marker of a successful life, but in some respects, it kind of is.

So I look at this list of my favorite things from when I was 11, and none of those “favorite things” are today’s favorites. And 10 years ago the list would have looked different as well. So I do change, even if it’s in superficial ways. Today’s list would read:

My favorite color is anything but purple because I’m sick of purple at work. My favorite song today is “Basketcase” by Sara Bareilles, but that’ll change tomorrow. My favorite thing to do is watch movies. My favorite rock group is U2 because they are awesome. My favorite foods are Indian food and sushi. My favorite book is Les Miserables because it is beautiful. My favorite TV show is anything Aaron Sorkin wrote, including Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I’ve seen too many movies since I was 11 to have just one favorite. My favorite series of TV shows is Sports Night.

 And in 10 years, I can’t imagine much on this list changing. But maybe I’ll find a great Thai place, or someone who writes better than Aaron Sorkin will show up, or Maroon 5 will prove to have the same longevity as U2. Who knows. In 10 years?

Anything can happen.


Or really, pre-pre-pre-40. Found these photos and even though I’ve seen kids grow up all around me I still can’t believe I was ever this small. Or that my dad was that young. Or that my mom’s hair was that brown. Tomorrow I’ll post more of my growing up pictures, just because I have that little shame.

When I Was 15. And 25.

One Friday remains before I leave my 30s. To “celebrate” (process, deal with, etc.) I’m going through journals and sharing entries that represent the decades of my life.

To preserve Deanne’s reputation, I will not be sharing a journal entry from when I was 19. Ya’ll can wait to read about that year when my book is published. By the way, if you’re reading this, are you in the publishing business? Wanna read a scintillating memoir about a spinster Mormon?

Anyway. So Kirsty said 25, and Amy said 15 and when I read the journal from 1988 I knew it would make Amy laugh, and I love to make Amy laugh. So I’m gonna give you two, two, two for the price of one! So settle in because this post will be long, and it will be full of boys.

August 13, 1988

Well, I’ve been on vacation. It was pretty great. I met 4 guys. One in CA, one in AZ, and 2 in Utah. But they’re nothing to me. I like Kyle. He is so nice. He’s coming to the next dance with me on Sept. 3. Right now we’re just friends, but you never know…

I got my permit to drive on August 11. I drove 5 miles home the day I got it, and last night dad took me to Bellevue East’s parking lot. I drove around the parking lot and then drove down to the library, about 1/2 a block away. Then I drove to Shopko. On a major road! It was great. I even parked great!

Vacation was ok. I saw my cousin Dalene and we went to a dance in Phoenix. That’s where I met Andrew. He’s a sweetie. In California, we went to Disneyland. All the cute guys there were taken. But we went to see the Bolands again and their son Scott is a babe. Me and Cynda went to a mall and had fun. Then to Pleasant Grove (Utah) to my mom’s best friend’s house. Her name is Marilyn. She has a 14 year-old son–Eric. He’s a blond hair, blue-eyed, great smile, gorgeous tan sweetheart. And since Emily was gone, I got to know Eric better.

When we got home, Danny H. came over to visit. He and Dawna are going out so he came over to talk to me. David’s on vacation. Can’t wait til he gets back. I better turn in. If Kyle calls tomorrow, I’ll write.


Here’s the run-down of activities that occured in the weeks leading up to my 25th birthday:
July 1: I came home from my mission in Montreal.
July 7: My dad retired from the Air Force.
July 8: My Nana died
July 9: Was told “You’re just not that attractive” by a boy I had loved for 9 years, even though six weeks earlier he had written me a letter in which he suggested we get married
July 11: My sister Jennie’s bridal shower; met the boy I’d date for the next 8 months
July 22: Went on this date.
July 24: Flew to Utah for Jennie’s wedding, turned 25.

The journal entries from this summer are like telegraphs–short, containing just basic details. In hindsight, I’m sure part of it was a bit of culture shock. I had just come home from my 18-month mission, where my only priority was living and preaching my faith. Looking at that timeline of events, I would think I’d be writing up a storm. But I wasn’t, and the only explanation I can think of is that I flat-out didn’t even know where to start.

But here’s one anyway, from the night before my birthday, a much less detailed version of the aforementioned date.

July 23, 1998

I can’t believe I turn 25 tomorrow.  Doesn’t seem possible that I’m that old. Did I mention that I’m working with the youth at church?  A calling with responsibility.  Scary.  Had a date with Brian last night.  It was really great.  He is so nice!  He opened the car door for me…he paid for dinner and a movie…I cried a teeny bit at the movie (we saw Armageddon) but he cried harder than I did.  I was swooning big time.  After the movie we went to Taco Bell and then we went to a park and ate and talked.

We have a ton in common and it was so fun to just flirt and talk and goof off with him.  He’s coming to Jennie’s reception and then after we’re going to do something.  I asked if he’d help me with the refreshments and I told him I’d make sure he was adequately paid…he liked that.  So I’ll think of something cool to do for him. I think I’m fixing us dinner as well.  I am in deep smit and I don’t like it. I’m still fighting the whole Matt thing and it’s really hard to just let that go. But I have to do it.  I don’t know if Brian’s planning on moving to Utah anytime soon…I don’t know why he wants to because he’s always complaining about Utah girls…but that would be just my luck.  I hope he doesn’t.

For the first time in my life I am not nervous after a first date.  I feel very calm and just happy.  I’m not even the jittery person I tend to be.  I feel like whatever happens, happens and I’ll be ok with it.  Anyway, I should get stuff ready for my flight. Next time will be Monday night.