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.