Friday, January 28, 2011

Dating Panel

When I told the Bishop I was going to blog about tonight's activity, he said, "Oh, great," just like my dad would have, and accused me with thinking that I was going to call it a "goofy activity."

I assured him I wouldn't... call it goofy, anyway.

The title of the event was What I wish I had Known When I Was Single.... Oh Wait, I Still Am. Clever, no?

Anyway, it was set up as a dating panel and we had been asked on Sunday to write down questions that we would like to have covered over the course of the evening.

The panel consisted of: One couple, married 33 years, who dated in high school and married soon after he returned from his mission. A 29-year old single man from our ward, a "newlywed" couple, married three years. And another couple, married 25 years, who dated in high school and married soon after he returned from his mission.

........[Insert rapid blinking and significant look here].........

Questions like, "Is it OK for a girl to ask out a guy?" or "How do you show you are interested, without being annoying?" started out the panel, and I was sort of ready to check out. Out of all the questions in the world, I really found it interesting - or not interesting... I don't know - that these were the questions girls in our ward wanted answers to. We live in 2011. If you are comfortable asking a guy out, then do it. If you aren't, then don't. Where's the mystery in that?  Besides, you're asking people that dated in high school and have had automatic dates for as long as we've been alive.

I did find the determined answer to be interesting though: Girls are allowed to ask guys out on super casual dates, e.g. "I have an extra ticket to the basketball game, would you like to come?" or "My roommates and I are cooking dinner, would you be interested?" Also, we discussed that if the girl is doing the asking, then she should be prepared to pay for the date, although, if the guy wants to be a gentleman and pay, we should let him. (Also, if he wants to pay when you did the asking, HOLD ON to him....or so I'm told.) And finally: Be prepared for rejection.

Other questions dealt with how to deal with rejection. How to get back into the dating game after a bad break-up (Melissa's answer: Don't.) and what to do if you really feel "an impression" that you should be dating a guy who has yet to take notice of you. (My answer: Definitely don't tell him you've had an "impression.")

For me, I've heard most of the advice we got since I entered Young Women's as a 12-year old Beehive. Communication and honesty are a must in budding and long-lasting relationships. People are drawn to positive, fun and friendly people. Don't try to be somebody you aren't. Be the best you can be. Take pride in your appearance. Work to improve yourself and learn new things.

But there were a few bits of advice that I did think were interesting - if not directly applicable, at least it was something to think about.

  • When trying to get a guy to ask you out, "know your audience." Does he go on dates often, and he just happens to not be asking you out? Or does he not date a lot, as it is?
  • Evaluate who you are trying to attract and rethink who you are attracted to. This was brought up after the question "If being yourself isn't enough - but you don't want to be fake...what do you do?" They focused a lot on not pretending to enjoy rock climbing if you hate it. (I couldn't fake that if I wanted the guy with my whole soul...) But if you find yourself having to modify your interests, or worse, your personality or standards to get a guy/girl to like you, then you probably aren't going after the right guys/girls. 
Interesting still, was that both points came from the Single guy. (My favorite quote from him: "I start out by being a gentleman and if I get my head bit off - I adjust." In response to "What exactly are the grounds of chivalry?")

The only thing that I really didn't like is that there was one comment made that made it sound like all the girls in the room who attended this event - and let's face it, half of us were there probably supporting someone in the Relief Society - were not dating, whereas those that were not there, were probably on a date at that very moment. That is obviously not what they were saying, but we got that impression.

Also, another major piece of advice was to "Step out of our comfort zones." Which, is good advice, except when you add this, "If you are awkward, then there's probably a boy out there feeling awkward, and you two should hook up." (That's not a direct quote, but it was the interpreted gist.) Also, it was directed towards us making an effort to "sit next to a boy we're interested in at church," which assumes a lot: namely, that I'm interested in anybody at church. Which, at this point, is null and void because I'm not.

But that brings me to my question. The bishop seemed a little irritated by the side comments going on in the back of the room (*Guiltily raising hand* that would be me, and my roommates....) and asked if they were answering our questions. If not, then we should be bringing up our own questions and present it to the panel. So I did... It seemed that my excellent question from Sunday was not going to be addressed unless I brought it up.... So deep breath, here it is:

"If you're attracted to someone who is experienced in the dating game, seems to know what he wants and what he's doing, then it seems likely that he is going to want something similar. So, how do you get over the [insert appropriate emotion here: embarrassment, shame, guilt, clueless-ness, self-consciousness, etc.] of being a "mid-single" and inexperienced in the dating game?"

That's my big question. Only, of course, I didn't word it that eloquently, so I don't think it got answered very well. I'm glad I asked it though, because I know that the girls that I was sitting next to all fall into this category. We are all 23+ and don't have scores of boyfriends, let alone dates, under our belts; and it is hard to know what to do with that.

The answers we got to the question: "Have faith in the Lord's timing." or "Find awkward guys who don't know how to date."

It was the second bit of advice that made me rephrase my really poorly worded question, because an awkward guy that doesn't know how to date is probably the last thing I want. Because, I'm not not dating because I'm socially awkward or unable to carry on a normal human conversation. I tend to think I interact with others rather well, and I think I can say the same for the 10+ girls in the room who are in a similar boat. We aren't socially awkward, so I don't see why we have to settle for socially awkward boys. That isn't the answer.

So that leaves us back to the Lord's timing. Which is a great answer, and very broad and ambiguous, and doesn't really supply an answer at all. Because we have no way to control the Lord's timing.

Lastly, I just want to say as I told the bishop tonight when he started talking about "the one".

I'm not interested in "the one", I just want "a one," for right now. Someone to have fun with, get a little life experience out of it, and call it good. If he - or one of about three "a ones" happens to be "the one" later, then great. That's fantastic. But that isn't my biggest concern, this second. I'm more concerned about the lack of life experiences. The great stories and memories I'm missing out on. The learning and growing bit. After all, isn't that what this life is about? Learning and growing?

Anyway, you can imagine that the night was interesting, and I really did appreciate the view of the single guy from our ward. I think he represented a small percentage of guys who 1) are gentlemen; 2) actually go on dates; and 3) seem to be genuinely honest. The only thing I disagreed with him on was the comment "There's a reason why the cosmetic industry is a billion dollar industry." He was using it as a reason on why we should always leave our house looking our best. (To which, of course, we argue that 1) Sometimes sleep is MUCH more important than blow-drying and curling our hair. 2) There are only so many cute outfits in our wardrobe...we could wear the same awesome outfit everyday, or, we have to deal with some of the older articles of clothing in our wardrobe that may no longer be very stylish, and most definitely show the effects of owning it for six years and those subsequent washes.)

Anyway, sorry that this is yet another post on dating...

4 comments:

  1. 23+ qualifies you as a mid-single? Heck no! I'm going to my FIRST mid-singles activities this weekend, and only those who are 27-45 are invited. I'd be quite put out if I had to classify myself as a mid-single for the last 4 yers...

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  2. I heard that it was 25-35 that classifies as mid-single. I put 23, because I'm not sure how old most of the girls are...

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  3. You did a great job summarizing everything. Brian had his good AND bad points... especially the cosmetics.

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  4. Yikes, that cosmetic comment makes me want to strangle myself with a mascara wand. And I don't think that's even possible.

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