The October 2004 New Era was a special issue dedicated to marriage and dating. As a member of a singles ward, I was encouraged to read the issue, so I did. Frankly, it was to me more a source of hilarity than inspiration– probably at least in part because I was almost twice the age of their target audience. One of my roommates and I amused ourselves for a couple of hours reading our favorite passages aloud and laughing our heads off.
About this time, I was asked to contribute an anonymous advice column for our ward newsletter. So my roommate and I decided to parody an article from the New Era entitled, “How to be a first-rate date” (p34). I wrote it up, and it was published in the December 2004 issue of As the Ward Turns, the newsletter of the Longfellow Park second ward, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is re-printed here without permission from anybody. (It’s been a year or so since the last issue, and no new editor was called when the old one moved out of the ward. I don’t even know who I should ask for permission.)
Why am I reproducing this? (1) I’m lazy and this is already written. (2) I’m vain and I always thought that the column never got the attention it deserved, because it got handed out on a Sunday that half the ward was already home for the holidays. (3) I’ve seen a bit of discussion on this site and others in the Bloggernacle about the problems of unmarried Mormons, but most of the discussing seems to have been done by single women and married folks. Perhaps this post will provide an opportunity for single men to voice their unique perspective. Yay! (4) The guy who helped me think this up came out of the closet and left the church a few months afterward, so if anything offends someone, I can always blame it on him.
Belly of the Buddha
By The Belly
Some rub the belly of the buddha for good luck, some for inspiration. Letâ€™s see what the Belly has in store for you. Send in your questions or concerns, and you are sure to get a witty, whimsical, and sometimes even wise response.
I just finished reading the October New Era, which was a special issue dedicated to the subjects of dating and marriage. Much of the counsel seemed to be geared to children who think Jessica Simpson is a musical genius. Do you have any advice for us twenty-somethings and whatever?
â€“Lonely Longfellow Parker
The Belly has read the same issue, and would be happy to offer some thoughts on dating tailored for our wardâ€™s Not-So-Young Men and Women.
But first of all, letâ€™s get something clear. If you are not happy with your level of social activity, ask someone to go do something with you. The Belly here is speaking to girls as well as boys. Yes, girls can ask boys out! Some people think that this is a violation of Mormon dating customs, but those people also are against running water and the internet. So who cares what they think?
So how do you ask someone out? More importantly, when? At BYU, the rule is to call on Tuesday for a date on Friday. But this is also a foolish tradition. Whatever day you pick to call someone up and ask them out is just fine with the Belly. Calling is better than not calling. The Belly has been told that no woman likes to feel like a second choice. But the Belly has spent a few Friday nights at home feeling like no choice at all, which is worse.
Now, when you pick up your date, you should give him or her a sincere compliment. Not only is this kind and thoughtful, it is prudent. If you have no sincere compliments, give out insincere compliments. This is arguably still kind, and is certainly still prudent.
On your date, you will be presented with many opportunities to open doors. Always remember to open doors! If you do not open these doors, you will find it very difficult to get into restaurants, movie theaters, etc.â€“ not to mention cars. Some people like to open doors for their dates. The Belly thinks this is missing the point. It is not important who opens the doors. But it is imperative that they be opened.
When you are done having fun, you will probably escort your date back to his or her apartment. This is the moment when you say good night and then hug, awkwardly. To avoid uncomfortable doorstep scenes, the Belly recommends making out in the car until speech is no longer necessary (or possible) and then watching your date giddily stumble towards the door.
Or you could stay home and avoid the whole business entirely. You know. Like every other weekend.