Living in Provo, Utah, is interesting and terrible for many reasons. Many of those reasons make both lists. For starters, the concept of safe driving is completely beyond many of the residents of this town. Every time Nate and I attempt to go anywhere outside of walking distance, we fear for our lives.
Provo is also full of people. Far too many people. There are way too many people living in this city than the city can actually accommodate. Housing is a concern for many people. Parking is a concern for even more people. Last week, someone parked their gaudy teal pick-up in our parking spot. Our parking spot with our apartment number on it. And they left it there for more than three hours.
Provo being full of people makes living here difficult enough. It does not help that many of those people are jerks.
A hefty portion of BYU students have never been outside of Utah for any extended period of time, and as such, they were made victim of the terrifying Utah brainwashing that does not seem to occur anywhere else.
Last week, a good friend of mine was sitting in church. She's single, so she goes to church with a bunch of single people (the BYU administration is really adamant about segregating the single people from the non-single people, in the hopes that the single people will pair off and get married). Their lesson that week?
Attracting a man.
You heard me right. A meeting with supposed religious significance was devoted to "dating in Mormon culture." Because, as we all know, dating is a commandment, and if you don't date and get married right now, you will burn in hell forever. One of the pieces of schlock presented as legitimate advice given at this meeting was to "learn about a guy's favorite sport's team."
Firstly, that makes you seem like a stalker freak. Secondly, some women have no interest in sports. Why would you want to be married to someone whose interest differ so greatly from yours? A good 80% of the men on this campus salivate over BYU football. I could never be married to someone like that.
I feel like the implication is that getting married is more important than getting married to somebody you like.
I'd like to share a story. When I was fifteen years old, too young to date by LDS standards, I was at a church activity. It was a joint activity, meaning that both young men and young women were present. We were playing volleyball, or some other lazy activity like that.
I was walking across the room when one of the leaders for the Young Men's organization, a grown man in his forties, flagged me down. He pulled me aside and proceeded to tell me, without, to my knowledge, any provocation, that boys wouldn't want to date me. He said that they were "intimidated by someone who is smart (awkward pause) and beautiful." The implication was that I should become less smart and less pretty immediately if I was to have any hope of catching a man at the ripe old age of fifteen.
Again, I take several issues with this.
1. I didn't really know this guy. He didn't really know me. Until this time, we had never spoken one-on-one before.
2. I was fifteen, so by his own standards, I shouldn't have been dating anyway.
3. I feel like it was a completely inappropriate exchange for anyone to have with anyone, much less a middle aged man with a teenager.
4. Why was he so concerned about whether I'm dating or not? It seemed to me that the people who needed to be concerned about my love life were myself, maybe my parents, and maybe some close friends. This man did not fall into any of those categories, and was therefore completely unqualified to give me any advice whatsoever on that topic. Especially such disgusting advice.
5. Why in the WORLD would I want to date someone who didn't like my brain and looks the way they are? Even at fifteen, my self-esteem was not that low. Even then, I would have rather been single than have to live a farce for the sake of impressing an idiot boy.
Again, here people are making having a relationship, any relationship, even if it's terrible, the most desirable option. Being single under any circumstances is supposed to be way worse than any relationship you could possibly be in. I was supposed to dumb down and ugly up (really? Really? I'm supposed to believe that guys don't like pretty girls?) and pretend to like sports, and that doing so would land me the man of my dreams.
Well, I did none of that. I didn't even flirt with anyone. I had no intention of getting married before twenty-five. I made friends with many different guys and I still ended up getting married ridiculously young to someone who -SHOCK- isn't into sports, thinks I am "refreshingly opinionated," and finds me very attractive, thank you.
I am really very concerned for a lot of these girls who honestly believe that catching a man and spewing out as many babies as they can is the only thing that they're living for. The rate for civil divorce among Mormons is no better than the divorce rate for the US as a whole, so for all the claims that the LDS people knows the secret to an eternal marriage, they clearly don't know better than anyone else.