I Was Ostracized Yet Approachable
I had the same rules that pretty much all Mormons did about dating: absolutely no even numbers of boys and girls until October 11, 1990 or, the 16th anniversary of the Mormon’s birth). Even when I went to run errands with a guy friend on behalf of my mother, she made a sibling come along as chaperone. No worries, I totally understood, even if I thought it was a little eccentric.
My religion had a BIG affect on my social life. I did not get asked out on ONE date from someone at my high school. (With the exception of one time which wasn’t really a date because I went with a friend knowing that I was the substitute for the other friend who couldn’t go.) I’m not bitter. I knew why…
I went to a predominantly Catholic high school; near Boston…EVERYONE was Irish or Italian (maybe a few Poles). Mormonism was still seen there (in the early 90’s) as a quaint but strange religion. And people knew my basic standards: no drinking, no smoking, no fooling around.
I had crushes on boys at school, but I was also painfully shy around boys; I still am. In fact, I can’t believe I ever got married. But my strangeness made boys think that I wouldn’t be good on a date, and truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have.
I went to a couple of dances, but since no one from school asked me, I always asked boys from church.
Senior Prom 1993. I'm in the back row in the irridescent peach number. It was $20.
This was fine because the boys from church were good guys who were fun and were like brothers to me. Occasionally I would get a crush on one of them, but it never lasted long. It was never a good idea to date seriously within such a small group of people. We did A LOT of informal groups dates. It was more like just like hanging out. It was fun and comfortable and always a good time.
Good friends and good times in Newport, Rhode Island visiting the mansions. It was the first time I went night swimming in the ocean. Fun but a little freaky.
I did have a boyfriend (from church) from the time I was barely 16 for over a year. It was serious, and we really liked each other, but I just couldn’t stop being shy, even after a year. I just couldn’t get comfortable, so I broke things off. (I have to say that it briefly improved my social life with boys at school. My boyfriend was the star soccer player on the rival school’s team. I think the guys at my school were a little surprised that #1 I was dating ANYONE, and #2 that I was dating HIM!)
There was no such thing as creative dates in my teenage realm of dating. That is a purely WESTERN philosophy. I would hear stories from cousins in Utah and friends in California about the productions and schemes and pageants they created to ask someone to a dance or how they got asked. I was SO grateful I did not have to partake in that behavior. I NEVER would have gone to a dance.
Daddy daughter dance hosted by the high school. My dad was thy only dad escorting THREE daughters. He was a good sport the whole night. He didn't get to sit out a sinlge dance.
And it seemed that no one was intimidated by me. So that wasn’t the reason I didn’t get asked out. Even the most NERDY, awkward, Asberger’s Syndrome guys (not kidding) felt comfortable asking me out. Is that mean? It may be, but it’s true.
I have literally gone out with the craziest characters (because I was/am a nice Mormon girl who can’t say “no”.) I wish I had photographs, but these are the exact types of dates that you NEVER want documentation of.
I have made a commitment to myself to assist my children in the arts of dating. I plan on teaching them principles from “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I want to make sure dating is something that is timely (appropriate age and all) AND fun. I know that no matter what I do, my kids will feel the pressure to date and have girlfriends/boyfriends and to get married (not before 25 please). I just don’t want them to agonize over it any more than they have to.
But to end on a good note: I had great friends in high school.
We really cared for each other. I could always count on my "church friends" to be there for me and to sympathize with the issues of being the only one of a few Mormons in their schools,
and I had great school friends who never pushed me or ridiculed me, but treated me and my values with repect, even to the point of protecting me or sheilding me from things they knew I didn't do.
I have been blessed.