When You’re Sixteen
BUT SIXTEEN? Well 16 was the biggest year to look forward to. I would get to drive AND date. I looked forward to dating more then I did driving. I loved boys, I loved flirting, still do and always will. I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t date until July. I had to actually wait until the very day I turned 16, no exceptions whatsoever. What harm would a few months or even a few days before the actually day I turned 16 cause? But it was the rule in my house and in almost all of my friend’s homes as well. I couldn’t go on a date until the very day I turned 16. Not even when a really cute, really nice, soccer player that was a Junior asked me to his Junior Prom when I was a fifteen year old sophomore. Not even when the same really cute Danny asked me to go bowling with he and his friends (even amounts of girls and boys), not even when he asked me to the movies… not at all until I was 16 years old by birth certificate standards. He could come over to my house with his friends and hang out in our living room where we had to keep it down because my dying grandmother was living in our family room, but that was it, that was the most I could do before I was 16.
The following school year this same Danny asked me to Homecoming in the most impressively creative fashion but it happened to be after a different individual asked me to the dance, one I was less interested in attending the dance with. It was explained to me by my parents that I had to tell Danny no and say yes to the boy I didn’t want to go to the dance with -- no ifs, ands, or buts. Tears and begging didn’t get me the Danny date I so desired. My mom had rules, the same rules that almost all of my friend’s moms had, and that was you WILL go to the dance with the first boy who asks you, regardless of how much you really don’t want to OR you won’t go at all.
Recently over at Kulturblog the question was asked, “Is Napoleon Dynamite a Mormon Movie?” Susan Molmrose provided a list of reasons why it could be considered a Mormon movie. My favorite explanation she provided, that I think is right on target for this topic, is “There’s a popular girl who was too nice to turn him down for a date—obviously, she was Mormon.” Or like me, your mother won’t allow you to turn down the dates with the Napolean Dynamite’s of the world.
So what is Mormon dating? It is being between the age of 16 and 18 and being required to creatively ask and answer to dates, to say yes to the first person to ask and then to plan a date that includes such things as pudding Pictionary and matching shirts and Ties that have been made from the remnants of Christmas dance dresses. It means having never fully finished that Christmas dance dress because you were too busy making the matching tie and your mother having to staple you into the dress because there was no time for the zipper (something I believe brought her great comfort and pleasure).
And if there are a lot of you out there that are Mormon and don’t identify with what I have written… well then I feel like a complete ass.