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Monday, March 14, 2005 

When You’re Sixteen

The big years are 8, 12 and 16, right? Not 21 because nothing exciting happens when you are 21… it is just another year. I looked forward to 8 because when I was 8 I would be baptized and finally old enough to get my ears pierced. 12 was exciting because 12 means moving from Primary to Young Women’s and being part of the cool girl group that I idolized AND if we had still been enrolled at The Carden Lee School I would have been able to include the plaid pleated skirt in my uniform options over just the plaid jumper. I still regret Carden closing before I was 12 because I never did get to wear the pleated skirt.

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.

Well,

I am Mormon, and can't identify with everything, though I've heard similar stories from other Mormons. We were excited about being 12 and 16, but also 14, because that meant you could go to stake dances where you'd hopefully meet more cute boys and that was almost as exciting as turning 16. We didn't do the creative asking and answering things or that matching tie thing,...but most people in our high schools weren't Mormon. If you were going to go out with a Mormon boy (and different families had different rules for that) then you had to settle for what was in your ward, or hope to meet someone at a stake activity.

21 does have significance. It's when boys come home from their missions. :)

Oh Becca! I am so laughing right now. Don't feel like an ass... though some of those experiances didn't happen to me, I have stapled a girl into a dress before and was a Laurel Advisor for a while... when I was 21... and the girls came to my house to get dressed and do their hair and makeup for dances. I didn't date much in high school, but my friends did... and in a way, I am GLAD I didn't have to go through some of the perils of dating. But thanks for sharing your stories... they gave me such a laugh.

Oh, Rebecca. I know exactly what your talking about! It brings back a lot of fond and not so fond memories...and sadly, I'm still livin' a part of this. Stupid Mormon dating.

We DID have the "no dating before 16" rule, but my best friend/quasi boyfriend in my ward (who was a year older in school) refused to go to his senior prom if I couldn't be his date (How sweet is THAT?!). It was a month before my 16th birthday, and my parents actually let me go! My mom even made the dress and got the zipper done on time! To this day, I'm not sure why they let me go. They were pretty strict mormon parents ...maybe it's because we gave them every reason to trust us. (We only made out in plain site in front of my house after our dates...I didn't realize at the time it was in plain site, of course.)

My senior year I DID turn down an initial date to Homecoming for a better offer that came later. (And I had already accepted a few weeks previous...how heartless of me!) My parents didn't care. I appreciate that they didn't interfere there. They probably knew I would be continually punished throughout the year every time I had awkward interactions with the guy who I turned down, after having accepted. Serves me right.

Hah! Waiting until 16 to date? It took me a lot longer than that to get hip to dating! I did manage to go on a couple of dates before college though.

Ben

Danny who?

Anonymous who?

DAHNY WHO!!!?

DAHNY WHO!!!?

Rebecca,

After years of therapy, I was slowly starting to forget the pain I felt when you turned me down for homecoming. The awful shame!

But now, reading your blog, I remember it again all too well.

Well, fifteen years of therapy down and fifteen more to go, I guess.

~Danny

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If ONLY I had turned down my first asker for prom...I would never have had to make a cardboard box into a car and sit in it to watch a movie (like being at the drive-in). I would have never only gotten to eat one roastbeef sandwhich at Arby's (no fries, no drink); I would have never been humiliated while my date complained loudly about the price of the pictures while we stood in line. I would have never fallen out of my chair at the dance. And I would have never done my hair like the blonde lady on "Absolutely Fabulous."

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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