I went to a mid-singles fireside tonight. They had advertised it all the week before and said that announcements regarding new programs for mid-singles in the area would be announced. Last summer at a random fireside, they announced a new ward that encompassed about two thirds of my current ward, so I didn't want to miss this one. My fate as an LDS mid-single in the hands of some random fireside organizer. Who knew what would happen.
I'd gone to a ward dinner group a few hours before. You sign up on a computer in the gym on one of the preceding Sundays, and the computer randomly generates dinner groups with different people and host volunteers so that you can get to know new people. I am convinced that there are people who either never sign up, or that the computer has determined that we would never be good friends/eternal companions, because they have never been in any of my dinner groups.
There is one guy, though, whom I've been pals with for a while and who has been in a handful of the same dinner groups as me off and on. He ended up in my dinner group tonight. He is amiable and chatty. As far as eligible guys go, he is up there, he has the former EQP thing going for him, as well as the fact that he is gainfully employed, generally dresses well, and is an all-around good guy. He is kind to everyone.
He ended up sitting next to me at the fireside along with my friend Sam, who is about ten years older than I am, who is very much like a brother in regard to my feelings toward him, although he pesters me more than any of my brothers ever did.
In addition to the actual content of the fireside (proofs of the apostasty, by the general Sunday School president of the Church), the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT for mid-singles is that they were creating a Thursday night religion class for everyone in the Bonneville area. I am not sure what geographic area that encompasses, but there were at least 1500 mid-singles there.
During the fireside, Sam did the guy spread and put his arm around the bench. "People might get ideas," he said, "If they're looking." He told me how a mutual friend had just broken up with his girlfriend of eight months, after a great deal of fasting and praying and talking to the bishop. I was sad for both of them, as I am sad for anyone who seems as though they are on the way out of this hamster wheel of a singles life and then...isn't.
Afterward, I walked around, chatting with different friends. I've lived in this area for four years now and been in two different mid-singles wards, on top of my work with Singular Humanitarian, which has also expanded my single Mormon friends network. I ran into Dave the dancer, whom I first met when I went to Guatemala with SHe. And Mike, the Asian guy with a laugh that anyone could recognize a mile away. And Carlos, the guy from Ecuador whom I can always chat with. Then there was my good friend Erin, and the two sets of sisters: Renee and Rachel, and Cherilyn and Julie. Sometimes they make me jealous that I don't at least have my sister to be single with me.
There was also the guy in my ward who occasionally asks me out, and we always have a good time, but then it's always several months before he asks me out again. And the guy that acted like he liked me the weekend our ward went to Jackson Hole. He's always friendly when I approach him, and he's smart and funny and smart (very smart), but I find that he rarely approaches me, and...it doesn't make me mad, but it gets old, so I've mostly stopped approaching him.
Fifteen hundred people came to this fireside because they wanted to hear something that would change their lives. For any other audience, that might have been a hope to hear that the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon was going to be revealed, or that a mission was going to open up in China. We just wanted to hear something that would get us closer to not being single.
Fifteen hundred people. Good looking people, most of them. Not average, really good-looking. There are the scraggly ones, who will always be scraggly, but a good 80 percent of them are really well-dressed, well-kept, good looking people. Like we all figure, hey, if I'm still single at 35, 40, whatever, it won't be because I don't know how to dress and do my make-up.
Most of the people I know are in good, solid professions. I was thinking as I drove home, if we sorted people by profession at that fireside, you could easily separate them into large groups of lawyers, educators, physicians and nurses, people in finance, people in computers, engineers, scientists, administrators....all sorts of really smart, educated people.
Then I thought about how most of my siblings and my parents pretty much just stumbled into their eternal companions without much work involved. No doubt, there were probably bumps along the road, but once they got to college, they didn't really have to look. Love just happened. And I thought, what was the difference between them and me and them and the other 1499 people at this fireside? I mean, I've known Mike With the Laugh for four years now. He's still just as single as I am. And Dave the Dancer. Why am I still single with all of these other people? Former roomates and friends, people I knew in my youth, my brother...they all have teenage kids right now, and I am essentially living the life of a glorified teenager. Even if I get married tomorrow and got pregnant the day after that, I'll be 55 before my oldest kid is 15. And sometimes, the way my mom talks, it's as though she assumes I won't ever have kids, which is a definite possibility, although I'd rather be the one assuming it instead of others.
I'm certain that a new religion class could benefit all of us. But is this the answer? Is this why I am still single? Because I don't know enough about my religion? Is that why other people are married, because they do know enough? Again, I'm not dogging the religion class. I'm just.......baffled. Fifteen hundred people, and we can't seem to find each other, we can't seem to stumble on the person that we can live the rest of our lives with?
I never imagined love being that hard. In fact, as unromantic as it sounds, there are probably easily four or five people I know of right now that I would say "Yes, I would date you." And mybe for three or four of them, it wouldn't work out, but then, for one or two, it could. In the relationship classes at church (yes, they have relationship classes, because we're that pathetic), they mostly talk about how to be in a relationship. I don't think that's my problem. My problem is getting into one. Being in one in the first place.
How do you move your life forward when the one thing you really want is largely out of your hands? As a woman, I don't really have a ton of control over my dating life. Yes, I can and occasionally do ask, but really it's in the guys' hands, and really, I'd prefer it that way.
People say not to worry about it, not to think about it. People are dumb. "It'll happen when you least expect it," they say. "Just move on with your life, and it will come when you're not looking." Saying this to someone who has been raised to believe that eternal marriage is the main purpose of our existence, that you can't get to heaven without it, and that there is no greater happiness is kind of like telling a frog with all its legs cut off to jump across the line you've drawn on the ground; it's just not going to happen.