Monthly Archives: July 2006

BYU Dating Reform: Part 1

So over at Date Club Prophecies you’€™ll find a pseudo-serious but still thought provoking (in some ways) discussion of dating. Honestly, dating in its present form at Brigham Young University and in the United States in general seems inadequate as a match-making institution and perhaps needs some reenvigorating. Here are some of my thoughts.

The Dilemma

For those who are not familiar with the BYU dating scene, we here are rather traditional as far as the responsibilities of guys compared to the responsibilities of girls when it comes to dating. So it’€™s incumbent on a guy to ask out a girl. Only very rarely do the girls take the initiative in asking out a guy, and then it is often (at least by me) interpreted as overly aggressive, a definite sign that she must have the hots for you. Just as guys often interpret a girl asking them on a date as a sign of very significant interest, girls often feel that if a guy asks them out more than once, he must have already made up his mind to marry her and is now “moving in for the kill”€.

This paranoia is partly founded in BYU’€™s history and reputation as the “marriage capitol of the world:” some who graduate from BYU single would like to get their money back because they thought that a guaranteed marriage proposal was included with the price of tuition. Probably more significant than the effect of elevated expectations, it’€™s likely that the girls’€™ fears of creepy pursuit are based on the collective bad experiences of all modernday BYU women. There are without doubt guys who pursue girls with a singleminded intensity that terrifies their “quarry”€ and for whom a single date seems like sure confirmation that the girl is ready for marriage. I have known guys with this mindset; indeed, I’€™ve to some extent been part of this mindset. Creepy guys in Central Park make everybody in New York afraid of their neighbors. Creepy guys in the BYU dating pool make girls afraid of the rest of us.

The Most Frightening Possibility

But casting all of the blame at the feet of “those creepy guys” is avoiding the most frightening possibility: What if it’€™s me? This thought must eventually enter the mind of all but the most dense and egotistical of BYU’€™s despairing bachelors: What if I can’€™t get a girlfriend—can’€™t even get a girl to go on more than one date with me without getting creeped out—because I’€™m just not cool enough? What if I just don’t have what it takes to compete in the cut-throat competition for a chica? Oooh, what a dark and hideous thought that one is!

The notion lie that somebody is simply not “cool enough”€ is total garbage. That idea assumes that the likelihood of the desired result (getting a girlfriend) is a function of the “coolness” (whatever that means) of the guy seeking it. This is true for those whose entire existence revolves around external form and superficiality rather than quality of character and spirit. But for the rest of us… well, there are patterns. More energetic, flirtacious people probably have an easier time getting into relationships because they’€™re capable of attracting more positive attention at themselves. But overall—I like to tell myself—there are more important factors, especially when you consider not just “hooking up,” but doing so with somebody that you really respect and admire, who’€™s more than merely an attractive figure.

What are these factors and how do you employ them to your advantage? Stay tuned for Part 2 of BYU Dating Reform where we’€™ll consider Five Totally Speculative Non-Guaranteed Steps to Getting Your First Girlfriend.