11.07.2004

Boy Afraid, Hypothesis #2

This is healthy. I was a little angry when I wrote my last post having just been rejected by another Mormon. But I'm learning things from your comments and emails. One email in particular really shed some light on my situation. A mo' man gave me another explanation for why I have more success dating regular guys than mormons.

I suppose it should have been obvious to me but I had no idea. Having never lived in a Mormon community, I didn't know how prevalent this phenomenon was. Sure, people from Utah often seemed a little odd. But I really didn't think they were still living in the 1950s. In terms of women's liberation, mormons are some 40 or 50 years behind the rest of the nation. So I have been told. I haven't been there in 8 years and never stayed longer than a vacation so I have no firsthand knowledge of the matter. Please correct me in the comments if this is wrong.

Here's a quote from the email: "In Mormonland, guys don't have examples of strong independent women to look to. So when they see one, meet one, talk to one, or in this case read one, it throws them for a loop and since they don't expect to see this, they get insecure, and as stated earlier, guys who are insecure about something will take flight. " He also explained that in the regular world, women are now expected to run beside men. But in Mormon culture the women are still expected to watch and cheer. Clearly, if my informant is correct, then my independent ways scare off most Mormon men. I had been told this before but I never believed it because I had no way to understand that fear.

It's like someone turned the light on in my room. It all makes sense now. Every Mormon guy I have dated or was pursued by had a very strong mother. The best mo relationship of my life was had with a man whose mother was a total bada**, she even scared me. This man and I had no conflicts and our interactions with each other were the most natural and easy that I've ever experienced.

This also explains what happened with the boy from Logan. I met him online and we began a long distance relationship that was strange. After two months we got into a fight on the phone. We were discussing our politics for the first time. Of course, as a poster boy product of mormonism and Utah, he was a raging conservative. As the child of angry intellectual mormon hippies growing up on the east coast it should shock no one that I am a socialist. But it shocked him, so he proceeded to explain to me the erroroneous nature of my beliefs. Anyone who knows me right now is laughing.

We talked for a long time. It started as a good debate because he was intelligent. Except that I was winning. He was running out of things to say and growing increasingly angry. I was getting angry too. Then he told me I was "being a spoiled brat." WHAT? (he's calling me names?) I told him he was ignorant. Then we started shouting until I hung up. He called later. I expected an apology. Nope. He called to tell to me why he is in fact not ignorant and so I needed to apologize and take that back. In the interests of the relationship, I gave him an apology. Then I asked for an apology. He said he couldn't apologize because he meant what he said because it was true. I acted like a spoiled brat. He didn't want to insult me by saying something he didn't mean. EXCUSE ME???? I asked him to define 'spoiled brat' and tell me what I did to deserve the epithet, but he wouldn't do it. Surprise.

After a few days, we worked it out mostly because he was flying out to see me the following week. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was so excessively insulting and condescending because he was likely not used to losing arguments to women. His mother probably coddled him and his inflated ego must have been stroked to no end by whimpering girlfriends. I decided to wait until we spent our week together to see if he could overcome it or not. But that wasn't his first sexist faux pas. He told me once that he was glad I was a virgin. I thought that was weird so I asked him why it mattered. He said, "Because I've resisted temptation and saved myself. So my wife should have been able to wait too." Shiver. So, having oral sex means that you waited and you're still a virgin buddy? Oh right, because that wasn't your fault--the girl was a horny slut and you couldn't stop her. Ok, then.

I should have known better but I really had no referential knowledge of this type of man. (I went to a women's college!) I tried anyway. He went running back to the mountains after meeting me. Good riddance, but it stung to be dumped by someone like him. The point of that story is to show why I believe my informant is correct. This guy was pure old fashioned sexism, he thought it would be exciting to date someone so 'independent' but in the end he couldn't stomach it.

Here's what I've learned:
1) The ones who run away are saving me time from having to dump them.
2) I should ask my prospective Mormon dates about their mothers and sisters.
3) I should ask them if they think it is appropriate to refer to non-virgin women as "used goods", (This woman writes about experiencing that here.)

Dare I hope that this non-women's liberation thing doesn't apply to those men from non-Mormon communities? Theoretically, my luck in NY should be better than it would be in Utah. I don't know. We have a lot of transplants here. What do you think? How different is the sample of mo men here from those living in red states--oops, I mean, more traditional places? ;-)

**Another interesting point made by my informant was this: "Do a rough count of all the guys who comment on here... I'm willing to give you 4 to 1 odds that more than
75% of them are married, and are married to strong women." That is certainly what it looks like if one reads the comments to this post and this post. Anyone want to weigh in on that issue? I think he's right.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

JL,
For some reason I never seem to fit into your theories. Well in some ways I do. My mom is tough as nails and all five of her sons married tough women.

However my husband's mom is the sweetest, nicest, most pleasant, genuinely soft woman on the planet. I love her dearly, but no on would call her strong. And the one and only time in the last ten years that we have had a confrontation was when she informed me that I expected too much from her son (by way of housework and taking care of the kids and that kind of girl stuff). We had a pretty mild fight about it, I told her her son would have to suck it up and work harder, and she apoligized to me later for interfering. She's a gem.  

Message from Lisa

Anonymous said...

So, having oral sex means that you waited and you're still a virgin buddy? surely he didn't combine his declaration with activities like that? Arghhhh.......

This guy was pure old fashioned sexism no kidding.

As to "used goods" -- that is one of the good things about the movie Charly (the one my daughter threatened to boycott Young Womens over) -- the way the male lead's mother chews him out over his attitudes and interaction with that term.

Make any guy who uses that term watch the related excerpt from http://lds.about.com/library/movies/blcharly.htm (and catch "Homecooking on the Wasatch Range" -- skip the rest of Weyland's writing) ....

Heck, make him watch the sequels thirty or forty times till he drowns in the treacle and starts bleeding from his ears.

Yep, I'm married, to a strong woman. Though I'm a litigator, so I'm generally not bothered by much (and I divorce arguments from discussions. As I used to tell Jessica, I argue for a living and if we argue, I'll win. If we talk about it, you may get what you want. Her sisters have learned that lesson well, and we practice, betimes, being persuasive. "That gets 'no' for an answer, lets start over"). I adore my wife though, so maybe that is why her being a strong woman doesn't bother me. If she wasn't just so darn perfect ...

I'll have to think about that.

All in all, you appear to have a wonderful line of posts and analysis that many LDS women could use reading.

///////////////////

Types of LDS guys.

Normal: gets married 1-2 years post mission. No longer part of the equation or analysis, but you need to remember that they are there to be fair to LDS guys.

Arrogant. Like all guys in any group, the arrogant and self-confident ones attract the girls (including our host, the celibate, who has explained why). In LDS culture they happen to share some characteristics that make them more sexist and annoying.

Diligent. Busy studying and working and just not thnking about dating, just like they forgot about it while on their missions.

Twice burned, thrice shy. Rejected enough they've become tentative, which leads to more rejection (see earlier posts why). A lot of these guys cross-over with the diligent crowd.

Hmm, I guess I could think of more, but I never really was interested in guys from a dating perspective.

I'm only starting to look at them as my oldest surviving daughter gets older.

 

Message from Steve M (Ethesis)

Anonymous said...

You're right, JL. Strong woman for me... just ask her. 

Message from Steve Evans

Anonymous said...

Lisa,
Maybe because you married young? That phenomenon is totally foreign to me but it seems to operate under a completely different set of circumstances. And all, generalizations except this one, have exceptions. Or I could just be wrong too.

E,
He didn't talk about those things in the same conversation. I'm only putting them together now.

I like your list, I've got some more types for you, I've been working on a taxonomy of men in my head for a little while that I was planning to post about shortly: Actually, this applies equally to women.

Late Bloomer: Socially awkward or shy. Picks up more social skills after college so that's when he starts dating.

Unlucky: There's got to be some out there that are normal but just unlucky in love.

The One Percenter: This guy is very unique for whatever reason and the female populations he is exposed to are just not compatible with him.

Damaged: Coming from abusive background or extreme dysfunction. Has issues to work out before he's ready to marry.

Aesthetically Unfortunate: Let's face it, women are shallow too. It takes this guy longer to find a woman that's attracted to him.

Homosexual: Still single for obvious reasons.

I think I'm a damaged one percenter. I should make a quiz with these categories. 

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

Well, for your little poll, I am one of your regular readers and fans, I think you are very appealing, and I too am married to a naturally shy, but now strong, and very independent woman. (You would love her, BTW; she has been to hundreds and hundreds of concerts [she was there when the Replacements broke up, for example]). So the notion that your male fans are married guys who are married to independent women seems to be holding. 

Message from Kevin Barney

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to setup a test where people could find out what category they would fit into. It's a shame my background is in the technical realm and not in the social science realm, cuz this could be one hell of a project.

I think I fit in the twice rejected thrice shy category. Sounds about right for me. 

Message from dJake

Anonymous said...

I could make my next blogpoll asking people if they are single or married and married to a strong woman and see if this thing pans out. It wasn't my theory it was someone else's. If he wants to take credit for it he is free to do so. ;-)  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

I was a late blooming one percenter, though I did dodge a couple-three girls who wanted to marry me, even if we weren't compatable.

A dirt poor one too. That makes a difference, I think. If a guy is financially unfortunate, it can limit his interest and willingness to date or do things.

That is a type of unlucky. Of course I'm only 5'5" -- so that was a serious handicap too. My wife is 5'8" -- though she is the only woman taller than me that I ever dated (hmm, that may be part of why it took two years for mutual friends to get us together).

I only dated girls my own age (+/- 1.5 years, perhaps), though I was willing to be more flexible on the upper end. The 35 year old I ended up on a date with I set up with a general authority's son who was about that age. She was kind of bemused to be "traded up*" and he was a good guy, just had been unlucky.

*"traded up" is to go on a date with someone who dumps you for someone who is higher than they are on the social scale. Usually if someone dumps you and sends you to a friend it is to someone lower on the scale. In Utah of the 1980s, a tall, handsome, normal, hardworking and nice GA's kid is a move up from a law school grad looking for a job (I'll talk about TSR some other time). More than just one step ... 

Message from Steve M (Ethesis)

Anonymous said...

You'll find the right one. It has to be good to be actively looking but cautious and analytical, because I think there are a lot of train wrecks out there. Maybe its considering the good working examples that could serve as a catalyst for making good decisions? 

Message from Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Another problem with the "men who like strong women" question is . . . how to define a strong woman.

As I was thinking about my softy MIL there are ways that she is strong, she's just quiet and tactful about it. Maybe a lot of these men who claim "strong" wives are looking at "strength" differently than you are.  

Message from Lisa

Anonymous said...

The claim about men with strong wives was a quote I took from an email sent to me. Not my words.

I think because of the nature of this life, all women are strong. We do have extra burdens physically and socially and in order to survive we must develop strength.

In the context of this post though, a strong woman is someone who believes she is equal to men and refuses to compromise herself for them or to stand in the shadows or pretend she is weak so that they can feel strong. A woman who takes charge of her own life instead of letting life live her.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

Hey Kevin,
Your wife sounds very cool. I saw the 'Mats on their last tour too. And I met Paul Westerberg a few days before I moved to NY. His last tour was awesome. It was just a sober Paul and about 10 different guitars and a living room set on stage. When he was singing Replacements songs he had to ask the audience for help remembering the words so he brought people up to sit on the couch with him.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

in very an overly verbous manner in a comment on the last post I explained some of the things steve said-
that there were normal guys in the LDS community- but most of them get married by 25.

I feel like I want/am attracted to strong women- HOWEVER I typically feel that most are well out of my league, and as a result don't always ask them out. 

Message from Mike

Anonymous said...

Mike,
In an equally verbose response to your other comment I basically said you should get over it. You are the one creating these leagues in your mind, not the women. Women do not think that way. Most of us just want a righteous man we like to be with who will be good to us. Plus, we also consider seriously a man's potential. So someone who is hard working and ambitious is just as attractive in that sense as someone already settled in their career. Forget this league crap and ask those strong women out.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

JL,

My wife was once at the front of a Paul concert taking notes on the set list. Paul reached down, grabbed her pen, and threw it to the back of the hall. He told her he'd get her another one, that it was just show biz. When I heard about it, I thought "for rude," but she took the cap to the pen and several other items from that show and created a little shrine in our family room.

She saw Paul recently in Minneapolis for a charity show. She has also been seeing a lot of Wilco lately. And she is the webmistress for the Jayhawks. Check out her website at jayhawksfanpage.com. 

Message from Kevin Barney

Anonymous said...

My wife told me to tell you that she is a strong woman. :-)

My wife is a strong woman, and that is part of why she was single longer than most LDS women. She told off some of the 19-year-old men in her MTC group who were putting down older women. If I recall, they were putting down older LDS single women, as if they were single because there was something "wrong" with them, etc.

By the time we met, she was post mission and completing college. She planned on becoming a "career woman" and was enroled in a state university. Man, did I ever screw her plans up. :-)

In my Marriage and Family course--NOT at BYU--the teacher told us that men tend to marry "down" from a social and economic perspective. If that is true for an average man, it goes double for LDS men.

Being a "socialist" only adds fuel to the fire.

I wish you the best, but I don't think Logan is the hometown of your Mr. Right. Keep an open mind do some searching in your region. My wife was from another state. I was guided to her in spite of all the LDS women who were around locally.

I wish you the very best. 

Message from Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Not sure I'd refer to the 'rents as "mormon hippies"...??? They WERE in Boston in the late 60s but I'm fairly certain they weren't too keen on the goings-on @ the commons...but if you're thinking in terms of other "regular" mormons in utah, yeah I can see where you got that. But how did the oldest turn out to be so conservative? 

Message from Jill

Anonymous said...

Jill,
the folks weren't real hippies, they were mormon hippies. Come on, Pops picked the Peace Corps over mission, mom bucked her conservative background to become a liberal feminist though I doubt she ever burned her bras. I don't think she could ever be that 'free'. Did you see those pictures of her with long hair when she listened to Peter Paul & Mary and Simon & Garfunkul? She wouldn't let Pops buy her a diamond engagement ring because that was too materialistic? Ha Ha she regretted that choice when she pawned his jewelry didn't she?  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

Tsk, tsk. Jill you must be too young to remember Family Ties. We have our own Alex P Keaton in the family too. It's simply a form of rebellion=piss off your liberal parents by becoming a conservative yuppie millionaire-to-be. 

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about this theory. My mother-in-law is strong in many ways (testimony, ability to endure trials etc.), but she's certainly no harda$$. I, on the other hand, am opinionated, outspoken, and blunt. And my husband loves that. In fact, it's usually the times I kick his butt in a political discussions and NOT on the rare occasion that I make him dinner etc., that he looks at me and says, "Man, I'm glad I married you."  

Message from Janelle

Anonymous said...

Janelle,
You're the second woman with that kind of story.
The theory isn't that Mo men with traditional mothers don't want or like opinionated ones, rather that they don't know how to pursue one.

Is your husband from Utah/Idaho/Mesa?
Did he chase you aggressively or did you have to pursue him?

If the answer is 'no' to either question then the theory still holds I think. 

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

You're spot on when you talk about strong women. We are a family of all girls. We had to teach them to be independent and confident. Each one has had to battle their independent nature against LDS guys. Two are no married. Number three just broke up with THAT guy. He an RM, seemingly successful however.... every time said daughter would get paid they'd end up in a fight over how she was going to spend her earnings. Even for her birthday when money was the gift he thought he could tell her how it needed to be allocated. Then there were the eventual fights over where she was, when she would see him, how much time she needed to spend with her family and on and on. The real deal breaker though came in his "wolf in sheeps clothing" disguise. He would push the envelope every time they were alone. Intimacy obviously wasn't on his not to do list. 

Message from cooper

Anonymous said...

JL,

I've hesitated making any comments on this post (or the previous one) because, I just don't know what to say. I've had similar experiences as you have, (although, I did come close to marriage at one point), and that marriage thing didn't pan out because of the same reasons as my other relationships. The guy couldn't handle all my opinions!

He actually said to me once, "Being with you is so much work. Why can't you ever just give in?" And sadly, I almost did. I was so desperate to get married before I was 30 (which isn't going to happen now) that I really considered shelving some of my personality.

I don't know what the problem is with both sides. I've polled my single male friends and female friends and pretty much everyone is stumped.

Also, living in L.A. doesn't make things any easier. Sure, there are a lot of Mormons in So-Cal, but sadly, most singles wards I have attended are something akin to 90210/Melrose Place. Superficial, plastic perfection! Ugh!!! 

Message from Lizzy

Anonymous said...

JL, Lizzy, others: The gem for whom you are looking, who will appreciate and rejoice in who you are, may be an unfortunate looking, late blooming train wreck with quirky social skills and interesting taste in music. He might even be one or two or 8 or 10 years younger than you. Patience. Open eyes. Open mind. 

Message from marta

Anonymous said...

JL, thanks for the response to my comment on the other post, I don't really have time to talk much more about it-

BUT, I just wanted to post that I am absolutely disgusted by some one using the term "used goods" or thinking in that manner. Are we in the Church looking at women as "goods" or perhaps even as thier sexuality, thier sexual choice as a good to be possessed, owned and controlled by a man. I really love the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I love his Church, and love the righteous and humble membership. But I am often dismayed that even amongst those members who generally are good people- when discussing race, femenism, sexuality and many other issues people are not only close minded, but down right non Christlike.

No one is "goods" for some one else to own. In fact- as Christians we should understand that we don't own ourselves, let alone others. We are God's because Christ has bought us with a price. How can we say that a child of God, let alone one who has accepted him and his mercy, who has been born again, repented of thier sins, and been redeemed is "used goods", or even goods at all?  

Message from Mike

Anonymous said...

I hope Marta is right, that love will come to you. But life is so unfair. As you know. Here's some IG lyrics I love:

Love will come to you,
Hoping just because I spoke the words that they're true.
I wish you insight to battle love's blindness,
Strength from the milk of human kindness,
A safe place for all the pieces that shatter,
Learn to pretend there's more than love that matters.  

Message from Lisa

Anonymous said...

My wife is strong and independent.

When she was 18, she up and left to Canada to move to Ireland. she had no job lined up. She knew no one there. She was all by herself.

She took out her endowments before I even knew/met her and had been through the temple several times before we went there together.

She even served in the Relief Society presidency before we were married.

I dated quite a bit before my mission. I dated Mormon and non-Mormon girls. I even had two girlfriends (at different times of course).

Despite all that, I was still choosy. I just didn't ask any girl out. I would flirt with many and if I liked the response, I would ask them out. Actually, one of the dates I went on was a result of her asking me out. :) 

Message from Kim Siever

Anonymous said...

Oh, and to be fair, not all of them said yes. ;-) 

Message from Kim Siever

Anonymous said...

Some of them even had boyfriends. Oops. :) 

Message from Kim Siever

Anonymous said...

Wow. Such strong feeling by so many on this subject.

My quick thoughts (subject to revision - I'm ambivalent about some of this):

It is so hard to generalize about people . . . but it does seem anecdotally true that men with strong-personality mothers marry strong-personality women.

But, but, but . . . I also think it is important to focus on being the right person more than on finding the right person. I know that reads like a simple panacea but I think it happens to be true. I recognize that "we are who we are," but I have never bought into the approach that so many have: "This is the way I am and you can take it or leave it."

People have to adapt and improve in order to be happy and get the good things they want in life. So, if I am a single man, and I am smart enough to realize that my sense of humor often offends people, or I have bad dandruff, or I am getting pudgy, or that I am too self-centered to have good chances at a happy relationship with a woman, then I CAN CHANGE THOSE THINGS. On the other hand, if I am inherently a cerebral and "right-brain" person, and not very athletic, I may not be able to do much about those things. Women can self-examine and change, too.

This is not intended to be a lecture, by the way, and I know I am about to spout another seeming panacea, but I think too many single folks are far too self-involved. I was that way myself. (I'm and old codger of 50 now.) I remember being involved with a singles ward and repeatedly hearing that "the ward is not meeting my needs." Something about that has always had an off-key ring to me. (In fact, it drives me crazy. When we live in a ward the uppermost thought in out minds should not be the extent to which it meets our needs.)

My panacea: The loveliest, most attractive people in the world are other-oriented. Period. (At least to someone who is looking for an LDS temple-married companion.) We complicate this whole dating thing far too much. We think far too much about what I want, what I need. It's upside down. I know I am limited to my own experience, but my own happiness in opposite sex relationships (and my marriage) has been directly proportional to how much I serve the other (now my wife and my children). Similarly, downturns and resentment and other negatives are directly proportional to selfishness and self-centeredness.

Yes, I am married to a strong woman among strong women, who regularly busts the chops of men (but not mine, interestingly). And I did have a strong mother. I think that had a lot to do with what I was used to and willing to put up with (face it, strong personalities always give their loved ones more to put up with), so there was a high degree of compatibility. That's very important as a starting place. But after 23 years I think our successful marriage is more about flexibility, adaptability, pure commitment (through thick and thin) and love and service to one another. Personality is an important element, but it isn't what a successful marriage is all about.

There ain't no two ways about it, in my opinion.

Hope that helps! 

Message from Lowell

Anonymous said...

Well, that explains a lot. I am a strong woman in the heart of the Mormon Corridor. I've been repeatedly told that I'm so smart and successful that I'm intimidating. I've even tried dumbing down on dates, but I'm not much of an actress so that doesn't work out very well.

My cousin (a strong smart woman), finally took matters into her own hands. She found a guy who was incredibly shy, and basically browbeat him into marrying her. Now she has a temple marriage and a son. I'm not close enough to know if she's happy, but she definitely wears the pants in that family. I could probably pull off a similar sort of thing, but I don't want to marry someone who is weaker than I am. 

Message from Janey

Anonymous said...

I spent a couple of years living in a mo community in AZ. It was wild. I can tell you this. I was rejected by the men IMMEDIATELY (I was mormon for about 5 mins). I was not only "used goods" but I had a mind of my own and I was constantly questioning everything around me. I laugh loudly and am very animated when I do so, I am also very, very passionate about everything and do not believe in boycotting anything or burning any books...life is about experiences and God is about loving everyone regardless of their background or religion.

While there were many wonderful, generous, kind mo men and women that I knew, I was NOT dating material...fortunately it was a time in my life I was not interested in dating anyone...but to have such an obvious rejection without even trying...to be so obviously cast aside as old trash while at the same time shaking my hand and reading me the bible was very painful.

I commend you for sticking to your moral beliefs. From what I have read of you, you are intelligent, strong and unwilling to be someone else to secure a husband. Congratulations and thank you...I'll be checking back with you. 

Message from EJ

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great comments everyone!

Lowell,
You said, "So, if I am a single man, and I am smart enough to realize that my sense of humor often offends people, or I have bad dandruff, or I am getting pudgy, or that I am too self-centered to have good chances at a happy relationship with a woman, then I CAN CHANGE THOSE THINGS." True. And I like that approach because I like to think that I can affect things positively and make myself more successful. BUT, as far as I can tell it's my personality and ambition and success that offend LDS men. Those things I am unwilling to change. You might say that I could work on my personality--but I'm not rude or offensive, I'm not even loud or abrasive. Am I too self-centered to have a happy relationship? I'll let you know when I find out.

I certainly could be more loving and Christ-like, on that I have a long way to go. Bit I think it is unfair to criticize single people for self-centeredness. It's very true that we are, but when you have no responsibility for another person and spend 24-7 only taking care of yourself then it would take mammoth efforts for someone NOT to be self-centered. I have few opportunities to practice selflessness.

It's also extremely difficult to cultivate a christ-like personality in this city. I had to harden my heart to be able to get through the day. Maybe that was wicked of me but I have to work and feed myself. If I didn't then I couldn't ride the subway without crying over the homeless people, I'd never get to work because I'd have to stop too many times to help someone who would only curse at me or call the police for bothering them. I'd get eaten alive professionally by my students, peers and professors if I appeared soft and kind. That's a difficult line to navigate. I would like to be better at it.

I'm sure you are right about personality not making a marriage successful. After 23 years you are an expert! Unfortunately, that truth doesn't sell my 'offensive' personality to the single men.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

Janey and Lizzy,
Too bad we're spread across the country, otherwise I'd say we should get together and compare notes.

Coooper,
I'm glad your daughter got rid of that jerk. I'd invite them all to the imaginary party I'm having with Janey and Lizzy.

Kim,
Sounds like you got lucky with your wife. ;-) Did you marry young in worldly terms? It looks like you had a good method.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if there isn't another factor at play here. It's admirable to say that you don't care if a man is not-out-of-school/between jobs/not-on-the-same socio-economic-educational-level as long as he has attractive personal qualities. However, men (all men, not just mo-men) have it deeply drummed into them by society from the earliest age that they must be successful in order to be attractive to women. Even if at an superego level they have overcome these primitive materialistic urges, deep down somewhere they know, just know, that they must be successful in order to attract women. I believe it's on the same level where women know, just know, that all men get addled-brained by a centerfold body regardless of how liberated, self-confident and feminist the superego is on top of it and no matter how much the men may affirm that they see beyond such things.

Now, I am not saying that a lot of men are not just jerks who want a weak-willed wife. However, I think there are a lot of decent men on objectively lower socio-economic-educational levels who (perhaps unconsciously) feel that they will not be attractive in the long run to a higher status woman even if she seems to be acting interested in them.

This phenomenon is not limited to Mormons. It is even more serious among some minority groups where significantly larger numbers of women than men are going to college, etc. Remember that your sample of non-Mormon men is primarily drawn from graduate school whereas your Mormon sample is socio-economically broader. I suspect you would run into the same phenomenon among non-Mormons of equivalent social status.

So I'm wondering if this could be a factor in some of the cases you have described. Problem is what to do about it. Artificially acting dumb is no solution. I hate to say it, but if a higher status woman is interested in a lower status man, maybe she has to address the issue explicitly and do some extra stroking on the other virtues -- "please don't let the fact that you're still an undergrad and I'm in grad school interfere with our relationship, you're so strong, funny, honest, that it doesn't make any difference to me."  

Message from JWL

Anonymous said...

JWL! You are so argumentative and crimping my program of man-bashing here. ;-)

Everything you say is true. Except that my entire sample of non-mo men is from grad school. Right now that is the case, but I wasn't always in grad school and I've always found it easier to attract non-mo men. When I was an undergrad I only dated one mormon, in all 4 years. And because I went to a women's college I had more access to LDS men then regular guys. There were guys at church and activities or the few random men I met around town.

I think you are right and others have said that all men tend to marry 'down' SES-wise. But if I compare the reactions I get at non-LDS parties from men to the reactions I get at LDS parties from men, the mormons are almost never interested. One guy I met at a mo party who was all up in my business was the one non-mormon there. He was a struggling artist.

In my experience, the LDS men are more intimidated and less interested. It looks like it's worse in that community. Maybe it is because we are a minority. Maybe the guys with the chutzpah to marry 'up' all got married young. Maybe you are correct and I'm seeing universal patterns that I think are particular to our community.

As to stroking the egos of guys who might feel insecure with successful women, that was my full intention if I could get that far with one of them.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

First, let's work on getting you out of your room -:). See next post. 

Message from JWL

Anonymous said...

Frigging emoticoms, can't get anything right :-) 

Message from JWL

Anonymous said...

JL,

I was 21 when we were married. I had been home from my mission for just shy of six months. We met for the first time five months before we were married. 

Message from Kim Siever

Anonymous said...

JL:

I worried after I sent my message that you would think I was talking about you. I wasn't-- I don't even know you.

All I was saying, erally, was that we all spend to much time trying to fix everyone else and figure everyone else out. I still do that. I did not mean to "criticize single people for self-centeredness." Everyone suffers from that, and I think it is natural that singles suffer from it more than others-- they can afford to!

Yuo note that you "had to harden [your] heart to be able to get through the day." I don't doubt it! I live in L.A., and although it's supposed to be "mellow" here, it really is not, especially in the business world where I live. So I think I understand a bit of what you mean.

I find it hard to believe that your personality is offensive to men. Some men just don't want a strong woman-- and Mormon men are doubtless statistically over-represented in that group! So you're going to have to work longer and harder to find and be found, but I believe you will succeed at both.

Your post raises the matter of meekness, one of my favorite subjects. I.e., how can we be tough-minded and soft-hearted? Here's my favorite piece on that subject:

http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates$fn=default.htm

It's a Neal Maxwell piece called "Meekness-- A Dimension of True Discipleship." I've profited from reading it over and over ever since I first saw it. Maybe you'll like it too. We need not choose between being abrasive or being doormats.

Hey, be of good cheer! I can tell you have a whole lot going for you. Press on, sister!

Lowell 

Message from Lowell

Anonymous said...

No worries Lowell!
I wasn't offended. I was talking about myself and all the women like me out there. And you are right that judging people from the outside and making generalizations is dangerous and ultimately futile. But it's helpful I think to see that this phenomenon seems to exist, it eases my fears of my own undesirability. In the end, those of us looking to find another person depend on being chosen by another person. That is a mysterious process.  

Message from JL

Anonymous said...

Let me just add that I am glad that the single years do not last forever. I would not want to go back. Someday you'll have a lot of wisdom about all this to dispense to your daughters (assuming they will listen to you, but that's another story.) 

Message from Lowell

Anonymous said...

message from Jwl

men (all men, not just mo-men) have it deeply drummed into them by society from the earliest age that they must be successful in order to be attractive to women. Even if at an superego level they have overcome these primitive materialistic urges, deep down somewhere they know, just know, that they must be successful in order to attract women.

BenReilly writes:

NOT TRUE, I am slacker ( not a doctor lawyer or any other clice mo profession ) and I know plenty of females mo and non mo, who find me attractive personality wise and physical, etc, yea I may not be a financial powerhouse, but I am much more interesting than your normal office desk jockey, I know it, females know it, and we have a good time and enjoy life 

Message from benreilly

Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying all the comments and reading all the blogs, and this is my first time posting. Basically what i want to say is this: many men may want a weaker-willed woman, but the truth of it is that most of those men are pretty weak-willed themselves and need a stronger-willed woman to keep them in check. I'm 23, and probably fit into the one-percenter category; I just haven't found the right girl yet, and i'm not letting it get me down. It will happen when we're both ready for each other.

I personally want someone my equal as far as will and independance goes. I dated a weaker-willed woman for a long time and I think that was one of the factors that led me to realize she wasn't right for me. I need someone who will have the same motivation and aspiration as me, so we can work together, grow together and learn together at the same levels. If those things aren't on the same level, my belief is that the marriage will have issues that need some working out.

 

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