If I Were A Boy

Standard of Living
Standard of Living (Photo credit: Believes in everything…)

Super Bowl Shout to: Beyonce.

What must it be like to be a guy? I have a best friend, and while he may not be representative of the entire gender, he insists more are like him than not. From my perspective, they seem to be content with general lower standards of living. HIMYM says they’ve all thought about opening a bar or starting a band. But most things seem to revolve around farting, burping, and boobs. Im pretty sure nothing can be done about the first two, its the third I intend to weigh in on today.

I know quite a few men in their late 20s (early 30s) who are divorced. From my point of view, it seems like they married the hottest girl who would have them and then tried to settle down into domestic bliss. Except the problem was that said hot girl has no discernible skill sets or interest in their particular ideas of domestic bliss. At this point I usually yell, “And why would she?! She clearly communicated that what she spends her time doing is being hot – shopping, makeup, gym, etc, all so she could snag you, and now you want her to cook, clean and raise kids too? You got exactly what you searched for. Dont be mad at her now.” So then they get divorced spend about 5 years licking their wounds, and attempting to figure out what exactly is it they do want if they were to get married again. Some of them accomplish it successfully, while others are still bidding their time.

Then there are the single, never-married ones. They range from the asshole to the delusional (he wants a 22 year old Black model girlfriend and hes 39) to the confused to the boring to the list goes on. They spend a lot of time crewing up to go to their versions of the pick-up zones, ward activities, some large Mormon event, the bar, and then complain about how the girl turned them down cause they were not tall enough.  I mean, girls arent making this war any easier, but I’ll turn to them later. Some days Im so tired of listening to their bullshit about why no girls like them, when they are all chasing the same 10 versions of a girl. I mean, read exhibit C. If a girl can get better, and “all you can do is list a bunch of faults you don’t have, then back the fuck away from the patient. ” Even on a bad day they deserve better than you and your particular brand of inanity and laziness.

Rant aside, the thing is – I still like them. I still want one of them to come to his senses one day and be like, “this girl, who I call when I want someone to hold my hand is amazing. This girl who tries everyday to make my life a little bit better and help deliver my dreams, is someone I should probably stop taking for granted. Thus, I will stop dating the silly girls who add little to my life and settle down to awesomeness. “Stunted vocabulary aside, what the crap are you guys actually thinking about? Is it really just Dazed and Confused in there? Is all that matters that they keep getting younger, and you stay the same age? Mentally, emotionally, ecumenically?

And then, every time I get one of the male sex to a grown up personhood point, after hours of yelling and talking and crying (usually on their end) they end up marrying the girl they met while I was making them grow up. I want to scream, “HELLO! You just gave away all my hard work! Investment not returned! Damnit!” But it doesnt matter. They just keep getting married and the others keep talking about a nice ass, and I keep getting frustrated.

The worst part is they think Im ok with it all. My best friend just told me yesterday that I dont even want to get married right now, unlike he, who would get married tomorrow. What kind of world are we living in where that is true? But the statement is not even accurate. Of course I want to get married someday. Of course I want some guy who can finally appreciate all the work I do for him everyday without patting me on the head while he goes out with girl #149 type 2. I may even want children, although one person’s mess is probably enough for me right now. Its hard to tell when its not an option. I wanted the Mormon dream for a really long time, the perfect 2-4 inch height difference couple, pushing a stroller with our 2-year old next to us as we talk about his day at work, and I discuss what to make for dinner. I used to think Id make an excellent “insert profession here” wife, its just not what God has in store for me, and its not even what I want for myself anymore. I have the ability to make an impact on the world and Im not going to short change myself to chase a fantasy that doesnt exist and, more importantly, isnt being offered.

Its probably my fault. I settle for less – I take the friend role instead of being a leading lady in my own life – at least in dating. I settle for doing dishes and watching Tosh.0 while the date gets cuddling and make-outs. Im settling in my own life, and I dont know what other choice to make in order to not wake up miserable and pissed off everyday.

So just in case you thought I was zen about the whole mormon, black and female thing all the time, Im not. I literally want to slap the shit out of men who dont date me and date the white, pioneer-stock nothing – as bitchy and petty as it may seem. How am I supposed to hold out hope for the Mormon fairy tale, when there arent even any frogs, looking in my general direction, to kiss? I know I sound like a BPW (Bitter Pioneer Woman) right now, and youre probably thinking, well now we know. Today was just a bit more than I could take. So forgive me, and look at it as honesty. Im offering that in my perspective on all the days.

You’re Not the Perfect Hand But I Don’t Hit on Nineteen

Sex (Photo credit: danielito311)

Johnny Mayer. Hes coming back guys!

So Im going to talk about something controversial. At least for Mormondom, especially when it comes to dating. Porn. Pornography. Every once in a while a female authority will make a statement about how women should not date men who view pornography. Which causes a huge uproar among both the single men and women groups. I knew men who were in counseling for their pornography “issues” and whenever that happened they were devastated. They wanted a chance to build a relationship, to overcome the intimacy issues that are usually at the heart of pornography use, but their only opportunities were being shrunk because of well-meaning intentions.  I also knew married men in those groups, who were struggling so hard to find a way for this not to destroy their lives. marriages and futures. And this group was the only way for them to talk about the difficulty of being men and fathers and breadwinners in a way no one would let them.

On the other end of the spectrum, I also knew women who were in support groups for women whose husbands viewed pornography. This ranged from men who lied about viewing pornography occasionally, to men who lied about conducting online relationships with other women, because of pornography. They were so grateful for the opportunity to talk about how it felt to be betrayed by the person they loved and trusted, because they could not discuss sex and trust in a regular conversation.

Here’s what I think: Sex is complicated. Really really complicated. And while we know that  sexual drive varies more within a group than between groups, men tend to be higher on the spectrum as whole compared to women. More men report feeling lack of intimacy in their marriage when they are not having sex, while women tend to report that lack of intimacy when it comes to lack of trust, feelings and talking. Massive over-generalizations, but lets just start there.

We treat men like criminals when it comes to acting out around sex. We say why cant you just control yourselves? How can you hurt your wives/gf this way? How could I possibly date such a sick deviant? WHAT WOULD JESUS THINK? But the reason sex is so hard to control is because its biological. Its hard wired into our systems to propagate the species. So of course porn is enticing. Its sex! And men have a complex relationship with it, that makes them more likely to have this particular weakness. But thats what it is – a weakness. Something we are all struggling with on this mortal plane. Something we were all given so that we could overcome.

Lets look at it from the other angle.  More women are more prone to eating disorders than to hypersexual disorders. Eating disorders are often seen as a exercise in control – many women began them as a way to gain control over some aspect of their lives, are rewarded for their weight loss or efforts, and then continue to do it until it becomes the primary way they relate to food. They are extremely difficult to treat. Why is that? Because its biological. We HAVE to eat to propagate ourselves! But we rarely treat women with this weakness as criminals, because of this issue. No one is telling us to not date women with eating disorders, even though they can have the same kind of terrible effects on intimacy, marriage, trust and else.

Some of the best conversations Ive ever had in my life were with those men in counseling. And I ached for the women who finally found some safe relief in their groups. But the only reason I was able to be in those situations, is because I was attempting to understand both sides of this issue. Right now, we are only talking about one side – what men are doing to women. Let’s talk about what society and women are doing to men.

Then, there’s a whole ‘nother aspect to the problem. In Mormondom, and some other religions, and society at large, women are often put in charge of men’s sexuality. This picture has recently gone viral. At the top where she writes whore and slut are the words “asking for it.” In most talks I heard growing up given to women we are told about dressing appropriately, being the ones to set the limits, to safeguard men from their impulses. Men are described as rutting beasts essentially, and we are the virtuous angels who are required to stop them. So if we dress and act like whores, well then its our fault when we get raped, or if we dress like nuns, then its our fault they turn to porn. Men cannot be held responsible for their sexual actions.

Can we please change the dialogue around sex? I mean a lot of people are having it. Everytime someone tells me they are trying to have a baby, all I think is, “Thank you for telling me about how much sex you are having.” Its everywhere people! SEX! Even if you arent having it, the lack of it is complicated. So lets make it easier on all of us. Lets not scapegoat men or women when it comes to the difficulty of controlling desire. Neither sex (what!) is perfect when it comes to this, so lets take make it easier to take the best we can.

I Can’t Make You Love Me

Dates (Photo credit: DBduo Photography)

Today’s title: Bonnie Raitt.

Dating. Maybe my biggest stumbling block in LDS life. And while I know I am not alone in the menace to society category, Ive also never dated. I’d like to think its not because I am the worst person in the world – non-Mormon Black and Hispanic guys have asked me out over the years, but when it comes to Mormons there was one guy, white, and he was on a mission in my mom’s area at 26. So he clearly wasnt the traditional Mormon. I wrote him once, but I lived literally across the country, so that never went anywhere, not that I thought it would.

I grew up liking white Mormon men. We were the only black family in most of my wards growing up and there were never any black Mormon guys near my age. This did not seem to be an issue until I got near the typical Mormon dating age, at which point it seemed like a big issue.  I liked the same blond-haired blue eyed guy for like 6 years. There were other guys in there, but none of them mormon and for various reasons were not reciprocated. My mother, who never keeps things to herself, once told his mother that I had a crush on her son. His mother was shocked. She had never even thought about me potentially liking him.

I currently live in Utah. Yes, I know – terrible life choice, but in a long-term perspective the state has been good to me. I met my best friend here and have made some friends that I know I will have forever and Im really grateful. And its also given me my new future job in NYC, which Thank God. But dating? Yeah not so much. I liked one guy a year for the first five years I lived here. And each one of them knew it. I helped two get married. Another is my aforementioned best friend. The others all call me regularly when they need help getting their life together or just want advice. So while I clearly have value in their lives, dating has never been in the cards. The closest I came was someone offering to make out when I first moved here. Really should’ve taken them up on the offer.

Recently Ive just given up. I refuse to feel like crap about myself everyday because I dont look like everyone else around me. Im not a size 2. At my skinniest I was a size 12, and believe me I was stick. I will never be blond, or have straight hair. I finally gave up on straightening a few years ago, when the cost and time (3 hours!) was killing me. And my hair laughed the one time in 7th grade I tried to relax it. I look best in super bright colors. I do not blend in well, although I did so want to as a teenager. With all my education, I will probably have more earning power than 95% of men in general, much less Mormon men. I will want to voice my 2 cents everyday to what my husband is doing so I can help and improve it, because I know I can. In my mind, these dont seem like bad traits for an awesome wife. But so far, no takers.

Even at this point in my life, Im not sure how far to stray from dating within the fold. So much of my life revolves around this way of living – will someone outside of it understand? I would still want to raise my children in the LDS church, despite my current difficulties, because that foundation led me to a God that saves and guides my life everyday. But at the same time, being constantly ignored as a female is slowly killing my soul. I lived in NYC this summer and I forgot what it felt like to be noticed. People there dont look at me weird for my crazy curly hair or darker skin or how I talk. No one asks me, even in the nicest way, what are you doing here? No one asks me where Im really from (still California). No tells me about their friend from Ghana. No one mentions the one black guy they know when they finally consider my dating life when we have girl talk. I will maybe want to stop punching people in the face when they complain about not having options. Hello? People! Still standing right here! Dateless!

So, what am I to do? Id rather not spend my adult life crying. So I keep doing the things I like and want to do – like acquiring more degrees, moving internationally as soon as possible with my new company, volunteering for crazy adventures and earning a shit ton of money to pay back all those student loans. Basically things that will make me even less dateable. Its a vicious cycle. Feel free to weigh in on my pain.