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.