Wednesday, May 02, 2007

ACK!

When I was younger I think I had a picture in my mind of what a single LDS woman over the age of 30 looked like. Like the comic strip Cathy. You know, unidentifiable bland career, prefers chocolate to men and shoe shopping to exercise, slightly fashion challenged, middle of the road cultural taste, fairly asexual Cathy. I pictured her having lots of “Girls Night IN!” weekends with her other single friends where they ate ice cream and cried over chick flicks while discussing pets and scrapbooking projects.

I’m not saying that was an accurate perception but that’s sort of what I imagined would have to be the case in order to actually BE a single LDS woman over the age of 30. Because if you were fun and interesting and sexy and cool and smart and fit then you certainly wouldn’t still be on the market. I imagined myself graduating, going on a mission, starting a career and getting married around 25 or 26. That would give me loads of time to have adventures of my own, develop a sense of self, and be ready to start thinking about babies or whatever. And oddly enough, even as I creeped past 25 and 26, in my mind, I was still way more 23 than 28 so again, I was in no danger of becoming Cathy.

So maybe you can imagine some of the mixed feelings I had on Friday night when I found myself attending the “Midsingles” Conference my church was having here in HB. I feel the need to stress that I would never have traveled to go to such a thing. 800 people did and bully for them, but a weekend of church sponsored fun aimed strictly at 27 to 40 year old single Mormons is not at the top of my list of how to burn frequent flyer miles. But my roommate was on the planning committee and some old friends were in town for the festivities so I sucked up my pride and went over. And OK yes, I had fun. They did a great job transforming the church into dance hall/coffee shop/tiki room/chill lounge single-pallooza. I ran into some out of towners I hadn’t seen in awhile, there were a bunch of OC kids I don’t hang out with enough that I got to talk to and maybe just maybe I managed to do some flirting with some cute Vegas boys. But all night I had a sort of vague feeling of uneasiness that while there were certainly loads of cool kids at this party-this is Cathy’s territory. And I’m having a tough time getting it into my head that this is in fact, MY demographic now.

The next day my friend Seth from Manhattan came to stay at our temporary hostel and he and I went to lunch. He is a boy who is willing to talk for hours about relationships without getting bored or lame so I took full advantage and we had a very interesting chat about being our age and single in this particular culture and some of the challenges (sex) and advantages. It was a good talk. We met up with friends on the beach and then a small group of us ditched the pre-assigned conference groups and went to dinner on our own. We went to the activity that night but it seemed like the excitement from the night before had worn off a little. So I went with another friend to see a band play and then we hit a party in Newport Beach I would normally have skipped. And when we got there I knew exactly why I usually hate those parties but why that night it was the perfect way to end the day. Too many people to move? Check. Really young, really scantily clad girls? Check. Guys my age flirting with them? Check. Cute Vegas Boys from the conference flirting with us? Check. Other 30 something females who don’t fit the Cathy mold rolling their eyes at each other over loud music but secretly really liking it? Check. Feeling like I’d rather just live my life and spend time with the people I enjoy and trust that God is smart enough to let Mr. Awesome and I find each other without having to be on edge about it all the time and without our Church leaders freaking out about it too? Double check.

I might have lived enough years to be Cathy but I really internalized something we talk about a lot at work when we are identifying our consumer. Age absolutely is a number. There are 22 year old women who have given up. There are 45 year old women who will wear you right out with what they are still discovering. I get to pick how “old” I’m going to be.

And that’s why I’m choosing not to ever call myself a “midsingle”.

17 comments:

Cindy said...

I prefer the term mid-range single adult. This is mostly because we have some old, creepy single adults who come to our fhe and I don't want to be in that category. Hopefully I won't find myself accidentally there like I've found myself accidentally here. That sounds like a fun conference. We're having one up here and about 30 people have signed up.

I don't think you're Cathy. Me, on the other hand, I fit the mold perfectly. I didn't realize it until you pointed out all my characteristics, but now I'm going to go commit suicide. Maybe I will go with Nathaniel to th concert up in Canada this weekend.

P.S. Your TY cards are soon to be put in the mail. Thank you!!!

k8 said...

Puh-leeze. You are way too sassy to be a Cathy.

I'm so excited for those cards!!!

f*bomb. said...

I actually felt sort of bad being there- like I was taking up space or making a mockery of someone ELSE's party...

The overwhelming feeling that people were looking to date and were in the place of "finding" someone, while I was just there to dance, dance, dance- well. It made me feel really adolecent. Which is maybe why I ended up eating ice cream and watching "Spiderman" instead of speed dating and socializing with mid-singlers.

You should have hung out with me at that party. I just went upstairs and gorged myself on shrimp all night. It was awesome.

k8 said...

I actually did do a few rounds of speed dating. it was kind of fun but we lucked out and got a string of cool guys.

next Jimmy party i am SO going to the shrimp room!

katie said...

great entry, k8.

Whits said...

so funny b/c one of my friends who lives in LA blogged about that same Newport Beach party (I'm sure its the same one) and talked about how it was all the same people she used to see at parties in Provo 5 years ago. haha.

f*bomb. said...

See? I didn't even need to go, because now you can intro me to the people worth meeting! It's like friends-screening-for-new-friends! Maybe that's what we should do: Take turns attending painful social activities, the one who draws the short stick will network as much as possible on behalf of the group, and then make introductions in a less-weird situation.

I like the idea of speed dating becuase it combines my two favourite things: Socializing and Efficiency. My idea sounds rather on-par, only it requires less effort with less frequency. EVEN BETTER.

CoCo said...

Katie - where's the song for this one? I'm hearing Outkast singing "age aint nothing but a number". :)

Allison said...

I was there, too and admittedly ambivalent about the whole experience. On one hand, it sucks to realize that while decor/music/lighting was much swankier, essentially I was just at EFY for 30-somethings. I'd like to think that I've moved past that whole awkward, cultural hall, sweaty, hope-that-boy-will-ask-me-to-dance stage of my life.

I sort of agree with your sentiment:

"Feeling like I’d rather just live my life and spend time with the people I enjoy and trust that God is smart enough to let Mr. Awesome and I find each other without having to be on edge about it all the time and without our Church leaders freaking out about it too? Double check."

On the other hand, isn't that akin to saying that Heavenly Father is smart enough to bring people interested in the Church to the missionaries? Should the missionaries/members just stay home and let the Lord do the heavy lifting? Maybe the situations aren't EXACTLY analogous...my point is that Heavenly Father expects us to make an effort to meet people. I was pretty inspired by what was said at that Sacrament meeting. The idea that if you want good things to happen in your life you have to be positive and proactive resonates with me.

Of course, I'd like to make those good things happen without having flashbacks from stake dances when I was 14.

Overall, I'm not complaining. I met a couple of cute guys who got my number. I'm a satisfied customer of the mid-singles conference.

k8 said...

I totally agree that we are responsible to put ourselves in positions to meet people. I'm just not sure for me that means "meat markets". I'm not advocating sitting on the couch waiting for the love of your life to knock on the door. But since you brought up missionaries...guess what is the most ineffective way to do missionary work? Knocking on a bunch of random doors. Guess what is way more effective? Working with members to find the people in their lives who are ready to hear the Gospel. I think dating works best in much the same way. I feel like investing time in good friendships, and doing interesting things provides lots of opportunities to "meet people". I have better odds on a friend who knows me well introducing me to someone than having 12 three minute conversations in the church gym with boys who are more likely than not looking over your shoulder for a better offer anyway. The "maybe the next girl I talk to is the one" mentality that I think events like this can breed just isn't my style. It is for some people and I imagine we'll hear some "success stories" from this one. I guess my point was that I just can't live in constant hunting mode. I go to church, I travel, I go to parties, I love to try new things and meet new people...and I trust that if I'm doing my best not to sit around waiting, I also don't have to be focused on finding the boy of my dreams everytime I leave the house.

pinetreesummer said...

considering that I have only been to "one" Singles activity, and that was because I got guilted into it. I am impressed you even go. THe people who attend MY age group - The Oldies, are, well, old and I'm not going there. Age is a state of mind. I see that every day at work, those who gave up and gave in. I, for one, am only going to grow older, not up

Allison said...

Well said, K8. You make a good point. I didn't mean to imply that you sit around waiting for a man to miraculously appear. I meant to imply that I do...well, sometimes. My life gets a little too Cathy on occasion because I use the "I don't have to constantly be on the hunt" idea as a excuse to not leave my comfort zone. I end up taking my nieces and nephews to Disneyland and taking night classes at Cal State Long Beach instead of going to a singles activity. Nothing wrong with that except that I don't meet guys that way.

Anyway, for the record, I completely agree that networking and living a full life are way more efficient than knocking doors/meat market.

f*bomb. said...

Allison-
You're way more likely to be introduced to people you'd jive with BY people you already jive with, than at some mass-exodus weekend binge (unless you're talking Duck Beach, because at least there, people are getting action).

I think this thread just made me break out into hives. I'm getting ice cream.

Cindy said...

No, seriously, I sometimes like chocolate more than men and definitely shoe shopping much better than exercise. I can now totally relate to all the scenes where she's trying on a bathing suit and I'm trying to grow my hair out long like hers.

k8 said...

ah yes, the famous Duck Beach. I imagine one of these years I will cave and go.

i fear i have painted an unfair image of "cathy". i mean, just this today i had chocolate for breakfast and a rasberry brownie with lunch (what? rasberries are fruit.) And I think my poor mother's suspicions that I am too settled in my singleness were confirmed when she saw my shoe collection. It's a comic strip that people like because they can relate to it. There just something about her that screams predictability to me and I guess that's the part I just don't ever WANT to relate to...

aporitic said...

"There just something about her that screams predictability to me"

Maybe it's because this strip has been running the same gag day-in, day-out, for umpteen million years.

If you can avoid telling the same lame joke everytime you start a conversation (and, since you're not an accountant, I'm assuming you can), then you shouldn't have to worry about this.

Sarah Champion said...

i am a first time commenter on your blog, but i wanted to leave a "hear, hear!" in response to this. i second everything you said...very well put.