Quote of the Week

"I assure you that if you have to wait even until the next life to be blessed with a choice companion, God will surely compensate you."
President Ezra T. Benson, To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church, 1988.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What Child is This?

How easy it is at this time of year to view every precious child, especially little babies and toddlers, as the Christ Child we celebrate. When I kiss my favorite nephews and cuddle the youngest on my lap, I have a better understanding of why Jesus found children so easy to love. For me, all is right with the world whenever I have that opportunity. I'll turn forty next year and must begin to accept the fact that scenes like the one I just described are the only opportunities I will ever have to experience motherhood. Never mind the role of companion or helpmeet to a man who is good, kind and crazy about me. In light of recent events I'm afraid temple marriage is a fairy tale, something I can only anticipate in another life.


Against my better nature, I should keep silent in quiet dignity while the world, which now includes Utah, celebrates the freedom of lasciviousness but I'm sorry, I cannot. I cannot stand on the sidelines and applaud the gay pride parade, marching themselves to the alter, flaunting their coveted marriage licenses in my face like so many straight people. I must raise the question: How many of these couples are doing this for the sake of their children or future children? I'd like to believe my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters love and cherish children as much as I do and yearn as much as I do for the opportunity to create life as...fathers and mothers? Grandmas and Grandpas? Is that really what's foremost on their minds as they take their vows and kiss each other in a committed partnership that's most likely already been consummated? If I'm wrong, I'm begging you, please, prove me wrong and I'll change my mind. If not I'll continue to stand by my beliefs regarding the purity of a virginal marriage that may or may not produce children.

I'm not calling for a "stay" to stop this judicial proceeding. Governor Gary Herbert can work for a judicial resolution but the genie is out of the bottle. We all knew this was going to happen sooner or later. The other shoe has dropped here in Utah. There's nothing we can do now except hope and pray these celebrations will lead to a realization that these marriages are simply not the same as heterosexual. And for Mormons, certainly not for time and all eternity. Heterosexual dating and courtship leading to marriage is more important now than ever before. We must be strong, fellow singles. We must continue to encourage good parents like my sister and brother-in-law to keep up the good work in raising our nephews (and nieces too!) with the understanding of what is expected of them as they grow up and take their place in society as hard working husbands and fathers who will provide their wives and children, especially any daughters who might be born, with the support they will need to stay strong against so much wickedness as Satan continues his new war on the very creation of families. That's right, folks, no longer is Satan "waging a war on the family" as many of us grew up hearing. As a Generation Xer, child of the 80's divorce culture, I can testify we've already lost the war on that one and must turn our attention now on how to prevent cohabitation and out of wedlock birth from getting any worse. Mary and Joseph certainly set the proper example for us in these similar circumstances, didn't they?

How I yearn to be a part of that fight in raising up righteous posterity but perhaps my service as a doting aunt and my humble "keyboard warrior" skills will suffice. So, on that note, back to the most wonderful time of the year when we can reflect on the fact that with small things, like the simple, miraculous birth of a child, great things are brought to pass.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Giving Thanks for Being Single


   In case you haven't heard, Thanksgiving is being choked to death by the inundation of Christmas. By next year, it may well pass into extinction as we pardon all turkeys in favor of consumerism. Just in case that happens, I figured I'd better pay tribute to this blink-or-you'll-miss-it American holiday. For me, this has always been a time to gather with family and eat lots of good food. For us singles without a family, I've discovered over the years that Thanksgiving can also be one of the most depressing times of the year. So, I'm here to prove that no matter what kind of trials you might be facing right now, there is always something, SOMETHING you can be grateful for and here's my list:

First, I want to share this quote by Spencer W. Kimball


Now I want to alter that first part, just slightly, replacing "happiness" with "singleness"
        "Some think of singleness as a glamorous life of ease, luxury, & constant thrills;"

How many people do you know who believe your single life is filled with lots of free time and that being single, without the responsibilities of spouse or children means your life is just one big thrill ride? Mine is. Really, I'm serious! I live a life of ease and luxury. Take my cinder-block one bedroom apartment for example. A small castle compared to what people in some third world countries are forced to live in. I should count my blessings.
   Reason #1 My Favorite Activities

I'm happiest when I'm in the middle of at least three books and right now I have FOUR! I'm currently enjoying: Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey, The Fault in Our Stars (for the adolescent lit class I'm taking this semester at the U) Work and the Glory Vol 7, and the latest Anita Stansfield in case I get bored because her writing just isn't what it used to be ten years ago. Then there's all the DVDs in my private collection I'm trying to find time to watch. A life of ease and luxury to read and watch whatever I want in my free time means that, yes Michelle, you really do live a life of ease and luxury. So count your blessings!

Reason #2 Nephews! Anyone who knows me shouldn't be surprised so see this on my list.

Disclaimer: Calvin means no disrespect toward the Asian culture, he's six and this was the only picture we could get him to stand still for. His little brother, Charlie, (nineteen months) is still trying to figure out how he got stuck with these weirdos. ("Help me")
    I have been asked to babysit on Thanksgiving morning so my sister can run a half marathon to raise money for the Utah Food Bank called The Utah Human Race which sounds more like a fake charity from a Seinfeld episode. (The Human Fund anyone?) Her hubby, Aaron, will be playing touch football that morning with friends, an annual Thanksgiving tradition. I'm happy to help out. Any excuse to spend time with my favorite nephews means I have two more reasons to give thanks during this time of year.

Reason #3 Disneyland or Spending Time With Family

I've been pretty busy since my last post, living a life of ease and luxury means I had the money and opportunity to take a little trip with some of my family.

Coming to Disneyland with “the rugrats” beat every previous trip I’d ever taken. As we strolled along to the next ride, Calvin swung my hand and said, “You and Mike are my favorite aunt and uncle.” I was reminded why I hadn’t been here for so many years. Disneyland is for the kids and if you don’t have any of your own, go kidnap some and experience all the joy of the happiest place on earth. I never want to come here again unless I have children to share it with.
   I hadn't been to Disneyland since 1996! We took two days and since it was off-season I got to go on several rides more than once. I went on rides my single adult friends and I always felt silly being seen on without kids, like Peter Pan's Flight and the Teacups. I rode Pirates three times and loved the addition of the Johnny Depp animatronic. California Adventure was great. I rode the roller coaster twice. Star Tours is Calvin's favorite ride and I like the new feature of a different mission, much to the dismay of C-3PO, every time you go. The only ride I didn't enjoy as much was the new holiday themed Haunted Mansion. I like Nightmare Before Christmas but letting the characters from the movie take over the ride was a bad idea. I'll have to come back during the Spring off-season and see if it's the same ride I loved as a young adult with the ghosts projections and fun theme music. Taking baby Charlie on King Triton's Carousel and Winnie the Pooh really made this trip the best one I'd ever taken. My favorite brother, my sister's family and my favorite nephews. Not a bad trip and one of the best excuses to be grateful now that the year is almost over.

 Reason #4 Enjoying God's Creations

 In the quiet solitude of my second story apartment, I recently hung a small birdfeeder outside my kitchen window and have become quite an expert birdwatcher. I can identify male and female house sparrows and finches. Warning: those birds are pigs! Capable of emptying the feeder in just a few days! I've also seen black capped chickadees and I've startled many mourning doves who like to glean the ground below for any scraps. The guidebook Backyard Birds of Utah is one of the best resources for learning more about these small creatures who remind me that I'm just as important in God's eyes as they are.

and finally Reason #5 Dating: One Long, Constant, Thrill Ride

   His name was Michael. The blind date was arranged by my female boss at work. When you get to be my age, any matchmakers with good intentions are convinced that if he's "really nice," has some kind of steady income, is still upright with a pulse and still not married that we're perfect for each other. I hadn't been out on any kind of date, let alone a blind one, since 2009 and because my life is one constant thrill ride, I agreed to meet him. She suggested we attend the annual IHC Food Service Workers Employee Appreciation Dinner where we could meet and be properly introduced, just like something out of a Jane Austen novel. When I called to let him know where to meet me, I had to explain to him exactly where the thirteen story flagship hospital, visible from all over the valley, was located. Ok, maybe he was new to the area, give him a chance, Michelle.
"How was the date?" You ask.
 Well, the food was good.
"Yes, but what was he like? Did you hit if off? Did sparks fly? Did you hear heavenly choirs of angels sing as your eyes met across the crowded room?"
Well, he was tall.
He also owns his own house. That's an important plus for singles but having common interests should also rank high on the list of "Potential Qualities I'm Looking For in a Future Husband" and, I'm sorry to admit, he came up lacking in a lot of ways. He took some classes many years ago at the U but dropped out, served an LDS mission but was shy admitting just how long ago that was. He has two jobs: one working nights at the neighborhood Chevron gas station while the rest of his free time he spends caring for his neighbors' miniature horses in the equestrian neighborhood he resides in. It was obvious he loved his job with the horses, bragged about how they were just like children but I discovered he's no Robert Redford. I asked him, straight out, outside of taking care of these darling horses, did he have any other hobbies or outside interests to which he frankly replied, "No."
I was tempted to ask if he acted out scenes from Equus for the horses but he probably wouldn't have gotten the reference anyway. The date ended and I probably won't loose any sleep if I never see him again.

So, I can be grateful for opportunities to meet lots of...um, interesting? people and even more grateful that I'm not expected to marry any of them. I'll just keep telling myself that one day I'll have lots of entertaining stories to tell my future grandchildren for many Thanksgivings to come.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pushing My Wheelbarrow

I'll admit it right now. I stopped watching General Conference years ago. When you've lived alone as long as I have, the last thing I need is reminders of what I'm missing out on and long to be a part of. I'd rather rip off my fingernails with red hot pliers than subject myself to the torture of listening to how essential my duties as wife and mother to a family in a home of my own will affect my eternal salvation while I sit alone on my couch, surrounded by the emptiness of my one bedroom apartment sans any husband or children to share in the miracle of modern day prophets speaking for our time. Don't get me wrong. I follow and sustain our leaders, even when I feel they're ignoring one of the largest groups of second class citizens in the church. That's one reason why Elder Oaks has become one of my favorite apostles. His wife was an old maid like me until someone set them up on a blind date. My mom is convinced any day now one of the widowed general authorities of the church is going to halt general conference and pop the question to Sheri Dew. Then she can pounce on me with, "See! Sheri Dew had a good attitude, served faithfully in the church, never gave up and looked how God finally blessed her!" I always smile because my mom has no idea who Warren Jeffs is and I haven't reached menopause...yet.

Lest I find myself on the slow decent into hell, I do make the effort to catch the report of that day's session on my local evening news and go online to read the highlights posted on Salt Lake's two rivaling newspaper websites. It was the words of Elder Dallin H. Oakes that inspired me to write this newest post on being single. He was speaking on the challenges and pressures of living in a decaying world that would have us forget the importance of God's commandments of chastity and fidelity "We should remember our first priority-to serve God-and like our pioneer predecessors, push our personal handcarts forward with the same fortitude they exhibited."

I started chuckling as I realized that if our 18th century pioneer ancestors, secure in their traditional nuclear family units, had handcarts, then all the 21st century single, unmarried women are stuck with wheelbarrows. It's true! Handcarts have two wheels representing the man and his wife pulling the load equally, side by side facing all the challenges of life together while yonder stands the lonely wheelbarrow which only requires one person to maneuver it. I'd include single men in my brilliant metaphor, but who do you think is enjoying the free ride! For those that aren't currently dating, our wheelbarrows are most likely filled with all our comfort foods that help us endure our solitary lives until...what? That is the question I'm still waiting for one of the good Brethren of the church to address. Until then, don't let your wheelbarrows be filled with a lot of junk that will hinder your ability to push it down the straight and narrow path, however wobbly it becomes. Mine is filled with books and will probably tip over any second. I'd trade it in for a handcart any day, however rickety, but I don't want to pull it alone.

Until that time comes, it's always nice to lay the wheelbarrow aside and spend an evening celebrating my late September birthday with friends and family. I might be clumsy with my metaphorical wheelbarrow  but I can bowl a pretty mean strike!

From left to right: my brother Mike, stepdad Alan Scholes, sister Mary Williams holding my nephew Charles, me in the red shirt, my mom, good friends Lauralee Broschinsky and Whitney Holdsworth and my nephew Calvin who was getting impatient to leave for the pizza and arcade next door.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Still Crazy After All These Years

I showed this senior year photo to my stylist at the salon. "See, I used to be blonde! You have to make me look just like this for my twenty year high school reunion! Minus the permed hair and teased bangs, of course or I'll be like that woman on Seinfeld with the outdated hair Elaine made fun of." She laughed and promised she'd do her best.

And HERE, ladies and gentleman is the woman who was voted "Who has changed LEAST in appearance" I was both proud and flattered to take home the prize, a handful of fun sized candy bars. I'd like to thank the academy, my hairstylist, clean living and Elizabeth Arden.

Looking at that old photo of me, I see a young, wholesome, eighteen year old girl looking into the future and pondering the wonders in store for her. I've never told anyone this but I remember exactly what (or whom actually!) I was thinking about just as the photographer captured the softened expression on my face. I was imagining the boy I liked had suddenly appeared behind the camera, and all those months of waiting for him to flash me his most flirtatious smile had finally come to pass. He's married with kids now and he never even took me out on a date. I won't reveal his name but for those I grew up with in a small town in rural southern Utah, here's a hint: His little sister was also at my twenty year high school reunion.

Life has since taught me that being desirable is good but it also depends on the kind of attention you're seeking. That smirk on my face, twenty years later, and those empty spaces on either side of me at the table show my courage in making my appearance at a reunion attended by people that value marriage and children as the capstone of your life's goals. I think all the divorced and single classmates were too ashamed to show up. I don't blame them, getting married, staying married and raising a happy family are the bread and water of the Mormon religion I was raised on and still believe in. Still, it would've been nice if I'd at least had some kind of career to hide behind, "Yes, I'm an elementary school principal now," or "I was just made head nurse in pediatrics at Primary Children's" or my all time favorite, "Oh, I just finished writing the screenplay for Fifty Shades of Grey. My agent promised me at least twelve percent of the royalties." Ok, that might be a little too crazy.

I was proud to be able to say I'd be graduating with a second bachelor's degree next year and maybe doing something with my writing will bring fame and fortune, you never know, hence that smirk on my face. It could happen. The piece I shared with my adolescent literature class the other day was met with thunderous applause. The assignment was to rewrite a scene from To Kill A Mockingbird, one of my all time favorite books. I chose Boo Radley's perspective which blew everyone away. As I returned to my seat, the teacher remarked my future book should be titled, How to Kill A Vampire. It really made my day. Just imagine. Me, the next Stephenie Meyer!
I'd like to thank all the little people who took a chance on me and my delusions of grandeur... 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Wishing Chair

One of the oldest buildings in downtown Seattle, Washington is the Smith Building where, on the 35th floor of the observation deck, sits the most magical chair in the world-The Wishing Chair. That's me sitting in the chair one year ago while visiting my biological father. Legend has it that if a wishful, never married woman sits in the chair she will be married within a year. As Ray Llewellyn read these words aloud, my friend Lauralee burst into laughter at the desperate old maid who sprinted across the room and threw herself into the chair. Gripping the carved wooden armrests, I closed my eyes and wished with all my might.

Well, it's been one year. I think I should ask for my money back.

Not that I sat on my butt these last twelve months and waited for Prince Charming to find me. School was waiting when I returned from my trip. None of the young men in any of my classes for the next three semesters ever made themselves available for dating though I kept an eye out for any potential spouses and was prepared to say yes if any ventured to ask me out.

It's frustrating as there just aren't many physical places these days where single women who yearn for dating that leads to marriage can meet similarly minded men. I'm not blessed with huge network of friends and family with radars tuned to helping me find an eternal companion. The pool is drying up so fast, not even a Wishing Chair can help. Feeling like I was grasping at straws, I went online and signed up for www.zoosk.com a free singles website but too many of the flirts and messages I received were from men who were most definitely not my type. Note to all single guys: picking "Hog" as your profile name and posting a picture of your bandana wearing, potbellied self standing next to your machine might be the reason why you're still single.

I also signed up for www.ldsplanet.com and paid the six-month membership fee so I could send and receive messages. I enjoyed browsing various profiles of never married young men who had college degrees, no children, and  (if they were being honest) claimed to be active in the church. I sent out lots of friendly "Hi! Oh look, we have something in common-mission, hobbies, vacation, sports, ect." but none ever returned the favors. The only flirts and messages I received were from local Utah men already divorced and considerably older than me. Not to be too cynical but if the only way for a woman to persuade a man to ask her out on a date is to bring (root) beer and be naked, well, I don't want to play this game anymore. I cancelled my memberships with both websites last month. I'm done.

That's when I was led to www.utahsmatchmaker.com two weeks ago where I filled out a profile application, submitted two photos of myself and the very next day was invited via email to schedule an appointment with a "matchmaker" for my screening interview for potential dates with "high-caliber, physically fit and well groomed" clients. The service was free for women while the men had to pay. That was a good sign. Since I had the next day off from work, I got ready for the interview, filled with hope that maybe this would lead to an opportunity to meet and go out on a date for the first time in years with someone who wasn't a loser. With little time to prepare, I selected a casual outfit and applied my makeup with extra care for the 6pm meeting in a nearby office building.

When I arrived, the young woman who interviewed me gave me the impression that superficial looks were all that mattered here. The push from her to take the next step in their client services and meet with a dating and image consultant reminded me too much of  Fifty Shades of Grey  and the Fiddler on the Roof tune came to a screeching halt. I am not "Barbie with a Testimony" there is so much more to me than my hooded eyes, full lips and hourglass figure. What more do I need to do to make myself a "perfect match"? Why nothing, thank you very much and I'll bet the male to female ratio clientele here is highly skewed, eh? The young woman froze at her laptop when I asked her this and I knew I'd hit a nerve. Only five minutes into our interview and when it became apparent that I was only interested in men who would look beyond my physical appearance, I was immediately shown the door. So much for "high-caliber" dating.

Subsequently, I didn't get invited to the July 20 "Holidate" where, for fifty dollars, men and their dates meet for a punch and cookies-type wholesome activity in a safe setting where they can get to know each other and the men can make their final decisions on who they'd like to see exclusively. I knew I should've worn my fishnet stockings!

Analyzing my year for any opportunities I might've had to meet someone, it was fun to look back at all the highs and lows of the last twelve months. Highs included fun outings, movies and concerts with family and friends sans any dates with single men. Lows were the cold, smoggy weather in the Salt Lake Valley this last winter that dragged me down. I stressed out a little too much over my poor Spanish verb retention but I passed my classes and breathed easier when spring came. I received an A in my six-week English course for the first half of summer semester and I'm currently enjoying a break from school.

I remain hopeful. A chair can't determine my future, no matter how hard I wished for it. The remainder of this year is still open for potential dates and opportunities to meet someone. Perhaps The Wishing Chair's legend has become obsolete but I still like to believe in fairy tales.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lois and the Man of Steel

*spoiler alert!*
My review of Man of Steel

I'm a girlie girl. I love the whole "damsel in distress" thing. I've been in love with Superman ever since Christopher Reeve rescued Lois Lane from the falling helicopter. Man of Steel was OK but could've used a little more of that old fashioned chivalry.
   To begin with, there's no "meeting cute" the Hollywood term for how lead boy and girl get together. Lois's first encounter with Clark Kent leaves her screaming in agony. How romantic. The kiss they have later felt contrived. All their "dates" were limited to alien spaceships where either one or the other was in physical pain most of the time. Very romantic. No gun toting street muggers, no exclusive Daily Planet interviews and no duets in the sky. It felt like she was shoehorned into being Superman's romantic interest just because her name was Lois and she wasn't afraid to use the word "dick" around men.
   I had issues with how the character of Lois Lane and other women were used in the movie. For example. Why did General Zod want her tagging along with the "Kryptonian fugitive"? He barely acknowledged Lois the whole time she was on his ship. I kept waiting for him to use her as the Man of Steel's kryptonite "Kneel before me or I'll force her to become the mother of a brave new world of Kryptonians! Bwa ha ha!"
   Instead the audience is barraged with so much "disaster porn" of physical violence and explosions I had to keep reminding myself this wasn't a Michael Bay movie. Hollywood has become way too testosterone driven these days. This movie could've used a little more estrogen. There was a great opportunity for Zod's female minion to speak to the captive Lois about something other than a man, but no words were exchanged. Bechdel Test fail there. Then there was the reaction of Martha Kent when Superman announces he now knows why he's here but instead of being happy for him and inviting him inside the farmhouse for milk and cookies and some heart to heart, we get the narcissistic angle-Um, gee, son that's nice, but what about ME?
    As one reviewer wrote, too much "super" as aliens fight it out on planet Earth and not enough "man" as Clark Kent deals with his megalomania-I am Superman, hear me roar. And roar he does whenever he's facing a particularly difficult trial. It got old after the fourth or fifth time. The scene where he's forced to kill General Zod was especially annoying. Was anyone else reminded of sparkly vampires when he twisted Zod's head?
   Hollywood has backed itself into a corner trying to please everyone and offend no one, especially the big bad government. Clark Kent says he wants to help people and be a good man but...he's afraid of rejection??? Sorry, but when Lois Lane laughed at Christopher Reeve's Superman not being afraid to stand for truth, justice and the American way "You're gonna end up fighting every elected official in this country!" nobody was offended. In 1978 everyone was paranoid about conspiracy theories and secret government plots. Nobody was questioning the fact that men earned more than their stay-at-home wives because cohabitation wasn't the norm yet and a large percentage of the population had yet to divorce. Too bad the family dog is more important than the relationships we have with each other. I wasn't impressed with Jonathon Kent's death either.
   Mind you, there are moments of femininity and humanism: the live birth and extra story behind Kal-el's mother was good, having Lois comfort Clark after he kills for the first time was sweet but why didn't Superman just cover Zod's eyes? The last line payoff was great but only if it means the sequel will feature more mild mannered Clark Kent. That trait seemed to have gotten lost amidst the celebration of a man of steel ripping through buildings and blowing up world engines. That don't impress me much.
Worst line in movie: "I just think he's kinda hot."
 Best line in movie: "Welcome to the Planet."
Two stars: Man of Steel was just OK. I can wait for the DVD before I see it again.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Every Girl Needs a Twilight Vampire Boyfriend

     I loved this book, sixteen academic literary essays commenting on everything from Stephenie Meyer's characterization to gender and stereotypes. For example, Bella reflects the 'everygirl' who lives out the fantasy of experiencing romance with a nonthreatening male figure who may or may not be a homosexual. One ex-Mormon mother bashes Bella for not being more Feminist. Vampire's love of consumerism has triggered a new line of fashion and car purchases. Now you know why Volvo will be forever linked in your mind to Edward Cullen. It's like Cliff's Notes for the entire Twilight series (the books not the movies). 
     So, I'd like to take a shot at my own Twilight perspective essay. I wasn't a young teenager when I read the first book, I was in my early thirties and taking pre-nursing courses at the University. Word of mouth led me to them. I can't remember which year I was introduced to them but I do remember reading Twilight while riding our public transit system to school and getting hooked. When Eclipse was released, I was buying a copy anticipating what would happen next along with all the other fans.
     Stephenie Meyer has been quoted as saying she gave Edward Cullen that old fashioned abstinence-before-marriage character trait to show how he clashed with our 21st century thinking. In today's relationships, both gay and straight, the accepted rule of thought is basically "anything goes". This aspect of Edward's character wasn't revealed until Eclipse when he gently rebuffs Bella's first attempt to initiate sex. How radical is that? For the first time in teen literature (which many of my English professors at the U of U have been quick to point out Stephanie Meyer's books are not) the heroine exploring her own sexuality is NOT GETTING ANY! For the first time in a bestselling series, the man is setting the rules for the relationship, not the woman, and to top it all off, he's determined to put a ring on it!
     Can you hear the entire female population (well most of them anyway) swooning in ecstasy? Bella gets to experience all the aspects of dating, courtship and marriage that are just not found in today's  hook-up culture. Edward is like John Cusack's character from Say Anything. He doesn't want to do anything else with his life but spend time with the police chief's daughter and he's darn good at it too. He's Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, hopelessly infatuated with Bella who does not realize how lucky she is to have someone interested in more than just intercourse. He showers her with romance. They go out on dates. They spend time together. He buys her things on her birthday and helps her with her homework. Because he can't penetrate her mind like all the other mortals he walks among, Edward pesters her with questions, like Christian Slater's character from Bed of Roses. Any normal girl would take out a restraining order on Edward for being so obsessed with her, but as we share Bella's courtship we ourselves long for such a boyfriend and if we're already married, we wish we could go back in time and experience it all over again.
     Superhero aspect of Edward's character aside, stuck in the "dating desert" is why I find myself returning to these books again and again where I can experience the yearnings of my heart vicariously through a fictional character. My perfect boyfriend doesn't have to be immortally wealthy, freakishly strong or have the ability to read minds. I've lost count of the many blind dates I've returned from lamenting the young man never asked me lots of deep, probing questions about myself and took no interest in me other than my food order. Not even a good night kiss, as if I'd be begging for one after such a date.
      What every girl, young and old maid, needs is a decent young man who is kind, crazy about them and wants nothing more in life than to embark on a journey of exaltation to higher levels of immortality. Being a good kisser doesn't hurt either and if that's one area he's found lacking, we females are prepared to educate him. Character and IQ first, sex later. We all deserve boyfriends (husbands) like Edward Cullen and we shouldn't settle for anything less.
     Have a great day and if it's been awhile since you've read the adventures of Bella and her impossibly perfect vampire boyfriend, then get cracking, or, go check out Bringing Light To Twilight by Giselle Liza Anatol and broaden your mind with academic critiques on a pop culture phenomenon.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happy to have "All the Blessings"



Sister Elaine S. Dalton, left, general Young Women president, talks about church leadership and priesthood with Relief Society general president Linda K. Burton, center, and Primary general president Rosemary M. Wixon in new church video. (Courtesy LDS Church)


Women and the Mormon priesthood. As a singleton this is an interesting debate to observe because I keep waiting for someone to bring up the glaring fact that there are so many Mormon women who don't currently enjoy the blessings of the priesthood in their lives for various reasons (*hem* not enough worthy men *hem*). Haven't they ever heard the joke about the woman who throws her arms around her eternal companion and proclaims, "Look, I'm holding the priesthood!"

    Back in February of this year (2013) a special segment ran on our local broadcast station directed to LDS Mid-Singles like you and me. Relationship coach Matt Townsend talked about the growing population of young single adults who just aren't dating, courting, and marrying like they used to. His remarks hit very close to home, like the many singles who've aged out of their Sunday church groups and feel like social outcasts, objects of pity, thrust among the married members who don't know what to do with them. "Oh, (you poor thing)" he says in the YouTube video on MormonTimesTV, "I wish you had all the blessings!"

     Then, earlier this month, prominent female leaders of our faith got together for a panel discussion to address the growing movement of women demanding the same authority to lead and participate in priesthood ordinances as men. Sister Linda K. Burton, President of the Relief Society, the largest organization of Mormon women in the world, said that it's not the feminist authority to rise above their husbands that these women desire, "...most women, I think, are happy to have all the blessings."

    All the blessings. What does that really mean to have "All the Blessings"? I don't want to get too pessimistic but with my biological father ex-communicated from the faith, my disengaged stepfather that I'm just not close to and my brothers all busy with their own lives, I am unable to name any Mormon priesthood holders in my life that I would feel comfortable asking so I could enjoy "all the blessings" like my happily married sisters. I'm a single, never married woman who lives alone. I've always told myself I don't mind, it doesn't matter. I've learned to be independent. I've never asked for a priesthood blessing in my life.Who needs men? Who needs temple marriage? Who needs the power of the priesthood anyway? I don't have any posterity. This is the age of women. I don't need help from anybody. I'm a threat to married women who are hesitant to share their priesthood holding husbands with single women like me and I understand that, so, whoever my home teacher is, it's OK, I'm not blaming anyone.

      Just let me indulge in some self-pity for a paragraph or two. Because there was a time during the month of March and this last week when I was literally doubled over in pain, wondering if I would live long enough for the Midol to take effect, I started reconsidering that priesthood blessing I've never asked for. Yes, like the woman with the issue of blood in the Bible, if the call had come that a worthy priesthood holder was passing by outside in the street, I would've crawled out there on my hands and knees to touch his garments. I have faith that one priesthood blessing can trump a box of Midol any day. All female readers out there know exactly what I'm talking about. I'll be increasing the number of pain relievers I take next month, but still, a nine month break at age 38 would be nice. A priesthood holding husband or boyfriend would be nice also. I'm certainly old enough to have one, aren't I? The Mormon church is wonderful and I love being a member, as do all the widows and divorced mothers, but a shout-out from President Monson to single sisters, who yearn to have all the blessings of the priesthood in their lives and can't seem to find it, during the last general conference would've been nice too.

    Yes, women don't want the power of the priesthood but I'd be happy to have all the blessings too. So, go tell a worthy priesthood holder in your life how grateful you are to have him and how much he's appreciated. I'll just keep waiting for mine to show up, if I don't die from dysmenorrhea first!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Knot Yet

Go tie the knot in Las Vegas? Not us! We came to have fun. Besides, none of us are currently dating anyone. Kind of hard to get married when you're a twenty-something still waiting to be asked out on your first date. I was the only thirty-something in our group of four, but, as the above photo proves, I can still pass myself off with the younger set. We had a blast. I hope other singletons out there have a support network to fall back on so that when the inevitable loneliness rears its ugly head you can fight it by creating fun memories and keeping busy with such constructive, educational activities such as taking a trip to Las Vegas. Don't laugh! A night on the Las Vegas Strip can be very educational!
Actually, my main topic for this post has to do with this fascinating article/report I just read about the twenty-something age set putting childbearing before marriage and the price America is about to pay for these choices. The article is entitled "Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America" Here's the link:
*spoiler alert!* this pdf is exactly 40 pages long but it's worth taking the time to read!
For those who don't have the time, here's my own unique, opinionated review of the report.

   One new term I picked up was "The Great Crossover," an important turning point in America's dating and relationship culture from 1989-1993 when the number of women having their first child began occurring at a younger age compared to older twenty-something women who reported tying the knot. For the first time in history more women were putting the baby carriage before the wedding vows. Hello, Murphy Brown!

   In my blog I've taken it upon myself to coin a new term that I hope will someday catch on, "The Life Script" and to my delight, this report does talk about a "script" and how our young single adult population is currently drifting away from the traditional Middle-class script: marriage-then-parenthood to increasing cohabitation and the risks the children born in these unstable relationships will have on our society.

   On the other hand, the report also praises the Middle-class Single American woman who is choosing to increase her education and delay marriage/parenthood as children born to women with a four-year degree tend to thrive better than their less advantaged peers in single parent homes.

   Which brings me to the gripes I have about this report. What about the single men? What about their responsibility to the women and children in their lives? Once again, we must blame the economy and the disappearance of 1960's era blue-collar jobs that don't require a college degree these poor, single, starving young men need before they can pop the question and marry the women they are currently cohabitating with.

   No data was given as to the number of hours these young men spend in front of the X-box or other electronic media compared to hours in college classes or working two or three minimum wage jobs. The report never questions why these single young men are content to remain in Neverland, refusing to grow up, while the young women are praised for their increasing financial independence and educational strides. Once-upon-a-time, in the 1960's, it was expected that a young man work hard and prepare himself for that capstone of his adult life: getting married and providing for a family of his own. Why is nobody talking about this? Oh, yeah, the feminist movement.

   Oh well, I love reading stuff like this. It validates mine and, I hope, many others out there who are becoming more aware of this growing problem in our society of cohabitation over traditional marriage and questioning the consequences they will have on our country in the future.
   "It's my choice!" The cohabitating single woman argues, "It won't hurt anyone but me!" but, as this report points out, all of us will be paying the price both economically and socially.
   Which brings me to another gripe that is the subject for another study yet will have the same consequences on America. Gay marriage claims not to hurt anyone but it does. These gay marriage activists are totally drowning out the little voices, like mine, (channeling Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man") the single, never married heterosexual women tugging on their sleeve and crying, "Me too! I want to get married and have a spouse and children of my own too!" Except the gay marriage activists have little to say about how the benefits of one man or woman tying the knot with each other will have on the future children those homosexual couples plan to introduce to the world. For them, cohabitation already exists and they see nothing wrong with it. This is harmful to so many women and children who must suffer in silence while their gay husband and father divorces them in order to tie the knot with their "soul mate". Knot yet!
   They can shout me down all they want. Married or single, gay or straight, traditional marriage between one man and one woman is not broken so please stop trying to fix it and, please, let's all encourage each other to tie that knot that's so crucial to our future American population. Chastity rings, anyone?
And, hey, even Jesus is rumored to have tied the knot! One day all of us single women who wish to tie our own knots will have that chance too. Happy Easter!


Monday, February 18, 2013

Is the End of a Patriarchal Society a Good Thing?


It was fifty years ago this controversial book hit the shelves and sparked the debate about women's roles. Was her rightful place in the home with her pots and pans and nursing babies? Or did she really belong out in the workforce where she could truly make a difference?
I was born in 1974 when the idea of "girl power" was already being indoctrinated into America's youth. I first learned about it in this Sesame Street song:
 The image of a mutant, robotic-looking woman blasting off into space always sorta creeped me out, but I got the basic idea. Even though I was a girl, I could still do anything boys could do. Yet, I continued play with my dolls and kitchen set and continued to nurture a secret dream of growing up and becoming a mommy.
   The 80's rolled along. Women began divorcing their husbands, leaving their kitchens and entering the workplace. I learned to "Just say No". I watched "The Cosby Show" and yearned for that kind of perfect family. I believed in the Janeen Brady Song "When I grow up, I want to be a mother and have a family: one little-two little-three little-babies of my own."
Look, I found a link to the song! I love the internet
   I was sad when my parents followed the trend and got divorced. Not because my mother wanted a career but because Dad wanted the sexual freedom of sleeping with whomever he wanted. Mom just wanted someone to sleep with. I vowed never to be that selfish. If I grew up to become a strong, independant woman with a career, fine, I'd make the best of it, but if that Mommy job and a husband that woud bring home the bacon ever presented itself, I wouldn't mind that either. I hoped a man would love me for more than my looks and my body. Nice to have a choice but was it really better women now wielded the power of refusal?
   Here we are in the 21st century asking, "What does it mean to live in a patriarchal society?"
   Pre-1963 before books and songs about how women could be anything they wanted, it was taken for granted that women went to college to earn her "MRS" degree and assumed the role created for her. Men dominated the workforce and college campus. Men made all the laws. Men ruled over home, wife, children with an iron hand. A man made all the major decisions of where his family lived and what his child would grow up to be. If a boy wanted to take a girl out on a date, he had to first meet dad. If a young man wanted a wife, to the girl's father he'd go with quaking legs to ask for her hand. It was a man's world in those days. That was the way it was done and everyone accepted it. We hoped they did it gently and never abused their power over the women and children in their lives. Since it was the greatest generation that won the second world war, we must conclude that this patriarchal dominance over our culture back in the day was a good thing. I'm starting to yearn for a return to those patriarchal days and I wonder if I'm not the only one.
   I just saw the movie "Austenland" about a single woman with no dominating patriarchal figure to rule her life and tell her what to be, yet she yearns for a Mr. Darcy. I think we all yearn for that strong, silent, brooding male figure to provide that quiet influence. Young men need such examples to follow. Perhaps it's time for a return to a patriarchal society where women are not sexually abused but recognized as equals. Woman demanding equal rights is not new. Jane Eyre declared it to Mr. Rochester, just as Elizabeth Bennett did to Lady Catherine "We are equals," they both said, and the same still rings true today as women fight to free themselves from sexual slavery and subjugation. If there's to be a woman's rights movement, let it be in that direction. Women should declare their outrage over the number of out of wedlock births and the number of women injured and even killed at the hands of men. With all this talk of gun rights maybe it's time for a return to shotgun weddings.   
   Fifty years later. Women wanted more options. We got them and we're paying the price. Women are still grossly underrepresented in Congress. Women aren't topping all the Forbes 500 lists as CEOs. The only thing women seem to be doing more than men is graduating from college but we are not better off for it. We still don't hold all the earning power but I think the greater tragedy is how men gave up their earning power so easily. Perhaps it's time for a call for men to take back what is rightfully theirs. I miss not having a father around to rule over my life. To hold the purse strings. To help me decide what to be and also to provide that protection from a cold, cruel world. To point the gun at the poor guy and insist on us getting married. I miss not having someone to introduce my dates to. How can I marry if I have no dominating patriarch to demand the boy's worthiness of me? Is it good for woman to be alone and make all her own decisions?
   With the fifty year anniversary of "Feminine Mystique" it is interesting how a woman no longer goes to college in order to graduate with her "MRS" degree. Instead she graduates and spends the rest of her life working in what has become female dominated workplaces. I should know, I've worked in education, nursing, the food service industry, even when I filled orders at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center, women outnumbered the men, every time, in every job I've ever had (with the exception of working in a kitchen where I was surrounded by male Mexican immigrants but the subject of illegals working the jobs Americans are too lazy to do themselves is for another post). She is strong, independant, smart, successful, so much so that she can't find a man on her same intellectual level to marry. Her biological clock is ticking. Women are now back to square one asking, "Is this all?"
   If you ask me, Betty Friedan's book really didn't change anything.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Someday My Prince...Oh Never Mind!

     So, after watching "Avengers" about 30 times I decided to find out more about that tall, dark, handsome, brooding actor who dominated every scene he was in. So I Googled "Jeremy Renner" and was pleasantly surprised to discover he was born in Modesto, California. Me too! Music was one of his hobbies. Me too! As one of the most eligible bachelors in Hollywood, when he was nominated for an academy award, he took HIS MOM as his date. That's so sweet! I read he was so lonely he'd bought himself a puppy. Yeah, I get lonely too. He'd never had a girlfriend, not in public at least, wasn't gay, and, most important of all, he was still single and only three years apart from me in age. Bingo! Move over Bono. I was convinced I'd found my prince and his name was Jeremy Renner. It was fate. All we had to do now was meet and the sparks would fly and he would realize I was the incredible woman he'd been looking for all his life. He met all my checklist requirements: money to support me as a future stay-at-home Mom, college grad, steady job, loved his Mom, and never married because he just hadn't found the right one yet, just like me. It was all set. We'd spend our days talking books, movies and music, collaborate on his next big script, which I would write for him, speculate getting some guys together and forming a band in which we'd sing top charting duets and maybe, just maybe, he'd want to be a father and have kids with me. Oh, yeah, he'd also have to become a Mormon.
     Then I read one of Jeremy's ex-girfriends, now married, was carrying his child.
     No! No! No! Bad Rennie!
     How can I date someone who doesn't share the same standars and interests as I do?
     Oh, well, that's Hollywood I guess.
     But in a world of common men, the only princes left for hopeless romantics like me are the celebrities. Am I right? To my dismay, "Hansel and Gretel:Witch Hunters" is ruling the box office this weekend. I refuse to see it. I'll never watch "Avengers" or "Thor" again! Well, maybe I won't destroy the DVDs quite just yet. There's still Chris Hemsworth.
    Ironic I just wrote my first paper for Children's Lit analyzing two different versions of Hansel and Gretel. Fairy tales have been the subject since the semester started. What gruesome, dark stuff: innocent kids get served up in meals, little girls are chased by big, bad wolves lusting after their virginity, and wicked stepmothers have nothing but murder on their minds. I love Children's Literature! Been my favorite subject and reading genre since I was introduced to Beverly Cleary at age seven.
   Too bad, Jeremy Renner. You could've been my Prince Charming. We could've had something if you'd just waited for me. But I can't be with a guy who gets a woman pregnant without marrying her first. Oh well, your loss. All singles out there would do well to heed that advice. Steer clear of men who sleep around and keep your eyes wide open. That frog prince could actually be the big, bad wolf trying to lure you into his dungeon and we deserve better than that. Just gotta keep waiting and hoping Prince Charming still exists, somewhere.

At least I still have these two adorable princes! "My Auntie Rocks," says Charlie's yellow shirt. That's right, I am an Aunt who Rocks! Think I'll go Google "Single LDS Actors in Hollywood," you never know.
To all potential princes out there: Call Me!