Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What is Wrong With Men in Singles Wards?

Yesterday after opening session of LDS General Conference, I found myself alone in a room with three eligible bachelors.  Earlier during breakfast (one young man was in the kitchen with his computer), this great blogarooski came up along with the post, "Singles Ward Hopper: What is Wrong With Women in Singles Wards."

Before I knew what hit me, I hear, "So you wrote about what is wrong with women, what about men?  What's wrong with men in singles wards?"

"Ooooh no, I'm not getting myself in that kinda trouble.  No way."

They prod some more.

"No way, NO way.  That singleswardhopper guy is anonymous for a reason.  No."

They prod some more.

I give in.

"Well, you are going to hate me for saying this, but it really is a case-by-case basis."

"We know that!  But generally speaking.  Generally."

I thought and I thought and my mind kept saying, "Nothing is wrong with them.  Not every person is a match for every other person.  That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with them, they just aren't my match."

I finally concluded, "In my experience I encounter a lot of guys who are slackers."

Naturally, this brought about some defensive behavior.  Gear down big shifters.  I honest-to-goodness don't see one trait that is overwhelmingly negative, that was just the best answer I could come up with when my honest answer didn't fly with them.  Truth be told, a lot of women are slackers too.  My definition of "slacker?"  Behavior that is detrimental to relationships - human, divine, etc.

If you are living with your parents with a good reason like saving for a house or school? Totally acceptable... as long as mom isn't still making your bed for you and serving as your alarm clock.

If you are still in school?  Great!  As long as you are working towards a goal.

If you are playing video games eight hours a day?  Not okay.  I can't bring myself to view heavy gaming as anything but slacking and a relationship-time thief, even if you do have a good job.  You see, I want my future companion to pay more attention to me than his video games.  Call me crazy.  And that reason is why I chose "a lot of them are slackers."  There is a certain demographic of men, let's call it the 18-25 year old single male, that has a propensity to give in to the temptations of all gadgets electronic and sucking.

If you are stuck in an endless cycle of "What am I doing with my life?" Dissatisfied with where/who you are?  Making no motions to change that?  Have a "the world is out to get me" attitude?  I consider these slacking as well.  I have had the pleasure of dating some spectacular men.  Truly.  I'd say at least half of them were in some phase where they didn't know what they wanted out of life in general, which left them in no position to make decisions about romantic relationships.  They all eventually conclude, "I don't know if I want you in my life," and the dating subsides.  Of course, I think the real reason is always he's just not that into me, but that's another post.  

Back to my original answer.  What is wrong with the men in singles wards?

Nothing. 

Many YSA males have challenges to overcome, even if as simple as working up the nerve to ask out a young lady or as complicated as battling addiction.  Challenges make us stronger and we either break them or they break us.  That's what separates the men from the boys.  And you know what?  Overcoming challenges is hot.  So keep at it.


Addendum: Interestingly enough, one day after publishing this, I came across a CNN Article: Why Men are in Trouble.

14 comments:

S.R. Braddy said...

Why is that one singles ward man unzipping his pants?

Gingerstar.kw said...

My sister is also a single LDS woman in her 30's. She has come across this phenomenon as well. She owns her own condo, has a bachelor's degree, and owns her own business. She seems to come across a lot of single LDS men who don't have their act together, and don't seem to have any ambition.

Janell said...

Like Gingerstar's sister, I'd identify the most frequent "what's wrong" as a lack of ambition. It's a slight, but important, nuance from "slacker." Slacker implies you have a goal but don't want to work for it. Lack of ambition has more a sense of lacking even a goal.

Oh, the number of guys I've seen who are seemingly waiting for someone to start prodding them into a vocation, into a job, even just into a date. Sorry, but having a project boyfriend isn't a satisfying relationship to anyone except the girls who believe that single boys are future husbands just waiting to be molded.

Shelli said...

I'm surprised that you say "nothing" is wrong. I'm not sure I would be so nice.

And you limit the age group from 18-25... really? I'd probably increase that range by about 10 years: 18-35.

Miss Megan said...

The guys in your singles ward are CUTE!

I agree with the "slacker" statement, and also Shelli's comment that the age is more like 18-35. It's sad, but it's true. They're having too much fun being young and single to consider that they can't be that way forever (or maybe they realize they won't always be young, so they're just enjoying it while they can still get away with it... even when they're old enough it's kind of lame).

Miss Megan said...

Oh, and I love that your single guy friends forced you to say what's wrong with them, and then immediately became defensive when you answered. Talk about set up to fail! Did you answer by asking if your pants made you butt look big?

Dashbo's no-brainer math for right-brained folk. said...

Sidenote: My new pet peeve is that guy who plays Final Fantasy Tactics on his iphone during sacrament meeting. Few people are honored with their own category like that. But since I have only seen it once, that guy gets the whole slice of cake.

Amber said...

Gotta say I feel this frustration as well. I have a job, have lived away from home for several years, have my own car, pay my own bills, and have a bachelor's degree. As a female in my upper 20's, I'm just looking for a guy who has his crap together. I don't feel like that is too much to ask at this age! What's with the slacking???

Heidi said...

Generally speaking, I think the world has grown a generation of people who don't want to work for anything. Who believe every kid should have a trophy, who shouldn't have to work for their Halloween candy and who is entitled to everything that's offered. Because of this we have women who think happily ever after is what happens when married, men who act like boys and only look for the fun in life. The women are getting upset at the men for not stepping up and doing what everyone has been taught in the LDS community as a commandment (marriage and procreation) and becoming more aggressive and less on the "attracting" side (They don't feel they have to change who they are to get a man because why would they, it hasn't worked for them up to this point.) This in turn scares the crap out of the men and they are in such fear of the greener grass passing them by that they don't invest in the women out there and/or run when the fun stops and the work of a relationship begins. That in turn upsets the women, which in turn scares the men. . . so on and so forth. It's a cycle that's going to create a society of people looking for perfection in a world that is so far from it, it's the teachings of the religion they are trying to emulate by attending these singles wards in hopes of finding it.
*exits soap box*

Celestial Soldier said...

@Megan I recall the conversation and I believe Larissa was simply being dramatic as all three of us agreed with her. One in the group even went as far as to say that he has, as of late, been embarrassed because life circumstances has him in a position he doesn't want to be in.
I myself emphatically agreed with her and was proud I don't fit into that generalization.

Tara said...

As a corollary--I always found the most attractive trait in men was AMBITION. And not the kind that involves the "dream big," but rather the kind of ambition that involves the man actually up and out doing something to achieve those dreams--however big or small.

Anonymous said...

For every "slacker" there is a chubby, whiny girl who has an excuse and a pill for everything, including her "anxiety", and believes that diet drinks and exercise will magically offset her horrible eating habits.

Both types are bad for society. I say we simply gather both the "slackers" and the "chubby whiners" and put them in their own singles ward... although placing them in a position to marry and procreate may not be the best idea. Gas chamber?

Larissa said...

@Stephen - if you look closely, although I am sure you don't want to, you will see he is holding a pair of glasses:-)

@Gingerstar - I feel your sissy!

@Janell - AMBITION! THAT is the word I should have used. Where were you when I was writing this? Thank you, you are right, very important distinction.

@Shelli - Doll, I think you should write a post with all that honesty;-) And read this cause you'll love it: http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/04/opinion/bennett-men-in-trouble/index.html

@Miss Megan - if ONLY those Mad Men guys were in my ward. They'd have a LOT of 'splaining to do to the bishop, however...

@Dashbo - That guy DOES officially deserve his own category. Well done.

@Amber - And this is why we are friends!

@Heidi - boy do I ever love your soap boxes. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts - you feel the pain!

@CelestialSoldier - Thanks for being part of the conversation that gave me these ideas.

@Tara - There it is again, AMBITION. Love it. And it is H-O-T. Glad you nabbed yourself an ambitious one!

@Anonymous - The Gas chamber! I cannot believe I have not yet thought of this. Perfect idea!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Larissa. However, I think both YSA men and women get caught up in less important things than they should. Like you said, men get caught up in video games and anything electronic. I broke up with my ex-fiance because of video games. When I called him from Basic Training after not being able to talk to him for 6 weeks, he informed me he couldn't speak to me because his friends were over to play video games. But, on the other hand, women tend to get caught up in trying to show that they can do anything men can do. We get caught up in studies and school, careers, progressing in the world, and the looking for the perfect relationship like we see in the movies...so much so that when a guy who isn't a video game junkie takes interest in us, we don't notice. I also think men and women are trying to find the perfect spouse...looks, job, body, whatever...when right in front of them is a person...like yourself...who is a spiritual giant among women who doesn't claim to be anywhere near perfect, but tries her best to do what she is supposed to be doing. Don't get me wrong...this doesn't apply to all men and all women, still...nobody's perfect.