Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Singles Dance: The Mormon Equivalent of Bar-Hopping, Without the Getting Drunk.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that all single, Mormon, 30-somethings must be in want of a dance.
Honestly, I will never understand why it is that every activities committee in the Mormon singles world seems to think the only good way to get people together is to organize a dance.
I didn't like them when I was 16, and I don't like them any better at 36.
There are multiple problems with the whole Dance thing.
For one, there is the simple fact that some people simply don't like to dance in public. I mean, they aren't necessarily Elaine Benes or anything, but they just don't feel comfortable showing off their awesome moves in the company of strangers.
Nevertheless, we are Mormon and we are single, therefore, we must dance. I'm pretty sure Brigham Young said that in his first General Conference Address.
So, it was with this winning attitude and charming demeanor that I agreed to go to the Orange County singles' dance this past Saturday. My roommate's band was playing in the Listening Lounge and the thing was being hosted in my own town, so I felt like I should just show up and see what happened.
But by Saturday morning, I had myself worked up into such a ball of anxiety that I was ready to skip it. In fact, when Laura got home from work that afternoon, I told her I wasn't going and she told me I was. So I popped an Ativan, got myself dressed and fretted some more.
Just as we were leaving, my married friend Rebecca made a joke about going with me. I jumped on it, telling her I needed a "chaperon." Still a bundle of nerves, I downed a quick Xanax to go along with the slow acting Ativan and headed out the door to pick up Rebecca.
We arrived before the crowd. Which was just...awesome.
Laura's band was setting up, so we sat and chatted with the wife of one of the band mates. But when they still hadn't started playing a few minutes later, Rebecca and I decided to wander around and see what else was happening.
There were a few
I had no intention of being one of them.
That was when we wandered into the karaoke room.
Oh, that was the place.
Spoiler alert: I did not sing. Sorry.
But we watched. We watched the tone deaf lady with all the rhythm of Oprah Winfrey as she tried her best to belt out some great songs. And we watched the guy who thought he was awesome and trying to impress the empty room. There was also the lady dressed in this weird vinyl dress who was quite obviously determined to snag herself a man before the night was out. And we watched one guy who was having a great old time, laughing at himself, and actually had a pretty decent voice.
But that was it.
There wasn't much mingling. Pretty much everyone only talked to people they already knew. Or they talked to Rebecca, probably because she was wearing a wedding ring and was, therefore, "safe." And also because she was friendly and chatting people up.
Even on way too many anti-anxiety meds, I could not bring myself to be as social as she.
That's not to say that I was a grouch the entire time. In fact, other than my determined refusal to sing karaoke or dance, I think I had a fairly not awful attitude most of the evening.
But it was still a dance. And I'm very socially awkward. And I really think there is nothing that will ever make me want to go to one of these things willingly.
I haven't had fun at a church dance since I was 17 and my friend Lisa and I were the last of our age group stuck at the end of the year dance waiting for our younger siblings to be ready to leave. Devoid of dance partners our own age or height, we picked up folding chairs and spun ourselves around the gym like it was the best dance of our lives.
And at every dance I've been to since, I would much rather have danced with a folding chair than find myself standing awkwardly against the wall because I couldn't bring myself to speak to strangers and my friends had all been snatched away by eager singles seeking partners.
I've never been the girl that gets snatched up.
Which is fine.
Except for that persistent feeling that this just isn't the setting for me.
If I am to meet my hypothetical future husband at a church dance, it will only be because he happens into the wrong restroom and finds me hiding from any and all social interaction.
Can't we just all go bowling?
Or to a baseball game?
Or watch paint dry?
Why does it HAVE to be a dance?
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