Saturday, November 7, 2009

Post CES-Fireside Rant

Yeah, it's almost a week later, but better late than never I suppose.

First off, I have to say that Elder Uchtdorf is the man. He gave a great talk last week about not selling yourself short, not beating yourself up, metaphorically. Something that I've had to learn the hard way as I have low self-esteem.

Elder Uchtdorf also spoke on the important aspect that supposedly afflicts all single LDS people; marriage and soul mates. While it's good to hear that there is no one soul-mate, and not to despair, I don't think that Elder Uchtdorf, or the church, really has addressed the concerns of shy dudes.

While dating and going out on dates is cool and important, I think it's often overhyped and wrongly packaged. After all, our culture, in fact most cultures assume and a practice that the LDS Church doesn't resist is that it's the guy who does the asking out, and it is the girl who responds, politely refusing if she so decides. Why is that?

Yes, I know Elder Uchtdorf said that it's not just girls who may not have a chance to marry, but some guys too. Sure, that's reassuring, but that's merely playing up to, and recognizing, the gender role that has been long established, that it is the guy's responsibility to ask out the girl. Is there some gospel doctrine that says the guy has to take the initiative? Apart from reassurances from General Authorities about dating, there's nothing been said. Nothing been said to encourage females to take some initiative, to ask a guy out. Or maybe it's just not recognized in the church of shy guys having that problem.

But there are shy guys. Guys, who if they don't take the initiative to hang out, to ask anyone on dates, they aren't that social. And most girls just wait for it to come to them. (Waiting includes flirting, talking during church, being friendly, looking pretty, but discludes actually going to hang out with a guy you don't know all that well or ask someone out.)

And so where does that leave shy guys? At home alone, or in the library studying or whatever. If they don't step up and take initiative to talk to a girl, to be more social, then in my experience, it generally doesn't happen. And because of the tradition that the guy asks out the girl, girls who do take the initiative to ask out a guy are viewed in a skewed light, and thought of as weird when they should be thought of as awesome.

So that's just my rant on things, that the Church doesn't address shy guys and doesn't break the male stereotype that it is the guy's "privilege" to ask girls out.

Or, maybe I'm just shy and crazy.


Crescent Les said...

I'm horrible at getting my point across, so you will probably just be upset at me for disagreeing with you for no discernible reason. Oh well.

Anyway, on to my response.

I think that since the Church's policy is that "the father's place is to preside, provide, to love and teach the gospel to his children" (The Family is of God, Primary program song today) it's not ridiculous to expect a man to take a little initiative in taking care of his family. This includes working hard to have a good job, but also working hard to find a good wife.

Girls can be shy too, and I spent about 98% of my evenings at BYU at home reading or doing homework. That was my problem; I should've taken initiative and been more social. Everyone that's shy needs to work to get a bit more out of their comfort zone on a regular basis.

I do agree that the stigma of girls asking guys out needs to be dissolved, as long as it doesn't absolve the guys of their "privilege" (as you say) as well. I've heard of too many guys saying, "Well, the girl will probably ask me out, so I won't bother" because of this, and that's the wrong attitude. Both genders need to stop waiting for the other one, and both need to take initiative. (This is hypocritical, I know, but I'm trying to be better.)

So, if anything, I would like to hear a talk about how both parties need to take more initiative. But I am more impressed when someone asks me out because it shows me that he's willing to go after what he wants, rather than let me do the work.

I've said "initiative" so much now I hate that word. Plus, this isn't exactly what I wanted to say, but it'll have to do. I'm going to go initiate a conversation or something.

Sam, The Nanti-SARRMM said...

Lol, yes, both sides do have to take more initiative, that is true. But whenever the church talks about these things, it is never said that the girls can have some iniative, it is always the responsibility/privelege/whath-have-you of the guy to ask out girls. What did Uchtdorf say to girls in the CES Fireside? Was it be more open, let guys have an easier time knowing if you like them? No. He told girls to be gentle when turning down a date. Not to say that it's a bad thing, cause some gentleness and care is needed, but still, girls are never told that it is ok to ask a guy out, it is always implied that they are the askee, not the asker.

So that's my point, that both sides need to be told to relax, and to be more blunt about letting the other know if you like them or not.

And as for those guys who say that they won't bother, because the girl will ask them out; they're fools.

And as far as the father's responsibility tying into a single man's iniative, I sort of see it, but considering that in the end, marriage is a partnership, then so too should be dating. Both should get some gumption to ask someone out.

Merinmel Caesg said...

Hi Sam! I noticed that you were following my blog and thought that I should say Hi. So, "Hi!"

Also, I thought it might be worthwhile to drop a note in favor of the shy guys of the world. My boyfriend probably falls under the "shy fellas" category. Our relationship developed very very slowly, over the course of a friendship. We did the whole formal courtship/dating thing, but really we first got to know each other and developed interest in each other through our friendship.

I have absolutely zero problem with girls asking guys out. However, with Byron, it was really important to me that he take the first step in moving our relationship to more romantic territory. I wanted him to take the initiative not because he was the man in the relationship, but rather because he was the more shy and quiet one. I am more boisterous and tend to jump in and take the lead on things. I don't want to be in the lead of my relationship, and so have to kind of bridle those tendencies when dating. I want a partnership, and Byron's taking the initiative to ask me out was a sign to me that although he was quiet, he would keep even pace with me.

I entirely agree with your post. I think that what you've written is important, especially for shy girls. I hope you don't see my thoughts here as countering your concerns. I just thought that my perspective as an outgoing feminist type woman dating a more introverted feminist type man might be of interest.

Sam, The Nanti-SARRMM said...

Oh no, Merinmel, I don't see you as countering what I said, and I do thank you for your perspective. I agree with your thought that he can keep up and you won't be leading. It's a type of sign of growth as I see it, stepping out of the comfort zone.

We do it in my apartment, well for the shy ones of us, we celebrate any little victory that comes our way in terms of being social and dating. For most guys, it may seem unconsequential, at least for those who have no problem being social, but for us, it is huge.

Again, thank you for your comments.