Dating in Provo

They call it the Mormon Mecca of dating, where approximately 30,000 (many of them single and available), attractive coeds gather to attend the Lord’s university. Now factor in the 20,000 + at nearby UVU, and the dating game should be nothing short of a synch…right? Wrong. I enrolled at BYU in 2004, served a mission in Western Europe, and it’s now 2010. I’m also a semester away from graduation and as single as they come. What is it about this place, where you can’t turn your head without seeing a pretty girl, that makes dating so difficult?

I have a few thoughts. In Provo, there is the constant mindset of, “I know I can do better than this person.” People frequently find someone that they really and truly connect with, but then they see their best friends wife, fiancé, or girlfriend, and the thoughts begin to creep in: “I can do prettier than what I have, I can do wealthier, I can find someone with a more secure major/career path, or there has to be someone more spiritual. The fact that we’re surrounded by a campus that was voted in 2004 by Playboy magazine as one of the most attractive campus in the nation doesn’t help things. We, (myself included) fall in to the trap of vanity and downright shallowness (is that a word?). Too often, spiritual connections are ignored or not even sought after because someone may not go to Gold’s enough, their skin is too pale, or we don’t like their body enough.

Unfortunately, the games in dating, which I used to enjoy, have sometimes made me want to give up dating all together. The, “should I text her back now or should I wait an hour so I don’t seem desperate?” or “If I make my facebook status that ‘I had an amazing night☺’” will that make her jealous and want to hang out? Spare me. Enough with the juvenile behavior. If you like someone, pursue them openly, pass on the games, and I can promise the drama will be sidetracked as well. Keep your eggs in one basket; if you like one girl, like HER and only her, don’t pride yourself on getting 20 different numbers on the fifth floor of the HBLL so you can go home and tell your roommates.

Lastly, the pressure. The most obnoxious aspect of them all from my standpoint. I look at beautiful couples at times and just wonder to myself, “What the heck do you guys even talk about?” The guy gets off his mission, feels pressure from his family, meets a pretty 19 year old girl in hair school whose roommate just got married so she’s jealous and hey, this guy is a business major, he’s good looking, AND has true religions and an iPhone, so hey, why not? I’m 24 and although I’m extremely content with what I have accomplished and am certain I’ll make a great life for myself, I do want to be married someday. BUT I’m not going to rush anything and have a 3 month relationship followed by an even shorter engagement. My time will come, Lord willing.

I’m not bitter whatsoever, it’s just that I’ve been here long enough to realize that people drive themselves up the wall because they’re in their early 20’s and still single. Relax. Pray for opportunities and don’t settle. Dating here is difficult. I go to my hometown and the dating scene is much easier, because there, I’m not one of 15,000 RM’s. People see the value in me and I in them. It’s relaxed and people aren’t nearly as psycho.

Here at BYU, I’ve been on more than 100 dates, but my only two girlfriends during my college career have come during the summer months in my hometown. I consider myself somewhat of a dating veteran, thus I’d like to offer a few words of wisdom on how to approach the dating game, some do’s and dont’s if you will. These mainly apply to first dates and the preliminary activity but they can be applied at several different levels.

GUYS
– DO date outside of the ward.
– DON’T ask out a girl through text message. I know it’s old school, but call her or even better, do it in person
– DO have confidence and look her in the eye during the date while asking an abundance of questions about HER.
– DON’T forget to be a gentleman: open her car door and any other door for that matter. When you see her, compliment her and make it sincere. Chew with your mouth closed.
– DO leave your phone on silent. HUGE turnoff for both parties when someone’s phone goes off and they pick it up
– DON’T brag about money. In Provo this is actually worth bringing up. No one cares that you sold 100 accounts for APX or that you’re leasing a 2010 BMW. And if they do care, that chick is a golddigger and you guys probably belong together.
– DO give a chance at a second date. Be patient. If she annoyed you, there’s a good chance that something you did annoyed her too. So many couples are happily married because they gave things a chance to work. I realize this is easier said than done because of financial circumstances but some of my best dates have been grabbing slurpees and walking around campus on a nice night in July. But seriously, give things an opportunity to click and don’t be too quick to judge…first dates can be awkward for people and they may not be themselves until later on.
– DON’T talk about your ex’s on first dates. A casual mention is ok, but dwelling on one is a huge turn off.
– DO get creative in your dates. This is not to say that asking her with balloons, cakes, and a freaking parade is necessary, but getting a little creative and showing some effort scores some serious points.
– DON’T base your dating desires strictly on physical attraction. Trust me, I’ve done this. It sucks and establishing a connection is next to impossible if that’s the only reason you asked them out.
– DO get to know your date before you ask them out. It is awesome to be friends with someone before you ask them out as that way its not awkward and you already know you connect with them to some extent. I’ve taken out a lot of girls I didn’t know and it cost me 30 bucks each time only to find out they have a missionary or only listen to Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Sucks.
– DON’T be close minded. Date anyone and everyone. You never know. If someone offers to set you up, jump all over that.
– LASTLY, DO involve the Lord.

I know that being a 24-year-old, single, RM, may not qualify me to offer advice and merit all of your attention, but I know what I’m doing to an extent. I know I’ll meet someone soon and all the heartbreak and difficulties will be 100% worth it. Good luck!

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10 Responses to Dating in Provo

  1. Great post!! I loved it. Although I have to admit it’s hilarious to me that you’re implying that you’re so old at 24 that you might not be qualified to give dating advice…must be part of that Utah mentality. I’ve heard it’s really hard to date in Utah, which is part of why I haven’t moved there. I want to stand out a little – not be one of 20,000 women who a guy can choose from. In that way, dating outside of Utah might be easier (as you said) even though there are fewer people to choose from. Anyway, loved the post. Great tips.

  2. Angela says:

    Stalked you from over at http://singlemormonchick.blogspot.com ….

    I don’t know what to do but applaud.

  3. Jacob @ TheSinglesWard says:

    haha well thanks Angela. Im flattered!

  4. Kaeleigh says:

    Love the post, but it is an eye opener on the dating seen in Utah. I think it is all about who you connect with and your “girl” friends are usually the ones that you connect with the most.
    I would like to witness this.

  5. Lachele says:

    HAHHA
    I am soooo happy that you said something about ‘getting to know someone before taking them out’ I hate and almost refuse to go on a date with a guy that I don’t know. I don’t care if it’s a “free” meal. I have enough money to buy my own meal thank you very much. I won’t even enjoy the free meal if he’s THAT annoying, or whatever. I would way rather get to know the person prior even if it’s just a 5 minute casual convo. I’m usually pretty good at gauging people within that timeframe! After telling people this they assume that I don’t date, however I date ALOT more than my friends and I have a really good time on all my dates 🙂 I WIN!

  6. Fei says:

    I absolutely *loved* this post!

    Mostly because I agreed with it and think it’s funny that you’re 24 giving dating advice and I’m a 26 year-old newly giving advice to 30 year old single women. It’s true, however, that dating maturity has little to do with real age.

    It’s interesting how everyone goes to Provo to find “that one person”, but how increased options make for decreased appreciation and less actively made decisions.

    Sometimes, I look at the dating world and think “What a mess!” and wonder how I ever found my way out of it.

  7. Becca says:

    I LOVED this post – it was exactly what I needed to read. Thank you!

  8. eng251zp says:

    I’m a Junior at BYU and have yet been able to express the bizarre dating world of Provo. Thank you for doing it so eloquently! My roommates and I like to think we are smart cute and well rounded who didn’t come to BYU to get our MRS degree. We don’t date. We don’t get asked out and we are ok with it because we figure that if we are getting asked out we must look like the boring utah bleach blonde barbie. Hang in there and we will both find someone more amazing than we ever thought possible. Thanks for ebing BRAVE!

    • Thank you eng251zp for your comments. While we certainly don’t see anything wrong with dating at BYU, we definitely see your point. It’s common to stereotype ones intentions and motivations, especially at BYU when it comes to dating.

  9. austin says:

    It’s tough for guys I think, because we’ll ask out 14 or 15 girls and not one will give us a chance at a second date because, well, the grass is always greener on the other side! I often find myself wondering if some of us are meant to suffer and be lonely so that others won’t.

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