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Erin Ann McBride
Tuesday, March 22 2011

Why Some Single LDS Men Stay That Way: Their Frank Opinions

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To read Erin’s earlier columns click on her name.


The truth comes out.

The truth is I was never the girl that got asked out much. I have never been the girl who had so many suitors that she had the time and fancy to reject a few dates here and there. In fact, my dance card was usually so empty that I spent more time looking around the room wondering what the other girls had that I lacked.

On those rare occasions, in my younger years, when I would get asked out, I was ecstatic. It was hard not to get too excited over a guy when just the simplest invitation meant everything in the world to me. I HAD BEEN NOTICED. If I got noticed by a man that I had been already noticing for a very long time, I was simply over the moon with excitement.

But the doubts were always there. Why didn't I get asked out more? Why did less attractive girls, taller girls, less intelligent girls, etc get asked out before I did? Why was I always picked last for the team?

But sometimes I did get picked for the team. And I have had the great fortune of dating some truly wonderful men. In fact, on days where I question everything that could possibly be wrong with me from my head down to my toes, I remind myself that some pretty great men did find me attractive and desirable to be with. And in that, I find comfort. I'm not a social pariah. I'm just not everyone's cup of tea.

After my column of two weeks ago I braced myself for the inevitable less than friendly backlash we call feedback. I invited it. I welcomed it. I believe everyone has the right to their opinion. (I also have a plaque in my kitchen that says, “Everyone has the right to my opinion!”) And I knew after some of the very inflammatory things that I said, (starting with, but not limited to, “I blame the men.”) that people were going to have some opinions. And that they did!

The overriding opinion was that it is time for me to turn the tables and have a frank discussion with the women. And so here we are.

Women, listen up.

But for all of the reasons listed above, I am not the one to tell the women what they are doing wrong. I'm not perfect, and I'm certainly not doing everything right. Oh don't worry, I have a few things to say too, but instead, we're going to let the men do the talking today.

What is your chief complaint about LDS single women over 30?

Anonymous, over 30, Florida, never married

No one wants to “settle,” not take what comes, but you constantly hear “you deserve better”, “you are a daughter of God” “only the best”. It seems that women want to be married to a General Authority directly without the growing process. They want perfection from a man but they expect the man to accept their flaws and faults. It is a two-way street.

Anonymous, 40

My biggest complaint about the LDS "over 30" singles scene was that is seemed just like high school. Stupid adolescent behavior, attitudes, head games, etc. It was really unattractive to see adult men and women acting like stupid teenagers. It only took attending a few "over 30" LDS singles events for me to choose NOT to find a date there ... regardless of how fabulous the ladies there ASSUMED they were.

J.H., 28, Utah, never married

I have dated a bit in that arena, but will direct it to LDS women in general. I think they have an extremely skewed sense of reality. The princess complex runs strong. The general attitude is that they’re “daughters of God” and as result, the world is owed them. There seems to be very little concept of equality. I see incredibly out of shape women chasing after fit guys get upset over how ‘shallow’ men are. Women content to do very little professionally or financially themselves complain about how lazy and unambitious men are. My favorite related to the princess complex is how many women are absolutely shrill and ooze negativity… and then, unaware of how ironic it is, turn around and complain that men are too afraid to ask them out.
Yes, there is definitely fear, but it isn’t fear of asking you out… it is fear of you accepting.

Rob, Colorado

The ones I have dated seem to have a chip on their shoulder, wanting their daddy to be the one they want to marry. They need to understand I am not there to marry my mom, so why should they want to marry their father? Growth away from the family they grew up in is needed so as to become the wife and mother in the family.

Anonymous, 33, Utah

Where are the good ones? Haha. Having dated non-LDS women for a few years, I think the expectations may be a little high for any non-Disney character to be. I would cite something commonly known as the princess syndrome or complex.

What is the one thing you would like to change about LDS single women over 30?

Anonymous, over 30, Florida

It won't happen with the passiveness we teach in the YW program. I would like to see more aggressive, direct women. Women who ask guys out (it would be easy to say it is because I want to spread the rejection around). Let's face it, the low hanging fruit, the easy marriages, the quick fits are all gone those of us left (both genders) are the more problematic colicky kids with issues both sides have to be engaged in the hunting and finding for this to work at our ages. Speaking only for myself and using myself as an example, I people watch but don’t approach, it will take a direct

request by a woman in all likelihood asking me out assuring me that “it’s safe” to get me off the sidelines.

In the church it is easy to fall into the “Women are daughters of God and wonderful just in their existence” and that they are un-flawed gems of inestimable value, and that it is all the single guys fault for not “manning up” It seems to me at this point at our ages, all the apples in the barrel are bruised and seconds, a bit warty and off. Both sides need to be more accepting of what is left in the barrel. Plenty of the remaining apples will taste fine despite their blemishes and maybe some of the apples need some work to prepare and make them ready, but if you never choose an apple to cut out the bruise and polish it; it just stays in the barrel.

Anonymous, 33, Utah

Now this is certainly not all women, but I see a lot of women who have silly requirements, at least they seem silly to me. Like, “he has to be at least xxxx feet tall, so I can wear my 6” stiletto heels.” Don’t they realize that only 15% of American men are over 6’ tall and only 3% over 6’2”? So a 5’6” woman has already eliminated 85% of men. So if the ratio is already women out numbering men 4 to 1, this seems like a silly requirement, cause there are not that many men to start with.


  1. I read through this article and was absolutely appalled by your quotation: "It seems to me at this point at our ages, all the apples in the barrel are bruised and seconds, a bit warty and off. Both sides need to be more accepting of what is left in the barrel." It is frustrating to see you siding with the men regarding this. In my experience dating, the Mormon guys I have come across are completely shallow and want the Victoria's Secret model with a testimony - meaning that they want a girl with the perfect body/hair/face, but who also graduated with honors from BYU, attends the temple every month, is Relief Society president, dresses like a fashion model, knows how to cook, is practically flawless, etc. It seems to me that guys keep raising the bar while girls continuously lower it because of all the pressure girls are under - and you just see the desperation oozing. Mormon girls are told - very much like you told them here - to settle, yet guys are encouraged to hold out for their definition of the "perfect girl" - even if HE has certain things he needs to work on (weight, physical appearance, superiority complex, having a good job, etc.). As Mormon girls, we don't expect our guys to look like GQ models! We just want the impression that the CARE and put in some effort. It just gets really irritating to see guys who sit on the couch playing video games and eating pizza and ice-cream all day long and who come to church looking like they slept in their clothes demanding the perfect girl without improving themselves. It also disgusts me that overweight guys say that it's okay for them to go after fit girls but that it's not okay for overweight girls to like fit guys. That is a disgusting double standard. Granted, I know that there are some girls who could improve themselves in this manner too, but I go harder on the guys in this regard because I find that girls are more willing to make the effort; moreover, girls are more accepting that GQ models with testimonies don't exist. We just want good guys!!! As girls, we're willing to admit that we're not perfect, but guys need to stop it with the mentality that there's absolutely nothing wrong with them. Guys, there's a lot you can improve on; being more open-minded is one of them. Also, it would be nice for you to do an article on the womens' perspective about this.
  2. I don't comment but feel the previous one needs a second female opinion. I married late by choice, and I did date a lot. I was the girl that the guys cancelled their other dates to take out. Now, after many years of marriage, I find myself back in the LDS dating scene as a widow. I agree with everything the men have said and would like to add my own. I, personally, feel that LDS women are ruining the entire population of LDS men by demasculinizing them -- they want a sensitive girlfriend/equal as a partner, not a man. Since I left the dating scene over 2 decades ago, LDS men have pretty much turned into wusses. You better believe they want the woman to ask them out! The women want to wear the pants in the relationship. He knows he has pretty much no chance in hell of getting anything right, and regardless of his effort, she's going to bitch and whine anyway. Men don't want a "perfect" girl. Men want a girl they enjoy being around, and a girl that makes them feel good -- hopefully, like a man. Every man I know wants to be appreciated for what he does and the efforts he makes. Yes, pleasant to look at helps ... especially if you want him to come home and actually want to be with you. I can assure you that I have never been a RS president, I can't cook worth a crap, I don't do crafts, have never scrap-booked, and have plenty of flaws. I am not trendy -- I will wear the same skirt for years. My lack of perfection has never affected my dateability or the quality of my personal relationships. I, personally, think more single LDS women would be happier if they concentrated on being women and let the men be men. You can't change anyone except yourself, and chances are pretty slim that you'll get someone to change by pointing out everything that's wrong with him. Be a woman: nurture, love, appreciate and let the men grow into the people they are capable of becoming instead of trying to force them into the people you want them to be.
  3. You make a lot of excellent points. I think the situation I've found myself in is a lot more common in heavily populated Mormon areas/church school environments/YSA wards. I'm a senior in university right now and will be graduating at the end of this year. During my time in college, I've come across countless of guys who expect their ideal girl to show up and marry them, yet are not willing to improve themselves. Dating in an environment like that becomes exhausting because the guys are so shallow despite being incredibly flawed themselves. I agree that physical attraction needs to be present, since there's not point in marrying someone you're not attracted to... but it's not the end-all be-all. Of course as girls we want someone who can provide for us and protect us, but we also look for other qualities (i.e., good listener, compassionate, makes me laugh, etc.). That's not a bad thing. Members of both sexes should realize that when dating, you should be looking for qualities, not characteristics. Again, my frustration in dating stems from how guys expect *their* definition of the ideal girl to show up right in their laps without having to work for it despite being flawed themselves. I also know that girls aren't perfect. There are girls who are shallow and feel entitled, but we're not all like that. In fact, I've come across many incredible women who are faithful members of the church with successful personal lives who are wondering where the good guys have gone. I can also say that I know for a fact that this happens, because I've seen it with my own eyes. "Be a woman: nurture, love, appreciate and let the men grow into the people they are capable of becoming instead of trying to force them into the people you want them to be." I agree with this. It seems that if both males and females would just leave each other alone and focus on improving themselves (i.e., focus on becoming the best you/becoming the one instead of finding the one) that we would see less people in this situation.
  4. teacups, you have hit the nail on the head. . . they are expecting the women to show up and marry them. And I'm afraid too many do. You are selecting the man who is going to be the Priesthood leader in your home. If he can't lead in approaching you for a date or courting you, how on earth is he going to lead your family? I think both sides need to be aware and make smart choices. My aunt, also my Marriage and Family professor, used to say, "Engagements were made to be broken." Keeps families from being broken later on.
  5. "They are expecting the women to show up and marry them." Yes, this is definitely a problem! The ironic thing is that too often, I've seen guys be adamant that girls take the initiative, only to turn around and accuse the girls who actually do take that initiative of being too forward and coming onto them too strongly. It really makes me feel like single women in the church can't win no matter what they do. Not only do the guys need to be more direct about what they actually want (which they seem to be doing here in this article), but they need to stick with it. They need to be consistent and have their minds made up about it. Again, they can't insist upon having us girls take the initiative, only to flip flop and accuse us of being too forward when we do. It doesn't work that way. Some consistency from the guys would be nice. And again, guys need to know that they can't expect the right girl to show up if they don't work at making themselves out to be the best that they can be. You want someone who is physically fit? Then throw away the junk food, get your butts off the couch, and go to the gym! You want someone who dresses well and who always looks nice? Wear nice clothes and figure out what styles are flattering on you and avoid the ones that aren't! If you can't afford to shop at a department store, that's fine! Keep your clothes in good condition - use the iron and shoe polish! Do your hair! Practice good hygiene! Take care of your skin and teeth! Pluck your eyebrows if needed! We girls don’t care if you guys got your clothes at Target or at J. Crew! We girls don’t care that you guys buy your moisturizer at Walgreens over using L’Occitane! We girls just want to know that you guys put in the effort to look presentable! You want someone who has an education? Make sure you have one too! You want someone who is smart? Cultivate your mind! You want a girl who is spiritual? Then you best be sure that you’re reading your scriptures, saying your prayers, and doing what you can to have a strong relationship with God. You want a girl who knows how to have fun? Then again, get off the couch! Stop playing the video games! Get out of your apartment and put yourself out there! You don’t want a girl who is shallow? Then stop being shallow yourselves! Guys, you can’t expect your ideal girl to just show up! Make the effort and you will surely find someone - your equal - who does the same.
  6. Loved the article and many of the comments. I am a late-blooming, nbm, 34-year-old LDS male. Because of the uniqueness of my personality and strengths and weaknesses, the pool of compatible partners is somewhat narrower than it might be for some others. During the last couple of years I have dated two women in particular that I have liked very, very much. The obstacles: the first one had a moustache and the most recent one just smelled gross to me. There's a window where physical attraction needs to kick in and you just can't wait for it forever. Neither of those are issues that, in a new relationship, I felt were appropriate to address, yet these women have both wanted to be affectionate, etc. Because I've "waited' so long, I don't jump in with both feet, and some women just need to be a little more honest in their assessments in the mirror. I could overlook imperfect shapes noses and teeth, but mustaches and funny smells are just turn offs.
  7. @ Anonymous: I really liked your comment; also, thank you for your honesty! I agree fully that personal grooming is something that both men and women need to make a priority. I can totally understand why you wouldn't want to date a woman who smelled gross and who has a moustache - and this is coming from a woman herself! I've mentioned this in previous comments of mine, but I think personal hygiene is a must and needs to be a priority, not just in dating, but also in everyday life. Again, one don't need to shop at high end stores or use the most expensive products to groom him or herself properly. What matters is that the person is willing to put in the effort. Lastly, I do commend you for not "jumping in with both feet". It seems easy in Mormon culture to just settle when the pressure to get married is really high and everyone is telling you to just settle for the next person who happens to like you that comes along. People in the church don't realize that being stuck in a marriage with a person you don't like/aren't compatible with is worse than being alone. I would love to get married and have a family of my own, but I also realize with the direction my life is headed in (grad school, possible international travel, current job prospects), that marriage & family is not in my immediate future... and might not even be a possbility during this lifetime at all. I know it's hard, but selling out is not worth it. Settling for someone you are not compatible with because everyone else is pressuring you to get married will not make you happy. So I give you major props, Anonymous. +1 for you for not selling out, friend. :)
  8. It looks like I'm at least a year late to join the conversation, but I still want to add my voice to the discussion. This article and the comments really resonated with me. I spent my fair share of time as an LDS young single adult, and later worked with the YSA in our stake as a member of the high council. Now, at the tender age of 34, I find myself soon to join the ranks of the mid singles. The attitudes expressed here played directly into my wife's decision to file for divorce. At the risk of sounding like a bitter divorcee, let me explain. The biggest commonality I see in the responses of the men quoted in the article is the princess complex of many LDS women. In a way I can't blame them. We have spent generations building up the women of the church and telling them that they are special and unique daughters of God deserving of the very best. The men, on the other hand, are constantly told that they need to measure up, lengthen their stride, stand taller, be worthy of the women in their lives. As a general rule, we build the women up and tear the men down. As evidenced by the comments here and in many other places, this seems to have produced a generation of women who feel entitled to the very best, blind to their own imperfections, and demasculinized wusses, if I may borrow BabyCakes' terminology. I know I used to fall into this category. I used to want the women to make the first move, and complained about how unfair it was that I was expected to make all the effort in dating. It wasn't until I observed other men doing the same thing that I realized how incredibly unattractive that attitude is. I'm glad to say that I manned up, dated fairly regularly for a couple of years, and got married. Still, that constant nagging feeling that I'm not good enough for the women of the church is hard to shake. Likewise, we're constantly reminded that we walk a fine line between abdication of responsibility and abuse of power. Take the lead in the home, but treat your wife as an equal. Take responsibility for your family, but don't exercise unrighteous dominion. When two people have different views on where those lines lie, it can quickly lead to conflict. And when one of those people has been brought up to believe she should be treated like a heavenly princess, it's even harder. For eight years of marriage, I have tried to build a relationship with someone who believes she deserves my very best efforts, but that I should be forgiving when her efforts fall short. She believes that if she feels strongly about something, she can't possibly be wrong, but if I disagree, it is because I am exercising unrighteous dominion and need to change. She believes that the husband should provide for the family and she shouldn't need to work, but then complains that I won't buy her the things we "need", which bear a striking resemblance to the things her best friends enjoy (their husbands having had an extra decade or two over me to build successful businesses and accumulate wealth). Now that I've been worn down and demoralized for several years trying to meet her physical and emotional needs, she has chosen to break our temple marriage because I won't "change for her" or "communicate with her in the way she needs me to" (forget that she has explicitly refused to change or communicate with me in the ways I need while I have done my best to meet her needs). This got a good deal more negative than I intended. I apologize for that. the point is that this princess complex among many of the women of the church seems to be a growing problem that is preventing or breaking up many promising marriages. The princess complex isn't always overt. In my case, it's a very subtle feeling of entitlement that took years to surface. But it's something that I feel really needs to be addressed within the church.

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