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All the Singles Ward Ladies

Why are there three different sizes of people here?

A reader recently pointed me to a curious and fascinating document online with the puzzling – to me – title “Confessions of a Ward Hopper.” The author, it turns out, is an unmarried Mormon lawyer in his early 30s, and he isn’t happy about his single status. The “wards” he’s referring to in his title are Mormon singles wards, essentially congregations designed to give, well, Mormon singles the chance to meet and marry (and then to move into one of the Church’s regular home wards). Such is the theory, in any case. But our “Ward Hopper” has had no such luck, and he’s been flitting from singles ward to singles ward in a so-far fruitless search for a mate.

I have attended every LDS singles ward that has existed in the last decade from Provo to Ogden – and a few in Vegas, California, Washington and St. George. …

I hate singles wards — and so does everyone who attends them — but we all keep going to them, pretending we like them, pretending like we belong, only because we all want to get married to someone who’s LDS and we believe the wards are a necessary mine field in our lives.  …  There is no where else to go to meet LDS singles in person and no other way to get to know them

So what seems to be the sticking point? At first glance, Ward Hopper seems like quite a catch, at least for a certian kind of woman. He makes a good living.  His faith, he says, “is solid as a rock.” He owns a small fleet of vehicles (four cars, two motorcycles, two boats). As he describes himself:

I’m 6’2, and fairly slim.  I used to body-build, but now I just drink Coke and watch FOX News.  I have thinning brown hair and blue eyes that are so piercing that sometimes I find whole rooms of people falling silent and staring at them as I enter. 

Wait, what?

I think we’re beginning to see just why Mr. Hopper hasn’t quite clicked with anyone yet: his self-descriptions veer wildly between grandiosity (those piercing blue eyes) and hypercritical self-loathing. Hopper continues:

I like to think I’m attractive and smart; but, in moments of pain and failure, I realize that I am not as attractive and smart as I’ve convinced myself I am.  I am constantly stressed about cases, clients, being single, money and my habitual disorganization.  My apartment is a disaster, and so are my cars. 

Maybe he’s trying to pull a Costanza here, throwing women off-guard with his radical honesty. (“My name is George. I’m unemployed, and I live with my parents.”) But this strategy works better on sitcoms than in real life.

And here we come to another of Hopper’s less endearing qualities. If Hopper judges himself a bit harshly at times, he’s even more judgmental of others. Walking into a new singles ward, he sizes everyone up at once with those “piercing” eyes of his. And he doesn’t seem to like what he sees – or, rather, imagines:

I can tell within thirty seconds of meeting another priesthood holder whether that Elder is addicted to porn by watching which women he glances at.  I can tell from the response I get to a single smile whether any young woman is from a small town, whether she is spoiled and stuck up, and whether she is a democrat.

As you have probably begun to suspect, Hopper is especially judgmental when it comes to women, none of whom seem to live up to his exacting standards. All he wants, he says, is “someone beautiful who’s LDS, who’s not spoiled, who needs me.” But, alas, most of the singles ward ladies are fat fatties:

Two thirds of the young women are overweight.  These girls all think that because they have good personalities, or good jobs, or are well-educated that guys should care more about who they are than how they look.  Someone needs to make them understand that young men will never want to be intimate with them if they’re even a little heavy, and they’re doomed if they don’t lose weight.  If these girls understood the world and men, they’d all quit their jobs, drop out of school, and devote themselves soley to losing weight.  It’s that important.  While beauty isn’t the only important thing in a girl, it is the gateway to the other qualities which no man cares about exploring without the attraction.  No amount of makeup will cover a size fifteen dress size.  Like men, women have an obligation to be happy, to procreate, to start a family, to experience humanity and love — which means they’ve got an obligation to lose some weight to accomplish that.  Nobody would have wanted to kiss Sleeping Beauty if she were a fatty with a Ph.d.

What about the singles ward ladies who aren’t overeducated cupcake-munchers? Apparently they’re all New Age flakes, into “exotic fruit-juice cleanses,” astrology, and gay civil rights:

The other third of the girls who aren’t overweight have a different problem. …  We sit down at a nice dinner, and they begin to talk about somebody who’s suffering some medical or emotional problem.  They then begin to extol the virtues of holistic/herbal medicine and animal rights, which apparently this person who’s suffering doesn’t understand.  I nod in increasing frustration as they begin to praise vegetarianism, then proceed to pontificate about liberalism/feminism/homosexuality from mental notes they took in a humanities class being taught by some gutless, godless, gay, liberal hippee freak at the University of Utah …  It seems like many LDS women who aren’t married seek to identify with bizarre belief systems, as if these beliefs have become their spouses … .

And get this, ladies – he’s still single! The line forms on the right.

Despite all this bitterness and blaming of others, I don’t think Hopper is completely hopeless as a human being. He admits to some of his human frailties, talking about his struggle to free himself from a gambling addiction; perhaps this experience could give him a bit of empathy for others who don’t live up to his very specific standards of perfection, or who otherwise have motes in their eyes, as it were. And he does have occasional moments of self-awareness:

I try not to break the Sabbath, but I do buy food on Sundays because I don’t know how to cook.  Maybe I’m a hypocrite.  I’m the kind of guy who walks into Walmart on a Sunday night and looks around in dismay at all the Sabbath breakers who are wandering the store, and wonder how dare they be there.

From such tiny acorns of self-awareness, mighty oaks can be grown. Forgive yourself for some of your many flaws, and forgive others for their flaws (and all the flaws you simply assume they have). And you might not have to keep hopping forever.

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Doctress Julia
11 years ago

OK, let’s see: drinks Coke and watches Fox ‘news’, can’t cook, shops at Wal Mart, has thinning hair, is a Mormon AND a delusional misogynist.

Nope. This guy is doomed.

cynickal
cynickal
11 years ago

@Avicenna

Why tin foil wrapped? Just out of curiosity?

Pecunium
11 years ago

re Polygamy: In Utah living together, as if you are married equals bigamy; in the eyes of the law.

Utah Code Ann. § 76-7-101(1) (2003)
76-7-101. Bigamy — Defense.
(1) A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person.
(2) Bigamy is a felony of the third degree.
(3) It shall be a defense to bigamy that the accused reasonably believed he and the other person were legally eligible to remarry.

Which means that having a poly relationship is illegal in Utah; where in the rest of the country it’s just not sanctioned.

One of the things being in the Army was good for, is that one develops pretty intimate friendships with people. I got to talk about religious things with Mormons which almost never come up when they are talking to gentiles.

I can’t speak to, “most” Mormons, but a fair number of them have pondered how to make polygamy “work”. It’s interesting. They ones I know would never cheat on their spouses (defining cheat as the breaking of agreed terms to the relationship). One of my friends adores spicy food, and his eating it bothers his wife (the way the pepper affect his scent). So if we were TDY someplace and she was coming to visit the visit to the Thai restaurant would be scheduled for not less than three days before she got there, so he could sweat it out.

He was supportive of his daughters education (he’d think Hopper was an idiot… on all counts). So far as I could tell his homelife wasn’t that different from any other successful couple I know (i.e. they had come to a modus vivendi which gave each of them enough of what they wanted/needed, without depriving the other(s)* of what they needed.

He was scornful of, “feminism”, while being pretty much in favor of equality (not perfectly, there were social/religious differences). He had no problem with female superiors.

He also thought that the proper number of wives was either 1, or 3. If it were 2, there would be feelings of inferiority on the part of the second wife, and of insecurity on the part of the first. If there were more than three, the odds of intrafamilial politics/cliques would be strong.

A troika, so this theory goes, is stable in that the women will balance each other; when arguments come up, and no one is likely to feel left out.

I don’t know that is is likely to be the case, but he, (and a few Mormon women I spoke with) thought this. More to the point, they had obviously thought it out, and spoken (somewhat on the downlow) about it with other Mormons.

And they all despised Fundamenalist Mormons.

*depending on how one views children in a familial setting

Bee
Bee
11 years ago

David, I just have to say that, as someone who really “enjoys” painfully bad rom-coms, I am very happy that you have introduced us to “The Singles Ward.” Looking it up on netflix right now. Gosh, I hope they have it!

Doctress Julia
11 years ago

Aww, it’s not an Instant View. Damn!

Snowy
Snowy
11 years ago

What? You mean that’s a real thing? I thought it was photoshopped or something, that’s definitely going in my queue

Pecunium
11 years ago

OMG… I thought it was just a clever fake too. I am scared.

BigKitty
BigKitty
11 years ago

Serious question for MRAL: You say you are for “equality.” However, you demonstrate a distinct double standard.

You whine and complain and scream and yell that “Alpha” and “Beta” women fail to show you the respect and attention you believe to be your right as an “Omega” man.

MRAL, if they are “Alphas” and “Betas” while you are a mere “Omega,” why on earth would they bother to acknowledge your pathetic, worthless existence?

After all, you have stated that “Omega” women are beneath even your, equally “Omega,” attention. So why isn’t it simply the justice of the universe when “Alpha” and “Beta” women ignore your disgusting, worthless “Omega” self?

Let’s be honest. You wouldn’t debase yourself by smiling and flirting with a fatty fat fatty Omega girl now, would you? Of course not. So why would any Alpha or Beta woman debase herself by flirting with your icky awful Omega ass?

If you really believe in this idiotic Greek-Letter system, you absolutely have to answer these questions:

1. If you are an Omega man, why shouldn’t Alpha and Beta women “spit on” you? Give me 5 good reasons.

2. If you are an Omega man who rejects his fellow Omega women without even considering them, how do you justify the difference? Aren’t you “spitting on” them? Why is it OK for you, an Omega, to “spit on” a female Omega, when it is evil and unacceptable for Alpha and Beta women to “spit on” you, an admitted Omega?

I am in all seriousness awaiting your answer.

Plymouth
Plymouth
11 years ago

Damn, it even has a sequel! I hadn’t even bothered to look it up, I just assumed it was fake.

Plymouth
Plymouth
11 years ago

BigKitty – I think he answered that actually. Not the the answer makes a whole lot of sense, but…

Apparently he is an Omega through no fault of his own. He was just born that way, sucks to be him. And there’s absolutely nothing he can do about it, ever, except for rail against the evils of feminism keeping him down. (I guess feminists invented birth defects?)

Omega women OTOH are all COMPLETELY AT FAULT for letting themselves turn into fat fat fatties and if they would only diet they’d all be Betas (and maybe even Alphas if they diet a really lot and get breast implants or something). So they’re really like sub-Omegas or something because apparently choosing not to be attractive is a great sin, while being born unattractive is a great virtue.

And virtuous Omega men deserve hot chicks, apparently.

MRAL – let me know if I missed anything.

katz
11 years ago

Avicenna: I was trying to work Sting in a speedo in somehow, but I couldn’t. Although I suppose there’s an obvious giant spice worm joke to make.

FelixBC
FelixBC
11 years ago

“I oncw wondered out loud on a talk radio program whether the Mountain Meadows Massacre was justified.”

I had no idea what this was, but a quick Wikipedia search updates me. To quote KyosoK: Oh. My. God.

He thinks the murder of 100-140 emigrants from Arkansas might have been justified?

Intending to leave no witnesses of complicity by Mormons (members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS Church) in the attacks, and to prevent reprisals that would further complicate the Utah War, the perpetrators killed all the adults and older children (totaling about 120 men, women, and children). Seventeen children, all younger than seven, were spared.

American history is a bloody, bloody place.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Meadows_massacre

Pecunium
11 years ago

I missed the part about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. It’s one of those things most Mormons either don’t talk about, or disavow.

The third category is those who use things like it being not murder to kill Mormons in Missouri (and still on the books, though otherwise irrelevant, until something like 1979), to ‘explain’ it, as if two wrongs made a right, or that Missouri being full of prejudiced dickheads was exculpatory for mass murder.

Pecunium
11 years ago

Oh my… a religiious bigot, who is (at least) semi-theocratic: I won’t usually vote for non-members running for elected office on that basis alone – especially apostatized former members. Why should I feel bad, or bigoted, about it either? This is Utah, and I want politicians who will protect, and not betray, its most important heritage: Mormonism. I don’t want a bunch of secular, touchy-feely imbeciles who appologize for Utah’s culture and religious majority,

and…

I am amazed at what a huge amount of women in the Church criticize the Church openly for what they perceive to be conservative/puritanical political policies on women, gays, divorce, the temple, wedlock, and adultery/fornication – even totally active singles. All of these beliefs have somehow replaced these women’s testimonies and retarded their ability to appreciate and interact with traditional, non-artsy, down-to-earth males, which are the only males who can support a family. This is one of the reasons men aren’t going to college as much anymore.

Wow. Men aren’t going to college because women like artsy guys who went to college, or something.

Emma
Emma
11 years ago

I’m sure this is just because the author doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but I couldn’t help but notice. In the U.S., women’s sizes are in even numbers only (except for some dresses that list both, e.g. “3/4”). Sizes for teen girls are in odd numbers only. Sure, I knew women in college who continued to shop in both areas for a while, but what is this 30-year-old man doing chatting up women and girls young enough to be wearing a size 15 anything? Maybe he’s still single– and ward hopping– because he keeps getting chased off by outraged parents.

Lady Victoria von Syrus
Lady Victoria von Syrus
11 years ago

The fucked up thing about why the young children were allowed to live? In Mo’ism, eight is considered the Age of Accountability, when one starts being able to discern right from wrong. This is why Mormon children are baptized at age eight. So all the eight year olds and older children? They were sinners. The surviving children were put in Mormon households. One of the survivors, when she grew up, wrote about having to watch the women in the family she’d been given to wear her dead mother’s dresses.

If you’re interested in more, look up the Danites, or read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘A Study in Scarlet.’ Or Helen Mar Kimball, coerced into marrying Joseph Smith at age fourteen (he told her that God wanted them to marry, and if she refused, her entire family would be damned).

footnotegirl
footnotegirl
11 years ago

Apparently, my entire life is impossible, considering that I’m a fat fat fatty and yet have somehow managed to have a husband, several boyfriends, and if my husband and I had not chosen to be monogamous, a fairly numerous and diverse selection of people who have made it clear that if I am available, they are willing. Also the husband is attractive, army vet (macho!) and makes very good money indeed, so I am, to all appearances, getting the alpha cock. How horrible of me!! I am so damn uppity! Why am I not going up in a puff of improbability smoke?
Or, you know, in the real world people fall in love with their partner for a variety of reasons, of which appearance is only one, and there is a vast range of what different people find attractive. Hopper will probably die old and alone. The fat girls will thank him for it.
And I thought the rock star was probably Mika. I’m totally going to watch “Big Girls, You Are Beautiful” again on YouTube now.

Kyso K
Kyso K
11 years ago

According to “Under the Banner of Heaven” when the authorities finally tracked down the children who had survived the massacre and returned them to their actual families, the Mormons had the cajones to ask to be reimbursed for the years of room, board and education they had provided. Kind of puts Ward Hopper into some kind of context 🙂

Molly Ren
11 years ago

I still can’t get over “If these girls understood the world and men, they’d all quit their jobs, drop out of school, and devote themselves soley to losing weight.” How can I afford a gym membership if I don’t have a job? Should I go live with my mom?

Stephanie
Stephanie
10 years ago

Um, guys and girls, I’m a Mormon, but it’s obvious this guy is weird. That’s why he isn’t getting dates. A lot of things that he stated (and I went and read his whole article) are really strange. Don’t worry, Mormon guys and girls aren’t thinking these things about you or each other or whatever. It’s like finding the weirdest guy in your school and saying the whole school is weird. So, don’t go judging all your LDS friends by this guy’s words. Just saying.

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