2 Girls For Every Boy: The Unpleasant Reality for Utah Mormon Singles

2 Girls For Every Boy: The Unpleasant Reality for Utah Mormon Singles August 25, 2015
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Photo courtesy of Archiv Jacques Picard/Wikimedia Commons

 

The Beach Boys sang about it, and now it’s coming true here in the Salt Lake Valley. The guys are loving it, but the ladies? Well…

So this very interesting article by Jon Birger that TIME published on their website yesterday was floated my way. As a single Mormon female, I was intrigued by its initial mention of more LDS women getting boob jobs as an apparent way of snagging a man. I have natural 40Cs. No problem there, but if I’m being honest, no guy who values chest size that much would get the chance to test mine out. Farther down in the article, though, I found something useful: an interactive, county-by-county map of the US, which shows that in “Bountiful, Farmington, and North Salt Lake Cities” (one of which I now call home), single women outnumber single men two to one. ¡Ay, caramba!  From personal experience (read: current unbroken streak of years of datelessness), I knew the proportion was skewed in the guys’ favor around here. I just didn’t realize it was a literal, statistical 2:1. I’m not imagining it. Katniss can’t help me…the odds are never going to be in my favor.

I also can send back a big “Amen” to the following paragraph: “Lopsided gender ratios don’t just make it statistically harder for college-educated women to find a match. They change behavior too. According to sociologists, economists and psychologists who have studied sex ratios throughout history, the culture is less likely to emphasize courtship and monogamy when women are in oversupply. Heterosexual men are more likely to play the field, and heterosexual women must compete for men’s attention.” Oh, and then it cites Trinity College’s American Religious Identification Survey in stating that there are 150 Mormon women for every 100 Mormon men in the state of Utah. There are your facts. Now let me tell you how it is on the ground to deal with the deck being stacked against you like this.

For the past two months, my roommate and I have attended a midsingles ward in Bountiful—ages 31 to 45. Our second week there, we went to a new member meeting in which we were told that about 450 people attend sacrament meeting in the ward each week, on average. This is an issue all on its own – the fact that the powers that be in the Church seem to think that putting single 31-45 year olds along the Wasatch Front into wards that are two and three times the size of a regular family or YSA ward is, to put it kindly, disappointing. Myopic may be a better word for it. If you really want singles to mingle and marry, put them in units that are an appropriate size for such contact. Don’t warehouse us. Another post for another time…

I don’t know how many of those 450 are women and how many are men, but it wouldn’t be surprising to hear the 2:1 ratio cited again in this case. No matter what the number, the problem at hand every Sunday is that you as a female in a singles ward around here have to put on a show to get any attention from any of the menfolk (hence the boob jobs mentioned in the TIME online article). Anywhere you might go to try and meet a fellow Mormon of the opposite sex, there will always be more of you than there are of them. It is hard to enjoy yourself at an activity or feel particularly edified in sacrament meeting if your constant feeling while there is one of competition with the other girls around you. You can primp and preen and do whatever the hell else you can think of to try and bring a guy your way, but all the while there is the knowledge that all the cards are held by the guys and not the girls in these situations.

Do I know of girls who hit 30 or so and decided it wasn’t worth trying for temple marriage anymore and instead married outside the Church? Yes, and I’d have to say that there are a lot of LDS women my age who do too. I can’t blame them – the loneliness you feel while trying to continually be a ‘good girl’ and hoping that the Lord notices and rewards you with a good man, and then getting nothing of the sort for years at a time, can leave you willing to pursue options you might never have entertained back in your Laurel days. For me personally, the opposite tack has been my choice: I figure that the longer I have to wait to marry, the more I’m going to feel I deserve the blessings of a temple marriage. Whenever it comes, I will feel all the more that I have earned it. That obviously isn’t the perspective of every LDS female out there, but I must speak up for the faction with which I side in this question.

Lest you think that I’m riding out this storm well, let me give you some background. When I joined the Church at age eighteen, I did not think I would still be single at 33. I didn’t think I’d still be single past around 26 or 27, actually. So, the longer I’ve been alone, the more attractive the option of quitting the Church completely has become. I’ve gone away for months at a time, sometimes even years, but have always come back. Anymore, though, I can’t promise that if such a scenario were to play out again, that I’d find my way back again. The longer you stick around, the more times you strike out, the bigger the fool you feel you are. So, though I can promise you I have no plan to marry outside the Church, I may not have a plan to marry inside it either. It would interest me greatly to see a study on how many LDS women have ceased activity due to the lack of marriage prospects. The article cites how many men have left the Church in recent years, but there might be just as much of a story in finding out how many women have done the same.

In general, many of the statements the TIME article makes are accurate of this writer’s experience with the issue. No matter what the exacerbating factors may be, due to the fact that demographics are the core challenge, no quick fixes to this problem are forthcoming. Does it become, then, a matter of trying to make the ‘victims’ as ‘comfortable as possible’ and hope the ‘casualty’ numbers aren’t too high?

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  • CG

    For men in singles ward it’s the same dilemma — all the attractive single women got picked over by the time I hit 30, and then there were no attractive women left to date. It was simply a matter of numbers, because I was living in the church faithfully, probably even more so then the men who got married before me.

    I no longer attend church. But I hope the church figures out a way to help people that weren’t genetically blessed get married as do the better looking ones. Yeah, and the be blunt, I think plastic surgery and perhaps genetic manipulation in the future may help so everyone can look their best — not just those that won the genetic lottery.

  • Test

    Lots of women in the younger generation seem to have some level of emotional issues. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of them are great, but I don’t know if it is the environment of the media, abuse from consistently picking the wrong men, stress from the workplace, being divorced, being a single mother, having bad experiences with men, prescription drugs, etc. but I also have noticed exactly what she has eluded to.

    Still, men are probably too picky in selecting a mate, but the women seem to be just as picky if not more so when it comes to certain aspects of meeting their expectations. Some young men may have different issues. They are slower at maturing these days due to a host of factors, while women mature more quickly, thus making for a big stalemate right off the bat in the younger years. Some young men focus too much on video games when they get frustrated with real life. I personally think women are more emotionally sensitive and tender and have more damage in that direction whereas men have more spiritual damage.

    My comments are based on my limited observations in the past 18 years since I got off my mission and have attempted dating. My results have been quite poor, despite being a BYU grad, having gone on a mission, not being that bad looking (maybe on the higher end of average -perhaps) not being bald, or fat, heh, and being a “nice” guy.

  • Joni

    My son is a junior in high school and one of his acquaintances is LDS, just graduated high school last year. He is 19 and marrying another 19 year old LDS girl. He is really kind of looking at him with giant envy that he is able to marry someone young and like minded. So, my question for fellow women of any religion, why wait so long to get married? I mean, sure some women care deeply about careers, but let’s face it most people male or female just want to do something they don’t hate which will pay the bills. I think that delaying marriage is what means people end up like this. So, why are we so gung ho to delay marriage? The loneliness is unbearable for many. Also, do you think those most interested in a temple marriage are more likely to marry as soon as they can, or does it not seem to make a difference.