My roommates, however, disagreed, noting that Mormon dance parties are pointless. “Why should we go to a party just to watch all the girls dance together?”
I hadn’t thought of things that way, but my friends’ prediction proved uncannily accurate: About 20 girls were dancing in a big, impenetrable glob – getting oh-so worked up when Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” came up – while the half-dozen attending men shuffled in the corner, talking amongst themselves about sports and eating brownies.
An utterly bizarre phenomenon, an outsider might observe: why would so few men come to an event where women are literally boxed in for them, and why would those who did come be so timid?
But to the Mormon single, particularly the male, this is a quintessential Kobayashi Maru, the no-win scenario.
Dancing is a casually intimate event, potentially enticing to continued romantic pursuit – a perfect ice-breaker in a typical setting. But even something as harmless as trying to initiate a non-threatening dance in a church-confined situation such as this can make a man seem too aggressive physically, and LDS girls are brought up to spurn physical aggression of any kind. So any girl a boy approaches will no doubt reject him publicly (either on the spot or amongst her friends after he’s departed).
In fact, the only thing more repellant to a girl in this scenario than being approached boldly by a man at this party is not being approached boldly by a man at this party. He’s got one shot with one girl, and then he’s ruined any hopes with the other 19.
It’s lose-lose. Because of this, many men will simply blow the event off, regardless of the fact that they would much rather carouse with girls on a Saturday night than stay home and play video games with their friends. Given this, the surprising thing to me is not that so few boys come to a Mormon dance party, but that so many do. It reminds me of a line from my favorite romantic comedy, “Annie Hall”:
This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Doc, uh, my brother's crazy; he thinks he's a chicken.” And, uh, the doctor says, “Well, why don't you turn him in?” The guy says, “I would, but I need the eggs.”
Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships; y'know, they're totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd, and... but, uh, I guess we keep goin' through it because, uh, most of us... need the eggs.
Mormon men need eggs. Oh boy, do they need eggs, but when they can’t get that, most will settle for brownies.