Illustration Courtesy Some Canadian or Other
Dear Aaron, Adam, Adam, Adrian, Andrew, Ashley, Bill, Brad, Brett, Caleb, Chad, Chad, Chandler, Chris, Chris, Christian, David, David, David, David, Drew, Drew, Eddie, Edgar, Eric, Eric, Eric, Gavin, Geoff, Grant, Hunter, Jacob, Jacob, Jeff, Joe, Joe, Jon, Jonathan, Josh, Josh, Josh, Judge, Justin, Justin, Justin, Keith, K.T., Lael, Lance, Lauritz, Luke, Mark, Matt, Matt, Matt, Michael, Michael, Mike, Morris, Nathan, Nate, Paul, Peter, Peter, Rance, Ray, Reuben, Richard, Ryszard, Rick, Robert, Russ, Ryan, Sean, Sean, Sean, Sean, Shaun, Shawn, Seth, Seth, Sev, Spencer, Spencer, Stephen, Stephen, Stephen, Steve, Todd, Toph, Travis, Travis, Travis, Trevor, Tyler, Wendel, Wesley and Weston—this is for you!
When I was about 12 or 13 years old, I remember a girl named Katie Robinson giving a youth talk in church. As I recall, Katie was really into listening to talk tapes (remember cassettes?) with dating advice, and she generously imparted wisdom to all of her friends. In Sacrament meeting one fateful Sunday, she announced her intention to go on dates with 100 different boys before she got married, saying that she wanted to be sure she knew what she wanted in a spouse. She got married shortly after her 18th birthday and high school graduation.
A few years later, I ran into Katie at church after my first semester at BYU, where I’d gone out with plenty of boys. Out of curiosity, I asked her how many boys she went out with before she married her husband Wes. She estimated it was somewhere in the 40s, which is pretty impressive, given her relatively short dating career. I jokingly told her I might just take up her cause.
My friends, the lesson here is not to joke! Well, for better or for worse, I’ve finally met Katie’s original goal, and I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve learned so far. For simplicity’s sake, I write addressing my former beaux.
At least 47 percent of you are married now, and at least 32 percent of you have children. I’ve kissed 15 of you (and some of you many, many times), plus another 15 boys I’ve not gone on dates with (this line is a shout-out to Stephen G., Ryan, Isaac, Tim M., Stephen [the True Aggie guy], Gabe, Billy, Amador, Trevor, Anthony, Tim L., Rudy and Jared). Hope that doesn’t upset the 85 who didn’t get a chance for a kiss or the 15 who didn’t get a chance for a date! Three of you are gay and out, and there are about 10 others who I have my suspicions about.
Demographically speaking, most of you are from either Utah (29) or New Mexico (27). Other leading state representatives are Texas and California (8 each). The youngest boy I’ve ever gone on a date with was nine years younger than I am, and the oldest man was 11 years older than I am. 92% are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Twice, I’ve gone out with first-and-last-name repeats (two of the Erics and the two Drews), but I seem most likely to date boys named Sean in any variation, or with Stephens and Davids. There are at least 42 of you I’d still consider very close friends, and only 8 who I’d rather forget existed. There’s only one of you I really think I should have married, and only two who caused any kind of real emotional damage, and one of those (in the case of Shawn C.) wasn’t even your fault—it was your psycho ex-girlfriend.
Without attaching names to negative experiences, some of my worst dates included the guy who made me leave a concert early and run through heavy rain to his car on the opposite end of the Marriott Center parking lot so he wouldn’t be late for his next date; the guy who kept looking at his own reflection in the window behind me at a restaurant; and let’s not forget the boy who tried to take me and a friend out on the same date at the same time, who capped the night off by telling me I had “the best personality, but [was] not physically attractive.”
Then of course, there were surprising dates people love to hear about. Yes, I’ve gone out with three little people (these dates were completely fun and normal, but for some reason no one cares about the guys who were about 6’7”). I went out with a man getting ready to enter the Catholic priesthood. There was the chap who wore the cape he’d sewn himself (it was lined with white faux fur) and a guy who yelled at me during a formal dance.
Of course, not all my dates were weird or bad. Plenty of them aren’t even noteworthy. The only time I was really caught off-guard was on a blind date set up by some girls in my ward. They wanted me to go out with their brother—they thought we’d be “perfect together.” These girls were really nice and beautiful, so I thought, “What the heck?” Their brother was a very sweet chap, but when he came to pick me up it became clear he had some developmental disabilities. I still went out with him, of course, and I probably would have under any circumstances, but I sure wish those girls had mentioned it before. Also, I spent the whole date wondering if they thought I was also a little slow.
I typically like nice, low-key dates—hanging out in a park, watching movies, etc. I love festivals and I love dances. I like walking around, looking at unusual things and unusual people. One of my favorites was when one of the Shauns took me to the zoo and made all these animal mating call noises. Of course, there were a few of those mind-blowing fancy dates I’ll always remember—my friend Travis taking me to Park City to the Alpine Slide and dinner at a cute little restaurant, or my friend Stephen taking me to BYU Homecoming after our friend Hilary alerted him I’d never been asked. Stephen looked so handsome, and I was seriously proud to be out with him. Then again, Ray and I used to have a lot of fun at the antique stores, and both Andrew and Mike proved to be good dates for fancy (read: stuffy) corporate dinners.
On the kissing front, there was a whole range of bizarre experiences, but mostly they’ve turned out ok. Remember the guy who’d never kissed a girl and had to text a question/answer service for move ideas? The weirdest place for a first kiss was probably in Ft. Union Texaco, where Chevron and I smooched behind the Otis Spunkmeyer display. The smoothest first kiss prize goes to Jeff, though I have to laugh that he used my own fail-safe line to reel me in. As for the bad kissers, well… I’m not here to destroy anyone’s self-esteem.
All in all, it’s been a good 100 first dates (plus some pretty wonderful subsequent dates). Things are going well at the moment social-life wise but I doubt I’m done with my list yet. Let’s just hope I don’t have to make it to 200.