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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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Fatman
Fatman
9 years ago

I have not even finished reading this post, but I must say that I am in love with the phrase fatty with a PhD.

zombie rotten mcdonald

A Mormon who is a hypocritical, smug, judgemental jerkwad? who could have foreseen?

I love this bit:

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.

I mean, beyond the hypocrisy, the idea that those Walmart shoppers might just NOT SUBSCRIBE TO THE SAME BELIEF SYSTEM never even entertains the hint of a possibility of crossing his mind.

Also, this:
many LDS women who aren’t married seek to identify with bizarre belief systems,

Says a guy who believes in magic underwear.

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
9 years ago

Apparently the inability to cook has as its corollary the inability to buy sufficient food on Saturday to feed yourself on Sunday. Hence, the Sabbath-breaking at Wal-Mart… Dude’s a rocket scientist.

Percyprune
Percyprune
9 years ago

…Says a man who believes in magic underwear, that Jesus teleported to America, and God orbits the star Kolob.

zombie rotten mcdonald

…you make it sound silly, Percyprune.

Bee
Bee
9 years ago

B…b…b….but if he doesn’t get married, how is he ever going to get his own planet to rule over?

And the spirit children! Think of the spirit children, man!

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
9 years ago

I’ll confess I’m still kinda fixated on being unable to not shop on Sunday. I’m unfamiliar with the finer points of Mormon doctrine. Don’t they have Shabbas Goys?

Kendra, the bionic mommy
Kendra, the bionic mommy
9 years ago

I wonder how this ward hopper can tell if women are Democrats just by looking. I would give it away pretty fast in a conversation hearing him talk about watching Fox News, because I would have to gloat about Glenn Beck’s show being cancelled. If you looked at me from the outside, though, you might assume I’m a Republican soccer mom.

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
9 years ago

Kendra, my guess would be how they dress. Democrats are all sluts and don’t wear long cotton prairie dresses. Republicans are chaste and demure.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

“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.”

Erm.. I may be wrong about this, but if these girls really understood the world of “men” (according to good old Hopper here), I think they’d sooner become lesbians.

I do like the term “gutless, godless, gay, liberal hippee [sic] freak,” though I’m sure he could have taken it farther.

Hrm… “Spineless, secular, sapphic, socialist smoking screwball.” 😀

Lady Victoria von Syrus
Lady Victoria von Syrus
9 years ago

I thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster every time I break the Sabbath or drink a beer that I got out of the Church right before I had to start attending singles’ wards. If you’re an LDS single in a college town, the singles’ wards aren’t so bad – they’re basically student wards. But in a regular ol’ town, they’re spiritual meat markets full of horny young adults under some pretty intense pressure to marry.

It’s even worse if they divide by age – the under 30 wards aren’t as bad as the over 30 wards. Those are populated by desperate virgins, or divorcees who feel like they’ve failed God and country by getting a divorce (nothing wrong with getting a divorce, it’s just that Mormon culture equates divorce with failure at life, and that’s some pretty heavy baggage to carry around).

True facts: when my mom got engaged to my dad, she insisted they get married before her upcoming birthday, as she did not want to face the utter shame of having to go the rest of her life saying that no one would marry her until the ripe old age of twenty.

evilwhitemalempire
evilwhitemalempire
9 years ago

“Erm.. I may be wrong about this, but if these girls really understood the world of “men” (according to good old Hopper here), I think they’d sooner become lesbians.”

I’m sure you dykes want to believe that.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

@Lady Victoria von Syrus:
So.. If I understand you correctly, there is huge pressure for LDS folks to marry as soon as possible, and then they are shamed if they divorce? That’s bordering on sadistic… There’s no way you’re gonna find someone you can be happy with that way.

Honestly, I don’t know why some people stay with their religion… It provides no benefit, a huge range of costs, and worse; it makes you feel less guilty about something that only the religion says you should feel guilty about. Talk about inventing a disease, then selling the cure.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

@evilwhitemalempire (isn’t there an e missing?)
😀 😀 😀 Take a guess, am I male or female? Straight or gay?

Course if I was a lesbian, what’s wrong with wanting a larger playing field?

carswell
carswell
9 years ago

::: Also, this: many LDS women who aren’t married seek to identify with bizarre belief systems,

Says a guy who believes in magic underwear. :::

Zombie – you beat me to the punch. LOL.

Johnny Pez
9 years ago

(isn’t there an e missing?)

Or possibly a u.

Lady Victoria von Syrus
Lady Victoria von Syrus
9 years ago

@kirbywarp,

Basically, yes, yes and yes.

As a cherry-topper, Mormon teens can’t even date until they’re 16, and even as teenagers are encourage to go on group dates and date with an eye towards their ‘eternal companion.’ Sometimes it works out – Mormonism is such an overwhelming factor in the lives of its members, and any two Mormons will already have shared values and life goals and expectations. Dating for Mormon youth is less about finding out who the other person is and more just making sure neither of you have any annoying personal habits. And if you do find yourself in an unhappy marriage, well, since drinking is off the table, there’s always Church service to throw yourself into as an escape.

Snowy
Snowy
9 years ago

or a va

Captain Bathrobe
Captain Bathrobe
9 years ago

ZRM beat me to it, but the idea of a Mormon criticizing anyone else’s “bizarre beliefs” is laughable in the extreme. It’s like Scientologists going after psychiatry as a “pseudo-science.”

Bee
Bee
9 years ago

Re. all this pressure on Mormons to marry: So, ward hopper says he’s proposed to women and been turned down. Mormon women are actively choosing to go back to the singles wards, risk a life of ostracism from their church, and face enormous societal pressure instead of wanting to be with him.

That really says something about him, doesn’t it? I get David’s overall point about the benefit of self-reflection and change, but … I mean, I just don’t see any hope at all for ol’ ward hopper.

zombie rotten mcdonald

Zombie – you beat me to the punch. LOL.

I am one of those 28 Days Later-style zombies.

Captain Bathrobe
Captain Bathrobe
9 years ago

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.

Gosh, this sounds familiar. Where have I heard this before…?

Simone Lovelace
9 years ago

I am honestly baffled by the men who claim that extra weight is a total, absolute dealbreaker. I mean, everyone has preferences. I don’t tend to go for blond folks, regardless of gender (although Chase of House M.D. is pretty hot). But what’s so wrong with a little cushion for the pushin’. I’ll even admit that I can understand not wanting to date someone morbidly obese (though I myself might), but that’s an extreme body type which is fairly rare.

What I’m wondering is, could most of these dudes learn to love a zaftig lady? I’m willing to bet dollars to baby-flavored donuts that they could. I mean sure, a few people probably have a hard-wired distaste for bigger bodies. But I bet a lot more people have just been conditioned that “fat=bad,” and could overcome that conditioning if they wished.

Which begs the question, why don’t they try? Why, when I mention this hypothesis, do dudes get all defensive and threatened? One would think that anything which almost tripled the size of ones dating pool would be a good thing…

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
9 years ago

One would think that anything which almost tripled the size of ones dating pool would be a good thing…

Given good old hopper’s mind set it also triples his odds of rejection.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

@Simon Lovelace

“One would think that anything which almost tripled the size of ones dating pool would be a good thing…”

I’m sure you didn’t mean anything by this… *snrk*

There is a problem with saying something like “You could be attracted to this body type if you wanted to.” The product of not being attracted to someone is that that you wouldn’t want to be attracted to them.

There is a point to be made, and that is if you can put body issues aside and grow to like someone for their personality. In that case, I don’t think it would be surprising for someone to reverse their stance on what they find attractive, for the sake of who they like.

I personally know a girl who’s a bit overweight. Though I’m sort of spoken for, and she’s had her own troubles dating, getting to know her has led me to change my own notions of body types I’d be willing to date. *shrug*

But these men don’t care about the other person. They couldn’t care less about a woman’s personality, thus their is no “hook” to make them see anything other than what repulses them. Its self reinforcing, and thus it seems impossible to combat.

zombie rotten mcdonald

Given good old hopper’s mind set it also triples his odds of rejection.

pre-emptive rejection is a psychological survival mechanism for some.

Johnny Pez
9 years ago

Given good old hopper’s mind set it also triples his odds of rejection.

Marion, I’ve think you’ve just explained the whole “no fat chicks” mentality there. It’s not revulsion, it’s fear of rejection. Fear that they’re not good enough even for a “fat chick”. And it’s probably a well-founded fear.

Johnny Pez
9 years ago

Damn you ZRM and your brevity!

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
9 years ago

Zombies have to be concise — you can never tell when a speaking part might fall off… [ducks and runs. ZRM is FAST!]

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

Is that why zombies all commumicate in “arruggghhh”s? Maybe their just speech is just insanely efficient? No need for all those ugly consonents.

Simone Lovelace
9 years ago

Kirby, I certainly wouldn’t tell a given individual to be attracted to fat chicks! Like I said, some people may very well be completely incapable of doing so.

But I do think that if we had a slight shift in cultural attitudes toward fatness, a lot more people would be attracted to fat chicks. And that if more guys make an effort to be accepting and non-judgemental of fatties (which everyone should do anyway, all the time), some would probably realize that they actually found fat girls kinda cute.

For me the “hook” was getting over my own body image issues. I was so convinced that I was fat (even though I wasn’t), that I it took getting into radical Fat Acceptance for me to start liking myself.

And after I spent a few months convincing myself that being “fat” didn’t make me gross, or worthless, or unlovable–I realized that I was attracted to fat folks. It’s not that I prefer fat people necessarily; I’m attracted to variety of body types, fat and thin.

But yeah. I’m just one data point, and I’m a chick. Maybe guys really are “hardwired” for skinny girls? Who knows…

(And I should add that I’m a mid-sized queer chick, so I don’t have a particular vested interested either way…it’s just kind of baffling to me)

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

@Simon Lovlace:

“Maybe guys really are “hardwired” for skinny girls?” Thankfully we know that isn’t the case. In older cultures having a lot of fat was considered attractive, and in Italy (I think) it was a sign of wealth. Modern-day USA is kinda messed up in that sense, constantly driving models skinnier with big breasts (correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think those two go together naturally).

I’ve heard it said that social progress happens when one generation dies off and the next takes its place. Give it a couple decades of image campaigning, good things will happen.

katz
9 years ago

David: It had to be another post about fat fat fatties, didn’t it? Now we’re going to have to listen to MRAL wank about how sex with a fat fat fatty would be worse than death.

darksidecat
darksidecat
9 years ago

@Simone, speaking of cultural attitudes, there are these Renaissance paitings…also, the world’s oldest known sculpture is of a fat lady. I am just fine with dating fat people myself, which is good, considering I am fat.

That said, it is fine if one is not attracted to fat people, thin people, hairy people, un-hairy people, tall people, short people, etc. The problem is when one starts pushing their preferrences onto others, objectifying them, and making gross generalizations. Other people do not exist to be fucked by Hopper (of MRAL, or anyone). “How dare you devote time to your own life instead of being a more appropriate fuck toy for me?” is a hellishly dehumanizing attitude.

Hopper has decided to apply a standard that eliminates virtually all of his potential dates (LDS, republican, meat-eater, hates queers, uneducated, etc.). And then he criticizes everyone else’s dating choices. They are there for the same reason you are, dude, look in the mirror.

Simone Lovelace
9 years ago

Kirby, skinny girls with big breasts definitely do exist in nature! It’s not a very common body type, though.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

Urk, my apologies. That should have read “don’t go together normally.” I’ve met skinny, large-bosomed females as well, so I know they exist.

Laughing gull
Laughing gull
9 years ago

I wonder what the real reason is for the entire room to go silent and stare at hoppers blue eyes. Fly open?

Sarah
Sarah
9 years ago

“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.”

It just boggles my mind that he really believes this. He dosen’t say most men, or usually, he says ALL young men. It’s just baffling. Has he never met a guy that likes big ladies? I mean… there are so many guys who like a little more cushin’ for the pushin’… I just don’t even… *sigh*

And whoever used the word zaftig upthread, that’s an awesome word.

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
9 years ago

Laughing gull, I’ve been in situations where the entire room has gone silent and stared as someone entered the room… They’re all silently calculating the distance to the nearest exit that doesn’t involve crossing his path. (Windows will do in a pinch…)

zombie rotten mcdonald

Maybe guys really are “hardwired” for skinny girls?

No.

but as was said, I am only one data point.

zombie rotten mcdonald

Windows will do in a pinch

Being a Mac user, this sums up my feelings nicely.

Well, come on, a Mac/PC flame war is better than listening to MRAs whine about fat girls, isn’t it?

katz
9 years ago

Spineless, secular, sapphic, socialist smoking screwball.

“Weak, worldly, wimpy, wide-minded weedhead weirdo.”

Umm…”Fearful, faithless, friend of Dorothy, Fox-rejecting, freaking flower child.”

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
9 years ago

ZRM, please… I beg, I grovel, I IMPLORE you… Not a Mac/PC flame war. I’d rather argue about whether or not hip hop is music or not, and that ranks slightly below my desire to yank my fingernails out with pliers.

katz
9 years ago

Laughing gull: Maybe he has a hideous eye deformity.

Marion in Savannah
Marion in Savannah
9 years ago

Hmmm…

Disgusting demonic disgruntled Democrap Dead-head doper.

This is fun!

Laughing gull
Laughing gull
9 years ago

katz: You are so very, very bad!

zombie rotten mcdonald

ooo! Those are all good ones too, Marion!

Kenda, the bionic mommy
Kenda, the bionic mommy
9 years ago

I noticed that the ward hopper mentioned having a disordered apartment and that he doesn’t know how to cook. It makes me wonder if he is scrambling to find a wife so he can have a live in maid and cook that will give him an occasional blowjob. Also, if he is like some Mormons and wants 10 kids or more, than he is going to have to relax his standards on weight. Even the skinniest women have trouble staying small if they spend a decade of their life being pregnant.

Bee
Bee
9 years ago

Just a thought: I’ve found it odd how accurately one can predict someone’s sexual fetishes, outlying predilections, and secret preferences by listening to how passionately they talk about the kinds of people and things that disgust them.

Laughing gull
Laughing gull
9 years ago

What kind of weirdo announces he can tell who looks at porn? I look at it. Who cares?

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