Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mistake #34 Arranged Marriages (Oops, I mean Dinners) by CSL

I'm sure that someone on the activities committee pats themselves on the back for suggesting this oh-so original idea.

"I know! Let's assign dinner groups! We could do dinner parties on Sunday evenings. What better way to encourage dating in our ward could there be?!"

And so the assignments are made and the sheet goes around. Some Molly out there is eager with anticipation (heck, she's probably the one who suggested it). She's determined to put the old proverb to the test: The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. She has the menu made and already finished the place cards at Archiver's before she even knows which guy's apartment is coming over.

Molly gets the phone call (hopefully before she's done any more preparations, but sadly, that rarely happens). Its from one of the guys who has been assigned to her apartment. They're not coming. Surprisingly enough, every guy in that apartment is going home for dinner that Sunday. Yes, even the guy from Brazil will be at his parent's in Sao Paulo. How can you interfere with family dinner?

The arranged dinners raise more red flags than a Chinese airport in a guy's mind. These have the potential to be more awkward than eating spaghetti on a first date. Think of all the possible outcomes.

1. The dinner is nasty and choking it down is harder than the burnt biscuits served along side it. At least the girl is amazingly cute.
2. The dinner is amazingly good, but the cook is amazingly not cute.
3. If you compliment the chef of the amazing dinner, she may expect an invitation for a date shortly thereafter.
4. If you compliment the chef of the nasty dinner, she'll know you're lying and then there's no way you'll get a date. Besides, who wants to date a girl who really can't cook? No marriage potential there.
5. Lets entertain the thought that the dinner is amazing and the chef is amazingly cute. But then there are at least 5 other guys there trying to get in on the action as well.
6. The conversation is bound to be mundane. "Oh, these mashed potatoes are so creamy. What do you add to make them so amazing?" "How about this snow? I can't believe its this cold in December." "How about those Cougars?" Inevitably, the girls will start talking about girl stuff and the guys will start talking about sports. There might be one girl who tries to assert herself in the sports world, but no guy is gonna dare enter the female realm in that situation.

There are just a few of the things going through every guy's mind. Is putting yourself through that really worth the free meal? Nah. Stick to the ramen noodles and mac n cheese.

Now, if you can manage to get a one on one dinner cooked by the amazingly cute girl who also happens to cook well, you're in luck.

If its any consolation, this abhorred practice doesn't end when you graduate from the singles ward. In married wards, there's still always someone who thinks this is fun. Its not. No arranged dinners, please. If you want to invite someone over on your own, then fine. That can be fun. Husband and I have done that several times and its pretty successful.

Its just not a good idea to get any group of strangers (or at best, acquaintances) together and have them eat. You have to make small talk, and someone always asks a question when your mouth is full. And heaven forbid someone burps.

Aren't there cruise lines out there that use the fact that they don't do things like that as a major selling point?

If you're still convinced that a dinner party is the way to go, here's what you do. Invite some guys over, order some pizza and stick in a movie that everyone has seen before. That way, you all get fed and if the company is dull, at least there's a movie to entertain you. If the company is good, you can ignore the movie and not miss anything. And if you want to show off your cooking skills, have a good dessert available. You can't go wrong with a good batch of chocolate chip cookies.


  1. byu 10th ward break the fast not really a dinner group

  2. Oh I love that picture. Such a perfect slice out of my single life (no, I'm not in it, but it's a great representation.)

  3. Is P.P. Santa B alumna?

  4. Haha.My roommate Sam is a great cook! True she isn't the cutest girl ever but dang can she cook. So my other roommate will invite a plethora of hot men over, Sam cooks for them and Tiff flirts with them. Tiff will even throw on a apron to look like she did some cooking when really she just spent the last hour applying makeup and polishing her pumps. Really she has pump polish...haha loved this post! Priceless

  5. You (would have) had me at "pizza"....

    Actually, the best 'dinner party' at BYU that I know of what put on by an apartment of girls at Heritage Halls (back when HH was girls-only) (I later dated one of the girls). Seems there was a group of guys who kept inviting themselves over for dinner on a regular basis. So the girls fixed a special dinner for them: spaghetti, creamed corn, salad with dressing, jello. They covered the dinner table with a clear plastic sheet and served the food to them directly on the table: no plates or silverware. The boys had to eat everything with their fingers. I suspect they did give them napkins or, perhaps more appropriately, paper towels.

    The boys got the point. They ate quite heartily, but they got the point. ..bruce..

  6. Here is my response today:

  7. I was in several wards at BYU where they did dinner groups. I always wanted to join for the free food (I heard from roommates that, with the exception of one particular guy who was later kicked out of dinner group for serving ground beef with undercooked rice and then offending a lot of girls with jerkishness it was all pretty good). I never could, though, because it never worked with my work schedule. After I graduated I was in a ward at the University of Utah where not only did they do dinner groups, but if you were interested in anyone of the opposite gender, you just let the dinner coordinator know, and she would arrange it so that all the interested parties were in each other's groups. I thought that this went too far into creepy desperation.

  8. Hmmm... Yeah, eat with people you already know, otherwise you have to worry about all of that delicacy nonsense. Eating with big groups is almost always embarassing.

  9. I am confused as to whom you are criticizing here, the one who organizes such an abhorrence OR the one following it (despite not really wanting to) because it is an unfortunate appendage of a made up calling in a singles ward (I was on the friendship committee once)OR people who think this is some form of courting?
    However I think the idea of inviting a guy over for dinner, without any previous formal social arrangement is a pathetic way to announce your availability this weekend, and mostly likely the next. Which is only slightly less tacky than the ward cookie whore, you know, the girl who makes cookies FOR THE GUYS, and not anyone else, and even then only the cute guys, so she is not only shallow but also an idiot. And really, men aren't that impressed by cookies, or the girl who can't carry herself in front of boys without them.
    Now if the food thing is going to work, don't just order pizza, do the DIY pizzas with lots of toppings, any idiot boy can can make his pizza and you have some time to mingle in the kitchen. If it is some sorta "ward function" don't be the ones who get stiffed, make sure they have something to contribute as well.
    I swear, the more I read these, the more it seems like the author is venting about the things she tried that didn't quite work for her, God bless you for sharing your experience.

  10. The ward cookie whore. haha

  11. When I went to BYU, I lived in the experimental singles stake. They always tried new programs out on us. The best(as in most ridiculous) was the one where they made 2 girls a group and 2 guys a group and would set different groups up to go out TWICE during the week. Then the next week you would get new guys to go out with. It was totally a way to set up dates and it was AWKWARD. I think it lasted less than a month.

  12. I thought this was a male writing, but then you said, "Husband and I have done that several times and its pretty successful.". I'm confused.

  13. Hey! I took this picture! I would like photo credit please. Also, I'd like the record to show that a much higher percentage of males than females in that picture are still single--Where's the Why Mormon Men Are Afraid of Commitment blog?

  14. Here you go!

  15. Don't make dinner for them, but make cookies?
    CSL, you are as retarded as your cohorts.

  16. Top 10 problems with Ward-Run Dinner Groups:
    10. As mentioned, nasty food selection...I'm going to pass and lick my own armpit instead...
    9. Let's pack everyone in the ward around one table...
    8. This is part of the reason why singles think their social lives need to be church sponsored...Socialist Mormon if Obama was Bishop...
    7. But it's a sin not to go...not!
    6. Dude, close your mouth when you eat!
    5. Footsie-time...wait, that's a dude playing with my leg, WTH!!!
    4. Please don't taste as bad as it smells!
    3. Objective: Stimulate dating...uhhh...that's like the Stimulus package really stimulating the economy...not gonna happen!
    2. Cock-blocking...and not just from dudes...
    1. We don't gamble...but with sign-up sheets this is really like the lottery!
    On that note: Why are we so afraid of actually strategizing about who would be most likely to hook up?! I understand that for most Ward sponsored activities for fellowshiping purposes everyone should be involved in getting to know everyone else. But if the objective is to get people to date...don't put one girl who is a "9" in a setting where there are 4 other girls who are in the "5-7" range...with 5 dudes who themselves are in the "2-6" range...because the guys will all fight for the "9" who they are not qualified to even flirt with...thus neglecting the girls most likely to be a match, namely those nearer their own ranking.
    Why don't we call a spade a spade? David Spade is cool with it. He made millions accepting who he is.
    For the record, I would be for dinner groups if and only if they truly were strategically planned to meet the objective of getting singles to know other singles of their caliber. Get guys and girls of the same grouping personal invitation...and let's get rid of this "we can just pass a list around EQ and RS and magically the groups will form themselves." Horrible!
    Oh, and I'm going to post anonymously cuz I'm a 5 or 6 and everyone knows it.

  17. I'm pretty sure that is the Santa Barbara Ward from Provo, UT! I used to be in that ward!

  18. creepy. Stop steeling pictures from facebook profiles.

  19. if you really are stealing, notice the spelling anonymous, pictures from facebook i am dying with laughter and amazed at the brilliance.

  20. I was called as co-chair of this so-called committee last Sunday. And although I will give it my best effort and try not to group 27 year old women with pre-mish guys or anything equally horrible, I have to admit that when they extended the calling the first thing I thought of was this post and I almost said no.

  21. This is the one post on this blog that doesn't make me want to hurl. It is very true.

  22. Dude, don't you have FRIENDS? Sometimes people actually hang out because it's fun. I've been happily married for ten years, but I still treasure the friends I made in the singles ward, even at (GASP) dinner groups. Because hanging out is fun.

    You're so freaking uptight. Relax.

  23. Sooo, you're married and you're a girl? What do you even know about singles?--and from the viewpoint of a guy? You're very full of it!

  24. Who are you in this picture? ...i was in this BYU ward at the time...hilarious!