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.