WIWOMM stories


There are two types of mission stories that people share in informal settings: incidental and generalizations. The first is completely acceptable to me. I understand that you have spent two years of your life doing this work and had experiences. These stories, though, are generally not spiritual. A good example is my dad's mission companion who only ate oatmeal for two months in order to save up to buy a tape recorder. Then, the very day he got the tape recorder, it fell off his bike and smashed into hundreds of pieces. You see, funny. And it doesn't require that you've been a missionary to enjoy it.

The other type, the generalizations, usually start with "People in Tonga..." or "There's this really funny thing about Wisconsonite culture..." (Both of which I heard yesterday). These stories can go either ways. The thing about midwesterns may, in fact, be funny. Or, as is way too often the case, it's not. And, it's not even true. It's a stupid pattern some very narrowly exposed nineteen to twenty-one year olds noticed. And, they often shut down any sort of conversation. I mean, what on earth can I say to someone who's just told me about the problems of moldy clothes brought about my Tonga's humidity? The problem, of course, is that these RMs find their stories and experiences endlesly fascinating and consider that others should too. Granted, I'm the king of finding myself interesting, but that's a different issue. I am interesting, it's proven.

I found myself stuck in the middle of a supremely irriating exchange of generalizations yesterday. All I could was sit in the back seat and shake my head at the inane things they would share. Or be reminded how badly I fall outside the culture of the men in my church. To wit: "hot wife points". It started like this: the two passengers (including me) were offering heartfelt thanks for the ride. The driver begged off saying he was perfectly cool with serving. The other passenger then shared the idea of "hot wife points", supposedly a currency you earn through serving or through tribulation that you can then cash in for, that's right, an attractive eternal companion. I've heard variations on this theme and it always starts (though, sadly does not always die) with missionaries. Now, that's a true step forward in the view of women. Sure, you can't buy them with money, but this new currency of hot wife points makes sure they're still pretty close to chattel, where they belong.

At some point, the conversation turned to "dear johning" and I shared my recently learned tidbit (props to Claudia Bushman) that, of couples that promise to wait for each other over the boy's mission, only 3% end up getting married (and only 10% actually resume the relationship at all once he's back). I shared this not only to spread word abroad of factoids, but to become involved in the discussion. After sharing it, both guys then claimed that's why they didn't get involved seriously with anyone before their missions. They "knew the odds", as they put it. If I were as catty in speech as I am in thought, I would have said, "oh, really? I'm sure there's more reasons than that..." (basically, I didn't find them in much need of a stick to beat off girls, if you know what I mean).

I should have taken the first my inclination and begged a ride from some of the sisters. Sure, it would have been just as awkward, but I'm sure I wouldn't have been reminded how far outside the general realm of Mormon manhood I fall.


Anonymous said...

As I see it, Dai, you fall outside sexual categories altogether. That's how goshdarn special you are. So don't sweat it. You're well loved. We all just sort of see you as that eerily androgynous Satan character in "The Passion of the Christ."

Petra said...

Oh, boo, Ryan basically took what I was going to say, which was, "really? Just Mormon manhood?"

librarianite said...

You just need to get out of singles wards. You've got three choices really 1) marry 2) wait it out 3) go inactive - these are not in any particular order. In my experience if you can't beat them - join em.
Hey - if I hadn't done all that tracting in the rain imagine what my wife would look like....

Forgive them for they know not what they do.

alea said...

ryan: I'm going to look past the thinly veiled nature of your comment and take it as a compliment.

petra: I have nothing to say to you.

librarianite: you mistake the disease for the symptom. My problem is not so much singles wards as it is general Mormondom. Only solution 3 would solve the pressing issuesqqylajz

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