Moving to Utah has quite possibly been the best decision I have ever made (next to coming back to church). Granted, I came here kicking and screaming, and it took me at least a year to realize it was a good thing (kind of like coming back to church). The only thing I still have a hard time with is: Utah's Singles Scene.
I loved my social life in Colorado. When I came back to church, I went straight into a YSA ward. I made some incredible friends, and then branched into other wards and met more incredible people. There weren't any mid-singles wards there, so they let me stay almost an extra 2 years in the YSA ward (have I mentioned how incredible the church leadership was?? I can't say enough great things about them)
When I moved here, I was really excited to try a mid-singles ward. Remember when I said the first ward I went to, the foyer was full of women who were knitting and there were so many, some of them were sitting on the floor? I wasn't kidding.... I gave the ward 6 weeks, but still wasn't comfortable. I wasn't really connecting with anyone, and I was really trying.
So I tried another ward. From the first day, it felt better. The problem was, it was HUGE! It had over 800 people there. That isn't a typo. 800 people. I knew this was the ward I wanted to be in, so I went to the new member meeting and had my records transferred. I also met the counselors and set up and appointment with the Bishop and asked for a calling (I firmly believe you should set up an appointment with your Bishop as soon as you move into a ward and ask for a calling. It makes all the difference).
There were things I liked about this ward, the eye candy was a definite bonus! But after 2 years, in a room of 800 people, I constantly felt invisible and alone. I had to make so much effort just to talk to people, and then (because of how big the ward was) I would never run into them again so no real connection was made. The Bishopric was wonderful and did the very best they could, but I never got the community feeling I was so desperately craving.
The activities were a whole different matter. They weren't well attended (maybe 10% of the ward would come). And anyone who knows me knows that I am like fly paper for strange people. They would make a beeline for me and then talk to me about how they think gasoline in Utah has a different octane than the East coast and how the pricing is different (true story). I want to be friends with everyone, but when it comes to dating, those weren't the kind of guys I wanted to meet.
I also started getting invited to a lot of parties, most of which in what I call "The Jordans" (South, West Jordan etc). I went to a few and met some cool people, but it seemed like they were full of people who had very different priorities than I did. I have never seen so many waxed chests, sparkle butt jeans (and this was on the guys!), Ed Hardy shirts/hats and implants. All anyone seemed to talk about was how many hours a day they went to the gym and how much they enjoyed their play time when their kids were with their ex's. I am not saying any of that is wrong, I am just saying its not what I am into. Except the sparkle butt jeans on guys, no one should be into that.
Or when I did go to parties, people would come with a group, socialize with only them, and then leave with that same group. Breaking into one of their little circles was difficult, and frankly I just don't have the energy anymore.
Apparently I am not the only one who felt this way. My friend Jeremy wrote a blog piece about his, and others experiences in the mid singles scene. It was so great to know I wasn't the only one who felt that way! You can ready it here;
I am the first to admit, I probably didn't put as much effort into the social scene as I should. My career is my passion and main focus, and so many days they last thing I wanted to do was go to another party where the chances were slim that I was going to meet anyone with a real connection. I started learning that I valued small groups with people I truly enjoyed, doing things as simple as watching a movie. The "Party Scene" was slowly becoming a thing of the past for me. I want/wanted more. I wanted to meet someone, have a real connection, fall in love. I didn't want to go to endless parties anymore.
While it exhausted me to the point I thought I might just become a nun, I am so glad I did my 100 date challenge. I met some really great guys, but nothing long lasting. Lots of first dates, no spark, dull conversation (why is it Mormons can't seem to find anything to talk about on dates besides; missions, family, where they grew up and how many kids they want?? But that's a blog for another time).
I did a lot of soul searching, and after two years at the mid-singles ward, I knew I was ready for a change. I made the decision to attend the family ward and it has blessed me in so many different ways than I ever imagined. But after two months, I realized I was meeting zero single people. So what to do? I tried going to activities, but the same problems were there. Should I just lean into it and get a bunch of cats and name them all the names I planned for my future children??
In came the LDS Matchmaker. I heard about Amy Stevens when I first came to town and almost couldn't believe there was someone in that line of work. I followed the company for a few years and each time I went to a fireside etc, I was more and more impressed. I desperately missed the social life of my past, but was so tired of putting effort into activities where I felt more defeated after they were done. I decided to approach Amy about working with her company, in any way I could. Not necessarily to find myself a man (although it would be a bonus), but to get back into something I loved so much, helping other people connect.
It turned out that when I approached her, she was looking into creating a recruiting team who would help run events and find new clientele, something that is right up my alley! After my first meeting with her team, I knew it was an answer to a prayer. My job at LatterDay Bride is always my first priority, but this is something I loved so much too and was happy to put my small amount of free time towards.
A few weeks ago, she had me help her with her event "Mystery Match". I helped promote it, and the day of, helped her with anything she needed. The first part of the evening was dinner at Tucanos. There were three long tables with about 10 people seated at each. The thing I couldn't get over was how everyone there was attractive. Now when I say that, I don't mean everyone was freaking hot! I mean, every person there, men and women, were attractive and well dressed. When I sat down, everyone (both men and women) were well spoken, excited to talk and get to know one another, and interesting. Everyone there genuinely wanted to meet people. This was such an extreme difference to what I was used to at activities or parties I had attended previously.
We then broke people up into three different groups and had them head to the Mystery Escape Room. This gave them a chance to socialize with people they hadn't met at dinner. It also gave them a great way to interact, that wasn't just sitting at a table. I got to be in the control room and watch everything that was happening in each room, which was a blast!
The evening ended with a dessert and mingle where we also gave awards for the evening. Sitting and talking with Amy after everything was over, I couldn't help but go on and on about how impressed I was. Every single person was great. No weird, creepy guy trapping you in the corner to talk about his next outfit for ComicCon. No overly flirtatious women who marked their territory with every guy and would glare at you when you talked with them. Just good, quality people, wanting to have fun and meet someone special. It was beyond refreshing. I literally would have said yes to going out with every single guy that was there if they asked.
So why was it so different? For one thing, it cost money to go to. It was $100 per person. At first, my eyebrows definitely went up on that one. But if you break it down, it's a perfectly reasonable price. Dinner at Tucanos is $25 each. The Mystery Escape Room is between $30 and $40 each. And every person that came to the event was pre-screened and selected by Amy and her team (who are all freaking amazing by the way). Not everyone who applied was invited to the event. Now that isn't to automatically say it's because they were creepers, it's because the event was designed specifically for people with similar mind sets, goals and personalities. They chose the people who would connect best!
So has this turned into an advertisement for the LDS Matchmaker? Yes, but that wasn't my intention. I know there are so many people out there who are in the same situation that I am. People who are past the point where every weekend is full of singles parties. Where they have a career that they take pride in. That they are genuinely looking for the person they want to marry and move onto that next step in life. That if they are going to take any of their precious free time, they want it to be a fun and wonderful experience that makes them feel excited for the possibilities to come.
After this event, I literally wanted to yell it from the rooftops "SINGLES!!! I have found what we have all been searching for!!! Join me!!!".
I can't wait for more events. I can't wait to help people find love. I can't wait to find love for myself.
Of course, this isn't going to be what works best for everyone, and that is totally ok. But I want people to know there are other options out there!
But if it isn't your thing, that's ok too. Go get your chest waxed and we can grab dinner and you can tell me all about it ;)