Listen, my dudes.

I recently read and shared an article on Facebook where a young woman voiced her concerns about the lack of respect that is given by the young men at BYU. Priesthood holders, who seem to have such a disregard for the importance of dating, and the true value women have. I mainly shared the article based on one principle: men who hold the priesthood need to respect women more while dating. However, the article seemed more like a rant, so I decided to voice my own, more specific concerns.

I am a junior at BYU-Idaho. I’ve been on plenty of dates, had my fair share of ice-cream (this seems to be a very popular first date idea, and I love ice-cream more than I love myself but there are more things to do than eat frozen desert), and I’ve had one serious boyfriend that didn’t seem to work out.

It wasn’t until I broke up with this boy that I realized how much I deserved. Now, I don’t think I’m entitled to the greatest, most ruggedly handsome all-mighty male specimen Rexburg Idaho has to offer, but I’m a cool gal, and would appreciate a little somethin-somethin. Anyway, while dating this boy, I could see myself lowering my standards for him. I actually broke up with him THREE times before I finally got myself out of that loop. You see, I kept getting back together with someone who barely met the requirements because I thought that’s what I deserved. A guy finally liked me and the thought of it happening again never crossed my mind.

I’m not saying this guy was terrible, or that I was the only one in the relationship who bothered to make any effort. Everything’s 50/50, but he just wasn’t willing to put in the same amount I was. I realized I didn’t have to bring myself down to be equals with him. And no, I’m not saying I’m this holy being that sings from on high, I just now recognize the worth that God has put in me. I deserved so much better, and I’m NOT ashamed to voice that.

Before post-breakup, I didn’t date too much. It was mostly because I was shy, and had very low self-esteem. This is also a very important factor that contributed to me staying in the relationship. But after, I was like a new person. For those who know me, I like to say what I mean and sometimes I struggle with having a filter. I like to get to the point and tell it like it is, and maybe that is why guys frustrate me so much.

They don’t.

In my time here at BYU-Idaho, I have met some incredible young men that are some of my good friends that show this kind of respect. But the ones that I seem to date have yet to grasp this concept. I don’t mean to be harsh, but I also kinda do.

For example, a guy can seem totally into you during the “talking phase”, then after a date or two, ignore your texts, snapchats, or whatever else seems really shallow and unimportant. I realize that this comes off as whiny, and you might be thinking “maybe he just doesn’t like you”. That’s cool. I don’t like people all the time. But you know what helps in that situation? Telling them. I’ll admit I’ve been in situations where I didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, so I avoid this person at all costs. And by all costs, I mean diving into the nearest large plant in the library to avoid the guy who asked me how many kids I wanted on the first date. However, over the last year of being single and having my fair share of “talking phases”, it has become so much easier, not only for me, but for the other person when I’m honest with them.

It really is the courteous thing to do. I would much rather be told you’re interested in someone else early on, than to invite you to apartment movie nights every week only to be ignored, send not-responded-to memes, and see the empty snapchat arrow right before I look up to see you holding hands and giggling with a blonde girl from Utah. This actually happened to me, IDK if she was actually from Utah, but sometimes they just give off those vibes, you know?

Needless to say, I felt like an idiot. Why couldn’t he just tell me? Why would he let me embarrass myself like that? Was he afraid he would hurt my feelings? I can assure you what he did made me feel worse than if he would’ve just said something. The problem I have with this experience is that I was simply disregarded, and not respected enough to be spared the embarrassment. So, maybe he just doesn’t like me, cool, but why am I not worth being notified? A faxed memo could work. A telegram. Email. A plane flying in the sky with a banner that says “Temple, I don’t like you.” There’s this wild thing called “texting”, you did it before when you called me cute and sent me about 13 winky-faces in one day. Is it that hard? Nah. Also, not to be rude, but you’re like, a grown adult, so…maybe we should start communicating like adults? What do I know?

This goes for letting me know that you like me as well. Despite my above-average intake of gogurt and fruit snacks, I am not 10 years old. I am a 21-year-old woman and you are a 20 something year old returned missionary who probably bore your testimony to a crazy homeless man on the streets of Brazil. If you can do that, you can tell me you like me.

We are grown adults, we don’t need to play “hard to get” or play it cool so as not to seem “too interested”. If you like someone, tell them. You can do it. I believe in you.

Alright, enough with the chit-chat. Let’s get down to the *nacho libre voice* nitty-gritty.

Here is my main, high prioritized, and much too real concern: the lack of respect for boundaries, standards, and consideration.

Now, before you read this, I want you to know that I don’t blame everything on men, this is equally as vital to women who seem to lack the respect their dates, boyfriends, and other men alike deserve.

However, I am writing this through the eyes of my experiences. As a young woman who has dated far too many young men that did not show her the proper respect, I am writing this to the guys who are lacking in this area.

Tinder is a curious thing, really. I’ve tried it and I am not ashamed. Did you really go to BYU-I if you didn’t download the app at least once? I strongly believe that there are two types of people: those who use tinder at least once, and liars. I downloaded the app again after I broke up with my ex, and I made plenty of friends that I am still in contact with. I’ve been on some fun dates, and I will admit to kissing a guy or two that I knew for only a few hours while watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the 28th time. I deleted the app because I noticed this pattern: the guys I met on tinder expected something physical, if even just holding hands, on the first date. I also deleted it because I didn’t want to tell my mom I met my eternal companion on the internet. Or my children. Or literally anyone else if I’m being completely honest.

I’ve been on some dates where the guy just assumed I wanted a kiss by my front door. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I get mixed signals too and can totally misread a situation, but these guys are different. These guys wanna kiss you and they assume you wanna kiss them too, so they plant one. The next day, after the grand smooch, they’ll text you and say “I really don’t know what I’m looking for right now”. Every time this happens, I think the same thing, I didn’t fall in love with you or anything, but why did you kiss me? How necessary was that? While I fully support casual dating and “hanging out”, I notice that it has some very different meanings than what I once thought it to be. Hanging out can mean anything from watching dog videos on the internet, to making out on the couch while BB8 screams in desperation.

This is dangerous.

While I agree that simply hanging out takes a lot of pressure off of the couple, there are frightening undertones of getting something physical out of it. Gentlemen, just because you like a girl and she likes you, does not mean she wants to make out with you (yet, anyway). So when you constantly ask a girl to “hang out”, it brings up some red flags. Although you may not realize that you are saying it, it puts this idea in our heads that you don’t like us as much as we thought you did. It gives off the idea that you don’t want to date us. I ask people to hang out all the time, but when I say hang out, I mean just that. Hanging out is for friends, or people who want to get to know each other. Do I want to date you? Maybe? Do you hate dogs? If so, would you be offended if I never speak to you again? It’s a mystery. This is why hanging out occasionally is a great thing before really dating someone. However, if you like a girl and want to actually make her realize that you like her, ask her out. Like, on a date.

It is important to use that exact word. DATE. 

If you only ask us to hang out, we will wonder what it really means. We will stay up with our roommates and decipher every word of your text, and every word that was spoken during said hang out, just to figure out what the heck that was all about. You might be thinking “this isn’t that big of a deal”, but trust me, it is. Girls know so much more than you think we do. We are simply born this way, we’re like softer and cuter versions of Professor X.

It all comes down to this; liking someone has become too casual.

I sound like a “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet. And I hate it. Whatever.

All I’m saying is, step up. I’m pretty sure Elder Holland and basically every other apostle has told y’all this multiple times. As a young, faithful woman who studies the gospel and it’s principles, the amount of respect I have for worthy priesthood holders is through the roof. At the same time, the knowledge of my worth as a daughter of God is more than I have had my whole life. If we desire to marry in the temple, have a family, and be with them, and together, for all eternity, then we deserve to be with someone who lifts us up, respects us, our worth, and our boundaries. I know I’m only 21 and I have a lot to learn, and I’m not actively looking for the one, but this is where we start. The type of people we date are the type of people we marry. Women; respect the men you date. Respect their values. Do not be afraid to be the one who makes the first move. Do not lower your standards for a man you think you deserve. Men; realize the worth of the women you date. Realize the worth of every woman you meet, respect and cherish the fact that they are literal daughters of God.

You know the classic teen-drama movie trope where the girl brings a guy home and the dad is sitting on the couch cleaning his gun? Replace the earthly father with Heavenly Father. Freaky, I know. Treat the women you take interest in like you’re taking them home to that.

And if you marry one, you actually are bringing her home to that (do they have guns in heaven? If so, does God clean them? IDK), so this metaphor actually kinda works.

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