After the spiritual high of conference, I think we need something a little more mindless to cleanse the palate.
I saw the movie of the captioned title a couple of weeks ago. It involves a gorgeous, blond bombshell–a “hard” ten, as one character describes her–who inexplicably begins dating a regular joe schlub. His friends say he’s a five; one helpfully gives him extra points for some good qualities he has, trying to raise him to a six, but another friend points out some bad traits, which counteract the good ones and lower him back to a five again. And they enunciate a rule of dating; no one can successfully date someone who’s more than two points above you. It just can’t be done. Even if the other person will condescend to go out with you, the surrounding peanut gallery will be so incredulous that it will be easier to just jettison the relationship than to try to hold it together.
Then Friday night I watched the Kate Beckinsale version of Jane Austen’s Emma. And this “league” business plays a big part in the plot there as well. Emma obliviously tries to set up Miss Smith with men far above her social station in life, and looks down on her farmer-suitor who genuinely wants to marry her. Mr. Knightley is incredulous at this, since the farmer, he informs her, is also far her superior in the social structure of the time. Of course, Emma’s plans backfire in several ways, including when the vicar goes after Emma herself rather than the poor and unconnected Miss Smith, whose only recommendations are being pretty and amiable. The vicar, Mr. Elton, is incredulous that Emma would have paired him with Miss Smith, intoning “Everyone has his level.” Which I take it was the Victorian way of saying “I’m way out of her league–what were you thinking?”
I was also reading about how really gorgeous women have to be careful about how they play their good looks. If they go after the alpha males, the odds are good that the alpha males are going to cheat on them, their beauty notwithstanding–that’s why they’re alpha males, after all. If you go for a less desirable male, he’ll be so grateful and so thrilled to have won the relationship lottery that he’s much more likely to be faithful; but then you’re with, well, a less desirable male. It’s a tricky thing to negotiate.
So how does all of this play out in the Mormon singles context? What about SWK’s famous dictum that any two Saints of the opposite sex ought to be able to be happy together, provided that they are righteous. Do we really believe that?
And how does this work as a practical matter in the singles wards of the Church? My impression is that as the singles get older, the number of women begins to outstrip the number of men, which artificially alters the balance of power, with multiple amazing women competing for a lesser number of very average at best men. And then the men let it go to their heads and develop totally unreasonable standards that they could never hope to enforce in the dating world at large.
What if a perfectly amiable potential partner is interested in you, but you consider yourself out of that person’s league. Is that a righteous stance to take? Is it justifiable? But if you’re simply not attracted to that person, is there anything in the Gospel that suggests you shouldn’t let that be a hindrance?
What I’m trying to get at is that I’m interested in your stories and perspectives on this subject of “leagues” and socially perceived disparities among potential dating partners. How does this play out in practice out in the trenches of Mormon (or any) dating? Your war stories and wisdom, please.