“So can I ask you a question?” This is a fairly awkward phrase, right? If the question is truly innocuous, no one will precede it with an implicit warning. When you hear the question “so can I ask you a question?” you brace yourself, you take a breath, you smile and say “of course.” If you’re a Mormon and you hear this, you know you have about a 50% chance of someone asking about polygamy, your mission, or your underwear, so you try extra hard to stick on that super pleasant smile that says “you betcha.”
My boss walked into my office a couple of years back and said “so can I ask you a question?”
“My wife and I have been noticing something kind of strange at this house in our neighborhood. There are a lot of young women living there, and they move in and out fairly often. And pretty often some guys in suits will come over and visit. And the girls are all really pretty. And they dressed really skanky at Halloween. We think it’s a brothel. But this morning, when I was waiting at the bus stop I saw one of them, and she asked me about the bus schedule, so I started up a conversation and asked where she was from. She just graduated from BYU. So, apparently she’s a Mormon. Do you know what’s going on? Is this normal?”
“Ah.” I said, realization dawning. “So, here’s the thing, you live smack dab in the middle of a single mormon mecca, and you don’t know it. All of that is perfectly normal. They’re looking for husbands. Pay them no mind.” (aka “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Move along.”)See, I know about the greater Alexandria and Crystal City area in Northern Virginia. You can’t spit without hitting a Mormon (but you’re probably far too polite and professional to actually spit on a Mormon–this is good). All of the outsiders think that the Mormons are moving to DC to take over the FBI, the CIA, and other alphabet agencies. However, this is not true. This is a conspiracy theory (yes gentiles have them too). The alphabet agency co-opting is merely a by-product of the great migration to the Washington, D.C. area. The Mormons need to mate. If you’re super smart and somewhat unacceptably liberal, you head to Boston/Cambridge. If you’re artsy, edgy, or get into Columbia law school you go to NYC. If you’re just run of the mill smart, and you need an eternal companion (and you’ll commit involuntary manslaughter if you spend one more day in Utah) then you move to DC. Most Mormons are just run of the mill smart, and they wind up in Crystal City. They can’t afford housing (did you ever pay more than $250 a month for a contract in Provo??) so they move in together into townhouses. One moves out, another moves in, and pretty soon you have a Mormon house, and then a Mormon neighborhood (or a “saint-hood” if you will). Home teachers and singles ward bishops visit, and voila–those nice girls may look like hookers, but actually they are trying to find a hottie husband the old-fashioned way. (Well, not the really old-fashioned way…more like the nouveau-victorian way…in case the old fashioned way involves evolution, pheromones, and the world’s oldest profession.)
Cut to a few years later, and the Washington Post seems to have picked up on the trend. Either Mormons have reached a critical mass where they are now being tracked according to some secret government radar (that Mormons have yet to infiltrate), or it was a slow news day in D.C.
So did you ever migrate to one of the three east coast gathering spots? Did you live in a big Mormon house? Did you have the decency to dress modestly on Halloween? Did you find your eternal companion? Do you work for a secret government agency? (No wait, don’t answer that last one.) What advice do you have for single Mormons flocking to Little Provo? More Halloween parties?