Thursday Morning Quickie #8

[Note: The following text was taken verbatim from the “M Men-Gleaner Manual, Love, Marriage, and You” used in 1956-1957. Previous entries in this series can be found here.]

Lesson 6

Dating and Fun

Susie placed the receiver on the hook and exclaimed with joy, “Mother I have a date for the Gold and Green ball!” She jubilantly rushed into the kitchen to tell her mother that a boy she had met at school and who lived in an adjoining ward had asked her to go to this big event. Susie, who was sixteen, had never attended a party in a formal dress and now here was her golden opportunity. Her mother related that she was twenty-one before she wore a long dress to a party, and conveyed to her daughter enthusiasm for the coming event. Within the next week Susie and her mother spent two afternoons shopping and finally selected a beautiful taffeta gown of turquoise blue. Susie looked radiant in it.

On the evening of the ball, Susie bathed and spent about an hour preparing and primping herself to look her best. Jim, her date, called for her in his dad’s car about half an hour late–very typical–and another young couple occupied the back seat. When she was seated comfortably he handed her a box which contained a fragrant, brilliantly white gardenia. Susie was thrilled through and through. They soon arrived at the party, traded several dances and had a wonderful time. Everyone looked prim and dressed up and seemed to enjoy the dances, the floor show and the coronation of the queens. After the dance, the two couples went to a drive-in and ate hamburgers. They rode around for a short time and then Jim took Susie to her home. As she tiptoed to her bedroom she passed by the door of her mother’s room. The mother quietly asked, “Did you have a good time?” Susie answered quickly and enthusiastically, “Oh, mother, I had a wonderful time. Gee, it was so much fun!”

Quickie Questions

1. Why was this date so much fun for Susie?
2. Does the Church provide too few or too many chances for wholesome fun on dates?


Thursday Morning Quickie #8


  1. Karen H. says:

    I learned a lot from this. Women must primp and pay close attention to their personal hygiene, dress, and other dating responsibilities, but it is “very typical” for young men to be late.

    And thus we see the genesis of nagging marital fights for decades to come….

  2. Take heart, Karen. From the post, it only seems that you need to bathe on date nights–you’re fine to ignore hygiene on other days.

  3. Steve Evans says:

    Here’s why it was so much fun for Susie: Susie has no friends.

  4. Eric Russell says:

    The editor deleted a line that went after “hamburgers.”

  5. They rode around for a short time…

    Oh ho HO!

  6. I have one question: where was her father in all of this? Shouldn’t the presider have met this boy and had a talking to with him before the date? This would not fly in my house under my watch. This story is rank with societal rot.

  7. I try to bathe at least once a week to avoid societal rot.

    That stuff smells.

  8. Kevin Barney says:

    I kept waiting for the “wandering hands trouble” morality tale and it never came.

  9. So, Gold and Green Balls are what the Proclamation on the Family is talking about when it mentions “wholesome recreational activities”? I guess it doesn’t mean what I thought it meant.

  10. #6 oudenos – There is no father (“she passed by the door of her mother’s room.”). The obvious focus of this is that there is no father. He and the mother divorced years prior because he was addicted to pornography, Perry Como, and late-night variety shows. He was overbearing and mean. The daughter has lived with trauma most of her life, and the prospect of this nice young fellow from the neighboring ward is a relief to her and her mother. The mother is equally excited about it because the boy is a bishop’s son. Mom did not want to interfere with any post-date “good-bye” activity that occurred at the front door or otherwise make the boy uncomfortable. So she went to bed early.

  11. Moniker Challenged says:

    It was fun because:

    A- she went with a Mormon boy to a Mormon dance
    B- they double dated
    C- she worse a modest dress so her date didn’t have have to use a hanky to guard against touching her bare skin
    D- the hamburgers were served with real ice cream shakes and malts and fries and onion rings from scratch

  12. It was fun because she had (appropriately) starved herself for two weeks before the dance. That hamburger was like heaven on a mana bun.

  13. #12–Nice.

  14. I think the moral of the story is that gardenias are heavenly-smelling enough to make up for numerous faults (arriving super late, serving your formal-dressed date a crappy hamburger, etc). And I think anyone who has smelled a gardenia close-up will agree.

  15. #14-Better.

  16. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 3
    On the contrary, Steve. It’s clear from the account that Susie knew exactly how to be popular, just like Carolyn:

  17. Her mother related that she was twenty-one before she wore a long dress to a party

    I’m surprised no one else has picked up on this bit. It seems to imply that, as a teenager, her mother was either a prude (jeans) or a tramp (mini-skirts). Which is more likely?

  18. Scott,

    There is a third option: The mother was a socially awkward and was not invited to a long-dress-worthy party until she was 21. That is where she met the deadbeat/future ex-husband, who at the time, was already engrossed in pornography. Because of her awkwardness, she latched onto the first person who showed any interest in her, thinking that she could change his late night habits.

  19. The mother is living out the regrets of her own sad adolescence through her daughter, who must have ‘a wonderful time’ (said with breathless desperation) to make her mother happy but will some day collapse under the weight of her mother’s expectations. Or marry some loser who’s always late just to escape her needy grasp.

    See ‘Red Dress’ by Alice Munro.

  20. Hmm, jeans wouldn’t haven’t been prudish at all. More like a tomboy with no respect for proper decorum. And that’s probably why she didn’t get asked to a dance until she took a cue from girls at the young adult minglers and starting wearing the mini-skirts. One long-dress dance later and BAM! she’s a single mom, as is shown in the story.

    Ah, now we’re getting to the crux of this seemingly innocuous story. And here I thought it had no point.

  21. Scott B #17 – You are spot on. And I think it was mini-skirts. The husband became addicted to pornography and turned to other women, he claims, because before he and the mom were married, the mom would “take care of herself,” wear mini-skirts, “mid-rifts”, bathe each day, and set like expectations. But after they were married, things changed: mom began to wear long dresses, big jeans, baggy blouses, and her figure disappeared. He had trouble being attracted to her, etc. So yeah, I think mom wore mini-skirts prior to marriage and during her dating years. All right all, I’m done now. Seriously, I read this narrative and can only hope and pray that my two daughters have similar experiences . . . except I’ll be at the front door to meet the guy each time ;)

  22. The mother was a socially awkward and was not invited to a long-dress-worthy party until she was 21.

    Yeah, Fletcher (18), I’m not buying it. The story said nothing about not being invited to parties–it only said that she never wore a long dress to one. Logically, this means she either didn’t wear a dress, or wore a “short” dress instead.

  23. Hmm, jeans wouldn’t haven’t been prudish at all. More like a tomboy with no respect for proper decorum.

    Sunny (20.), I was originally going to say “feminist” but realized that would get me in trouble.

  24. Scott,
    Get YOU into trouble? Look at the trouble said feminism got Susie’s mother into!

    Just like a man to only worry about himself…

  25. living in zion says:

    Question 1: Why was this date so much fun for Susie?

    Answer: Poor Susie was sixteen, she was turning seventeen the next week and hadn’t been asked on one frigging date yet because all the boys were losers who thought quality time with a girl meant they played video games while the girls sat around watching and faking utter delight at the slaying of ANOTHER cartoon character on the screen.

    Question 2: Does the Church provide too few or too many chances for wholesome fun on dates?

    Answer:The Church is doing good just to provide a Sacrament meeting talk that isn’t a snoozefest, let alone micromanaging wholesome fun outside of the chapel.

  26. John Mansfield says:

    It turns out that Jim is already engaged. When this is revealed it crushes Suzie, and she withdraws to her collection of little glass animals. Her brother, who set up the date, deals with this by abandoning the family, just as his father had years ago.

  27. But why did the bishop allow his son to date a girl from a broken home? Troubling.

  28. John Mansfield, FTW

  29. Apparently (25) has some baggage they need to deal with.

  30. preparing and primping herself to look her best
    euphemism for bulemia

    about half an hour late
    because his brother – who was buying the beer – got off work late.

    another young couple occupied the back seat
    obviously “occupied” is another euphemism.

    After the dance, the two couples went to a drive-in and ate hamburgers.
    euphemism for “went to an alley and snorted lines”

    They rode around for a short time
    Well, Norbert obviously de-crypted THIS head-scratcher.

    “Oh, mother, I had a wonderful time. Gee, it was so much fun!”
    Doesn’t the snarky sarcasm of teenagers just make you wanna scream sometimes?

    With so much evil in the world, just once I want to read one of these object lessons that is uplifting and happy. Why do they put so much filth in these “Gleaner” lessons?

  31. played video games while the girls sat around watching and faking utter delight at the slaying of ANOTHER cartoon character on the screen.

    What are you talking about? I thought all girls love watching boys play video games. Have I been misled?

  32. Ahhh, I loved this one. What a nice story.

  33. Steve Evans says:

    Points to B.Russ for “snorted lines”

  34. living in zion says:

    #31 – this activity is valuable practice time for girls, who must learn to fake enthusiasm and gratitude in several areas of adult, married life.

  35. MikeInWeHo says:

    I don’t remember another case where such a lighthearted original post elicited such dark, cynical comments.

  36. #31 – this activity is valuable practice time for girls, who must learn to fake enthusiasm and gratitude in several areas of adult, married life.


  37. living in zion says:

    #35, #36 I apologize. I must be having a hormonal day. Don’t take it personal. I’m sure the women in your life have never faked anything.

    I am done doing damage for today and I will take my poison fingers home to my lovely, grateful husband. The End

  38. laughing at the idea of the women in Mikeinweho’s life faking something.

  39. So Susie was excited to get asked by a dirtball who was late, honked to pick her up, and fed her a burger?

    Dearest Susie, you shall never find Mr. Right when you’re spending so much time with Mr. Wrong.

  40. MikeInWeHo says:

    West Hollywood is my favorite city, where the women are strong and the men are pretty.

  41. “Jim, her date, called for her in his dad’s car”–“Hey! Sue! Hurry up and get out here! We’re late!” [Honk, honk, honk].

  42. 1. Why was this date so much fun for Susie?

    She got to wear a turquoise dress without being made fun of by her fashion-conscious classmates.

    2. Does the Church provide too few or too many chances for wholesome fun on dates?

    Seeing as there are no Church-sponsored Halo 2 tournaments in my area, I am going to say too few.

  43. Key words…. “turquoise blue” It really did seal the deal.

  44. Awww boooo. I should have read the comments first… namely the one right above mine lol

  45. Maybe this was in West Hollywood, “floor show and the coronation of the queens.”

  46. Susie got real beef in the hamburger at dinner, and not that blasted food storage TVP with wheatberries that her mom tried to foist on her. “It’s perfectly fine! There’s nothing wrong with it! The pioneers crossing the plains would have dropped to their knees and cried with joy if they’d had that to eat during the Wyoming blizzards! You ungrateful little thing! Jesus provides this food, and you turn up your nose at it because of a little mold!”

    And, the Church provides way too many opportunities for wholesome fun. Mormon Prom, water balloon fights, ice blocking, sewing baby quilts, Scouting, Girl’s Camp, singing at the retirement home, Disney movie nights, and so forth. With all these wholesome activities, the kids don’t have any time for experimentation, and next thing you know, LDS Family Services has a shortage of healthy white babies for adoption by bishoprics and high counselors. Unless we let these teenagers hang out in basements unchaparoned, or hiding together in the bomb shelter that Dad dug in the backyard, we’ll never get babies into the homes of these upstanding but infertile couples.

  47. #21: “mid-rifts”

    What the heck is a mid-rift, Eric? Sounds painful. Can it be corrected by surgery?

  48. #47 – He he. Until about 12 seconds ago, I didn’t know what it was either! Here’s what I found:

    When I was a teenager I would just overheard our youth leaders telling the girls to not wear them to activities, school, ever. I never knew what it was, but it was a funny word. I always just assumed it was a funny LDS-culture word for clothing that was too revealing. But I really didn’t know what it was exactly . . . until now.

  49. 48
    I think he was just making fun of your spelling. (rift – a split or seperation)

  50. an hour to get ready for a formal dance?!? I remember spending 3 hours getting ready for my high school prom.*

    *3 hours of my life I will never get back.

  51. Yep B. Russ (49). I think Eric S. wins the explanation fail award for the day. :)

  52. What went wrong Shelley? No hamburger?

  53. Scott:
    Prom was lame. I think formal dances for teenagers now have kind of lost the charm that they used to have.

  54. Steve Evans says:

    Shelley, they haven’t had charm since Jane Austen. Formal dances suck, and they have always sucked.

  55. Agreed, Steve. The problem for Shelley is not the formal dance; rather, it is her expectations about formal dances. If she were adjust those to meet the proper level of lame that has been associated with formal dances since the early 19th century, she would join Susie in her rejoicing.

  56. I had a mad crush on my date. We went snowmobiling for the day. We had a steak dinner. I look good in a tux.

    I guess I’m the odd man out. I loved Prom.

  57. My teenagers seem to enjoy the dances, but I notice that the dance itself has become sort of beside the point. The festivities begin with the creative asking and answering and continue through a day activity, dinner, the dance and then an after party. With all that other stuff, the dance gets little actual time and attention.

  58. My teenager (boy) sure is excited about prom.

  59. JA Benson (58),
    Make sure and tell him that chicks dig drive-ins and hamburgers.

  60. “The festivities begin with the creative asking and answering…”

    Creative? This was the verbatim conversation from my first prom:

    Me: “So, um, Ed is going to take Emily, so I guess that leaves us.”
    Date: “Yep. Sounds like a plan!”
    My mom (who was standing nearby as this conversation took place over the phone): “Alex, you have to ASK her!”
    Me: “Oh, right. So, do you want to go to prom with me?”
    Date: “Sure.”

    Second prom, I asked my friend through AIM. She had gone to homecoming with me, even though she lived in another town and had a boyfriend. She still lived in another town and had a different boyfriend when we went to prom. She just wanted to go to an actual dance, and I happened to have the means.

  61. And thats why Alex T. Valencic is often referred to as “The Ladykiller”.

  62. Thanks B. Russ. My wife thinks otherwise.

    Keep in mind, I was 17 and 18, respectively, when I did these things. I was 25 when I got married.

  63. $5 says Alex proposed via Text Messaging.

  64. Scott 59-too late, he thinks limos and fancy catered dinners are what modern chicks dig.

  65. Sorry, Scott, I actually proposed via Scrabble.

    Does that mean you owe me five bucks?

  66. Scrabble = Message in text.

    Pay up, bro.

  67. HA!

  68. From wikipedia (and yes, I am citing wikipedia as a source):

    Short Message Service (SMS) is a communication service component of the GSM mobile communication system, using standardized communications protocols that allow the exchange of short text messages between mobile phone devices.”

    The Scrabble board is not a mobile phone device.

  69. Alex, that’s great, but why are you bringing SMS into this?

  70. Kristine says:

    Alex (60), That’s not so bad. Here’s the one from my first prom:

    Dave: So, Kris, would you like to go to Prom?
    me: Well, I guess so, but I don’t think anyone will ask me.

  71. Left Field says:

    My first prom? Uh, I’ll keep you posted.

  72. Scott, that is a dirty-rotten abuse of your admin powers and you know it!

    Kristine, I’m glad to know that I wasn’t the only awkward prom goer!

  73. Such baseless accusations, Alex! I’m hurt.

  74. Well, as long as you don’t require the payment of five bucks, I’ll let it slide.

  75. (@46 (Michael)


    “God has a sense of humor,” as my mom says: she is the Enrichment counselor. They had a Wheatberries Night, and “what in the what now are WHEATBERRIES?!” became quite a running gag in my home. I drew a picture of a perplexed panda with “Wheatberries!” splashed across it.)

    Suzie is in dire danger of becoming a hipster, reviving such retro-cool things as Green & Gold Balls. Turquoise dresses? (Off eBay!) Hamburgers? (Free range!) Doubling? (Oh, I suppose you want to save gas money.) Any more self-assured irony and Yo Gabba Gabba and one-speed bikes will show up in the Gleaners’ manual!

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