I do not want people to be very agreeable.

I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.
-Jane Austen

Same, Jane. Same. 
The past weekend (and the Grant debacle) has led me to a lot of self-reflection, and I've come to a conclusion that was apparently obvious to everyone but me: I only want men to like me once I've already decided I like them. 
*Sigh.* No wonder I'm perpetually single.
I think, naturally, we all want potential beaus to progress at the same speed we do on the spectrum from admiration to marriage. I'm of the personal opinion that timing is just as important as any other one aspect in finding an eternal companion. After all, don't "He's going too fast," and "I'm tired of waiting for him to be ready," make the Top 10 list of dating complaints?
But really, in the grand scheme of things, isn't that a shame? That you'd lose out on something great only because the stars weren't aligned that day? Perhaps, though, that's divine intervention. Otherwise, what would stop you from ending up with them?
Anyway, no conclusions beyond that one were drawn. I'm still not interested in Grant, though recognized that the above reason was a big part of that. I ended up talking with him and explained that I just wanted to be friends. He was surprisingly okay with that, which I was very excited about. But since, he's only increased his flirting (in a "haha-just-kidding-but-seriously" way). At least he knows now. 
Despite the unfairness of wanting available suitors to accommodate my timeline, there's something undeniably beautiful about two people falling for each other at the same time.
 And then I want them to like me more than I like them, but that's an entirely different post.
With all the love in my flighty little heart,
The Dilettante

A man's imagination is very rapid.

I want to tell you about a moment of utter panic that I had this morning. It looked a little like this:




For alas, I made the mistake of being too charming last night on my date with Grant.
Now, I like Grant. I met him a couple months ago when he was visiting my YSA ward. He thinks I'm funny, and he's really nice. But he doesn't talk. It's like pulling nails to get him to say words. 
My response to painfully awkward silence is babbling. About anything. So when I'm with him, I just yammer on like Foghorn Leghorn. My entire life story comes out. It's over, and the silence is still awkward. I start telling my friends' life stories.
He's told me twice now that he loves listening to me talk. Drat.
Last night was our first date, but I'd managed to convince myself we were just hanging out. Grant told me on our walk that he'd recently had to cut ties with his last group of friends, and he was grateful he could just come to the city and do something. Great! I thought. I mean, after all, I was wearing sweats. And hadn't washed my hair in two days. Sorta on purpose. I'm just starting up his next friend group. He'll probably make a bunch more, and we can hang out in groups so there are more people talking. He pointed out his favorite restaurant, and said we should go next week. I agreed, but hinted that we should invite some of the other YSAs. Just a bunch of friends.
Then this.


Tell me, dear friends. What would Jane Austen do?

Clueless as always,
The Dilettante

The Moment When Casual Became Too Casual for the Dilettante

The thing that drew me the most to UVU Boy wasn't his love for older Pokemon games and Super Smash Bros (though I'm a closet gamer). It wasn't his mission pictures, or his adorable nieces and nephews, or his fake, knitted beard. It wasn't even the fact that when we met, we had a conversation where we planned a real-life Oregon Trail trip, and it was one of the most hilarious conversations I've ever had. It was because he was so laid back.

I hate digital-age dating. As if small talk wasn't bad enough, it's like we have to stay in constant communication to really be close, and that means dragging out the small talk and putting it on Facebook messenger or in texts. 

Maybe it's because I haven't been head-over-heels in love with someone since MSN Messenger was still a thing (How's that for a depressing track record?), but for me, what starts out as a fun and flirty relationship often ends up looking a lot like the conversation on the left. Being a good listener is one of my best traits, and I love it, but it tends to draw some pretty needy people. More often than finding someone I can have balanced conversation with, I end up with a guy who doesn't need a girlfriend as much as he need some sort of robot that throws him an affirmation every few minutes.

UVU Boy wasn't like that, though. He didn't feel the need to constantly be talking to me. When we both felt like it, we'd have a really good conversation via text or in person. Dates were fun, and I never felt insecure about whether he liked me or not.

"Great!" you say. "Why didn't you try to start something serious?" you say. Two reasons: (1.) I surprised myself by being really really comfortable with this "Are they, aren't they?" thing, and (2.) just before I met UVU Boy, I wore myself out going after a guy who put in no effort at all, and I vowed that I was NOT going to be the initiator with whoever I dated next. 

Months passed, though, and nothing changed about the way we interacted with each other. Our talks, our jokes...they weren't all the same, but they weren't building to anything. I'm no stranger to slow-burn relationships, but Season Seven of our TV banter was still looking an awful lot like Season One's. 

Both of us were sitting there under the expectation that someday we'd both decide to be more serious. After all, we got along great, didn't we? But neither of us really felt like we needed to be more serious yet. Even more months passed (nine, to be exact), and we were both still figuring we'd get to it someday.

Then I realized.

We don't want to get serious because we are just. friends.

Operating under the assumption that we were just being casual kept us both safe from everyone else out there. When friends asked if I was seeing anybody special, I didn't have to make up some joke about being a cat lady in training. I could shrug, smile a little, and say, "Well, there is this one guy..." When dates with another guy started to turn sour, I could tell him sorry, but there's someone else.

But we were never going to be anything. We just wouldn't admit it.

Letting go of that expectation wasn't difficult for either of us, ultimately. And the first time I tried to talk with him after that, it felt exactly the same as it always had.


Someday, I'll find that guy who glues me to my phone. The one I talk to constantly without the cursed plague of small talk. The one I'll put down my phone for, because I'd much rather carve out time to go see him face to face than text another word. 

Until then, I guess I'll keep practicing my cat lady jokes.

The Dilettante

Meet The Dilettante...and lots of numbers.

dilettante (n.) /dɪlɪˈtanteɪ,-ti/ 1. a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge.

If there were way to become happily married without ever having to go on a single cursed date, I would be allllll over that. (That being said, I'm probably not as opposed to the possibility of my own arranged marriage as I should be.)

reaction marriage derek odette swan princessTheoretically, dating should be pretty easy. (If you hate numbers and fun hypothetical situations, skip the next two paragraphs.) Let's go with some really rough statistics. Say I have the entire male population of Utah in one space. Current estimate is 1,388,317 males in Utah. I'm almost 24 years old, so let's say I'm not picky and look at 21-29 year olds. That cuts the number to 190,780. It was harder to single v. married statistic in Utah for this age range--I ended up with a 50% estimate. So there are now 95,390 single, age-appropriate men in front of me.

Here's where the stats get even sketchier. The 2007 statistic says 60.1% of the total population is LDS*, and 41.6% are active members. 23,849 men. But I think people should be pickier than that. So let me put more filters on. Let's pretend that the 30%** of undergraduates who escaped without debt are a decent representation of students who are good with money. Subtract 15% who hate cats. Lastly, I'm going to subtract 35%, because as "spiritually compatible" as we would hope any two active members of the church are, anyone who's ever actually been to a ward knows that spirituality is a very complicated concept. After reviewing the wide range in the many BYU YSA wards I've been to, I think a substantial cut is fair. 

I have 1,824 soulmates in Utah.

In one state. And I've lived in two states and two countries. Why is this so hard?

It's my personal belief that dating is both easier and harder than it should be. All these sticky emotions getting in the way and clogging up everything keep us from being engaged. 

Why doesn't God just send me my man in a box? I'd marry that boy so fast... In fact, why doesn't God just run my life for me? It would be really nice if He'd just force us all to make all the right choices and end up basking in Celestial glory, right? You know, "redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost?"


Waaaaaaaaait.


As much as I'd love to just have it over with, those pesky emotions slowly make up who we are and give our life a purpose. They make us cry, push us to be brave, teach us to stand up when we've been knocked down, and often turn us to God. 

We may as well enjoy the journey, shall we?

Cheers,
The Dilettante



*(If anyone wants to be a little offended by my cutting out non-members, I would add that divorce rates are significantly lowered if your spouse is first, affiliated with a religion, and, second, affiliated with the same religion as you are. Since there's no good way to slap a number on spiritual compatibility, this will have to do. Secondly, More recent estimates of the LDS population are closer to 50%, so let's keep the 60% stat and assume that my spiritually-compatible, non-member men make up the difference.) 
**I swear, I'm not pulling these numbers out of nowhere. If you're really curious, I can give you sources, but in-text citations make me want to cut my eyes out, so...

The Tinder Chronicles Continue

When I initially made my Tinder account, I planned to use it for about a week. Test the waters, see what it was all about, maybe make some new friends, hopefully avoid creeps. You know. In the end, though, I think I was done with it after about 3 or 4 days. This was partly because I got super overwhelmed having 10 conversations at the same time with guys who had almost the same names. (So was this the Jake who served his mission in Colorado and liked rock climbing or was this the Jake who loves Indian food and said he'd been to China?)

However, it was also partly because my Tinder apparently had a mind of its own. Yes, Tinder Dilemma #2 was that a few days into using the app, Tinder decided it wouldn't let me message everyone anymore. It was weirdly selective about who it would let me talk to. In about half of the conversations I was having, I would attempt to send messages that would never actually send. The little "sending" progress circle under the message would just keep circling and circling and circling to no avail. I felt kind of bad, actually. A lot of my conversations ended up looking like this.

Him: So you lived in China?
Me: Yes, and it was awesome! I loved it!
Him: What was your favorite part?
Me: [SENDING.....SENDING....SENDING...] Well, I loved the people there. They were all so friendly and you could tell they always meant well.
Me: [SENDING....SENDING...SENDING...] Sorry, for some reason that didn't send. I said I loved the people most.
Him: I guess you liked everything and can't choose just one thing?
Me: [SENDING...SENDING...SENDING...] Haha no, I actually did answer you
Me: [SENDING...SENDING...SENDING...] Dang it Tinder, send my messages
Me: [SENDING...SENDING...SENDING...] TINDER YOU SUCK! I actually liked him. He's diving certified. We could have gone diving together. 
Him: Hey, so...China?
Me: [SENDING...SENDING...SENDING...] I give up.
Him: Well...maybe you'd rather talk in person instead?
Him: Hello?

So that kind of ended my Tinder adventure prematurely. I had a handful of poor guys attempting one-sided conversations who eventually thought I'd ghosted them and gave up. A few were pretty persistent though, bless them.
However, I was on Tinder long enough during those few days to end up going on dates with 2 different guys. Neither ended up being a psycho. Actually, my first Tinder date was really fun and he came with me to a friend's birthday party a couple weeks later. My second date was nice but apparently couldn't tell I wasn't interested because he still messages me almost every day on Facebook. But eh. You win some, you lose some.

Although I managed to avoid anyone too crazy, I did have a few classic Tinder moments.

One of the very first messages I ever received was a guy who sent me the lyrics to the song "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias. No hi. No "what's up?" Just straight up "I can be your hero baby."
Although I was new to Tinder I had luckily discovered the GIF keyboard and thus was able to respond with a likely representation of my face when I read his message.

Yeahh. That conversation didn't last long.

I got a classic Tinder pickup line that had clearly been used with at least 5 other girls, probably that same hour: "Congratulations! You win the prettiest girl award for March on Tinder. I'm the official girl rater for the greater salt lake area. Where can we meet so I can give you your award?"
I actually came up with a witty and sarcastic response but decided against sending it when I realized I didn't even want to talk to this bro.

I also encountered Tinder Dilemma #3..."Wait, I KNOW him! He served in my mission! And wait a second, we are Facebook Friends!" Come on, Tinder, really? 
I really don't know what the correct protocol was. Swipe right so the two of you can laugh about the fact that you're both on Tinder? Swipe left and hopefully it's not awkward next time you see them in case they totally swiped right?

Even worse was Tinder Dilemma #3.2..."Wait a second, I'm Facebook friends with him...and he superliked me!" Way awkward, right? Unfortunately this wasn't a one-time thing, either. And every time I felt soo bad when I swiped left...but if I was interested, wouldn't I have written on their walls before now or something? Couldn't they message me and just ask me on a date? [I guess there is safety in Tindering, where the rejection is less....rejecting. You can always just tell yourself that the person you liked never gets on Tinder and thus never saw your profile in the Tinder lineup.]

I also discovered how to get someone to  NOT respond to you. 
In hindsight, I'm actually kind of sad that I scared him off. He played the cello. I'd totes date a guy who plays the cello. But I really did wake up with a 20 pound cat on my face. It doesn't happen every day so I thought it was monumental enough to mention.

In the end, I started meeting people in real life and getting dates organically so I stopped Tindering for the time being (although I may be guilty of having swiped again a few weeks ago after all my friends left Provo and I was feeling super lonely. haha.). However, Tinder (that sneaky app!) apparently wasn't cool with that. It was determined to get me back on and swiping. So, one night it send me this notification...


358??!! Ain't nobody got time fo dat!

Tips for the Gents

For any gentleman who read our blog and are active Tinderers, here are my recommendations:
1. Stay away from the pickup lines. I was way more impressed with a guy who had something to say about my profile than a cheesy line.
2. No shirtless pics. Like...seriously. 
3. That picture of you with the cute girl standing next to you? I don't care if it's your sister...why are you including it? It's confusing. I'm not really into guys with a potential girlfriend.
4. If your profile is witty I'm 3 times more likely to swipe right. Take this one, for example. Loved it.



Also, although the majority of guys just said something like, "Hey, what's up?" to start talking to me, here are a few conversation starters that stood out and actually made me want to talk back.
1. "Hey Charmer, I can only tell so much from your profile, but you're super cute and you look really fun! What are you up to?" 
2. "Top 3 international travel destinations you plan on visiting. Ready? Go." [I said I like traveling on my profile]
3. "Hi Charmer! I was hoping I'd get your attention. ;) How's your week going?"
4. "Hey, I was actually really hoping you'd swipe right! I love that you're an RM and I think it's really cool that you were in China teaching English! Where did you serve your mission?"
5. "你好![Chinese for "hello"]

In the end, I can't say I highly recommend Tinder but if you want to, you might as well give it a try. Trust your gut. If you get weird vibes swipe left. Meet people in public if you don't want them knowing where you live. And above all, don't take it too seriously. 

Good luck with the swiping,
The Charmer

The Tinder Chronicles

Online dating was never a thing I was going to do. My reasoning for that decision looked like this.
a) Aren't dating sites notorious for 50-year-old creepers who disguise themselves as attractive 27-year-olds? No thanks. I'm really not into the creeper sort.
b) My parents always warned me not to talk to strangers. Online dating encourages not only talking to strangers but actually meeting them. 
c) Ain't no way I'm marrying a man and having to tell people for the rest of my life, "We met on Match.com...."

Despite the fact that my best friend actually found her own non-creeper through an LDS dating site and married him, I was still skeptical. Besides, I've always been able to generate enough dates for myself without a dating website. Nope. The Charmer was definitely not EVER going to try online dating.

But then there was this app called Tinder.

Just for the record, I'm pretty sure I swore off Tinder along with the rest of the online dating sites. I mean, seriously? To me, Tinder seemed to scream, Let's judge people based on their eye color and shirtless pics. Surely Tinder was only for super shallow people who didn't go on dates because they spent all their time lifting weights at VASA. 

Well, about two months ago I returned from living in China for a year and a half. And I made a Tinder account.

Sigh. 

I don't really know why I made one. I guess it just intrigued me. My favorite mission companion and her sister both had Tinders. My ex-boyfriend/now-just-a-good-friend was a Tinderer. People were apparently getting married using the thing. So, a couple days before coming back to Provo for some job training, I gave into peer pressure and chose 6 pictures of me that looked good (but not too good. Still trying to avoid creepers here.)

After writing a mostly cliche bio about "enjoying traveling and eating", I only had to swipe through three or four people before realizing that Portland was definitely not the place for a good Mormon girl to be using Tinder. I turned off the "discovery" option and decided to wait until my feet had hit the holy soil of Utah before turning it back on.

Fast forward a couple days. I was riding the Frontrunner down to Provo where I would meet up with my mission companion when I suddenly remembered that my pocket held the key to meeting my eternal companion. I looked around and sheepishly pulled out my phone, then clicked on the Tinder flame. I turned on Discovery. I looked through a few profiles and swiped left on all of them because I was too nervous to actually swipe right. 

I put my phone away, silently mocking myself at the silliness of the whole thing. The Charmer on Tinder. Who would have guessed?

About 10 minutes later, my phone buzzed. I pulled it out and my eyes grew wide in horror as Tinder informed me that "someone had superliked me!" A superlike? What the heck is that? I gingerly opened the app and was presented with a profile of someone that did not look like he would be my type, but even worse....he looked FAMILIAR. 

I stared at his picture. I could have sworn he had been in one of my BYU wards. I looked at our mutual friends. Oh no, he had DEFINITELY been in that ward. 

Thus, I was presented with
 Tinder Dilemma #1: Should I swipe right because I know him? Maybe he only superliked me because he wanted to say "hey, remember me?" Would it be totally rude of me to swipe left if, in fact, he DID just want to catch up about our good old Glenhood ward? I mean, surely he wouldn't have just superliked me out of the blue, right? RIGHT? 
Ten minutes in and oh, I hated superlikes already. (I have this awful guilty conscious that flares up when it's afraid I'm going to hurt someone's feelings.)

So, I did what any cautious novice Tinderer would do: I ignored the like. I didn't swipe right. I didn't swipe left. Instead, I took a screenshot and sent it to my best friend to ask her if this guy had, in fact, been in our ward.

She responded affirmatively.
And then she made a joke about me being on Tinder.
(She has a lot of nerve, since she DID find her man on a dating website after all)

In the end, readers, I swiped right out of politeness. I swiped right on the chance that SuperLiker was going to respond with, Hey, long time no talk! How have you been? 

He didn't. Turns out he had absolutely no recollection of ever being in a ward with me, even when I pointed it out. No, he had liked me on the basis of my good-not-too-good pictures and the fact that I like to travel and eat. And now I was stuck talking to a guy with a self-proclaimed "dad bod" who specialized in pickup lines and awkward GIFs.

Welcome to Tinder. 

--The Charmer

A Few Updates...


First off, are you working on your submissions to be the next Anti-Austen? I sure hope so!

Update #1: I realized that I majorly goofed and put the wrong email address in the last post. If you tried to send a submission to me, resend it to my correct email address, xoxo.the.charmer [at] gmail.com. I just fixed it in the original post as well. You can also send them to byudates [at] gmail.com
Remember that the deadline is March 17! If we don't feel like we've found "the ones" by that point, we may extend the contest. But for now...just send 'em in.

Update #2: In sadder news, I leave China in 2 days! It's such a strange bittersweet feeling. On the one hand, I feel like the timing is right and that I'm supposed to head back to the States. On the other hand...I'm going to miss it here. I love all my students and the branch members and the everyday adventures. But I'm hoping for plenty more adventures when my feet hit US soil again.

Update #3: The teacher coming to replace me is actually a fellow Anti-Austen reader! You might remember that I advertised about the position on the blog. Well, one of you responded, applied, and got hired! I am actually on my way out the door right now to go to the airport and meet her. I'm quite glad to have another Austen-loving Mormon to replace me at the university. ;)

Well, that's all for now. Just wanted to let you know I love you all and we are looking forward to choosing the next Anti-Austens!

Are YOU the Next Anti-Austen?


Alright lovely readers, we have some exciting news for you.

When someone asks you for your worst date story, do you always have to stop and think for a minute because you have so many?
Do you feel like your life is so far removed from a Jane Austen novel that it's ridiculous?
Have you read our blog and thought to yourself, "Oh my stars, I have an experience EXACTLY like that"?
In short, have you ever wanted to be an Anti-Austen?

Well, you're in luck! As much as the Romantic, the Lady, the Bluestocking, and I have loved caring for this blog, we realize that he time has come to pass the torch. After all, this blog began as an outlet to talk about our dating lives at BYU. Seeing as none of us are actually at BYU nor do much dating (besides the happily newlywed Lady), we decided it was time to invite a new group of Austens aboard.

We have put our hearts and souls into this blog and we are looking for new writers who will do the same! Although the four of us may still occasionally pop in to share a post or offer advice, YOU will become the new face and heart of the Anti-Austen.

Are you already concocting up posts in your head? Thinking of a pseudonym? Perfect. Then we want YOU to apply to be an Anti-Austen!

Here's what you need to do to be considered. Fill out the following questionnaire and email it to xoxo.the.charmer [at]gmail.com or byudates [at] gmail.com. (My Charmer account forwards everything to my own email account, so if you send it there I will be sure to see it and send it out to the other Austens ASAP.) 
The deadline to submit an application is March 17, 2016.

1. Which one of Austen's characters do you relate with the least? Why?

2. Which of the gentlemen in Austen's novels would you prefer as your suitor? Why?

3. Why do you want to write for the Anti-Austen?

4. Are you currently attending BYU? What are you studying? When do you anticipate graduating?

5. Please choose two of the following prompts and respond using 200-500 words.
A. Pretend you are a character in one of Jane Austen's novels. Your introductory scene occurs at a ball. Introduce yourself from the viewpoints of the other characters present. 
B. Describe your last awkward encounter with an ex.
C. Tell us about your first date at BYU from your date's perspective.
D. Finish this analogy: "Dating at BYU is a lot like _______....."
E. Share your best flirting tip. 

6. What pseudonym would you like to write under?

We are so excited to see your submissions and choose our new Anti-Austens! Please let us know in the comments if you have any questions.

Also, we've recently had a handful of guest posters as a way to "throw a lure out" and see what kind of talent is floating about these bloggy waters. If you have recently had a guest post published on our blog, please note that in your application!

So, start thinking of pseudonyms....

The Charmer


Group Dates & Getting Set Up: A Guest Post

Happy Valentine's Day! I'm enjoying a tropical vacation AND the single life. I'm fairly certain I will have my own fair share of dating exploits soon, as I'll be back in P-town in a couple of weeks. For now, enjoy this guest post!

 All of you know a girl like me. I’m the one who doesn’t really date, but all my friends covet the brilliance of my dating advice. I orchestrate elaborate matchmaking schemes for others and then somehow manage to panic and intentionally friendzone myself with absolutely anyone I find attractive. It’s sad, really.

One time, however, I outdid myself. Have you ever been on a date before when you aren’t sure if it’s a date? What about an outing that you are sure is a date, but you’re not sure who you’re on the date with? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my life.

There were four of us in our small squad. The Cowboy, Rafiki, Clara Oswald, and me. The Cowboy had been my friend the longest. Despite the fact that The Cowboy was younger than me—a usually fatal dealbreaker—I was completely twitter-pated.  I have an incredible weakness for cowboys anyway, and he was a little bit of a bad boy to top it off. I was intrigued, and since Clara and I were always together, and he and Rafiki were always together, the four of us got to be very close. 


Rafiki, named so because of his hilarious laugh, was the definition of girl crazy. He fell in and out of love on a daily basis, and couldn’t let a sentence go by without saying something smooth. And while I had known women he fancied more than me, between Clara and I, I always managed to get hit on more often. The Cowboy and I had discussed my total lack of feelings for Rafiki, and The Cowboy found it rather hilarious to watch us together.


Clara Oswald was beautiful and exotic, a Parisian whose sense of humor was just as dry as mine. I hoped beyond all hopes that she and Rafiki would hit it off, knowing that Rafiki would be less into me and picturing the potential for double dates. Sadly, she seemed indecisive.

The day I decided to make my move was like every other day. Sitting together on the carpeted floor of the cultural center after playing glow in the dark tag, Rafiki set me up seamlessly.
Looking back and forth between the two of us and grinning like a hyena, he said, “I sure like going on dates with you two.”

Perfect. I had been waiting for a moment like this. Looking nonchalantly at The Cowboy, I asked him, “What’s your plan for our next date?” It was the perfect blend of I’m-playing-along-with-Rafiki-if-you’re-not-into-it and I’m-totally-asking-you-out-if-you-are.

The Cowboy looked surprised, but pleased. It was the exact expression I had been daydreaming he would have. He smirked. “Well what would you want to do?”

And then everything fell apart.

“Yeah! The Cowboy can buy me lunch and Rafiki will buy you an island.” I tried not to gape in horror at Clara. How on earth had she misunderstood me so badly? First off, as she so clearly did not 
comprehend, I wasn’t really joking. Secondly, she so did not just make it seem like she preferred The 
Cowboy.

In shock, I sat in silence while Rafiki scooted over and threw his arm around me. “Speaking of lunch, let’s start that up now. I’m hungry.” I locked eyes with The Cowboy and managed a wry smile as we all stood. He shook his head slightly as he grinned back at me.


We were never really able to go on an official date. After that day, Rafiki made sure that every group outing we had was referred to as a group date, but could never decide if he was dating Clara or me. Soon, it became a joke that we could just pick who we were dating for that day. Even if I was “out” with Rafiki, however, The Cowboy and I were always the ones who ended up off alone, talking.

The Cowboy found it funny, and though we continued to flirt, neither of us was ever that bold again. Shortly afterward, I moved, and The Cowboy and I grew apart. A month or so later, I got an old fashioned, handwritten letter (be still, my heart!) that talked about timing, and wishing things were different.


In the couple years since, The Cowboy married his Cowgirl. I sent him a wedding present and still talk to him on occasion, proving, I guess, that our friendship was more important than our feelings for each other. Sometimes, though, when I see those silly little jokes and challenges that I loved so much, I wonder what would have been…



The Charmer and the Dating Game, Part 2


Can we take a second to appreciate the fact that the blue guy on the left is CHRIS EVANS?

In hindsight, I guess I should have KNOWN that my dating life at BYU was destined to be wild. After all, what else could be expected from the girl who won "The Dating Game" 2 days after arriving on campus? 

If you haven't read part 1 of this post, make sure you catch it. And, if you have read it, you'll recall that I managed to win the Dating Game my first week at BYU. In true Charmer style, classes hadn't even started yet and I already had a date. Bam.

A week later, the big day arrived. Naturally, I was excited for my first BYU date, but I was also a little nervous. I'd never been on a blind date before (which is essentially what this was). And to make matters even more anxiety-producing, the Bachelor was cute! Cue the freshman girl jitters. I probably spent an eternity getting ready for that date. I still remember exactly what I wore: my favorite yellow shirt from Charlotte Russe and a star necklace. Get it, girl. 

I can't really remember the details of how I got picked up for the date. (I'm losing my memory in my old age.) I know there was a communal van taking the six of us--me and my date, the Bachelorette and her date, and two random people from BYUSA. Like I mentioned, the date was set up by some organization through BYUSA and so they also sent a couple representatives along to pay for everything and act as chaperones. I mean, it wasn't like this situation was awkward enough already, right? I'm fairly certain my date picked me up at the entrance to David John Hall (can I get a *woot woot* for Helaman Halls) but the four of us may just have met up outside the Cannon Center. 

Regardless of how we got there, we ended up at Costa Vida for dinner and bowling. After we got our burritos, the four of us were sitting together and trying to make small talk when the BYUSA reps came over. They explained that they wanted to film us on our date so they could show it the next time they held a Dating Game. They also told us they wanted to interview us each individually, so they asked us to come up with random facts about ourselves that we could share. Then they left us again so that we could continue to pretend that this was a normal date.

"Hmm, well, I'm really good at baseball?" my date said. "I don't know if that's exactly the kind of 'random' that they're looking for. What are you going to say, Charmer?"

I thought about it. "Well...I've always wanted to be a movie star. I still secretly hope it will happen. I guess that's pretty random."

"No, guys, I have the perfect thing!" The Bachelorette spoke up. "It is seriously the most random thing about me. I mean, it might be kind of weird to share...but I think that's what they want, right?"

Her date grinned at her. "Okay, what is it?"

Before I tell you what she said, know that nothing quite prepared me for her response. I figured she was going to say something like, "I have a pet snake" or "I won a hotdog eating contest." Those would have been fairly normal random answers, right?

Instead, she grinned at us before announcing,"I have a third nipple!" 



My date coughed on his Sprite. I tried not to burst out in shocked laughter. Her date, to his credit, handled the surprise pretty well. His eyes widened only slightly before he composed himself and said, "Oh...umm...wow, yeah, that's pretty random."

"I know, right? Like I said, kind of weird," she said, laughing nonchalantly. As if it wasn't a big deal to share intimate details of your chest with three total strangers.



In the end, we never did get interviewed. (I think our BYUSA reps forgot that we were supposed to be the ones on a date. They were pretty into each other.) We ate, we bowled, and then we went to the Varsity Theater to watch the movie "Prince Caspian." After that, we got dropped off at our dorms and I wondered if I would ever see my date again (nope). Beyond that, most of the details from the date have faded from my memory. I couldn't tell you if I bowled well that night or not. I hardly remember anything about the Bachelor except that he was from Ohio and he liked sports. 
But I don't think I will ever, ever forget that girl telling three strangers about her third nipple.

Got a first date story that one-ups mine? Send it in! We'd love to feature it here on the blog! xoxo.the.charmer[at]gmail[dot]com

The Charmer and the Dating Game, Part 1

Reading the submission from our last featured guest poster made me reminisce about MY first date at BYU! The story was too good not to share. Enjoy!
xoxo,
the charmer

I was thrilled to go to college. I practically counted down the days of my senior year, looking forward to everything about BYU. Freedom, all-you-can-eat Cannon Center food, dances, football games, and most importantly....BOYS.

To say I was excited to date at BYU would be a gross understatement. I'm pretty sure the prospect of dating countless handsome and spiritual young men was the primary motivator that drew me to BYU and not to some other university. I had visions of getting hit on in the line at the CougarEat and kissing a rugged man at the top of Y Mountain. I imagined late night "study sessions" in the library and falling in love to the sound of the Young Ambassadors. I think it's safe to say that the sparse options in my hometown had left me a little bit boy-crazy.

In fact, I was so excited to date and keep track of all my dates that I prepared an "ABC Dating Journal" to document my adventures. I made the goal to date a boy whose name started with each letter of the alphabet. I mean, where else would I run into Gideons and Uriahs and Helamans? Probably only at the Lord's University, right?

My first couple days at BYU were a flurry of boxes, anxiety, and teary-eyed parents hugging me before handing me off to my freshman orientation counselor. The orientation tour is one fuzzy memory of free Creamery ice cream, lots of glass buildings, two orientation counselors getting engaged, and my now-best-friend The Roommate popping excitedly into my face and introducing herself. But most importantly, I remember walking around campus wide-eyed at the endless array of attractive, clean-cut young men. This place was heaven! Thus, you can imagine my excitement when we found ourselves headed to the freshman orientation party at the end of the week. Our first party as college students! With so many attractive boys to talk to! Omg. 

The party was set up in the WSC and had everything a typical BYU party is known for: a capella performances, watery lemonade, hundreds of crunchy sugar cookies, and a dance party featuring the latest in hip (yet clean) music. Oh, and there was one other thing: The Dating Game.

My small group of new-found friends and I wandered into the auditorium just in time to catch a group of boys competing onstage for the affection of a blonde bachelorette. She was sitting off to the side of the stage and was separated by a curtain so that none of the contestants could actually see her. The game was simple: each contestant filled out a brightly-colored questionnaire asking things like, "Do you prefer to STUDY HARD or PARTY HARDER?" "Are you more likely to watch a CHICK FLICK or an ACTION FILM?" The bachelorette would give her answer and then every contestant with the opposite answer had to leave the stage.

We watched for a few minutes before someone wearing a BYUSA t-shirt approached us. "The girls are next. You guys should do it!" she said cheerily, handing us each a copy of the questionnaire.

My friends shook their heads, laughing. "No way!"

"Guys, we should! Come on, why not?" I urged. "It's our first weekend as college students. We need to live a little!"

 Apparently my pep talk was the encouragement they needed, as they laughingly agreed and we all filled out our questionnaires.

A few minutes later, we found ourselves standing on the stage surrounded by about 80 other giggly freshman girls. I huddled to the side with my three friends, soaking in the excitement and randomness of the whole situation. I was at BYU! I was playing the dating game! I was going to be 18 in 4 days! LIFE WAS AWESOME! We cheered every time the hidden Bachelor announced his answers and half the girls onstage had to leave. One of my new-found friends booed when she found that her answer to question 3 forced her to leave the now dwindling contestant pool.

Around question 5, I found myself standing onstage without any of my wingwomen. All three of them had been eliminated and were now sitting in the audience, wildly cheering me on. I grinned nervously at them as question 6 kicked off another 10 contestants and I moved closer to the front of the stage. I think it was at this point when I started wondering What if I ACTUALLY win this thing? 

By the time question 7 rolled around, I was committed. My competitive side kicked in. I was going to win The Dating Game. Those other girls had better watch out.


10 questions. 10 questions that I had answered correctly. All of my answers matched those of the mysterious Bachelor and I found myself standing at the front of the stage with 5 other girls who were equally lucky. The crowd went wild when the host announced us as the final 6 contestants. My own 4-person cheering squad was going nuts yelling "CHARMER! CHARMER! CHARMER!"

At this point, the competition got a little more intense. The Bachelor would ask a question and each of us had to respond. After listening to our responses, he would eliminate one contestant. My little freshman heart was pounding wildly every time I took the microphone. Luckily for me, he liked my rendition of "All I Ask of You" (when he asked us to sing him a love song) and apparently it was acceptable that my favorite flowers were daisies.

Finally, the competition was down to three of us. We were each given 10 seconds to make a pitch about WHY we should be the chosen one. For the life of me, I can't remember a word of what I said. All I remember is giving the microphone back to the host and having people shout "PICK HER! PICK HER! PICK HER!"

And, whether it was peer pressure or the fact that I have a beautiful sultry voice (haha...not), when the host asked the Bachelor to make a decision, he announced "I choose CONTESTANT 3!"

Oh wait, what?!?! That was ME!

Winning was kind of like this. Except I didn't get a rose and I wasn't wearing booty shorts.

The crowd went wild, friends and strangers alike. I followed the host over to the other side of the curtain, where the Bachelor and I awkwardly embraced. The host pulled us aside to get our phone numbers and let us know that BYUSA would be setting up a date for us the following Friday. It would be a double date with the blonde Bachelorette we'd seen earlier.

My friends excitedly swarmed me as I walked down the steps. There were cries of, "I can't believe it!" and "Girl, he is CUTE!" and "Your first date at BYU!" all shouted simultaneously into my still-astonished face.

"Well, I guess I'm going to get my first alphabet letter," I replied, grinning.

Curious to find out what went down on the date? Check out PART 2!



My First Date at BYU: A Guest Post

Okay, I seriously think my favorite part of this blog is reading the stories that YOU send in! Here's another guest post (with fabulous pictures included) for your reading pleasure.

How did my first date at BYU date go?

On a scale of 1-10, it won an astonishing 4.

Timeline
7:05--Casanova shows up at the apartment and stands awkwardly by the door. For a second, I think he's forgotten my name.

7:05:01--We're out the door.

7:07--After a really stimulating observation about how "[my] apartment is pretty loud--Are you guys the party apartment?", Casanova proceeds to tell me he has no plan for the date. I was a little miffed by this. Not because I particularly expect the guy to do everything, but because he had called me a week before and told me he would surprise me. He hadn't told me where we were going, or if we were going with other people, or anything. When he first called, it sounded pretty impromptu, so I didn't worry. But then there was a week of in between time he totally could have come up with something. Instead he asked me if I was up for anything. I was, so I said yes.

7:08-7:30--We walked to campus. The scenic route. I wasn't bothered by walking. The conversation was mostly Casanova-centric though. I chalked it up to nervous babbling, so I wasn't too upset he only asked a few token questions in between breaths.

7:30-8:00ish--BYU's Got Talent. This was a good move, howbeit unintentional. I watch American Idol, America's Got Talent, Britain's Got Talent, The X Factor...not that he knew that, but I was still excited. We showed up about halfway through the performance and took a seat in the back.  I now understand why people say theater dates are so awkward for a first date. You basically have to semi-shout an attempt at intelligent conversation. However, it usually ends up being a running ommentary that neither person wants to continue, but because the conversation hasn't closed, you feel awkward just leaving it alone. For the first part, I tried talking, but he was slouched down in his seat so far that I had to lean all the way over him to get near his ear. I'm 98% pretty sure he fell asleep multiple times.

8:00ish-9:00ish--Proceed to basement of the Wilkinson Center. Casanova asks me what I want to do. Never having been down there before and also a little freaked to have been put on the spot, I told him I didn't care. I really didn't...much. I actually really just wanted to go home by that point. No luck. He chooses pool, telling me he's an okay player before
asking if I'm any good. (It kind of annoys me, because he asked questions on rare occasions, but they always seemed like something he remembered he needed to do, not like he actually cared at all what I was saying.) I got in a few lucky shots (because I'm horrible), so I thanked God for making me look like a decent player. He then went on to cream me. I am a very competitive person, and I didn't like this at all. I could have handled it if he played it off sheepishly or even teased me and challenged me to win, but he wasn't interactive at all. As I continued losing, he got more confident, shooting behind his back and whatnot (but with no acknowledgement of the fact he was showing off, like I was supposed to pretend this was how he played all the time). I got less confident, even missing the cue ball a few times, to which he just looked at me then acted like he hadn't seen anything. He talked, but it was all fluffy nothing. Okay, that's a lie. It was real stuff he was talking about, but I didn't really care anymore. It was like a broken record playing an album of songs like: I'm Awesome, My Classes Are The Worst Thing Ever, Where I'm Going On My Mission, and These Are The Things I Like. 

9:00ish-10:00ish--Since I hadn't known what we were going to be doing on said date, I ate just enough to tide me over until I thought the date would be over, just in case he wanted to do a let's-eat-out date. By 9:30, though, I was pretty hungry, so when he said "Hey, you think it's too cold for ice cream?" I was like, "It's never too late for ice cream!!" For some reason, in my head I pictured us entering the Creamery, getting the ice cream, and continuing on our longest-possible-route back to my apartment. Not so. I got to sit in a booth for a half an hour and listen to Casanova talk about...you guessed it...himself. Again.


10:00ish-10:30ish--Walking back. I figured out that if I just said "Yeah" "Sure" and "I bet" every once and a while, I could ignore what he was saying and concentrate on all the homework I needed to do once I got home. When we finally got there, I told him thanks and opened the door. My roommates were asleep, so the whole apartment was dark. Without turning on the light, I give him a polite "Thank you" and step inside. Instead of leaving, he takes a couple steps inside himself and attempts to continue conversation. I didn't respond, partly because I was hoping he would leave and partly because I was shocked he would think I would be okay with it. Finally, blessedly, he left.

Anyway, it's over with. I don't plan on avoiding Casanova or anything, but, because of a collaborative effort from both himself and me, he is soooo far in the friend zone he needs binoculars to see any kind of romantic interest. I think, in a way, this was a good thing. I was able to determine nothing was going to happen so early in the date, I wasn't nervous at all. Now, if/when I get asked out by someone who I want to impress, I don't have to deal with first-date-at-BYU jitters.

See that? That's me, being positive. I'm so proud of myself.......:/

Why I Don't Recommend Haunted Forests or Blind Dates: A Guest Post

Remember that one time I asked for guest posts? Well, the offer still stands, y'all! Anyway, this gem was submitted less than a day after I posted my request. I laughed, I cried, and then I utterly failed at sharing it with you guys. My apologies, and enjoy!
xoxo, the charmer
Background: I don't know the whole story here, but it sounds like this was a blind date set up by the writer's aunt. AKA almost the worst kind of blind date, second only to ones set up by grandmothers.
The struggle began before the date even started. His awkward texts did nothing to endear me to him, and I accidentally (sometimes “accidentally”) forgot to respond for long stretches of time between them. At one point I didn’t even bother to reply, unwilling to carry the conversation. Two days later, I was sitting in the car on the way to FHE when he texted. “Your aunt says you don’t think I have any guts.”
I’d never said that, and I told him as much. He proceeded to try and arrange a date for later in the week, and despite the fact that I kept attempting to get him to just call me, he managed to do the whole thing over text. At this point, yes, I didn’t think he had any guts.
He showed up that Friday night at 7, and almost right after we left, announced that we were going to a haunted forest. Not a great idea.
First of all, I was wearing open-toed shoes (which turned out to not be the biggest problem that night). Second of all, I don’t like haunted things. If I was to do something haunted, I’d want it to be with someone I wanted to be close to. Not someone that I barely even wanted to go on a date with. And then there was the fact that it was twenty minutes away, a drive that feels like eternity when things aren’t clicking.
And they didn’t click. In fact, by the time we’d gotten to the freeway, we’d apparently exhausted all conversation topics, and I’d fallen silent, okay with not saying anything in particular. He apparently wasn’t, as he tapped his hands against the steering wheel and said, “I just don’t have anything else to say.”
There’s a part of me that wishes I’d suggested we just go home at that point. That I’d said, “Look, it doesn’t seem like we’re going to work out. Why don’t we head back, get some froyo, and call it good?” It would’ve saved a lot of hassle.
We pressed on, the conversation stunted and uncomfortable. I don’t remember if the radio was on. I hope for my sake that it was.
Upon arrival, and prior to getting tickets, he jokingly asked who was paying. It wouldn’t be the first time he joked about that before the tickets were actually purchased. At twenty dollars a person. And then he wanted to also get a fast pass, when the line was maybe ten groups long and clearly moving steadily.
He left me standing outside the entrance while he used the bathroom, and I took the opportunity to send a text to a friend, wanting someone to commiserate with me. I’d continue to text throughout the night (at moments when it wouldn’t be inappropriate to do so).
The line was blissfully short, but as we approached the be-vampired ticket taker, the conversation got awkward again. I just tried to ignore the uncomfortableness and walked into the corn, attempting to forget the exchange. To my relief, it was simply a path through the corn, not a maze we’d have to puzzle our way through. I steeled my emotions, looking beyond the horror at the potential normalcy.
Each actor approached me first, thinking to frighten what might’ve looked like a weak and potentially terrified female. I obviously disappointed them, as not a single scream was emitted that night. By the time they realized I was a lost cause, it was too late to scare my date. And so we pressed on, impervious to the terrors that would confront us—except, of course, for the awkwardness that loomed between us.
Towards the end of the trail, my date began questioning the shadowy figures, trying to find a friend he knew was working, adding to the lack of enthusiasm I had for the whole endeavor. Not to mention that at this point, I’d heard close to five chainsaws approach me, none of which were actually worrisome. It was near the exit that the friend was located, but as we stepped out from the “creepy carnival” portion, we realized that it’d only been twenty minutes.
I still don’t quite remember what our plans were after that point. Maybe we were going to go get something to eat, or just take me back home. Regardless, those would all dissipate as he tried to open my door for me. He stuck the key in the lock, and unable to turn it, he pulled it out to find that it’d bent. It broke in his hands as he attempted to straighten it. The panic was almost immediate, and understandably so.
As I gave him a chance to solve the problem, I quickly realized he wasn’t getting anywhere, just worrying that he’d ruined everything, not really thinking through possible ways to fix things. “Do you want me to call my uncle?” I suggested, hoping that that would at least give my date somewhere to start coming up with a solution. I did so, and we waited for him to arrive. I leaned against the car, my arms and legs crossed—not due to the weather, but rather to my awkwardness. I stayed engaged with the conversation, wanting him to understand that this kind of thing was an accident, and I understood that.
We climbed in the back seat when my uncle showed up, somehow deciding to go somewhere to get a key copied. The drive was only slightly less uncomfortable as I chatted with my uncle. But, as we drove, my date’s discomfort was noticeable. “I just wish—” he began before shaking his head.
“What?” I asked.
“I just wish this hadn’t happened. Now you won’t want to go out with me again.”
Well. Yes.
“This could happen to anyone,” I hedged, not wanting to say it was him. But it was also definitely him. “It’s not like you were being a jerk.” But we don’t work together. So please don’t ask me out again.
The key eventually copied, we soon discovered that it wouldn’t fit in the lock for whatever reason. And so we headed to his family’s house to get a different car for him to take me home. Passing an Olive Garden, he remarked that we should go get him something to eat. “I’ll just get a glass of water,” I said.
“Why?”
“Well, for one, I’m not feeling great,” (yay for motion sickness) “and for another, I already ate.”
He insisted that after 7 was a perfectly normal time to eat dinner. “Yeah,” I said, “but you didn’t mention anything about getting something to eat. If I’m asked on a date, and they don’t say anything about food, I’m going to eat something before I go.”
It’s a clear indicator of how well the date isn’t going when you have better conversation with his stepdad than you do with your date. As if I needed more of a sign, it got even worse when I mentioned I didn’t know how to drive stick to my date. “Here, I’ll teach you,” he insisted. “I’m not going to shift until you do it.”
“What!? No, I’m not doing that!”
“C’mon, it’ll be fine!”
“No!”
We headed down the freeway, and he seemed more talkative than he had been before as he began complain about “judgmental Utah girls.” “That’s what I like about you: you aren’t judgy.” Clearly I’d passed the “can be calm in difficult circumstances test” and now he believed we were on track for date #2. “Actually,” I said, “three of my roommates are from Utah, and they’re not like what you think they are.”
Somehow, by the end of the date, he’d gone from having nothing to say to me to wanting to go out me on another date. On the other hand, I’d gone from not wanting to go out with him to definitely not wanting to go out with him. 
Loved it! Thanks for sharing with us. Were you reading this and thinking, "Oh  my gosh, I have a story JUST LIKE THIS"? We want to hear it! Check out my original post and send them in!