It was a beautiful night and the air felt perfectly tempered as a gentle breeze caressed my skin with its warmth. The conversation was going wonderfully well as my friend and I laughed and enjoyed the pleasant nature of the evening while devouring our favorite treat. This pristine and happy moment was somehow enhanced as we both were party to the event happening just behind our backs. It was hard not to overhear the scene as it began to unfold. It wasn’t the first time I had been a witness to such a tragedy, but for some reason this time it took more effort not to laugh or yell out instructions how to avoid further disaster. You see, just behind our table were stationed a young man and a young woman on a date.
Perhaps the young fellow was recently returned from his mission, or maybe it was really the only experience he had ever had in his life. Whatever the reason, it was highly unfortunate for the girl sitting across the table from him. It wasn’t even cool mission stories about experiences that he had had, or people he had taught. He spoke of random details that while extraordinary in his mind were not being received too well in hers. Not only that, but the awkward nature of the encounter continued towards the crash course as he talked and talked about himself in a manner that was almost as tedious as when the pioneers had to walk and walk and walk. (I think the poor girl will receive similar blessings for having endured to the end.)
Before we go placing all blame on the young man, let us try to look at the picture from his perspective. He is returned home from his mission, perhaps recently. Sitting across the table from him is a cute girl. He is trying to get her to laugh and enjoy the experience, but to no avail. He is frustrated by the words that are fumbling out of his mouth. He keeps trying. He wants to present himself in a way that is good and will entice her to want to spend more time with him, but it’s not as easy as it looks. He knows she’s sick of hearing about his mission, but he can’t think of anything else to say because he is so nervous and she is not offering up any other topics so he sticks with what he knows. (Perhaps he too shall be blessed from enduring to the end of the date.)
As with most tragic moments in life, if we are not looking we may miss the beauty of this moment. In my mind there are at least two points of beauty happening during the whole ordeal. First, the couple is on a date! (Date: a two hour opportunity to get to know a child of God and see if you want to get to know them further) Think of it, two people who may not know each other at all are trying to get to know each other! In today’s society this is like a lost art form. Second, the two participants are learning about themselves, and about other people. After this experience it is my guess that the girl knows better where she stands on the matter. She may accept a second date because we are all awkward on a first one, or she may have enough information to move on. The young man knows that dating is hard, but that it is possible. He may have learned that some girls actually say yes to dates, and perhaps, pondering on the nature of the conversation, he will know how to impress the next one more.
From my experience, people miss the beauty of the lost art of dating. Somehow they get caught up in too many expectations and think in order for it to be art, that it must be a masterpiece. In my mind, dating is proof that you have to try several colors and techniques before you can create the right masterpiece. If you don’t even go on a date, or try to paint, how will you ever create the art?
My advice to the ladies, if a boy asks you on a date, it is really just a date. It does not mean he plans to marry you, or have your children. Gentlemen: a date is just a date. You aren’t committing to marriage, or having her children. Please remember the purpose of the date and continue to practice, until one day it become perfected and you see yourself and your companion all dressed up and making promises to God. Then, in that moment look back and remember, it all started with an awkward first date!
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.