The recent Date Night held at numerous Church schools and Institutes across the country were reputedly well attended and appreciated.

Elder Clark Gilbert, Church Commissioner of Education remarked:

“This isn’t a silver bullet,” he acknowledged, in reference to the CES date night events. But he expressed hope that, despite strong societal trends in the opposite direction, these efforts can be a catalyst to re-instill a positive dating culture that will get people away from screens and help them connect together often as fellow Christian disciples.

Pairing off, even in the Church, has become more and more uncommon.

What’s the Problem?

Since I’ve been out of this environment and element for so long, I can’t hazard a guess. However, some issues are pretty universal and exist throughout time and across cultures.

“Dating” is hazardous to one’s health. It’s stressful, emotional, heart rending and scary, for everybody.

The Solution to a Positive Dating Culture?

I do have one idea to offer and it comes from my husband with a throwback to my past.

When my husband was single he would go to Church conferences for singles. Dancing was usually on the menu. Yes, he was often one of the few men in the room. He told me he would dance every dance with a different woman simply cycling around the room asking a different woman each time.

He’s not much of a dancer either. He told me, and I quote, “I just wandered around the dance floor until the music stopped.” His big feet, size 17 (yes, you read that correctly), were also a risk.

He explained his actions thus, “The gals deserved to enjoy the event. With a little effort on my part, I could help make that happen.” On reflection, he added, “VERY little effort”.

I asked him how the women reacted to him. He said they just brightened up when he approached them.

In my opinion, his actions were sheer genius. It reminded me of a ward dance I attended at BYU.

There were two guys there, friends and roommates, who hammed it up on the dance floor and had a blast. They were fun to watch but it was their other action that made it memorable.

They each asked every girl in the room to dance. They cycled through us all many times, all night long. I remember getting hauled out several times. It was fun. And, I’m certain that none of us were under any illusion as to what they were doing.

Those two guys made the evening a hit. Everyone had a good time. Nobody felt targeted or uncomfortable and we all enjoyed ourselves. I’ve felt grateful to them ever since and I’ve never forgotten them or the event.

Most dances aren’t that comfortable or fun.

Many Cheap and Simple Dates

If guys asked a lot of girls out on multiple dates that were inexpensive and simple, dating wouldn’t be so expensive or fraught with angst.

The fact that most dates have become rare and expensive is bad. Neither is conducive to really getting to know a person.

One idea I ran across is “Tightwad Tuesdays”. The guys tried to make the date as cheap as possible. Just going for a walk and getting an inexpensive ice-cream cone would do the trick.

Women wouldn’t feel targeted if they knew the guys were asking out every other girl on the planet. Pressure would be off and people could just get acquainted and familiar with each other. If pairing off did occur in the future, it would happen more naturally.

Remove Barriers

Consider this from my first husband’s past:

One of my favorite stories is how he got started dating. His father and stepmother were concerned that he had no interest in dating even though he was 16.

His father confronted him about it. [He] explained that he didn't have much money for dates because he only had a part-time job. He had no vehicle and buying gas would be difficult for him as well.

Intending to remove these barriers, his father and stepmother told him that he could have the car any day of the week and that they would pay for the gasoline as well as the date.

With all barriers removed and faced with almost too good to be true conditions, [He] made the most of them.

This system lasted exactly one week. After seven dates on seven consecutive nights with seven different girls, [his] father confronted him again.

He told him, "There's nothing wrong with you! From now on, you can have the car one night a week and you can pay for your own dates and gasoline."

Having the rug pulled out from under him so fast still bothered [him] all these years later. He thought his Dad had been very unfair in setting up a system he then dismantled almost overnight.

Amused, I asked [him], "And you don't think your actions were ... exploitation?" "No," he said defiantly, but rather unconvincingly.

Interestingly, despite having to pay for his own dates, he did start dating in earnest. It took a nudge with some barriers removed.


There may be as many barriers as people but there are probably some broad barriers that could be removed, like expense and the angst I mentioned above.

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