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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Girl Cooties » Girl Cooties

Girl Cooties

D Christian Harrison - August 23, 2009

I’ve not been to a Mormon singles event in years. Until last night …

I live in Salt Lake City and I’m of a certain age. Which means I have great LDS friends — wonderful, well-intentioned folk — who are actively seeking to get married. And because they’re Mormon, they can’t help but evangelize. So I’ve been asked on numerous occasions to attend this or that mixer. It’s all innocent, of course. They know I’m gay, and just want to include me. They’re having a blast, and they think I will, too.

Heck, maybe they think that the right girl’ll get me to switch teams.

But I say “no” — consistently — and I always get the puppy dog look and the “but why”.

Here’s why: no matter how often they insist that everyone’s just getting together to meet new people and to make new friends, it’s just not true. Friendships are the sloppy seconds. Facebook adds, phone numbers, and first dates — thems’re the holy grail. So going to one of these events — where the girls are on the prowl for a husband and the men are on the hunt for a kiss (and maybe a wife) — well, it’s just asking for trouble. So what do I do? Do I jump in the closet and risk getting propositioned up the wazzoo by the girl in the corner. Or do I stay out of the closet? The guys’ll squirm and the girls will act betrayed.

But my friends are persistent.

It’s called “7 Guys for 7 Others” (they mean girls — read into it what you will) or, at times, “7 Hunks for 7 Hotties”. It’s a Facebook-facilitated LDS dinner club run by some friends of mine. It’s a great idea … and here’s how it works: about 300 people (!) are divided among 20 restaurants in groups of 14 (seven guys, seven girls). We eat and chat, and get to know folks we’ve never met before. Maybe some phone numbers are exchanged. Then we meet back at a suburban stake center where all the rooms have activities going on. Didn’t click with the folks at dinner? No problem! There’ll be 150 new prospects at the after party. Of course, there’s more interest than available seating, so the after party is where folks who didn’t make the cut for dinner come.

It’s wildly successful.

Last night’s event elicited 500+ responses for ≈300 seats. We even had people flying in from out of state.

My group landed at The Cheesecake Factory. I’d never eaten there, before. And while I avoid chain food, I was looking forward to the evening. We arrived piece-meal. Single 30-somethings scouting the (enormous) crowd outside of TCF for folks who might be 30, single, Mormon, and part of the dinner club. It took about 30 minutes, but by the time our table was ready, 11 of us had found each other. One showed up with some flourish a little late. Two were no-shows.

The table was long and the restaurant was loud … so we naturally broke into two smaller groups. Eight folks at the other end fell under the spell of the late-comer, whom I dubbed “Clark Kent”. Soon, our group broke into twosomes. I felt sorry for the girl who got me … she came to meet 7 great guys and got stuck with the affable one with no chemistry.

“I bet he’s gay”, she was thinking. “Our server is cute”, I was thinking.

We chatted … a little bit about my job, a little bit about a gloriously failed blind date she recently went on. We listened in on the two next to us, adding the occasional bon mot. It was nice. And not nearly as bad as I’d imagined.

We then decamped to the chapel in the suburbs for the after party. Dance music in a darkened Relief Society meeting room, light refreshments in the kitchen, one of those weird BYU touching games in another, a rousing game of volleyball in the gym … and 300–400 of the hippest 30-something Mormon singles I’ve ever met.

I saw my friend who’d goaded me into coming (and helped organize the event) out in the foyer … we chatted for a second, but he was busy doing the meet-n-greet. I got guilted into the touching game, but escaped unscathed after a couple rounds. I skipped the refreshments (always a good idea) … and then stepped into the gym to watch the volleyball game. It was a lot of fun to watch — and everyone was really into it. Surprising, given that everyone was in their dinner clothes.

And then Babs walked into the room.

I knew Babs back at BYU. We were in the same ward for a few years … bright, bubbly, and unlucky in love. Her eyes sparkled as she scanned the room. I stopped talking with the cute guy and jumped over to see her and give her a big hug. It’s been more than 10 years, and she was still the same amazing woman I remembered. And still single.

She played a bit of volleyball, then we went out and set-up court in the foyer. We sat and caught-up … she’s teaching down at BYU, her brother who was in the ward with us just married — at 39. And me? Well, this and that and I’m still gay. So she grilled me — so many questions, so much to say — all things gay and Mormon. It was absolutely delightful, stepping out of the closet. We talked for almost an hour.

It was late, and the smarter folk were peeling away to head home. We hugged goodbye and promised to talk again soon …

On my way out, I ran into Clark Kent. I chatted him up to the girl he was wooing and took their picture with her camera phone. He blushed at the attention and said his head was swelling with the compliments (gays make the best wing men).

Before I left, I asked if he was on Facebook.


  1. I’ve got less than two years before I am part of that 30s-something singles group/activities. *sigh*

    I’m always grateful for the social perspective you give me, Silus. Glad you had a good time and I hope you can have more experiences without the cooties getting in the way>:)

    Oh, and I’m ok with you not switching teams. I already have enough competition with all those Clark Kents around here!;)

    Comment by Bret — August 23, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  2. That was nicely written. I was 29 before I got married, I had some delightful times with some groups.

    Wish you well, and continued good times.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — August 23, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

  3. Fun story–I love those unexpected reunions.

    Comment by ESO — August 23, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

  4. Delurking for an awkward question…

    wth is a “BYU touching game”?

    (I’m old. Very very old.)

    Comment by s'mee — August 23, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

  5. @s’mee: there’s an entire class of games played at BYU (and, by extension, among LDS singles) whose sole purpose is to force participants into mildly compromising positions or to otherwise touch each other.

    The most famous of these, is the orange roll, wherein the group is divided into teams of two each (boy, girl). Each team is given an orange. The orange is then wedged between the couple and the first team to move the orange up the body and into the mouth of one of its members, wins.

    As you can imagine, for the luckless and/or forlorn, this may be the only change they get at a little touch therapy.

    Comment by Silus Grok — August 23, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  6. @Bret: two years is a long time. There’s still hope for you. ;)

    Comment by Silus Grok — August 23, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

  7. ( Aside: it’s a shame this wasn’t about Girl Scouts … then the title could have been “Girl Scout Cooties”. )

    Comment by Silus Grok — August 23, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

  8. The orange-passing game:


    Starts at 5:30. You get the general idea by 7:45.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 23, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

  9. Needless to say: BYU touching games just don’t do it for me. Not as scripted, any how.

    Comment by Silus Grok — August 23, 2009 @ 8:09 pm

  10. I’m in the same situation as Bret. A year and a half till I’m 30 :( However I wish there were 30s activities here in Nashville – I’d actually go! Going to dances and dancing with 21 year old returned missionaries when you’re 28 and in grad school gets old.

    Comment by Carrie LC — August 24, 2009 @ 11:44 am

  11. Interesting post, Silus. I always liked the game where you pass playing cards best.

    Comment by MCQ — August 24, 2009 @ 11:46 am

  12. Like I said: scripted differently, I don’t think I’d mind these games so much.


    Comment by Silus Grok — August 24, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

  13. (did you hear that?……um yeah, that was my mind reeling back to the early seventies)

    I *do* remember these games. Ack Ack Ack! The one with the passing of cards was delightfully named “Suck and Blow” which for me, as a young innocent socially inept, just about made me faint with embarrassment at just the name alone, much more so for having to “suck” on a playing care and “blow” it onto the boy next to me. Oh sweet death come for me now.

    Sorry Silus. Sorry to everyone who is subject to these games and evidently the evenings that accompany them.

    Comment by s'mee — August 24, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  14. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading this. Such a funny culture we have in our church, wouldn’t you say? I loved your voice in this, though!

    Comment by Maggie — August 27, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

  15. @Maggie: you’re so kind! Thank you. I loved writing it. :)

    Comment by Silus Grok — September 2, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

  16. You should make a movie about this :) So glad I met my wife on my first blind date and it worked. I hated the dating game and don’t think I would have found a wife otherwise. Someone was looking out for me.

    Comment by Bravone — September 5, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

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