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Mormon and Single... Again
A Humorous Look at Life after Divorce

By David F. Clark, M.A.

Looking for a reason to smile? The following is an excerpt from the new book Mormon and Single… Again by member David Clark. In this book, David explores the humor in the lives of those who are LDS and divorced. From blind dates to family gatherings (and back to blind dates), the life of a divorced Mormon is filled with absurdity and irony. The author draws upon his background as a therapist (and as a divorced Latter-day Saint) and appeals to the reader's sense of humor to introduce a sense of perspective. This humorous look at life strikes a healing chord with readers, so they can move forward with strength and courage. If you’re divorced, or if you’ve simply been single longer than you expected, this book is for you. Sometimes, you’ve just got to laugh.

Blind Dates
At some point, your friends and family will try to set you up on a blind date. They will express their desire to help you find your eternal companion, that special someone with whom you share a magical connection. They will assure you that they know someone who is absolutely perfect for you: intelligent, sensitive, kind, spiritual, and good looking.

They’re lying.

I don’t mean to imply that your loved ones would lie to you, but they are lying to you. Okay, I will grant you that it might not be an intentional lie, but there are, nonetheless, a number of untruths flying around.

Here’s how this well-intentioned tragedy unfolds. Someone who cares about you and wants to fill the void that they see in your life (let’s say your sister for the purposes of this example) decides to keep an eye out for eligible companions for you. Her fixation on finding someone that’s single leads her to overlook all other compatibility issues (this stage of the blind date trap can be particularly hazardous if your sister happens to work at the public defender’s office, the state unemployment center, or Radio Shack).

Her burning desire clouds her judgment to the point that when she meets an alcoholic, one-eyed prostitute being charged with manslaughter in connection with a previous relationship (or even worse – an attorney), she immediately says, “You’re single? So is my brother. You would be perfect for each other. I’ll set it up.” Of course, this is assuming you’re not into alcoholic, one-eyed prostitutes being charged with manslaughter (or attorneys). If you are, I offer my apologies. I’m sure you’ll be very happy together (editor’s note: this was in no way intended to be a slight against all the alcoholic, one-eyed prostitutes being charged with manslaughter out there).

So you allow your sister to set you up on a blind date. Because you’re too smart to let this random person know where you live, you meet at a restaurant. At this point, all you know about your date is that she is really, really sweet, and your sister cannot fathom how she is still single.

During dinner you will discover one of several things. One possibility is that your dinner companion does not have a firm enough grasp on the English language to distinguish between the term “blind date” and the term “therapy session.” If she starts telling you anything about her ex-husband, family dysfunctions, or Amway, this is an indication that you should be charging counseling fees for the conversation rather than paying for dinner. Try to subtly redirect the conversation with phrases like: Your face gets all pudgy when you talk, I don’t care about that, or blah, blah, blah, wah, wah, wah. Don’t forget body language. Long exasperated sighs, rolling your eyes, and sliding slowly off your chair to the floor can all relate your painfully intense boredom and disinterest.

Another common blind date discovery is that your new friend has the social skills of a toddler, so you are embarrassed by them and for them, both publicly and privately. Examples include: showing you his collection of Star Wars action figures (not dolls) before you go out; asking you to bless the food at a nice restaurant, and angrily shushing people at the surrounding tables for increased reverence; or putting a Weird Al Yankovic CD in the car stereo, singing along loudly (and poorly), and glaring at you when you begin singing in an effort to reduce the awkwardness of the moment. I wish that I could say that these are fictional examples. Unfortunately, they are all part of a single date, related to me by a friend who has an uncanny ability to attract men with the social skills of a dromedary after it’s been in the desert for three months (and you know how much worse they are than regular camels).

You may find yourself on a blind date with someone who has no personality, or someone with way, way too much personality – both of which are equally painful. It’s hard to say whether it’s tougher to drag a conversation out of someone intent on answering all your conversation starters with yes or no, or trying to get a word in with someone who seems to be part dolphin because they only have to take a breath every fifteen minutes. Either way you will be exhausted by the end of the date.

You don’t have to feel trapped though. Pass the time by playing a little game. If you’re with Mr. No Personality see how long you can drag out the silence. Reward yourself with dessert if you can go more than twenty minutes. If your date won’t stop talking, keep track of the number of first person, personal pronouns (I, me, my, and mine) that come out of his mouth during every ten minute period. Keep score on your napkin. Anything over fifty should be considered an Olympic-type effort, and may indicate that you’re dating an actual celebrity, a woman with an inflated ego, or an average guy.

If you sense that your date is a habitual liar, or simply likes to exaggerate his accomplishments, push him for details on his stories. It should prove entertaining, and every once in a while you can find someone who climbed Mount Everest, orbited the Earth, solved a Rubik’s Cube, or does his home teaching on the first of every month.

Another common blind date discovery is that your new friend carries an engagement ring with him everywhere he goes, just in case you happen to be “the one.” By the time the entrée arrives, he’s had a profound revelatory experience and is working up his courage to propose. And he will find the courage to propose to you on your blind date. It’s not like he hasn’t had plenty of practice. He gets manifestations like this all the time. He’s full of something, but it’s not the Spirit.

If you find yourself in one of these tragically common situations, don’t worry. There are a number of quick and easy ways to get out of your date early without creating undue embarrassment for you or your companion. The most obvious is to fake a grand mal seizure. This way you don’t have to get up and walk out of a crowded restaurant in the middle of a meal. The paramedics will take you out on a stretcher. Once you reach the ambulance, you’re free and clear because only family members can ride in the ambulance with you. Just ask the paramedics to drop you off at home. They’re used to this, but a tip is considered customary. If you’re lucky, one of the paramedics will be cute, so the evening won’t be a total loss.

Another classy way out of a bad situation is to start a small fire. Once the smoke alarms and sprinklers go off, it’s easy to become separated in the confusion. You’ll have to be prepared to cover the costs of smoke and fire damage, but it might be worth it to avoid, “I brought along my old wedding photos so we could reminisce about the life I used to have that I’m completely over and have moved past and am not at all bitter or emotional about any more.”

If subtlety is not important to you, simply run screaming from the room. Be certain, however, to take your purse, glasses, and jacket with you because it’s really embarrassing and theatrically anticlimactic to have to skulk back to the table to retrieve them after such a dramatic exit. Also, you should leave a dollar on the table because I know that if I had a dollar for every time someone ran screaming from my table, I’d be a rich man today.

Once you return home from your blind date, you will be expected to report to your sister who arranged the meeting. She has been waiting with great anticipation to hear how you think this might be the one. As you relate tales of arguments with waiters, psychotic episodes at movies, rants about political issues, and how she (or worse, he) has a very small dog that she treats like a person, your well-meaning sibling will be on the floor, overcome with laughter and quite possibly needing an oxygen tank to recover. Do not provide one.

At this point, you’re really in trouble because now you’ve changed your sister’s motivation. She might have started out wanting to help you find your eternal companion, but now that she sees how entertaining the train wreck you call dating can be, she’s looking for the most entertaining story possible. That means if you continue to trust your sister, there is nothing but cross-dressers, socially-challenged science fiction fans, and attorneys in your future. It’s time to move beyond blind dates and take matters into your own hands.

Bonus Blind Date Tip: When someone asks, “Would you like to see the photos of my surgery?” the answer is always no.


Do you like what you've read so far?
Click here to purchase the book from Deseret Book.
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