99th Ask Josh – Somebody to like

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Dear Josh,


As a girl at BYU, I came with the idea that I would have dates every Friday and Saturday night, before too long I would meet an ambitious future senator, doctor or lawyer, and we would be married before I graduated, at the latest. 
I can’t even find a guy that I could be close friends with, let alone a relationship where we would ever consider marriage. I’m beginning to think he doesn’t exist. I served a mission. I felt like maybe that would make me more spiritually attractive, give me more in common with the RM of my dreams… the older I get, the more it seems that this RM only exists in my dreams. 
It just seems like I’ve done what I need to to be entitled to this dream man of mine. 
It seems like there are some guys that would have this problem too…
I don’t know what I want to ask. I’m just venting. Thoughts?

I know you’re not a big fan of anonymity, but…
please understand why I’m not listing my name.


Anonymously yours,


Lost Hope



Dear Anonymous,


I find your question quite timely, seeing how we are currently in engagement season of the year when our friends who were just as single as you were a couple months ago are now and asking you to join their Facebook club requesting addresses, and there you are with no club to call your own saying, “Anonymous and Dream Man are ‘sealing the deal'” or “Anonymous and Dream man are getting married and need your address!”


According to a BYU census, 78% of us at the University are single. So, in the words of Billy Joel, we are among those that are “sharing a drink they call ‘loneliness.'” While that may be a dim prospect, Joel submitted, “It’s better than drinking alone.”


I hear complaints on both sides of the line, women at BYU who don’t ever go out on dates like they had planned, men at BYU who don’t feel like there is anyone to go out with, and both sides lamenting that all the good ones are married already.


A topic like this has bounced around my circle of friends. I look at them and could not imagine a finer group of young bachelors. They all go on a hefty amount of dates, and yet, like those who identify with the words of the U2 song, they “still haven’t found what [they’re] looking for.”


Maybe that’s our problem. Maybe we’re looking for the wrong thing. You’re looking for the doctor or the senator, and we’re looking for the talented, funny, spiritual, athletic girl who can work a room, fix a car, cook up a storm, and age without aging, has perfect ankles, earlobes not attached directly to her head, pioneer stock, etc.


I used to not have a problem with that attitude. Whenever we made a list of the characteristics of that perfect man or woman, we were told right after, “If you ever found someone like that, why would they have any interest in you?” Then our YM/YW leaders told us that we have to hold ourselves to the same standard and that lesson is worth a whole different blog post entirely.


Armed with that counsel, I made it a personal mission of mine to be the perfect man, completely irresistible to that perfect woman as soon as I found her. I worked my butt off in school, I learned to dance, never missed seminary, earned that Eagle Scout, got into BYU, played all the sports, participated in all the clubs, bought all the Jane Austen books, memorized Shakespeare, practiced piano, learned to sing and act, learned about the arts, learned to enjoy the ballet and broadway musicals, adopted the attitudes and personas of the great movie characters, served an honorable full-time mission, did (and still do) all the things I thought the perfect woman would be looking for. For whatever reason, I’m no closer to getting married than I was the day I got home from my mission.


Allow me to be personal and chiasmatic for a moment. Forgive me if I come off as a sympathy-seeker. I tell myself that I can learn to love anyone. Love doesn’t seem to be an issue after having lived with siblings, companions, and roommates of all types and personalities. The issue challenge is not in finding someone to love but someone to like. I have taken out just a handful of girls where I finished the date and thought, “I really really like that girl.” But it doesn’t work out. I get back from dates sometimes and say to myself, “She’s great. But I don’t really really like her.” Or, “I have no complaints about her, I’m just not in love with the woman.”  And I silently sigh and think to myself, “Am I not allowed to be with someone I really really like?” Or to borrow the words of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, “Would it spoil some vast eternal plan [if I found someone I really really liked]?” I tell myself that I can force myself to love anyone, that’s not the challenge (knowing from Dan in Real Life that “love isn’t a feeling, it’s an ability”); the challenge is in finding someone I like. Now if I have come off as trying to get sympathy, please forgive me. I just wanted to be a bit chiasmatic and personal for a moment.


There is not much more that I have to say on the subject for right now, since you didn’t even really ask a question in the first place. I’ll close with this final thought that is not even my own. President Hinckley quoted this newspaper column by a man named Sydney Harris. It read like this:


One of the grand errors we tend to make when we are young is supposing that a person is a bundle of qualities, and we add up the individual’s good and bad qualities, like a bookkeeper working on debits and credits.

If the balance is favorable, we may decide to take the jump [into marriage]. . . . The world is full of unhappy men and women who married their mates because . . . it seemed to be a good investment.

Love, however, is not an investment; it is an adventure. And when the marriage turns out to be as dull and comfortable as a sound investment, the disgruntled party soon turns elsewhere for adventure, . . .

Ignorant people are always saying, “I wonder what he sees in her,” not realizing that what he sees in her (and what no one else can see in her) is the secret essence of love.

Entering a marriage calmly and rationally is like dancing a bacchanal calmly and rationally; it is a contradiction in terms. It takes into account everything except what is important–the spirit. [“Love and Marriage,” Deseret News, 18 October 1977]





  1. It’s a good thing your father could look the other way on the earlobe business….I guess 10 out of 11 ain’t bad ;o)

  2. Would you like to go on a date with my friend? I think she would like your sense of humor.If you want to, I’ll give you her number or something.

  3. Would you like to go on a date with my friend? I think she would like your sense of humor.I could give you her number if you’d like.

  4. I just published the same comment twice, because I was confused that it didn’t appear. Oops.

  5. I went to a sealing and it was said that we have to like who we marry as the foundation of loving them, because somedays we won’t love them, but we must always like them. what do you think of that? because aren’t we supposed to love all? personally, i haven’t yet figured out the answer to my question, but i think that it’s true. to romantically love someone, we must enjoy or like them for how they are.

  6. That seems backwards….I think some days you don’t LIKE them, but we need to always LOVE them….

  7. Josh I love you so much. I hope one day we pick out wedding china together. What is your favorite opera and which is your favorite broadway musical? Which would you rather go to see?

  8. I really like this post. Especially all of the song lyric references. classic!

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