Monday, February 28, 2011

Mormon Monday - Youth Dances

Mormons like having dances. Notice I did not say they were good at dancing...

As you move into your teens, you are expected to start pairing up with boys - but only in the most innocent, non-committal, chaperoned kind of ways. Dances at the local church building are considered good ways to encourage healthy boy/girl interaction.

There is a dress code. As a girl I needed to wear a skirt or dress, never pants, and it needed to reach the knee. No sleeveless or midriff-baring outfits. No makeup. If you did dance with a boy, you had to make sure you could fit all the Mormon scriptures - the Bible, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants - in between your bodies at all times.

Music was carefully chosen so that it didn't contain profanity or suggestive lyrics. YMCA was a popular song at dances, which makes me wonder how well the adults knew The Village People. My mother still tells the story of when she was 16 at a dance in Sweden and they played Lady Marmelade. She was the only one who spoke French and she rushed to the DJ to let him know just how inappropriate it was.

Dances were open to anyone 14 and up. No dating until 16 - but only with a chaperone and with no intention of "going steady" with anyone until 18. After that - hunt down the returned missionaries, snag a hubby, and start popping out those Mormon babies.

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