Who says regular Mormon guys can’t compete with Edward?

January 11, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 4:46 pm   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

There has been lots of talk about Twilight on the Mormon blogs over the last few years.  The author of the series, Stephenie Meyer, is a practicing Mormon and it is not too hard to sniff out the Mormon influences in the story in my opinion.

One of the complaints occasionally lodged is that no real guy could possibly compete with the fantasy that is Edward, the romantic hero of the story. On some levels this is obviously true: As a vampire Edward has super strength and super speed, plus he is independently wealthy as a teen, plus he is magically handsome, plus he can read minds. But I’m not sure those are really the most important things that make Edward desirable. It seems to me that Edward has other things about him that regular guys (single or married) can compete with: (1) Tremendous self discipline, (2) a powerful moral compass, (3) a desire to understand the girl, (4) a drive to protect and defend his loved ones, and (5) skills at being a tease. Plus regular guys can take advantage of important attributes Edward lacks: (a) A sense of humor, (b) a tan, (c) the ability to intermingle comfortably with human beings, and (d) the ability to live in a sunny place.

Regarding (1) and (2) — As Ms. Meyer knows, there are a lot of Mormon men with tremendous self discipline and a powerful moral compass. For example, making it through the marriage engagement process with a temple recommend intact requires those things in spades.

Regarding (3) — Everyone wants to be understood. Duh. The need to seek to understand others is Basic Human Interaction 101. If she doesn’t believe he is at least honestly trying to understand her he’s got a serious problem. As Covey says in his 7 Habits: Seek first to understand and then to be understood.

Regarding (4) — Protecting/defending loved ones comes fairly naturally to many dudes but it is an attribute that can be honed as well I would think.

Regarding (5) — Skillz at being a tease are especially useful to single Mormon guys in courting. As a former accomplished flirt I can attest to the fact that nearly kissing a girl is often a much more powerful tool than actually kissing her. Edward-like teasing is a great way to reel them in. You know — the “I want to be hands on but I am refraining” schtick that Mormonism forces upon us believing males anyway. So Edward doesn’t have anything on a guy with skillz on that front.

Regarding (a) — If a guy can make a girl genuinely laugh consistently he might as well have super powers. Isn’t there scripture that says a good sense of humor covereth a multitude of other shortcomings? In any case, a good sense of humor must beat calling a girl “spider monkey” right?

Regarding (b) and (d) — Ummm… not sure how much value is really in these but perpetually living in Forks WA sounds kinda sucky to me.

Regarding (c) — This is related to (3) and (a). It is hard to overestimate the value of some charm and social skills. One need not be a vampire to develop these traits. A mission is a good place to work on them.

So there you have it. No need to fret over competing with Edward my fellow dudes. On the important attributes Edward displays you can compete and you can develop other important attributes he seems to totally lack.

Go forth and woo.

16 Comments »

  1. You are such a guy. Shouldn’t Edward’s amazing abilities at being romantic count for something? It didn’t even appear on your list. You better watch out if your wife starts reading the books and making some comparisons. ;-)

    Comment by Sterling — January 11, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

  2. One of the finest compliments I ever received came the summer before my freshman year of college. I was a counselor at Camp Arrowbear for a choral summer camp. A summer romance sprang up between myself and another counselor, Nancy, who was not LDS but did have some strong Christian beliefs. She was a year older, had already gone through a year of college in LA, and had had some boyfriends who pretty much pushed physical affection as far as they could, so she was pretty startled by all the limits I set and held to.

    At the end of the camp, I drove her home to Long Beach. As we drove out of the camp, she undid her seatbelt (this was in 1971, pre-mandatory days), curled up on my right arm, and said, “I just feel so safe with you.” You can bet that after that comment, there was no temptation that would have lured me to cross any line with her.

    The romance was sweet, proper, but short-lived — she went back to college, I went off to BYU, and we both found other romantic interest. But we did stay in touch for a few years, including during my mission. Her last letter to me — received shortly after I got home from my mission — expressed again her gratitude for how I had conducted myself during our brief romance and how much it still meant to her three years later.

    Having raised six girls and having spent a year as a head resident at Heritage Halls (back when it was all female), I also know the heartache of seeing young LDS women pressured or led into situations by young men who hold the Priesthood and who know better — but choose to listen to their own gonads and not to the Spirit.

    So, yes, I think part of the strong emotional reaction that so many women, young and old alike, have had to the “Twilight” series is Edward’s self-control. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — January 11, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

  3. Sterling,

    Ah, but maybe it you who is “such a guy” (in other word “missing the obvious”). I propose that the characteristics I mentioned in the post are the stuff of being romantic. See bfwebster’s comment #2 for a fine example of what I am talking about.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 11, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

  4. You better watch out if your wife starts reading the books and making some comparisons. ;-)

    Oh she has read them and we even saw the movie together. I hear I’m holding up just fine in comparison.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 11, 2009 @ 7:34 pm

  5. I really just wish you would constantly stare at me in an intense fashion and also if you could hover over me all night and never take your eyes off me no matter how much I drool I’d appreciate that too.

    Comment by kristen j — January 11, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

  6. Hehe. Oh yeah — I forgot about the never-sleeping creepy-bedroom-stalker part about Edward. Real guys can’t compete with that but I suspect that is a good thing…

    Comment by Geoff J — January 11, 2009 @ 7:38 pm

  7. #2 having spent a year as a head resident at Heritage Halls (back when it was all female)

    Does it seem odd to anyone else that the head resident of an all-girls dorm was male? bfwebster, do you know why it was done that way?

    Comment by sister blah 2 — January 11, 2009 @ 7:57 pm

  8. I think the head resident at Heritage Halls was usually a young married couple.

    Comment by kristen j — January 11, 2009 @ 8:04 pm

  9. You forgot to mention that, like Edward, Mormon guys are impossibly handsome.

    Comment by E — January 11, 2009 @ 8:10 pm

  10. Hehe. Well E, as they say, YMMV on that count.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 11, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

  11. I’ll just point out that Edward had a blog for a while and it totally sucked and hardly anyone ever visited it let alone left any comments. So there’s one area guys can totally beat him in, though I’m not sure if it’ll help with the ladies.

    Comment by BrianJ — January 12, 2009 @ 12:09 am

  12. #7: As Kristen J indicated, it was actually my wife and I who were head residents. In fact, technically, my wife was the head resident (I was free to hold another job), though we were interviewed and hired as a couple. But I was the one who was up late every night (starting at midnight Sun-Thur and at 1:30 am Fri-Sat) kicking young men out of all of the apartments and making sure all the outside doors were locked (which usually took at least an hour). Ruined my sleep habits forever. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — January 12, 2009 @ 7:55 am

  13. Edward has super strength and super speed, plus he is independently wealthy as a teen, plus he is magically handsome, plus he can read minds

    You mean you can’t do these things? I’ve been deceived!

    Comment by Matt W. — January 12, 2009 @ 8:12 am

  14. Well done! I’ve been worried about my five boys feeling pressure to live up to Edward’s rep since practically every girl has read the series (my oldest son will be old enough to date soon). I think I’ll print this and keep it inside our copy of Twilight.

    Comment by Sara Newman — January 12, 2009 @ 9:20 am

  15. Glad to be of assistance Sara.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 12, 2009 @ 11:41 am

  16. Mmmm. nearly kissing. I do miss that.

    Comment by Very married Johnna — January 14, 2009 @ 9:55 pm

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