There has been lots of talk about Twilight on the Mormon blogs over the last few years.Â 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.