My son will turn twelve next week. Last Saturday he held a girl’s hand as he escorted her to the center of the gym in a Stockton Stake Center to learn the Waltz. “Were you nervous?” I asked. He wasn’t.
“But she was. I could tell.” And then I remembered being a twelve-year-old girl, wearing pink Chapstick and mascara, and using Avon Self-Tanning Lotion that made orange streaks on my legs. I remembered Robbie, the freckled boy up the street that I had a crush on. He liked me back. One night I snuck out of the window with almost all the girls at my slumber party and we ran up the street in our pajamas to meet him. He and I snuck away for a few moments to the secluded corner of his carport where he asked me the long awaited question, “Will you go with me?” I was delighted to say no, almost as delighted as I was to have him ask. The satisfaction that he had asked, that somehow I had wiled him into liking me, was enormous. I was desirable. I was in control.
In Kathryn Soper’s brilliant article Why Standard Nights are Substandard, and subsequent essay Emergence she begins by exploring the way chastity is almost always addressed within LDS culture.