The Single Years of The Good Mennonite Girl

The Single Years of The Good Mennonite Girl

As soon as she gets out of school, 8th grade or 12th, depending on where she’s from, she must get a minimum wage job at a bulk food store, bagging cinnamon powder and gummy bears and oats. Here she will learn valuable skills such as customer interactions, and how to not cut her fingers off with a cheese slicer.

Once she has completed her bulk food term, other job options include cleaning houses, labeling books at Choice Books, anything related to the minibarn business (if she’s from the east coast), or babysitting.

She must be told at least once every three months that “Someday the right guy will come along.” She will even have well-meaning people tell her that as soon as she surrenders her desire for marriage, the right guy will come. She will try to do this, but unsuccessfully, because ohmygoodness that boy she met at Bible School last term is just so CUTE! And godly, of course. The cute godly boy will not notice her and instead date a girl she doesn’t like very much. It will take her precisely six months to move on to the next crush. Repeat cycle.

At some point during her single stretch, she must do some service work. Whether it’s volunteering at an orphanage, cleaning for a missionary family, or teaching school in a distant community is up to her. Those are the only three options.

She must attend a myriad of bridal showers, weddings, and baby showers for her friends. She must also be a bridesmaid a minimum of three times, and in at least two of those weddings must wear an unspeakably ugly dress which she will throw out as soon as the wedding is over.

Volleyball is her sport of choice. If she chooses soccer or tennis or any other sport, she must be banned from the cool crowd without further notice. If she does not play sports, she will not be excommunicated, but she definitely will be an old maid. She will play volleyball in at least one tournament annually. After all, that is very likely where she will meet her future husband.

Her wardrobe will vary, depending on her church, but if allowed to wear these things, it will most likely consist of denim skirts, graphic/striped tees, and floral dresses with belts. She will wear a black lace scarf or doily headcovering. She will inevitably look back at pictures from her teens and gasp in horror at her awful lack of style.

She must keep a “hope chest” of items for her house for when she gets married. However, this will be a top secret, because hope chests are so 1990s.

If she doesn’t meet her husband at a Bible School or volleyball tournament in her late teens or early twenties, she will decide she is meant to be an old maid. At this point, she will either go to the mission field again, or she will decide on a nursing career and start college. As soon as this happens, her dream guy will appear out of the woodwork and ask her out. If she’s in missions, she’ll hastily complete her term and return to wedding bells, or she’ll drop out of school and get ready for wifehood.

Now she moves on to planning a wedding. The wedding will be held in a church with hideous green carpet and gaudy church decor (since it’s the only thing big and cheap enough), which her friends will spend a whole day trying to hide with tulle and eucalyptus in mason jars. But that’s ok, because it is, after all, her turn to get paid back for the dozens of weddings she’s poured hours into for her friends. The wedding will be large, because although she talks constantly about wanting a small wedding, she simply won’t be able to handle the guilt of not inviting her second cousins and third grade friends. The reception will be in a gym, with rows and rows of long tables for her guests to sit at, and fill their bellies with mashed potatoes, meat balls, red punch, and ice cream. The festivities will conclude with awkward open mic stories you can’t quite hear because half the people are still talking.

The wedding is over, and now she drives off into the sunset to her honeymoon in Gatlinburg, while her friends clear the gym for a few rousing games of volleyball. And there we shall leave them, as her friends develop new crushes on that awesome spiker at the after-wedding volleyball, and the cycle repeats itself.

I feel the need for a small disclaimer to protect myself from harm. Many of the things mentioned are not at all bad. Many are things I have done myself too. This is merely a saucy look at what sheeple we tend to be.

18 thoughts on “The Single Years of The Good Mennonite Girl

  1. This is so true. I see myself so many times there… sadly it’s so true about so many mennonite girls. Why aren’t we expected to finish high school and get a college education to make something of ourselves until that perfect nan comes along?? Just thoughts I’ve had. πŸ™‚

    1. I know, there are many things about our expectations or non-expectations that I don’t like very much. The good news is, we don’t have to fit in the mold if we don’t want to! πŸ™‚

  2. Keep writing!! This was hilariously spot on! I have stumbled across your blog and now I am hooked! I love when people can poke fun at themselves and still have a healthy self image! And you have a way with words that resonates with me!

  3. Spot on! Some are just funny things, some are nice things, some are a little annoying, like the vball obsession and the social box that goes with it. But I totally get it. And yes, my wedding church had hideous green carpet! I fit the mold enough in my single days for me to be allowed to laugh TOO hard, but I do remember the frustration in areas that I didn’t fit it.

  4. Spot on! Some are just funny things, some are nice things, some are a little annoying, like the vball obsession and the social box that goes with it. But I totally get it. And yes, my wedding church had hideous green carpet! I fit the mold enough in my single days for me to be allowed to laugh TOO hard, but I do remember the frustration in areas that I didn’t fit it.

  5. Poking gentle fun at one’s self and one’s culture is okay. Everyone has these thought bubbles they live in. It’s human. I am a little sad for the people who insist they have no cultural hangups because it means they had no sense of community, which is what enriches so much of life. Even closed communities… Anyway, I plodded through many of these rites of passage myself. I wouldn’t want to repeat them, necessarily, but they did make me who I am now.

    1. I also feel sad when people cannot see the humor that lies right there in their own little accustomed world. Last week I sang a song we used to sing at every wedding back in the day, and my kids went, “Mom, what in the world!!!” I did a double take on the lyrics and nearly split my sides.

    2. Yes, an equal post could be written about any culture. And I totally agree that it’s sad when people cannot see their own hangups and laugh a little at them. It just makes life a lot simpler if we don’t take ourselves TOO seriously. Also, now I need to know what song this was!

  6. Love it! “The wedding will be held in a church with hideous green carpet and gaudy church decor (since it’s the only thing big and cheap enough), which her friends will spend a whole day trying to hide with tulle and eucalyptus in mason jars.” Hilarious!

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