Sisterhood and the Judgement of Paris

I watch, “The Bachelor in Paris.” There, I said it … disparage or pity me if you will.

It started innocently enough. Roommate A tivo’d it, and I watched because she was watching. And no, I wouldn’t jump off a bridge if she did, but it might be interesting to watch if she had a bungee cord on. Anyway, I got hooked, and I’m in until the final rose.

In the awful world that is reality tv, Travis is both judge and prize. He gets to re-enact the judgement of Paris … in Paris, ironically enough. He’s an ED doctor who looks like he should be ensconced in marble as opposed to flesh and blood. And he’s a genuinely nice guy. So nice that he almost fades into the background alongside the beautiful and strong-willed women who surround him.

The women are compelling. So beautiful that they could be models for Dr. 90210 (who’s a member of my stake!). Each competitive and determined to “win.” Each passionate, or at least that’s what they’re putting out for the camera. Each vain enough to be a contestant on this show. Hera, Athena and Aphrodite.

What amazes me is how concerned the women are about (not for) each other. Instead of focusing on their own strengths, they’re constantly gauging themselves against the other women. Jealousy, pettiness, backbiting and cleavage. It all makes for great trash-tv, but it’s awful when it happens in the real world.

A few years ago, in a special Relief Society meeting in the singles’ ward, the bishop met with us to discuss dating. I remember giggling at this naïve comment by one of the younger sisters in the ward: “When two girls are dating the same guy, we shouldn’t let our jealousy get in the way of our sisterhood. In fact, if the guy is trying to make us jealous, we should be mad at him!” And no, I’m not advocating guy-bashing, but there was a bit of truth in it.

In the LDS singles’ world, men actually have much better odds than Paris did. Even the Encyclopedia on Mormonism states that, “For all singles over 30 there are 19 active men [who attend church] weekly for every 100 active women.” And yes, I know the stats are old (pre-1992), but I doubt they’ve improved. I’ve seen a bit of competition for those 19 men. It’s not pretty. It always saddens me, because it contradicts the second great commandment (hopefully we’re already working on the first) to love our neighbor as ourself.

Let me tell you about a real and earthly goddess-in-training. My friend S is just delightful. Her quirky sense of humor never fails to make me laugh. She has a great career as a speech therapist. As a newbie to the family ward, she started hosting monthly singles’ dinners that have grown to include people from as far Orange County, LA, the valley, and the Inland Empire. Now, several years later, she continues to invite people over for dinner to share in the warmth of her newlywed home. Last week, she even brought me a get-well package on Sunday when she found out that I was sick. She makes me want to be a better person. I am inspired, not diminished, by her … and that is the true measure of a goddess. Paris can keep that golden apple … I’ve got more than enough to pass around.

Jana is a university administrator and teaches History. Her soloblog is


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