Some people are talking about dating now like it's a practice one must learn to develop proper life skills. They describe it like it is an obligation that must be faced. In the olden days, it was just fun.

Back in the early 1980s, I was doing something right. People are just now figuring that out.

I’m reading in various places that some are concerned that young immortal single people don’t date enough. They just hang out with friends and are slow to go to the traditional one-on-one dating. This was not an issue in the olden days.

I went to a high school where if you were found to be of no worth, you were just stuffed into a garbage can. I wasn’t at the bottom of the food chain because I had a small group of friends that had lunch together and backed each other up. I even had some pretty girlfriends, which was impressive for someone who spent the day avoiding garbage cans. But I knew there were certain harsh limitations on who I was allowed to date.

The day before classes started at Brigham Young University, the woman I had followed to Provo broke up with me. I was on my own, but I soon discovered that BYU was a wondrous place with lots of women I could ask out. It was a wise Yoda-like roommate, however, who changed my world.

He was not an ugly guy, but he was not that handsome either. Norman was sort of an average-looking college student. And, yet, he would sometimes stop in the apartment with his date in tow and they were always such striking women that one might suspect he had mastered some kind of mind-control technique.

I was in awe and I asked him about this phenomena.

He looked at me very seriously and said the words that changed my life, “Do you know who gets to go out with the prettiest women at BYU?” he asked me.

“You do?” I answered tentatively.

“No, Steve, the guys that get to go out with the best-looking women at this university are the ones who ask them out.”

I was like a little kid in a candy store. I went on dates with 166 different women while at BYU. I kept track in my journal. My wife was number 132, and I had to back up once I realized I had moved on way too fast.

Now I’m not saying that I could get more than one date with these women, because I was often way out of my league, but I managed to go out with people I had no business dating. And, besides, back then at BYU, if you went out with anyone more than three times you were technically in a “serious relationship” and if you didn’t get engaged you could be reported.

I assumed that someday I would be invited to sit on a panel and share my dating expertise with a stunned audience, but it never happened. Here are just three things I quickly learned at BYU:

• If you tell a woman that you feel inspired that she should marry you and she thinks that’s really funny, you can’t use the same line on her roommate. In fact, it’s best not to date roommates because, it turns out, they talk to each other.

• If you spend five hours with someone at a football game, focus on her and memorize her face so that four days later when she approaches you, you can remember her name. Women like it when you remember their names.

• If you date a girl who loves disco, your relationship, and the woman herself, will just quickly fade away. They are like cotton candy. I think the women who insisted on “dancing the night away” to disco tunes were eventually relocated to a secret location by the government and now work exclusively for telemarketing firms.

With that kind of relevant insight for today’s young people, I am dismayed that I have not been asked to be an expert on a dating panel.

You may wonder if I did any of that “educating myself thing” while I was in college. I did. I got pretty good grades, most of the time. I was training to be a journalist, and back in those days, there were only three key things you needed to be a good journalist:

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• You needed to demonstrate with clips that you could write accurate, balanced and interesting stories about anything.

• You had to have a bad attitude.

• You had to be skeptical and question everything.

“OK, let me get this straight, you are offering ME a job? What’s really going on here? I need to talk to your boss.”

And my time invested in dating did pay off in a big way. I got engaged to a very beautiful woman who is way smarter than I am. Even now when we hold hands in public, people look at her, then at me, and then at her. I know they are thinking, “Wow, that guy must be rich.”

Thanks, Norman.

Steve Eaton lives and works in Logan, Utah. He can be reached at