Andrea's dad walked up to me with a smile and held out his hand. "Hi, I'm Dan Sharp," he said, shaking my hand.
"It's nice to meet you, sir," I said, "I'm Jared Wendell."
"So what are your plans for this evening?" he asked.
"Well, I was thinking perhaps dinner and a movie."
"That sounds nice," he said. "Now Jared, you're LDS, right?"
"Yes, sir," I said. I figured there was no point splitting hairs on whether I really believed in it or not.
"Are you an Eagle Scout?"
"Yes, sir," I said.
"That's nice. Wonderful."
Andrea was rolling her eyes.
"Now you two kids have a nice time and try to be home before eleven," he said.
"Okay, Dad," said Andrea, and we went out and got in the car.
"Are you okay with just going to a diner?" I asked her.
"Yeah, that would be fine," said Andrea.
Of course I would have liked to be able to take her to a nice restaurant, but I couldn't really afford it on my allowance, and my dad didn't want me getting an after-school job because he was afraid it might keep me from doing my homework.
"What's with your dad, asking me if I was an Eagle Scout like that?" I asked.
"Oh, he's really pleased to see me going on a date with a good Mormon boy. He had just gotten done telling my mom that this was the whole reason we moved out here and that it was going well."
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"Your family moved here so that you would date Mormon boys?"
"Essentially. When I told my parents I didn't believe in God and didn't want to go to church anymore, Dad completely flipped out. He blamed it on the kids at school being a bad influence on me. But apparently he's not opposed to peer pressure per se as long as it works in a good direction and not a bad direction. He said that if I'd grown up in Utah like he did this never would have happened since I'd be surrounded by good Mormon kids who would teach me that it's cool to go to church instead of being rebellious. Same for my younger brother and sister -- he wanted to be sure to get them into a good environment before the same thing happened to them. So Mom and Dad both quit their jobs in New Jersey and found new jobs in Utah. Naturally Dad is hugely proud of himself seeing me go on a date with an Eagle Scout. Back at my old high school in Princeton I doubt that there was a single Eagle Scout in the whole school."
"I didn't really want to go for Eagle Scout, actually. It was my mom that wanted me to do it. So I guess we both have to deal with parents who want to ruin our lives and make us Mormon."
Andrea smiled at that.
When we got to the restaurant, we took a booth and ordered some hamburgers.
"You know, that's interesting that you're from New Jersey," I said. "My brother lives there. He's in grad school at Rutgers."
"Ah, that's not far from where I used to live, but I didn't go there often."
"So do you like it here in Orem?" I asked her.
"No, not at all," she said.
"Were you sad to leave New Jersey?" I asked.
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