Friday, December 4, 2015

Loving that Appearance of Evil

It's tricky being a Mormon. They have to obey all these rules - or at least look like they're obeying them. That's the key. Looking the part.

Just about every Sunday Mormons are reminded to "avoid the appearance of evil." This gospel tenant is driven so deeply into their collective psyche that you'll find them rushing to explain even the slightest possible misperceptions.
Brother Benson, I know you saw me standing in front of the liquor store, but it was only because I was admiring an ad featuring a guy that looked like someone I used to play ball with. . . . Not that I'm gay or anything.
The problem is the emphasis on appearances doesn't stop at the chapel doors. During the week Mormons go out into the world, equally obsessed with how they look, especially when they're hanging with "the cool kids" - aka "nonmembers." This is why you'll see hipster-clad Mormons at Starbucks buying milk in cool looking cups or at LDS wedding receptions guzzling Martinelli's in cool looking champagne flutes. Say what you want about "evil." Bottom line, it looks really cool.

Speaking of Mormon wedding receptions, some years ago Mark and I attended one such cool looking affair in Dallas. The posh gathering featured a martini bar. Only, because it was a Mormon home, the caterers had to substitute mashed potatoes for the gin or vodka, gravy for the vermouth, sour cream for the twist of lemon, etc. Are you following me, Gentle Readers? They served mashed potatoes in martini glasses. HOW COOL IS THAT?!

As we were leaving this sophisticated soiree, Mark suavely turned to me and, in his coolest voice, said, "Make mine mashed, not baked." Then we went to a bar. I mean a real one.

In light of all this, the recent Utah Soda Wars should come as no surprise. (Read more here.)

Evidently there's been a rise of "dirty soda shops" staffed with "mixologists" who serve soft drinks laced with non-alcoholic flavor shots, offering Mormons the guilty pleasure of ordering what sounds like a cocktail. Competition is fierce, with 2 chains vying in court over the use of the term "dirty."

Care for an Extra-Dirty Second Wife? It's a combo of Mountain Dew, fruit syrups and half and half. Salud!

According to the article, these establishments have their share of regulars:
They know me, they know my drinks, and they get excited when I walk in,” she (a regular) added. “It makes me feel good.”
And, no wonder. It's like . . . everybody knows her name.

Dare I boast that I saw this coming? In my 11/17/11 post, It's Ward Cocktail Hour!, Abbottsville Stake President Dennis Newsome suggested cocktail recipes featuring his own alcohol substitutes. For example:

Long Island Iced Tea
3/4 oz Windex
3/4 oz clam juice
3/4 oz root beer
3/4 oz Mountain Dew
3/4 oz Karo Syrup
3/4 oz Mr Bubble
dash of lemon juice

Rum and Coke
1 part root beer
2 parts root beer

Gee, maybe I should sue somebody.

Or, better yet, maybe Mark and I will just toast the Mormons again over our ritual Friday night cocktails - made with real booze - not Mountain Dew or mashed potatoes.

May the Saints continue to keep up appearances!
Brother Benson, I know you saw me with that drink in my hand, but it wasn't a real cocktail, it was just my favorite Extra Dirty Returned Missionary. . . . Not that I'm gay or anything.


  1. The Long Island Iced Tea sounds delicious! I'll bet it would give you a good cleaning out that could be finished off with a lively dance!

  2. If people want to drink hyper-sweet "dirty" sodas, that's their right, but all that sugar can't be healthy. As for me, I'll be enjoying a guilt-free beer after work and shrugging my shoulders at appearances. :)

  3. Jono, it does indeed. Sort of reminds me of the father in Big Fat Greek Wedding who believed everything could be cured with Windex.

    Ahab, we'll cyber-clink glasses with you from the other coast!

  4. I read this out loud to my extra dirty hubby and we're both dying. I think I need one of those Long Island Iced Teas to clean some windows … maybe without the clam juice? Recommendations?

    1. Clean your windows, strip varnish off your old coffee table, its uses are endless!

      Incidentally, on the Sodalicious website "extra dirty" means a shot of half and half. Naughty - naughty!

  5. I read about the soda war going on in Utah. So, ridiculous. I'm happy with my beer and lack of shame.

  6. Dear God, it's all positively unreal. Mahed potatoes in drink glasses? Dirty soda bars? What will these people not do in vain attempt to try to appear normal?

    One of my cousins married a semi-wealthy convert in the temple but had a semi-mainstream reception. The groom's parents insisted on offering alcohol at the reception. One of my uncles was irate far beyond what would be considered rational when I drank a lemon-lime soda from a clear cup, which didn't make it abundantly clear enough that I wasn't consuming alcohol. Never mind that I was one of the few relatives present whose parents wouldn't have cared a great deal as to whether or not I was consuming alcohol other than the fact that I wasn't technically old enough to consume booze legally at the time.

  7. Hi TGD! Glad you're happy with your beer. I can't help but wonder if the "Word of Wisdom" is now ushering in a diabetes epidemic in UT. Honestly, how much more sugar could they load into one beverage?

    Alexis, that is so lame. I've know Mormons who've boasted that they won't drink anything at their company's happy hour - so that their root beer or 7-Up won't appear to be a cocktail. Very strange culture.

  8. Ick. I remember hearing 'avoid the very appearance' so many times growing up. Now? I think I'm so far past it that I don't even think about a coffee cup or a glass of wine anymore!

    1. Cheers to you and your guilt-free beverage of choice! These days I'd feel guilty downing one of those ridiculously over-sugary soft drink concoctions.