Thursday, June 28, 2012

She must be from Utah

Yesterday I checked out The Universe (BYU's newspaper) online and read an article about how BYU's crime statistics are way lower than your average university but there is still a fair amount of theft that happens around campus. In the article, as per the DU's longstanding tradition of quoting people who sound really dumb, is this actual quote from a student who had her bike stolen shortly after her husband had his stolen:

“My husband left his bike (on campus) over the weekend, and he came back and his bike had been taken. Still, even after his bike had been stolen and the lock had been cut and everything, I still thought it was a safe enough place that I didn’t even bring a lock to campus with my bike."

Wow. Somebody obviously has waaaay more faith in humanity than I do. Not to mention a much slower rate of learning from experience. I mean, BYU students are generally exceptionally honest, but not everyone wandering around campus is a student and not every BYU student actually follows what they're taught in church on Sunday. I trusted people at BYU more than the general population, but not enough to leave my laptop on a table unguarded while I went to look for a book.

I always looked at it this way: If I accidentally left something of value behind in a classroom, I figured I probably had an 80 percent chance of getting it back, versus maybe 30 or 40 percent somewhere else. This generally proved to be the case: Over my four years at BYU I accidentally left a textbook, a financial calculator, a couple of jackets and a flash drive behind on campus. I recovered everything but the flashdrive from BYU's massive lost and found office. Yes, I know: I am an airhead. But that's not the point of this post. I actually don't remember the point of this post, because I started it yesterday and now am not entirely sure where I was going with it.

At first I thought the girl who was surprised her unlocked bike was stolen must be from Utah, because how could anyone else be so naive? But then I realized she must not be from Utah, because if she was she would have already known that not everyone who claims to be Mormon actually lives that way, whereas non-Utah Mormons tended to go "Oh isn't it lovely that all of the people around me here are as nice as I am" and ask a random stranger sitting near them at the food court to watch their laptop while they went to the bathroom. (True story: that happened to me more than once).

A favorite past time at BYU was trying to guess whether the people in my classes, etc. were from Utah or not.

There were a few indicators. For example, the more layers a girl is wearing, the more likely it is that she's from Utah. Never mind that wearing two colors of tank top, a short sleeved shirt, a vest and a scarf over a long-sleeved shirt doesn't actually make it any more modest than the long-sleeved shirt by itself. But layers have been "in" for a while now and Mormon girls are so used to not being able to wear the latest fashions because they're too skimpy that when a fashion comes along that they can wear the Utah girls tend to be WAY too enthusiastic about embracing it because they're busy trying to out-fashion each other instead of blend in with non-Mormon counterparts. So look for things like excessive sizes of flowers in hair (as in "Oh look, she's wearing a cabbage on her head"). Also, Utah Mormons tend to use weird slang. If someone frequently spouts phrases like "What the fetch," "She kicked my trash," and "Oh my heck," they either grew up in Utah or spent too much time going to school there. One of my goals for graduating from college included never once uttering the words "Oh my heck." If I had I think I would have decided finishing my degree was not worth morphing into the type of person who says Oh My Heck and I would have gone home.

But not every Utah Mormon fits the stereotypes. I knew Utah Mormons who actually understood sentences like "That guy was really hammered," weren't easily offended, didn't scrapbook, didn't dye their hair blond, had a mother who worked outside the home, didn't wear matching sweaters in their Christmas card photos and had no clue how to make funeral potatoes or green Jell-O salad.

Actually, I lied. I'm not sure I ever met a brunette Utah Mormon...


  1. Remember that time you forgot your Social Security card in New York? Be glad you have trustworthy people around to return your stuff, Jade :)
    - Sam

  2. I have friends here that grew up in Utah and I tend to say that lady or girl is soooo UTAH! And she doesn't understand what I mean. But you totally do.There is a big difference between Utah Mormons and everyone else! Thank you for writing that!