Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Dual Citizen

This person--typically female--has been on a study abroad and, if given the chance, will tell you every last detail about it. After anywhere from two minutes to four hours, you will feel as though you too met the BEST people and lived in the BEST city and ate the BEST food and found the BEST hidden markets and strolled through the BEST parks...but she will regretfully inform you that you could actually never understand. It doesn't matter how long she's been home; every single factoid and memory about her trip is as fresh in her mind as if she came back to America that very morning. She left the States a mediocre dresser and returned from her time abroad an imposing fashionista, compulsively adding scarves, boots, weird jewelry, obnoxiously-colored tights, etc. to her wardrobe. The number one defining feature of the DC, however, is the International Study Program backpack. Scientists are currently hard at work to determine which color of these backpacks is most common: green/gray*, blue/darker blue, red/orange, or yellow/gray. If you spot the little globe on the outermost pocket, casually mention different European cities while speaking to her until her eyes either widen excitedly or glisten with nostalgic tears.

*this is the one I have [insert winky face emoticon]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The HFACian

We've all seen them. Straying from their sanctuary in the Harris Fine Arts Center, the HFACian will stand out amongst the rest of the zoobie nation because they're clad in something your second grade teacher would wear, if your second grade teacher was also a drag queen. To help them stand out even more they're usually mid-performance of a Shakespearean soliloquy or belting out an aria from The Magic Flute as they're walking to their only non-liberal arts class (religion or generals credit of course), or as they're dining in the Cougareat just to show all of us mainstreamers how against the grain they are as white, middle class, college students.
But as shocking as it is to see them littered amongst the rest of us pop-culture-cult-followers, it will nigh send you into cardiac arrest to step right into the epicenter of the artsy savvy. On the off-chance that you do walk through the HFAC, (usually to buy a ticket to some show for desperate extra credit for some humanities/civ/arts & letters general class) be prepared. These students are too aesthetically cultivated to have to "study" like the rest of us, (who have a major that we plan on making money off of one day) so instead, they are required to just bask in eachother's humanistic vibes all over the place.
You'll be the only one not carrying an instrument case, or a portfolio case, or an easel, and you'll most likely be the only one wearing pants.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The King of Helaman Halls

Ah, the freshman year at BYU. Most of us are thrown from our comfortable pedestals of high school popularity and home-cooked meals and into the figurative swamp full of awkward introductions and a small dorm room that really doesn't feel like Home until November. Walking up the hill to campus, you avoid eye contact with all these unfamiliar faces that are supposedly going to become your best friends. Suddenly you hear loud, rolling laughter behind you, making you jump about a foot in the air. Who dares disturb your gloomy silence? Why, it's the King of Helaman Halls!

Somehow this kid, though he's only been in the dorms one week like everybody else, knows every single person in Helaman Halls. He knows them each intimately. He's made out with 70% of the girls. He's made hilarious videos at 2 a.m. with 45% of the boys. He is the King!

His appearance changes every year. You'd think The King would consistently be a hottie, but I lived in a kingdom under the rule of a less-than-conventional-looking czar--and yet he still had nearly every female subject wrapped around his pinky toe.

Unless you are also a member of his Round Table and thus know an impressive amount of BYU students, try not to walk with him for too long on campus. You will be left feeling lame and unpopular. On the plus side, all those people will have seen you with The King and will assume that you're the Bomb!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Shrubbery

This specimen, female, usually comes from a town that has more cows than humans. Where there is also something in the water that makes a girl look at herself in the mirror and say, "you know what would look good on the top of my head? A snarled rat's nest made of human hair." These girls spend hours brushing, combing, blow drying, straightening, and then decide to sic the top of their head at the high speed ceiling fan for that Phil Spector look. Generally speaking, you can apply the law that the higher the hair, the lower the IQ.

Although not quite sure what they're hoping to achieve with this look, it definitely could serve as a Venus Fly Trap type of approach; attracting their prey with sheer curiosity, and then grabbing hold with a death grip of intricate snarls. Going into hair salons they just request the Chinese Finger Trap or the Devil's Snare.

Sitting behind them in a class with a lot of visual cues, or a hot professor can be somewhat vexing, but if you're behind them in a three hour snooze fest of an evening class you might as well be wearing an invisibility cloak because you can get away with whatever you want! Whether it's taking a little nap, having a picnic, or giving yourself a sponge bath, you can count on that iron curtain of ratted hair to keep you from your professor's sight.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pop Culture Elitist

This person cannot survive in a world where strangers are ignorant of his or her extensive knowledge of secular entertainment. He or she will thus take every imaginable opportunity to drop references to old/independent/R-rated films to look edgy and cool in front of their BYU peers. In the company of other PCEs, this actually works, and the street creds just rack up (either in the form of Gryffindor rubies or Sim friend points). They are particularly noticeable in classes taught by young-ish professors, the ones who most frequently make allusions to movies and or TV shows. The PCE can be identified post-reference by his or her compulsive nodding to signify recognition; wide eyes looking rapidly around the room to make sure everyone sees the nodding; and loud, staccato, anxious laughter even if the reference wasn't a comedic one.

To successfully ruin a PCE's day, find a movie they've never seen/researched and bring it up enthusiastically in conversation.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Marriage Crusader

Just like the Christian Crusaders of old, this person will stop at nothing to enlist you in the marriage troops.

Always a female. Always of good intentions. Always annoying.

Just because they crossed eyes with their better half over some savory jell-o in the Cannon Center first semester their freshman year, they feel entitled, nay obligated, to impose their nuptials on every other single wretch out there. Common side effects of the MC are chronic use of the terms: hubby, snuggly, baby, ring, cuddly, kisses, blissfully happy... sudden left arm twitches which display "the rock" and so forth.

Conversations with the Marriage Crusader usually begin a common salutation, and then the conversation goes immediately south with relentless inquiries on your dating status. And no matter how loud she proclaims that she "can't believe you're still not dating anyone!" in the middle of the Wilk, nothing is as humiliating as when she starts to give you tips on how to land that perfect (but not as perfect as her "cuddly bug" mind you) guy. Par exemple:

"Maybe that guy in your OldTestament would ask you out if he didn't have to watch those chipped nails thumb through Deuteronomy. "
"When in doubt, make-out. You don't land your man by being a prude."
"If you didn't spend so much time doing baptisms for the dead, you'd free up your nights for more eternal companion interviews (dates). Plus that chlorine's really sucking all the luster out of your hair."
"How about instead of wearing that frumpy backpack, you wear one of those cute flowery purses that only hold lip gloss and your cell phone. Every guy knows that the more books a girl carries, the fewer progeny she'll bear him."
"And stop studying so much, the higher your gpa, the uglier your husband will be."

At this point it's best to just stick your single tail between your single legs and pull the neckline down and the hemline up so as to ensure that you'll never spend another night alone.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


These crazy kids started dating about two weeks before Fall semester started--giving them just enough time to schedule all of their general and religion classes together. They ALWAYS sit next to each other. ALWAYS!! Heaven help you if you are sitting in between the last two open seats and you don't immediately move over so they can bask uninterrupted in their Love. You see, Brangelina uses class to give/receive sensuous back massages, whisper giggly little secrets, and fix each other's hair. This is more tolerable if they are one of those Beautiful couples, especially if at least one of them is ethnic, but unfortunately the frumpy Brangelinas are the most common. If there is only one seat left in the room, he will chivalrously allow her to sit there, causing her to get all verklempt and wipe away a tiny tear.

The male half of Brangelina is always a returned missionary, and this is probably his first relationship since he's been home. This is one explanation (but not an excuse) for his over-eager, slightly scary compulsion to tie that crap down. Since he is an RM as well as a Committed Boyfriend, he has declared himself expert on all topics spiritual and romantic. Don't ever EVER start a conversation with him, however desperately you may need notes, or an essay prompt, or the Heimlich. The female part of this dream team is an underclassman who still has some general credits to finish, which works out perfectly because he, too, still needs to take American Heritage. She has possibly less personality than any other human you will ever encounter.

  • if they are Hot Brangelina, you may find yourself feeling sad that you aren't in a wonderful, happy relationship like theirs.
  • if they are Fug Brangelina, you may have trouble holding in your vomit.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Displaced Missionary

This species, usually male (not being sexist, it's just fact) can usually be spotted by his medieval flat halo, of the missionary glow variety, (although the glow is tarnished somewhat by the fear that he may have to come in physical, and thus secular, contact with the fairer sex.)
But beyond the flickering glow, the DM can be found by the phantom side-part, the nervous where's-my-companion twitch, or by the jeans of metabolisms past, that hug the second and third helpings the DM gratefully consumed for two years. These unholy jeans are also riding a little higher than they were two years ago, and therefore giving a peep show of a little argyle sock or, even better, some flirtatious white ankle.
And if the physical signs aren't enough to give the DM away, there are enough non-physical (dare I say spiritual...?) signs like his testimony as a default prefix to everything he says. Or his "small" talk which is about as small as Shaquille O'Neal's bathtub. The DM can turn a comment about the long line at L&T into a machine gun onslaught of questions, ranging from namehometownmajor? to current gpa, blood type, weight on moon and before you know it, you're committing to another interrogation at Freschetta on Friday.
And this time, bring your scriptures.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Human Footnote

This person--and I've experienced both male and female varieties, and I honestly don't know which is more annoying--is under the impression that every college class is under construction and that he or she has been bestowed with the divine right to co-teach alongside the professor. To him or her, the rest of the class doesn't even really exist; it's just the professor and this weirdo in the spotlight while the rest of us are forced to sit in the audience with our open-mouthed frowns and raised eyebrows. It is common to zone out and daydream/doodle/fall asleep/die while the Human Footnote drones on and on, but if one makes the effort to listen to what he or she is actually saying, one realizes that none of these additions to the lecture are at all relevant. Some common themes of these lecture-derailers are: his or her favorite sci-fi/fantasy novel, his or her experience(s) on a study abroad, his or her mission/marriage, her utter revulsion at the treatment of women in whatever it was we read for homework (this one never comes from a guy)...just know that the Human Footnote sees all of his or her words as Truth that could totally be included on the midterm.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Chortler

This breed is almost as bad as the Chronic Sniffer of the Testing Center, except instead of wanting to smother him with the box of the Kleenex he so sorely needs, you just want to burn all of his belongings so he'll never have occasion to laugh again.

Not only is this specimen blessed with a laugh somewhere between a strangled goose and an emphysemic death cough, but also a need to throw it down on full blast at even the slightest pleasantry. This is especially potent when paired with either a Hardy-Har-Har Professor, or a Self-Proclaimed Wise Guy classmate. Or, (and I wouldn't wish this on even the worst BYU stereotype) a suicidal combo of all three. The Chortler usually manages to sit just in your blind spot every day of class so that the laugh is just a faceless sound until you finally give up on the stretching/scratching-glances guise and throw your shame to the wind by spinning all the way around to catch your jovial neighbor mid-chortle.

After you've unveiled The Chortler (this is usually exciting if he/she's gender/ethnicity/marital status is different than expected) you're paranoiacally looking for him/her everywhere on campus until you can’t study/eat/drink/sleep without worrying about being in the same vicinity of the chortler until finally you’re pushing a shopping cart full of all your earthly possessions and some stray cats down University Avenue muttering and chortling to yourself until Kingdom come.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Male English Major

A rare and endangered animal indeed, the Male English Major must be split into two sub-species: weird and awesome.

WEIRD: He is effeminate in every possible way and has a speaking voice reminiscent of Michael Jackson [too soon? Whatever] but probably doesn't have the moonwalk to justify it. Although the Weird M.E.M. can come in either Skeletor or Man-Boob'd, he can almost always be spotted wearing his usual ensemble of a pastel blouse--I mean polo, chino khakis, Keds, and glasses--but alas, not the cool, edgy, rectangular frames. These specs are big, round, and silver. Besides his disappointing appearance, the Male English Major also annoys us all with his arguing tactics. Easily flustered and riled up, he is extremely defensive and becomes mortally offended at the first sign of opposition. He has almost zero sense of humor, although when someone misspeaks, he is the first to whip around, stare beadily from his front row seat, and snort loudly and derisively at the poor soul.

AWESOME: Like the Weird M.E.M., he is very intelligent, but he uses his analytic genius for good rather than evil [i.e. he's really funny]. He is intriguingly attractive, sporting ironic t-shirts, those trendy little rectangular glasses to which I am so partial, and immaculately-fitting jeans. The Awesome M.E.M. does not always immediately catch one's eye, but he grabs one's affections with his snarky wit and insightful comments in class. He is generally single, which forces one to wonder how in the world he isn't married (i.e. what's wrong with him?). WARNING: Awesome M.E.M.s sound perfect, but beware their tendencies to be annoyingly snobby [a trait common to all English majors, regardless of gender].

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Perpetual Dater

This species is usually of the male variety (although there are similar kinds of females that shall be extrapolated at a later date) and more specifically so, the Returned Missionary genre. This subject knows his purpose in life is to multiply and replenish the earth, but before he decides on the perfect fit, he's going to try on every shoe, in every store, in the whole mall. He can usually be spotted by his energetic smile, his brightly colored polo or the 6,398.59 friends he has on facebook. High traces of Hollister cologne have also been identified at the scene of the crime as well as a big professional backpack that is full of nothing but extra pens and papers to amiably give to unsuspecting victims. Or by the fact that he always has a various female, of the adorable variety, close at hand.

This guy blows through Relief Societies faster than swine flu, and leaves about as much destruction in his wake. Tearing through the Sisters in Zion with his charm and his King Henry confidence. He is also a master at his plan. He will figure out how to turn any situation into a date--one second he's taking care of your Taco Bell trash at the Cougareat while simultaneously getting your name, hometown, major, phone number, the number of children you will bear him...(always in this order) then he's whisking you over to Sugar and Spice where a small scoop of cookies & cream (paid for with his signature card) is supposed to make you swoon, then you have a doorstop scene in front of the Wilk where he professes his "undying like" for you and then by the time you walk through the bookstore you see him sipping a Jamba cheek to cheek with a freshman from Mesa.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The One

{for the full effect, read this while listening to Barry White's "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe"}

The One is that guy at whom you stare in class. Rarely seen in classes relating to your major (he is particularly endangered when your major is English), The One is typically found in General Ed (e.g. Biology 101, American Heritage, Math 119) or religion classes. His appearance varies for each victim, but he tends to have a vaguely smug and yet amiable expression on his perfect face. When you first stumble across The One, you'll be convinced that you have never before seen a more beautiful man. You'll start planning your future with The One: naming your children, designing your home, planning family vacations, etc. You will also engage in imaginary conversations, in which he is witty, fun, and fascinated by everything you say. However one-sided it may be, the relationship between you and The One is deep and magical--until the semester ends, you never got up the courage to actually speak to him, and you have a C in the class.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Ethnic Treasure

Although this particular member of the BYU ecosystem is rare enough to be on the endangered species list, he/she is much easier to point out. Owing mostly to the fact that the majority of BYU cougs have about as much melanin as the illuminated crosswalk man.

Even though these Ethnic Treasures are grossly outnumbered, they have figured out some way (possibly using an underground railroad?) for at least one to be within sight all over campus, reminding everyone else that there is a big world out there filled with people who can dance and don't play croquet.

Apart from throwing off the pre-integration aesthetic BYU's got going on and keeping the politically-correct status quo, they also have a knack for making their presence known in class. Sitting in the back (knowing everyone can see them no matter where they sit), most likely wearing the Y athletics warmups, they are generally quiet until they are able to turn a discussion (any discussion) into a speech about what it is like to not feel uncomfortable at ethnic restaurants.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Perpetual Frump

The Perpetual Frump is rarely seen on the BYU campus, but when she appears, she turns heads--in the worst way possible. Unlike all the other female BYU students who between daily classes and nightly dates can somehow find time to haul A to University Mall and buy new outfits everyday, the PF has apparently not yet found the balance between her social life and academia. On the plus side, BYU students tend to be optimistic; they generally assume the PF has some form of influenza.

Characteristics include:
-stained T shirt from her senior year of high school
-hair pulled back in a greasy ponytail
-yesterday's makeup
-lack of earrings
-dark undereye circles

The Holier Than Thou

This person is always looking for an opportunity to drop their spirituality and then rub your face in it. They're not happy with just reveling in their own piety, but rather, they're always looking for the mother-of-all-harlots in us all. They'll usually be found with raised eyebrows and a mildly sour look on their face (common side effects of evaluating everyone's celestial potential). Their in-class-comments are always riddled with obscure scriptural references like the gospel of Judas, and formatted in the same way as their testimony (i.e. "I know the Pythagorean Theorem is true because..."). And of course they always have to wrap up with a girls/scout camp experience which leaves the rest of us wondering whether we should say "amen" or throw up. You can usually spot the females by their wool turtlenecks (in January or July) complete with their shining YW medallion and unassuming Kirkland Signature jeans. Their male counterparts can be found with a Matthew Perry-esque plaid button up (with every button securely fastened--for propriety's sake), short sleeved of course with their linguini arms making their solar debut since their Scandinavian mission.

A Brief Introduction

There are few places in the world like Brigham Young University. It's a great school with renowned professors, a tight-knit community, and a Teriyaki Sticks right on campus. The most fascinating part of BYU, however, is not its academic prowess or its convenient proximity to Y Mountain; what makes the university so unique is its student population.

At first glance, one might think that all BYU students are the same: white, Mormon, upper-middle class, contraire, dear reader, for in this university there lurk many different species of college students. Some are friendly, some are hostile, but somehow we all manage to coexist in this habitat.

We consider ourselves authorized to report our findings regarding our peers, seeing as we are 1.) indubitably clever and 2.) English majors.