What is a JayDiva?

JayDiva (noun) a writer of blogs who is an attorney, feminist, New Englander, child advocate, reader, hiker, cancer survivor, Mormon.

Monday, August 22, 2016

"Guests, like Fish...

...Begin to smell after three days.”

-Benjamin Franklin

(In our case, they literally smelled...)
(I’m not even a fan of Franklin, but he was spot on here!)

(Hubs might get mad at me for posting this.  In his defense, he had no part in it)

We had an odd experience recently.  I tell this tale at the risk of offending the subjects of my story.  But we were offended first(!), plus someone has to tell them.  I will gladly take their anger if it means they hear it straight from a real adult for once in their lives.

A guy who was a missionary in this area some time ago came on a trip back to the East Coast with his like 20-year-old wife.  Because Hubs has a very difficult time with the word “No,” they both ended up staying at our place for several days.  Yes, our teeny-tiny apartment with one teeny-tiny bathroom.  SEVERAL DAYS.  With virtual strangers.

The thing is, they were really very nice people.  I have no complaints about their character or personalities.  They seem like they love each other, which is great.  And there was really only one point of contention, one battleground.  But the battle raged; our bathroom was commondeered.

Their stay at our apartment was characterized by us being locked out of our one and only bathroom for hours on end while she applied a week’s worth of makeup every morning, and did ??? at night.  This peaked when Hubs was accosted with knocks and demands at the door, the second that he turned the water off after his (very short) shower one night.  I was called out of my shower early once, too.  The shower I had waited HOURS for in gross, sweaty clothes.

There is a lot that could be said, but I will fast-forward to the grand finale.  Suffice it to say that we noticed some weird stuff, like my makeup brushes being used (eww!); a piece of trash on the floor that came from an item we had in a box WAY in the back of our stuffed cupboard under the sink (she had obviously rifled around, opened the box, used the item, and left the trash from it for us to clean up for her); and the lid off of my face cream, revealing deep finger marks and so much gone that it had obviously been used for body lotion –yes, you read that right, my FACE cream used as a stranger’s BODY LOTION! 

So that was all annoying, but we just tried to carry on.  When we thought they had finally left, we awoke to find that a present had been left for us.  Perhaps the present was meant to mark the territory that they had claimed for the past several days.  That present was none other than a toilet bowl full of diarrhea and used toiled paper!  I screamed.  Hubs ran from our room and was speechless.

We bleached the entire apartment.  It has been days, and yet the scent of our over-abundance of Lysol still remains.

Never. Again.

Reflecting on their stay led us to reflect more broadly on what I consider to be Utah Culture, a topic of great angst in our home.

I could go on and on, offending practically everyone I know, and maybe being a little hypocritical.  In the interest of brevity, I will list a mere three (out of infinity) reasons why this incident can largely be blamed on asinine Utah/Mormon cultural flaws.

We are the way we are for decently good reasons, this I readily admit.  Congealed by hardship, our sense of community, even with those we don’t actually know, is unbreakable.  Mormons implicitly trust each other, by virtue of our common faith, leading them to do things that would otherwise make zero sense.  This leads me to Reason 1:

1.  The “Crashing” Phenomenon

Crashing = coming in late at night to sleep on your buddy’s futon because you’ve had a few too many drinks, and then leaving without a trace first thing in the morning.  This is in the realm of college students balancing the interests of 1) not getting a DUI, and 2) making it to their 9am class.  And yet, for Mormons, this remains a legitimate way of taking an adult vacation.  A relic of the Law of Consecration?  A result of our penny-pinching, tithing-paying demographic?  Whatever it is, if you are not staying at a blood relative’s home, it is absurd.  And immature.  And way over-stepping the boundaries of casual friendship, in the selfish interest of saving a few bucks.  People: it is called a hotel, or a hostel, or Airbnb.  Stop taking advantage of your old roommate’s cousin’s sister-in-law.  Grow up.

2.  Over-Emphasis on Appearance

(Although, ironically, a gross under-emphasis on good fashion.) This is especially true for women. I will keep this as simple as I can, since this is a territory I could go all-out ranty about for at least 30 pages.  To be direct, the principle of marriage is essential to our faith.  But there are many fewer men than women in the Church.  Many women feel an unspoken need to compete for the few Mormon men in their line of sight. 

On the other hand, marriage is also essential for men, and they are on the hunt as soon as they get home from their missions at about 21.  So women 21 and under are theirs for the choosing.  Meaning women try to look as young as possible to stay competitive.  That means extra-skinny non-curvy frames, lest you look like you are too old.  This means perfectly powdered faces to cover any imperfections and fine lines, lest you look like you are too old.  This means acting stupid (or, tragically, just being stupid) and naïve, lest you look like you are too old. (Don’t believe me?  How about this recent article, entitled “Vain Utah: Cosmetic Surgery more popular than ever in the Beehive State”! http://fox13now.com/2016/02/24/vain-utah-cosmetic-surgery-more-popular-than-ever-in-the-beehive-state/ ) (I partly blame it on that horribly misconstrued “be ye therefore perfect” scripture. )

Because heaven forbid, since you all look identical (loosely curled bleached hair, over-darkened brows, chevron-patterned maxi skirt, big chunky necklace, grossly overdone eye lashes) (its creepy…), I suppose there is a real threat that your one visible blemish could separate you from all of the other eligible bachelorette clones, causing you to miss out on exaltation.  In that case, MORE BRONZER!

3.   Marrying Young

So what do we get?  A Church full of childish, under-educated, goal-less, boney, overly made-up twenty year-olds who are --shockingly-- married.  These immature teen brides then become the inattentive parents that invite this little scene from a cook out we attended this weekend:

Young Mom is piggy-backing on Young Dad, while Young Dad cracks up and tries to shoot a basket with the extra load on his back.  All the other young moms and dads think this is hilarious and join in.  (Hubs and I, meanwhile, look at each other in horror with the unspoken questions, “Is this really happening?  Are we honestly among a group of adults??”  Call us curmudgeons; we strongly prefer that to immature weirdos.)   

Moments later, Young Mom yells out, “Where is my baby?!”  And this is an actual baby.  As in, he can’t even walk yet, and yet he’s been left to his own devices in some random backyard.  Young Mom and Young Dad were too absorbed in trying to reclaim their own lost childhoods to take care of the baby (one among several) that is in their charge.  Don’t worry, the baby is found about 30 yards away, behind some wood beams.  Once they see the baby, they don’t even get him.  They just look over and then keep playing.

And thus we see that all of these cultural flaws contributed to our having a clueless, extra young, married couple crashing at our house and spending hours upon hours doing makeup and making messes in our apartment.  This doesn’t quite explain the poop situation, but copious amounts of bleach fixed that well enough.

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