Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Brovo, Utah

So this year, I've been learning to survive in the Wild Wild West,
Utah is so full of adventurers and outdoorsy people. Every social media profile has a photo of the person either snowboarding or rock climbing or there's some majestic arch in the background. Cyclists and Joggers litter the trails and sidewalks at all hours of the day and night. Hot tub hopping is considered a widely acceptable social activity, and joining strangers in games of soccer, football, softball, and frisbee is not considered strange at all. Longboarding is a group activity. Hiking is a daily occurrence for many.

My phone is constantly being blown up by Gold's Gym on University inviting me to use my free guest day that my friends with memberships there keep signing me up for. My office has a volleyball court, indoor gym, horseshoe pit, ping pong tables, and pool table. Across the street, a local entertainment center (similar to Dave and Busters or Main Event) includes a ropes course and indoor surfing, but instead of a bar, they have an ice cream shop. The dance halls serve bottled water and powerade, as do the concert venues (where talking is discouraged during a performance, and wild movements can get you escorted outside).

Men here... We'll save that bit for later. Let's just say I won't be settling down with anyone from the Valley anytime soon ever.

Now this does not go for all of Utah. Nor for every native. I even believe that the majority of people who live in Utah Valley are transplants from other states or countries. The Provo/Orem area is constantly offering something fun to do, like new restaurant openings or the rooftop concert series. Bands that start up here have a tendency to be above average, like The New Electric Sound and Westward the Tide, and I'm sure you've heard of Neon Trees and Imagine Dragons. And there are food trucks EVERYWHERE. I'm eating Fiore pizza right now and it was worth the one hour line outside my office.

But a large percentile of the population do things a very different way from the outside world. Almost everything is closed by 11pm, and most places are open late only Friday nights, as Sunday mornings most everyone is at church. ComiCon SLC was vastly less scandalous than my own home state's. If you don't think BYU Creamery Ice Cream is the best, you're not American (as a southerner, I can't lie and say it's better than Blue Bell). All carbonated beverages are "pop." If you don't drive at least 20 over the speed limit, you drive like an old person. You have to drive out of state to see a decent baseball game. People CLAP at the end of movies - this drives me up a wall. Applause. In a cinema. Not just on premiere night. The prettiest plant life here is beautiful to look at, but get close enough to smell it and you're going to be sick. There are these trees with tiny little white blossoms that get everywhere and in the spring they smell like fish and ravioli. YUCK.

Where I'm from, confident men and women are considered a rarity and are usually well received and respected for their character. If someone walked up to me and made it clear with some degree of charm that they were attracted to me, they'd win some brownie points. Extra if I reciprocated said attraction. Here, if you approach someone and tell them how you feel, you're red flagged. Only players do that. Regular, good people beat around the bush and aren't bold in any way. YAWN.

The majority of the ladies I've encountered are very picky and have somewhat ridiculous standards for their eventual soulmate. I've heard everything from "He has to have all of his adult teeth and no cavities," to "He must know how to give a warm stone massage." To make things worse, many of the men who don't have equally strange and high standards ("She must weigh less than 120 lbs." or "She can't have ever kissed anyone else.") fall into the category of "Brovo." These young men are often summer salesmen (but not all salesmen fall under this category), have gym memberships they use daily, collect flat-brimmed hats and v-neck shirts, and a false sense of manhood they feel they've earned from the number of girl's they've had fall for them. They often are difficult to talk to about anything aside from work or working out. Deep conversations are unheard of with these types, and wit is wasted on them.

All in all, for young newly weds or families, Utah Valley is a WONDERFUL place to live. Your children will be safe and well educated, and there is plenty to do as a family. As a single student who wasn't raised in the suburbs and likes to live life a little closer to the edge, I can't wait to be done with school so I can get out of here. I work for a wonderful company and I've made a lot of great friends. Brovo is a wonderful place to visit in my opinion, but when I eventually settle down, I want my children to know what the rest of the world is like. I want them to be roudy teens, adventurers and travelers, well cultured and well educated and widely accepting of the way other people live. I want them to be proud of who they are, to know confidence and self-respect. Mostly, I want them raised in an environment that doesn't just nurture them, it tests them and strengthens them. My opinion - Provo is not the place for that.

These are my opinions, the bad seem to outweigh the good but I promise it's really equal, most of the good stuff is just generalized and the bad stuff I get specific about because I feel the need to. I know many friends who moved here and feel the same way I do, and I know many friends that may move here that would do well to be informed.