Utah is a beautiful state full of wonderful people. It’s also a little…weird in certain ways. I’ve lived in Utah my entire life, but every once in awhile I’m faced with an awkward situation, and I’m guessing that every Utahn has endured at least some of these awkward moments at one time or another.
1. "Are you Mormon?"
There are three answers, and no matter which fits you, you might feel awkward. If an out-of-stater is asking and the answer is "yes," it might be because he's curious about your underwear. If your Mormon neighbor is asking and the answer is, "No," he might extend an unwelcome invitation to his church. The third answer, "Well...I used to be....but..." can open a whole other can of worms.
2. When Utah drivers are trying to be nice, but are actually putting you in danger.
If you're in the middle of the road trying to turn left, and a Utah driver stops to let you turn in front of them...but you can't see cars coming in the far lane, it's very dangerous. However, shaking your head, "no," at the "good Samaritan" will often make him think you're an unappreciative jerk.
3. Mispronouncing a child's name. Or worse, identifying the child as the wrong sex based on his or her name.
Ok, Utahns. Stop messing with the spelling of names. How are we supposed to know that your child's name is pronounced "Ky-Lee" when you've spelled it "Kaeleaigh?" And if you've named the kid after a person in the Book of Mormon, we might legitimately be stymied to find that your little Lehi is actually a girl.
4. When your best friend asks if you will go to her NuSkin, doTERRA, Scentsy, MaryKay, Younique meeting.
She just really needs you to go as a favor to her...because she's supposed to bring five new people in her first 30 days. No really...you don't have to buy anything. And she promises no one is going to pressure you to sign up. But, you know, she's going to be making $50k this year selling stuff (or convincing people to join her "downline"), and you should just go with an open mind...
5. When you go to a friend's family reunion and they ask what you'd like to drink and you say, "Oh, a Coke would be great!" And it gets very quiet.
Some families are pretty particular about their caffeine intake. So if you're visiting a Mormon family and you don't know them very well yet, you'd be better off sticking to a Sprite or root beer.
6. When the polygamist at the mall catches you staring at her weird outfit.
It's hard not to do a double take when you see the women wearing homemade dresses with long socks and running shoes at the mall. But it's super awkward when you look up and they've noticed that you're totally staring at them. Oops...sorry.
7. Explaining to out-of-town friends that the only polygamy they're likely to see during their visit is the kind on tap.
While we're on the topic of polygamy...People from out of state often think that Utah is just crawling with polygamists. But really, there are very few people here practicing polygamy, and it's rare to see those who do. Of course, Polygamy Porter is another story 🙂
8. When your overweight, out of shape friend wants to join you on a strenuous hike.
With its crazy elevations and steep hiking trails, Utah can be a dangerous place to hike if you're not prepared. Of course, we have plenty of easy hikes that everyone can enjoy, but there's always that one friend who thinks he's in way better shape than he's actually in, and he wants to join you at Angel's Landing or Mount Olympus. Do you offend him, or give in and risk that he'll have a heart attack in the middle of nowhere?
9. Taking your out-of-town clients to lunch and having to explain the liquor laws.
If you're taking clients to lunch at a restaurant, and you're anticipating that they'll order drinks, make sure you show up after 11:30 am because prior to that, you can't order alcohol. Of course, you'll also have to place your food order when you order the drinks, so get ready to explain that one, too. And don't even get me started with our new, "This Is A Restaurant, Not A Bar" signs.
10. Taking a tourist to see Temple Square, and then trying to explain why they can't go into the temple.
Whether you're Mormon or not, your out-of-town friends and relatives are going to want to visit Temple Square. It's in the guide book, after all. They've visited the Vatican, and cathedrals all over the U.S. and abroad, camera in hand...but now they can't just waltz into the Mormon temple. You have to admit that the confusion is legit.
11. When you inadvertently injure a child in Costco, Home Depot, IKEA or the mall.
You're just minding your own business at IKEA, when three preschoolers come barreling past you and right in front of your cart. Or you're wandering through the racks of clothing at the mall and step on a toddler's little hand or foot that's sticking out from under the rack. There's nothing more awkward than explaining to a parent (if you can find her) that her precious unattended kid is bleeding because your cart loaded with three bookcases won't stop on a dime.
How many of these awkward moments have you experienced? Do you have others to share? We love to read your comments about our weird, wonderful state!