Monthly Archives: July 2006

BYU Dating Reform: Part 1

So over at Date Club Prophecies you’€™ll find a pseudo-serious but still thought provoking (in some ways) discussion of dating. Honestly, dating in its present form at Brigham Young University and in the United States in general seems inadequate as a match-making institution and perhaps needs some reenvigorating. Here are some of my thoughts.

The Dilemma

For those who are not familiar with the BYU dating scene, we here are rather traditional as far as the responsibilities of guys compared to the responsibilities of girls when it comes to dating. So it’€™s incumbent on a guy to ask out a girl. Only very rarely do the girls take the initiative in asking out a guy, and then it is often (at least by me) interpreted as overly aggressive, a definite sign that she must have the hots for you. Just as guys often interpret a girl asking them on a date as a sign of very significant interest, girls often feel that if a guy asks them out more than once, he must have already made up his mind to marry her and is now “moving in for the kill”€.

This paranoia is partly founded in BYU’€™s history and reputation as the “marriage capitol of the world:” some who graduate from BYU single would like to get their money back because they thought that a guaranteed marriage proposal was included with the price of tuition. Probably more significant than the effect of elevated expectations, it’€™s likely that the girls’€™ fears of creepy pursuit are based on the collective bad experiences of all modernday BYU women. There are without doubt guys who pursue girls with a singleminded intensity that terrifies their “quarry”€ and for whom a single date seems like sure confirmation that the girl is ready for marriage. I have known guys with this mindset; indeed, I’€™ve to some extent been part of this mindset. Creepy guys in Central Park make everybody in New York afraid of their neighbors. Creepy guys in the BYU dating pool make girls afraid of the rest of us.

The Most Frightening Possibility

But casting all of the blame at the feet of “those creepy guys” is avoiding the most frightening possibility: What if it’€™s me? This thought must eventually enter the mind of all but the most dense and egotistical of BYU’€™s despairing bachelors: What if I can’€™t get a girlfriend—can’€™t even get a girl to go on more than one date with me without getting creeped out—because I’€™m just not cool enough? What if I just don’t have what it takes to compete in the cut-throat competition for a chica? Oooh, what a dark and hideous thought that one is!

The notion lie that somebody is simply not “cool enough”€ is total garbage. That idea assumes that the likelihood of the desired result (getting a girlfriend) is a function of the “coolness” (whatever that means) of the guy seeking it. This is true for those whose entire existence revolves around external form and superficiality rather than quality of character and spirit. But for the rest of us… well, there are patterns. More energetic, flirtacious people probably have an easier time getting into relationships because they’€™re capable of attracting more positive attention at themselves. But overall—I like to tell myself—there are more important factors, especially when you consider not just “hooking up,” but doing so with somebody that you really respect and admire, who’€™s more than merely an attractive figure.

What are these factors and how do you employ them to your advantage? Stay tuned for Part 2 of BYU Dating Reform where we’€™ll consider Five Totally Speculative Non-Guaranteed Steps to Getting Your First Girlfriend.

Eighties Heritage Month

Paris makes more than the law, it makes the fashion

—Victor Hugo in Les Miserables, vol. 3 chapter XI

Would it be accurate to say that prior to the 20th century, very few people had the luxury of worrying about fashion? The impression I get when I read an old novel is that back in “the day”€ the rich (and the middle class, when there was one) were the only segment of society who weren’t struggling merely to survive and were able to fritter away their time pursuing the latest fashions.

In today’€™s unprecedented affluence, we have the luxury of falling into the cycle of fashion: ever in need of something new to stimulate our minds and our senses, we are not only willing to put up with frequent change in styles and trends, but we actually welcome it. Just what the girls (and the fashion-minded guys out there) always wanted: an excuse to buy new clothes. But with all of this desire for something novel to entertain us, it seems that the best we can do is rehash the clothes and accessories and hairstyles of the past into a short-lived fashion du jour.

Take, for example, the “comebacks” that the 1970’s and 1980’s have seen in the last ten years or so. Really, as much as I might be inclined to condemn this preoccupation with style as “frittering,” I also think that some parts of those decades’€™ wardrobes were just plain sweet. But I am a traditionalist; I’€™d rather see a comeback of some ’30’€™s and ’40’s stuff. And you know what, I think we do see a bit of that. I would honestly rather wear some nice slacks and a collared shirt to school. I just feel better when I dress a little bit nice!

But anyway, tonight some friends of mine threw an ’80’s dance party, complete with the music, the clothes, and the sweetly-ghetto Namco video game system. Nothing like a round of Galaga to bring back the good ol’€™ days. I suggested that we campaign to get Congress to make July or August be National Eighties Heritage Month. Why not take some time to acknowledge the great debt we owe to those poor souls who suffered through the side pony-tails, the short shorts and the midriff shirts, the big hair, the nasty, heavy makeup, the big striped tube socks and the fat old baseball caps to bring about a decade or two where we can be free from the oppression of fashion illogic. And then, whenever (if ever?) David Bowie dies, we’€™ll make his birthday into a holiday as well.

Long live the eighties! But don’€™t let them live for too long—we need to get on to the next big fashion…the nineties?

Learning C++

I’€™m taking (actually, retaking) Computer Science 240 right now. So I’€™m learning C++. This is someting I’€™ve always wanted to do. I was maybe 10 years old when we got Turbo C++. My dad was the only one who knew how to use it, but still, I had fun playing with the “Heap Walker”€ program. I wasn’€™t able to learn simply by experimentation, like I did with QBASIC. Now, having paid some of my dues with tuition and time, I feel like I’€™m learning the language. The project we’re working on right now in class is an implementation of make. I’€™ve been hacking away, learning how to deal with circular #include’€™s, finding memory leaks and fixing segmentation faults. Maybe sometime soon I’€™ll be able to start contributing to some Open Source projects – another long-time goal of mine.

Here’s something I would like to code into KDevelop: a plugin that allows the file list sidebar to be sorted to have the most recently used files on top. Somehow there has to be a more optimal way to switch between source files than pushing Ctrl+/ and typing the name of the file, or moving the mouse cursor over to click on the “File List”€™ sidebar button, then back over to the file that you want to open. How about a key combination that cycles through the last five most recently used files? There must be some better way.