Although I’ve resided in Utah for quite a few years now, once in a while I still feel alien to Utahn quirks and customs. I think, in my heart, I will always be an Ohioan.
Except I’ve officially started calling pop “soda.” Is there no turning back?
Anyway, today I’d like to discuss some Utahn traditions and how I feel about them.
1. Fry Sauce
When I first moved to Utah as a freshman at Brigham Young University, I went to a burger joint and was asked if I wanted fry sauce. “It’s ketchup mixed with mayonnaise,” a native explained to me. Uhhh, yuck? No thanks, I thought. I think I even asked for some blue cheese dressing, which resulted in getting stared at like I was speaking Chinese or something.
I thought fry sauce was like a specialty sauce at that particular burger joint. But I slowly began to realize that every single burger joint in the entire state had fry sauce. And people would inhale the stuff with anything they could dip in it.
Eight years later, here’s my verdict: you know what, fry sauce really is pretty good with french fries. You should give it a chance.
2. Big Hair
Girls in Utah tease/rat their hair like it’s nobody’s business. I’m serious. For proof, I have provided the above portraits of otherwise very pretty and normal looking girls, taken straight from Josh’s high school yearbook. I think it makes them look like they have square heads. I like to flip through Josh’s yearbook and find all the squareheads. It’s kind of like my version of Where’s Waldo? or I Spy. Try it sometime; it’s pretty fun.
I don’t know if these girls know it, but from behind, it looks like they have a large, furry animal on their heads. Sometimes I get stuck behind them in the grocery store and I can’t help but stare in amazement.
How I feel after eight years of exposure: I actually like the kind of hairstyle where you rat your bangs in the front and pin it down but keep the rest of your hair normal. I even sport it myself sometimes, although I never have the guts to wear it too high. It’s a convenient way to make your hair look done when your bangs are greasy and you don’t have time to wash them. The square head thing though? Never in a million years.
3. Country Music
I did not listen to country music growing up. I think the music is cheesy, the lyrics are cheesy, and the singers’ outfits are really cheesy. I think that sometimes they would rather follow a cute rhyme scheme than express a real emotion. You don’t have to know how to play the guitar to play a country song, as long as you know like three chords. All the men sing about how lovesick they are and all the women sing about what cheaters the men are.
I came to Utah and 90% of the radio stations played country music. It was blaring in all the stores. All of my new friends loved country music. There was no getting away from it.
Then I found out that a lot of people actually like country music because it’s cheesy. Sometimes it’s even funny. And I guess they’re good to karaoke to.
Eight years later, I still don’t like country music. But sometimes I listen to it in the car just for comic relief.
4. Hunting Gear
Something you would never see in Columbus is people wearing full-out camouflage and neon orange while going about their daily tasks, like going grocery shopping. Here in Utah, it’s a common occurrence. Especially here in Southern Utah. It’s so common that people just rotate their hunting clothes through their normal daily apparel. They even buy miniature versions for their children. When I worked at the elementary school, I always knew it was hunting season by the number of kids who would show up to school in camouflage.
I’ve always been an anti-gun and anti-animal cruelty type of person, and thought that hunting was just for violent men who wanted to prove how rugged and manly they were. But here, everyone goes hunting. Super conservative looking guys and girls will gear up and go shooting for some weekend fun. Church leaders will take teenagers out hunting for a church activity. The most soft-spoken and gentle people have invited me over to see their shockingly huge gun collection.
Eight years later, I still don’t like guns, and although I might say OK to some target shooting, you will never find me killing any animals.
And I’d just like to say that if you kill a rabbit, you better eat it. That’s all.