Is a Cruise for You?

IMG_20170410_073806

If in your future are exotic locations,
Such as Cancun or Mexico, assuming existing US relations.
Unlimited food, tasting mediocre at best,
That’ll send you straight to the toilet if it hasn’t been blessed.
A week away from your children at home,
Or bring them along and allow them to roam.
Does any of this sound too good to be true?
Then a cruise may be for you.

Let us first visit my favorite location, the buffet.
Where I heard there was food forever, that’s totally cray!
Failing to heed Admiral Ackbar’s advice:
“It’s a trap!” Limited hours. I’ve paid the ultimate price.
There is one item unlimited, no cause for alarm,
It’s the melted soft-serve, constantly running down your arm.
When there was food available, it wasn’t so great,
But it’s better than starving, so don’t arrive late.
If food’s not your thing, there’s plenty to do,
A cruise may still be for you.

Your cruise director always has something to say
Ours was named Alex, he would not go away.
Nothing he said was of interest of me,
No sir, even at 25% off, I will not buy new jewelry.
The ship deck was a great place to get sun,
Until the hairy chest contest (for ALL participants) sent me on the run.
Many ship staff and visitors were Filipino, no way!
Imagine my dismay to learn they were all from LA.
Supposedly the price of the cruise was all inclusive,
However the $82 WiFi charge was very elusive.
Perhaps I got bored because I don’t drink,
But who’s laughing now with the bill printed in ink.
The activities I’ve listed are only a few,
But do you know now if a cruise is for you?

Our shore excursions were quite a delight,
At least Catalina. Ensenada not quite.
Shirt off and snorkeling with the fishes below,
Yes ma’am the water is cold.  How did you know?
Sunscreen was one amenity I forgot,
Which will not bode well for interviews with skin in mid rot.
Ensenada we drove around in a rented van,
Yes I’ll buy your tamales. You think I can’t eat 20? Watch me, I can!
If anything you must come for the gorgeous view,
How about now, is a cruise for you?

And so concludes the end of our trip,
It was an interesting time aboard this ship.
This has by no means been a comprehensive review,
But you should know now, if a cruise is for you.

2016 Year-End Review

2016 was a big year full of changes: new school, new state, and new socks.  In a year full of ups and downs, heartbreak and breakfast tacos, I always look forward to writing this year-end review, written in first and third person.  If you were hoping for a physical Christmas card to decorate your fridge with, click here to find a local Kinkos to do it yourself.

The beginning of the year found Matt frequently traveling for graduate school interviews.  In Seattle at the University of Washington, he quickly discovered this was not the place for him after being deceived by a delicious organic beet-and carrot-filled quesadilla.  Those things shouldn’t go together, but why was it delicious?  Matt decided it was just best to stay away from that confusing lifestyle.

Outside of Disneyland, traveling to the University of Alabama at Birmingham was one of the few instances where I have felt like a minority.  BYU always told me that I AM diverse for being a white guy who lived in a foreign land and speaks an obscure language.  But Alabama made me remember: I’m still just a white guy.

In the end, the desire to further understand Texas pride overcame my need to be pampered by southern hospitality.  I live in Texas now and have discovered it is a culture of its own.  Texas cities are like family members.  I live in San Antonio, which could be compared to your old, conservative grandpa who is unintentionally racist.  Sometimes I go through Austin, which is like your brother who is going through that weird phase; we don’t talk about him at family gatherings.

Over the summer, Matt traveled to Glacier National Park with a few friends.  On a separate but related note, he has also entertained the idea of running for public office later on in life.  Since most politicians tend to have compromising photos of themselves, Matt created his own on the trip.  This way, it comes as no surprise during election time.  The voters need to understand what kind of candidate they’re getting:

13653274_10153597466346836_6222133234838993091_o

I successfully completed my first semester of graduate school.  I am also happy to report that I received straight A’s in all courses.  Something I was never able to accomplish during my undergraduate courses.  This accomplishment has been offset by the repeated emphasis of the professors that “grades don’t matter!”  Oh well, at least I can still get free doughnuts for every A at Krispy Kreme.  Wait, what do you mean it’s only for grade school…?

In November, Matt decided to grow a mustache.  He doesn’t want to talk about it.

IMG_20161120_120137.jpg

The new face of men’s health? Or poster boy for chocolate “got milk” commercials?

Since it is the holiday season, it seems fitting to mention that Matt wasn’t invited to a single Christmas party this year.  This is only mentioned to make you feel guilty in case you had a Christmas party and failed to invite him.  He’s been free every weekend in December and most in November.  One friend was kind enough to invite him to a party for married people, but it was more of a pity thing.

So far, 2017 is looking to be promisingly boring.  Thank heavens.

Wishing you all the best,

Matt

 

 

More Things Texas People Like

This post wasn’t supposed to happen.  It is an uneccesary sequel, much like any Transformers movie or the last 7 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy (really, all the main characters in that hospital keep dying, why would anyone want to keep working there?).  But since there appears to be a market for it, these posts will keep getting pushed out.  So here are some More Things Texas People Like.  Let’s begin with where this started:

Never Being Content

Go read any article about Texas.  Actually, just skip the article and go to the comments.  If you haven’t lost your faith in humanity after the first few commentors and common trolls, you’ll find a trove of Texas complaining about what was NOT included in the article.  Really, you could read an informational article about the Alamo and have someone comment that it isn’t nearly as fun as Six Flags.

Think about how difficult it must be for a Buzzfeed author to “write” (quotations because I can’t believe people at Buzzfeed have jobs consisting of posting pop culture memes and lists) about the best restaraunts in Texas.  These authors (excuse me, the Buzzfeed term is contributor) have to narrow down the choices to the top 20 bars or the top 36 BBQ stands that will give you chills…er…sorry, I get my clickbait articles mixed up.  They are absolutely destroyed by upset readers whose favorite spots were not included.

According to the National Restaraunt Association, there are 43,670 restaraunts and bars in Texas.  If an ambitious millenial journalist really wanted to cover their bases, they would write an article along the lines of “The 43,670 Restaraunts and Bars in Texas You Need to Try Before You Die.”  Of course, someone will still likely complain that the article forgot the Tamale lady who comes over every Tuesday.  Some people are just impossible to please.

Whataburger

If you’ve ever watched Parks and Rec, you may recall the recurring storyline of Ben and his beffudlement over the excess attention people give to Lil’ Sebastian.  He doesn’t understand why, but he still goes along with it.

tumblr_lubcn36w431qd575ko1_400

“It’s a small pony. What am I missing?”

Similarly, I feel the exact same way about Whataburger.  To me, it’s still just another fast food place, but Texans approach it as more of a transendental opportunity.  So I go along with it. (For the sake of this post, I am an anonymous guest blogger to avoid potential backlash)

Whataburger (or you may hear it pronounced Waterburger) likely makes up half the restaurants in Texas .  Back in Utah, when two girls want to meet up, they usually settle on a soup and salad place or maybe some fake Mexican food.  You’d be hard pressed to find people meeting up at Wendy’s or some other fast food joint.  I meet up with 2 girls a few weeks ago for dinner and asked them to pick the venue.  To my amazement, they agreed on Whataburger.  Mind blown!

Ask anyone what their favorite menu item is and the answer will likely be the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit.

389126c7d39a437a14a655378c77caf0

One serving and your daily calorie intake has been met!

When I first visited and tried this menu item with classmates, expectations had been set unreasonably high (like every other food recommendation I’ve been given here).  Yes, it was good.  But not knock your socks off good (I was partly to blame for wearing shoes that day).  I’ll probably get another one, probably as a way to break my New Year’s Resolution in early January.  But where one breakfast food may fail, there are dozens more attempting to take its spot, which leads to…

Breakfast Tacos

These are nothing new.  Breakfast tacos have been around for a long time.  In Utah, breakfast burritos are more common.  The biggest advantage of the Texas Tacos over the Utah Burrito that you won’t be regretting your choice from the confines of the bathroom for the rest of the day.

Even the term itself, ‘breakfast taco’ is classic Tex-Mex food formula.  One word is English. One word is Spanish.  It turns regular food into breakfast food.   It provides an ethnic experience without having to travel.  Some people grab a coffee and doughnut on their way to work in the morning.  In Texas, you grab your taco and coffee to go.  It doesn’t ring as well, but who cares?! You have a breakfast taco!

Vendors jam pack their tortillas as well.  Being used to meager fillings in Utah, I ordered 4 breakfast tacos my first time.  If you’re assuming I didn’t eat them all, you’re wrong.  I did, and I was more full than I would have liked and it hurt a little bit.  But it was a good hurt.download

If you thought breakfast tacos came from Mexico, you’re probably right, but you will also probably be told you’re wrong by people from Austin

Austin is its own post which I don’t even want to try writing about.  So if you’d like to guest post, let me know!

I’d ask if I missed anything, but people will let me know anyways.

Things Texas People Like

Blogging is hard.  I haven’t gotten to the point where hundreds of ideas just flow through my mind until I’m rolling in ad endorsements.  My primary forte has been finding groups of people to poke fun at and I quickly exhausted my resources of Utah county (although this election cycle provides plenty of new material, but I’ll just leave that to every media outlet).

For those of you who didn’t know I moved to Texas, I moved to Texas.  It’s been about two months now and in that time I still don’t understand the root of Texas pride.  However, I have been able to see that many things are, in fact bigger in Texas: trucks, alcohol tolerance, and waistlines (San Antonio: 8th largest in the nation!) for example.  There is a whole group of people down here with their own culture and stereotypes that must be spoken of.  And so continues the saga with Things Texas People Like.

Driving the speed limit

When someone strikes a nerve with you while driving, do you ever glance at them while driving past them to see if they look as bad as they drive?  Since I’ve been in Texas, it has taken a great deal of self-control to keep watch where I’m going and eyes on the road.

“Is there a 7 care pile up ahead?”

No! It’s just half the freeway population doing 5 under the speed limit!

Coming from Utah where the average speed is 10 over (I’m not implicating myself as a reckless driver, it’s everyone else), if you pulled that speed here, you’re likely to be bigger target for cops than sprinkled doughnuts on a stake out.  I half expect there to be a dog or family of otters in front of all these cars to explain their speed.  But I am always left disappointed that I have yet to see a family of otters running through the freeway.  In Utah, I used to hear all the time what bad drivers we are.  I think a more appropriate statement would be:

(Insert your state here) has bad drivers”

Talking about Restaurants you’ve Never been to (and shooting down the ones you have)

One of my first weekends in Texas, we had just finished a successful trip to IKEA in Austin (about an hour and a half drive).  We were hungry and wanted to find somewhere good to eat.  Consulting Google, we found a place called Rudy’s with excellent ratings.  As newbies, the employees treated us to a small, free platter of samplers to see what we liked.  We proceeded to consume a satisfying meal of brisket, half a loaf of bread (calories don’t count if you don’t count them!), and creamed corn that tasted like ice cream.  We were content.

Later that week in class, we told others of our experience.  All we wanted was for others to be happy of our decision.  What we were told instead was that we should have gone literally anywhere else.

“Oh sure, Rudy’s is fine, but it’s a franchise and you can find that anywhere.  You should have tried…”

Then came a more heated discussion than the blue/gold dress of 2015 as everyone but us Utah folk contributed to the conversation and disagreed on where the best BBQ places are. What I came to understand was that it didn’t matter if we bought some good-looking chairs, we wasted a trip to Austin. If I had a nickel for how many restaurants have been recommended to me down here, I still wouldn’t be rich, but I would have just an absurd amount of nickels.  Even after we go out and try a recommended place, there is always someone to disprove our decision and give us 10 other alternatives.

So, if you ever come to town and are looking for recommendations, please don’t ask me, and whatever you do, don’t tell anyone where you decided to go.  Also, you’ll likely have to travel to Austin because apparently all the best restaurants are not in San Antonio.

Blue Bell

Blue-Bell-ice-cream.jpg

A play off the moniker “What happens in Vegas…” is “What’s made in Texas, stays in Texas.  They’re very selfish with their BBQ sauces, HEB grocery stores (one of the best things in Texas), and especially Blue Bell ice cream.  Once I decided to pay nearly $7 for a half-gallon of buttered pecan (pronounced pee-can), I was immediately  hooked and went and bought another tub the next day upon finishing the first (don’t judge me).

Yes, there was a Listeria outbreak last year in which over 8 million gallons were recalled.  Yes, a few people did die from it.  But, since they used the phrase “we’re rebranding” during their comeback, like Chipotle or Wells Fargo, I completely trust them.  It’s just so good!

If you want a small taste of it in Utah, they serve it at Ike’s Creamery in Provo Beach Resort.

Football

I’m not a sports guy.  I love attending events, but watching random games on TV isn’t my favorite idea, and don’t expect me to know any stats either.  It took me about 5 years at BYU before I could hold my own in a conversation about BYU football, always made difficult by the fact that the lineup changes constantly (stop graduating for just one year, please!).

Now I feel like an idiot all over again.  My class is made up of students coming from big football schools of the south.  Naturally, the topic comes up…quite frequently actually…everyday as a matter of fact.  It’s usually the morning conversation as everyone follows up on their fantasy football stats.  Sometimes in order to deflect my lack of knowledge, I feel like saying:

“Can you all shut up? I’m getting ready to learn!”

or I just keep it vague:

“I like when the team you like gets more points than the other!”

But those both make me feel about as comfortable as getting stabbed, so I keep it to myself.

Texas is fine as far as states that start with T go.  I’m not sure where Texas pride comes from yet (unless it comes from Blue Bell, then I completely understand).  Another year may help me understand that, but also give me more things to write about.

Stereotypical Summers

After a long winter and a spring season that can never make up its mind what climate it wants to be, summer is a much anticipated time for all types of people. Whether school, work, or pleasure opportunities, many of these plans have been in the making for months, while others are more spontaneous.  Take a look at your own group of friends and you may find those who fit these categories.

Summer Sales

It’s time to dust off those uni-colored polos (typically orange or gray) and matching snapbacks.  The field is white, all ready to harvest those commissions that will nail you the top salesman award at the end-of-year cruise.  Although the days are long and hard, the weekends provide the opportunity to show off what you’ve accomplished at the gym over the past nine months; documented through pictures at the beach, skins vs. skins volleyball games, and even more time at the gym (don’t forget to flex!).  When the summer is over, with all the money you made, you don’t have to worry about working for the rest of the year.  Focus on the essentials like getting you and your bros to the gym on a scooter, house parties, and hot tubbing. #squadgoals

Provo

On the way to the hot tub after a clutch day of sales!

Study Abroad 

Not to be confused with a sudden increase in European art or Asian literature, a study abroad program provides students the opportunity to study things they have relatively no interest in or will not use (obviously not in all cases) while simultaneously receiving a cultural experience by being able to take pictures next to well-known historical icons.  Imagine, a whole summer of asking people: “Will you take a picture of me while I stare pensively at something vague in the background?”

0903-socality-barbie93-480w

For a great Instagram account making fun of these types of pictures, follow @socalitybarbie

Or taking a picture every time you’re on a plane.

nervo

Airplane wings. Letting the world know you didn’t ride first class

Other opportunities abound such as finding love in a foreign place with those in your group.  Back home, it was easy for the person you liked to give you the slip when they didn’t want to date you.  Now they’ll be stuck with you for six weeks in close quarters with no chance of escape.  Act now!  You’ll be all the rage back home among your friends as you show off all your pictures and all the places you went.  Just hope that they don’t ask you about the artistic style of Botticelli during the Renaissance, you weren’t paying attention.

Internship

Congratulations!  You’ve decided to get your act together, stop frolicking abroad, and realized that your sex appeal to do sales disappears in your 30’s.  You’re thinking long term, which has landed you this prestigious internship.  If you’re anything but a business major, you’re likely staying local.  Unless you get with an up and coming non-profit based out of New York, then you move out, live in a van, and share a community garden with everyone else since it’s unpaid.  If you’re a business major, you’ve gone through a vigorous vetting process to get there (unless your dad knows people).  Now, with your overly-tight suit, faded haircut, and skinny ankles, you’re ready to move to a foreign land (sometimes as far as Phoenix or Dallas) and running endless excel formulas and cleaning out companies’ databases (aka grunt work).  Hopefully you get a job out of it.  If not, you can at least do sales until you hit your 30’s while you think about your next step.

Going Nowhere

This isn’t to say you’re not ambitious, but perhaps none of these circumstances apply to you.  Either you don’t fit the summer sales mold, you’re not far enough in school to do an internship, or your parents won’t pay for another study abroad.  This leaves you in the exact same spot you’ve been for the last year.  But you need to show all your traveling friends that you can have a good time too.  One popular past time is slacklining – because nothing says daredevil like walking a foot-and-a-half above a grassy hill.  Hammocking is another enjoyable past time.  Set up a hammock and take a nap until a like-minded person passes by and asks inquisitively “You hammock too?”  They grab their hammock, then you are both hammocking.  When you ask someone to take a picture of you hammocking so you can Instagram it, make sure your instafriends don’t recognize the hammock is set up in your front yard.  They’ll think you’re trying too hard.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to come up with fun summer ideas: house parties, bonfires, mocktails, card games, Taco Tuesday, etc.  Just don’t get too carried away with ideas:

It’s not riding an elephant though . . .

*As a disclaimer, I have been a participant of some sort in all these areas . . . which means I can make fun of them.

Apathy and Uninformed Voters: Our Nation’s Downfall

 

constitution

Almost 250 years ago, a distinguished body of men gathered together to lay the framework of what the United States is now built on.  This Constitution has provided order and government since and now stands as the supreme law of the land.  Majority of these men had taken part in the Revolutionary War ten years previously and were willing to die for what they believed in.  After the war was won and it came time to found a nation, differing opinions and political ideals were set aside because there was a greater purpose in mind.

The preamble of the Constitution is widely known and yet largely not understood:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

How many people understand that “ensure domestic tranquility” means that it is the government’s purpose, duty, and responsibility to make sure that people can live peacefully within the boundaries of the nation; that they will not be afflicted by riots, rebellions, or wanton criminal activity?  Why does it seem like instead of promoting general welfare, there is an ever-widening gap between social classes?  Why does it seem like the government’s sole purpose today is to take away people’s rights?

Distinguished* individuals still sit up on the hill today.  With their ivy-league educations, years of experience, and debate finesse, our Nation should be operating successfully.  Why then, are both political parties at constant, unresolved impasses? Why then, has our country turned from a mindset of “we” to “us vs. them?”  And why, isn’t anything being done about it?

We the People, have no one to blame but ourselves.

Did you know that you can help elect the people who make the big decisions at a local, state, and national level? You did? Then why aren’t you doing anything about it?  In 2014, just 29.6 percent of elibible voters in Utah cast a ballot, a record low for the state.  Out of those who do vote, how many do so because they know the issues? Or is it because they personally know the candidate, heard an ad for them, align with the same religion, or just wanted a sticker?

We get mad at the leaders making decisions for us, but we put them there in the first place and aren’t doing anything to get them out.  Perhaps out of fear that Utah voters are actually becoming educated and involved, the Utah Senate is currently calling on Congress to repeal the 17th Amendment – so that state senators can again select U.S. senators.  This means that rather than being elected by the voice of the people, the Senate would become an exclusive club.  Don’t worry about it though, it’s a lot easier to remain unaware of what’s going on than to get involved.  Ignorance is bliss. (Read article here)

Donald Trump perhaps said it best after he won the Nevada caucus on February 23: “I love the poorly educated.”  It may not be realistic to expect everyone to be well-informed on every political aspect, but having an understanding of current issues that affect us, along with an active voice, is critical to determining the future of our nation.  Too many leaders today thrive upon the apathy and those who are uneducated politically to push their agendas and campaigns.  The few who do take up an active role have difficulty rallying the majority needed to make significant change.

The field of politics and elections has shifted from civil debates proposing deep and thoughtful policy responses, to constant mudslinging, insults, and exposing others weaknesses while pushing their own strengths.  This current state is nothing new to politics, but now it seems that all of these actions take precedence over providing solutions for our problems.

What makes Donald Trump an effective candidate for the Republican nomination is his ability to fuel the fire the general public has towards the government.  He tells people what they want to hear without providing concrete resolutions.  What’s interesting is that people were upset with Mitt Romney four years ago for being a wealthy businessman who told things as they were (47%) and provided realistic solutions.  Donald Trump is an even wealthier businessman who chooses to sympathize with his supporters by throwing blame at the establishment and creating larger-than-life expectations.  All while being crass, rude, insulting, and arrogant – qualities not commonly associated with the POTUS.

In any business, SMART goals are encouraged (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound).  For an effective goal to be met, these guidelines should be met.  If Trump supporters actually thought hard about the promises being made to them, they would see that those ideas are flawed and seemingly unrealistic.

A few examples

  • Building a giant wall along the border PAID FOR by Mexico – If the US hasn’t been able to provide the funds for a wall, then where would Mexico come up with the money? The former Mexican President recently stated that “I’m not going to pay for that f—— wall.”
  • Deporting all immigrants – You may not stop to think that perhaps the house you live in, the burger you were served, your gas attendant, may have all been provided by an immigrant workforce. If 12 million immigrants are deported, not only is a giant portion of our nation’s workforce depleted, but hundreds of thousands of families will be torn apart.
  • Healthcare – Trump plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act his first day in office. If he does, that leaves insurance companies free to drop their “expensive” customers, leaving perhaps millions of people without access to healthcare.  He has not provided a resolute alternative in its place.
  • Ban Muslims from entering the US – Not only disregarding a right guaranteed by the first amendment, but creating nearly 1.6 billion enemies across the world.

By fanning the public’s anger by bringing up these hot topics, Donald Trump continues to gain supporters, no matter how crass, insulting, or how many countries he offends in the process. How can he expect to be leader of the free world if he has offended every other nation in the process?

Donald Trump is not the only person monopolizing the uninformed voters.

A lot has been said of my own generation, the millennials who are the future leaders of this nation.  The reputation we have gained as lazy, entitled children is embarrassing and the topic has been so thoroughly discussed that to further press the matter would be beating a dead horse.  So I’ll beat it a bit more.

What has seemed to stick with our generation is that if you make a big enough fuss about something, it will be fixed.  Riots, protests, and excessive sharing via social media are platforms on which to accomplish these demands.  Much of this demographic is currently “feeling the BERN,” and throwing support to Bernie Sanders socialistic ideas of a political revolution.

While Bernie Sanders may have some compelling ideas, many would require extreme and radical changes within the government, unlikely to gain support from those currently in congress.  Many people agree with the ideas he presents, but may not seriously consider how they are to be met.  The following clip shows a student lobbying for free education, but struggling to explain how it would be funded – further emphasizing the importance of understanding the issues.

Building off the ideas presented in the clip and concepts of socialism, the idea of distributing wealth and taxing the rich obliterates the longstanding ethos of the American Dream.  The American Dream used to denote that success can be achieved through hard work.  With such a social divide today, this is not necessarily the case and seems to be the exception.  But in such cases, what would drive someone to be successful in a socialist economy if you do not get to reap all the fruits of your labor.  The American Dream then becomes the ability to achieve mediocrity to avoid high tax rates.

Millennials don’t seem to comprehend the full meaning of socialism now, as students and early careerists and view the 1% as the bad guys.  Only once their own income rises and begin to pay more taxes will they become more averse to government social spending.  Why So Many Millenials are Socialists from The Federalist website does a great job at showing millennials stating what they want, but not knowing why they want it or how it is going to happen.

Of course, there are problems and concerns with other candidates that people don’t know about: Why has Marco Rubio never accomplished anything in the Senate? Why is Ben Carson still running? Who is John Kasich? And why does Ted Cruz have such a remarkably forgettable face? But the two previous candidates provide the most extreme examples to draw from.

Now, more than any other time is when our nation is in its greatest need of inspired and thoughtful leadership.  But at no other time besides the civil war have we been more divided as a nation.  Stop relying on the candidates to bully you into a vote and get to know who they are and what they stand for.  We can’t be responsible for the occasional (or frequent) immoral and unjust decisions our leaders make, but we can be responsible for ensuring they never get another shot at a term in office.

There may still be people who believe in the Constitution and fight to uphold it.  So often, their voices are drowned out by the overwhelmingly negative messages portrayed through the media.  It’s time for every citizen to rise up and return America to what it once was (I refuse to use the phrase “Make America Great Again” to avoid and unintentional endorsement).

For anyone interested in knowing what the Constitution says, you can read it here.

Valentines

Ansari_Aziz_TIME_051615_9338_F.JPG

It’s that time of year again; when the lines are drawn for one of the most divisive standoffs of the year that is even more intense than the #teamedward/#teamjacob debate of the Twilight era, more trivial than the blue/gold dress debate of 2015, and more petty than the current Republican debates.  It’s the time of year when couples and single people face off: couples going overboard to profess their love (of not being single) and single people counteracting by trying to prove how great it is to be a young millennial who can do anything without being tied down.

From Provo, Utah, these lines are made even more inflated by the articles in BYU’s Valentine’s edition newspaper.  The week of the holiday, multiple stories can be found from the perspective of the marrieds, and the rebuttal of the singles.  Past pro-marriage articles have included favorites such as “I do at BYU” and “Tying the knot in College,” which use statistics and quotes to dishonor those still frolicking in singularity.  Married students are highlighted and classified as “part of the 25 percent of married students on campus,” The “1%,” anyone? They also give out unsolicited advice such as encouraging their single friends to get married so they can start hanging out again.

To show that being single still has its advantages, articles have been written in past years about this wild and fun crowd that include “Single’s Awareness: The Five Stages of Breaking Up,” and “Relationship status impacts self-image” . . . Hmm, actually, maybe more current articles work as better rebuttals: “Students experience three levels of dating fears” and “Studies show negative effects of hookups.”  Uh . . .

What do statistics and data know anyways?  Let’s take a look at the actual night of Valentines.  While couples are dressing up, going out, and feeding each other fondue, singles are hosting their own, themed parties.  Maybe you might have been invited to one of them:

  • Lonely Hearts Club
  • Broken Heart’s Party
  • SAD (Single’s Awareness Day) Party
  • Swipe Right for Awesomeness! (Not sure what exactly will happen here)
  • Galantines Day (Girls going off in groups and leaving men even more alone)
  • We’re Lonely and Have No one to Turn to (Not very subtle)
  • EPIC Dance Party! (Because a weekend in Provo wouldn’t be complete without a dance party)

Most of these parties include baked goods, party games (mafia, smurf, manner of the adverb, etc.), and small talk.  These parties usually finish up when either the food is gone or curfew is met.

In the midst of this clash, there are many who change their allegiance by the next day.  These turncoats may begin the night amongst single friends, but slowly leave as a couple to do their own thing.  By the next morning, you discover that they are now engaged to be married, never to be seen apart again.  If you want to play a fun party game, take bets with your friends on how many engagements will show up on tomorrow’s Facebook feed.

Valentine’s Day is a day of celebration.  It’s up to you what you are celebrating though: Independence or togetherness? Perhaps by next year, you can set resolution’s to either have someone to be with, or throw the largest Anti-Valentine’s party on the block.