Just Fiends

Today’s topic is Things Women Do That Men Don’t Understand.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Ricks College, a four-year university? Great. Now people who couldn’t get in to BYU will be able to get bachelor’s degrees in Paste-Eating, instead of just associate’s.”

But you’re also thinking, “This topic is nothing new. Comedians are always talking about the differences between men and women. Come on, Snider” — or perhaps you’re thinking it “Snyder,” like many of you spell it when you write me angry letters — “come up with a new topic.” I will address this concern later (that is, if by “later” we mean “shut up”).

Where I live, it’s summertime. (I am not up-to-date on what season it is where you live.) This means that all the residents at my apartment complex have nothing to do but fall in love with each other. There are all these couplings of guys and girls that have sprung up literally overnight, and the rest of us entertain ourselves by watching what happens, having virtually no purpose in our own sad lives.

Here is what happens. The guy and the girl are clearly interested in each other. They hang out till all hours of the night, talking and getting to know one another. They flirt. They giggle. The guys start using deodorant and speaking in that voice that they only use with girls, the one that doesn’t yell things and that doesn’t know any swear words. The girls try, in vain, to act mature. Things would seem to be progressing nicely.

Then the girl does this: She takes the guy on one of their walks (men: Fear The Walk!) and explains that he is a great guy, and she thinks he’s very funny and nice and attractive and pleasant to be around and generally on top of things in the personal hygiene department and overall possessed of all the qualities she wants in a guy. And so, therefore — and this is the only logical course of action — she wants things to go no further. She just wants to be friends. She’s waiting, one presumes, for someone worse to come along.

The simple explanation at this point would be that the girl was lying about one or more of the complimentary things she said about the guy. For surely, if she actually liked all those things about him, she’d want to at least give the romance thing a try. If she is lying, we men do not fault her; after all, we lie to them at least as much as they lie to us, especially when they ask us questions about themselves that involve the words “love” or “fat.”

But here’s the thing that we’ve been seeing a lot of lately, we people who have nothing better to do than watch other people’s relationships. After the girl gives the guy the “let’s just be friends” spiel, THEIR BEHAVIOR DOES NOT CHANGE. They continue to spend all their time together. They continue to flirt and giggle. They continue to be, by the looks of things, far more than “just friends.” In fact, by the looks of things, you’d say they were boyfriend-and-girlfriend. Yet somehow, in the girl’s mind, they are not romantically involved.

This level of self-delusion is admirable. I’ve been able to convince myself of a lot of false things — I’m still expecting Robin Williams to become funny again, for example — but I’m sure I could never make myself believe that I was not dating someone whom I was clearly dating. I’ll bet these girls could be married to these guys, with children, even, and still say, “Oh, I just think he’s a nice guy and we’re just friends.” It’s yet another one of those Things Women Do That Men Don’t Understand. Add it to the list, and hand me the paste.

This column was published just a few days after the LDS Church announced that its church-owned junior college, Ricks College, would 1) be called BYU-Idaho; 2) become a four-year university; and 3) have all its sports programs phased out. This was big news in Provo (home of the real BYU). For years, Mormons who couldn't quite get in at BYU, or who preferred the lower-pressure junior college atmosphere before jumping into things, would go to Ricks and then transfer to BYU. No more would this happen. Big news indeed, and it gave me a chance to take what I believe was my first-ever crack at Ricks College.

"Paste-Eating" actually was the first Ricks College degree I thought of using. I soon after considered "Butt-Scratching," but was advised against that term by an editor when I ran it past her. (Usually, if it's offensive enough that I have to ask someone, it's probably too offensive for our readers. Which is why I usually just don't ask.) Someone else suggested "Rabbit Thumping," which I seriously considered. Apparently, this is a major practice in Idaho (where Ricks College is), where, when the rabbit population becomes too large, kids go out and bop the bunnies on the head with deadly force, thus saving the crops, hoorah. But in the end, I went with my first choice of "Paste-Eating." Fascinating story, though, no?