Heater, Mother of Lance

Utah or Bust

So we’re packing up and getting ready to go, and Jon is leaning over the luggage trying to rearrange all of our tall clothing. And my five year old niece is just standing there behind Jon taking everything in and looking a tad confused when she looks at me, looks back at Jon hunched over the mound of clothing, looks back at me and wonders aloud, “Joe Boxer?”

Ealier in the day she pointed out that her dog, Pepper, was “inspecting the bottom system” of our dog Chuck, so I asked her “inspecting the bottom system?” And instead of offering one of her usual logical explanations (like the time she was certain Jesus Christ was walking the earth in the form of Barry Gibb), she just repeated the expression, “exploring the bottom system,” about 25 times while twirling around in oblong circles like a crazed Aryan oompa loompa. My brother threatened that if she said it again, “exploring the bottom system,” he’d explore a spanking solution. She immediately stopped spinning, looked straight at my brother and said in the most matter-of-fact legal closing argument kind of way, “exploring the bot…um I mean solar system.” Then she skipped off to chew gum and put stickers on her little sister’s forehead.

We leave here in the morning, bright and early and achingly cold, and should arrive in Zion a few hours after dark, supposing we experience no run-ins between the Idaho State Police and our mobile, roving liquor cabinet. I’m experiencing an overwhelming mixture of emotions, including an extraordinary sadness at leaving such a wonderful community. I really like Seattle — the coffee everywhere, the indigenous green scenery, the shopping malls erected with materials and designs that mimic lumber warehouses — despite the fact that everyone here actually drives the speed limit, and that there is an inordinate number of people who wear matching brown belts and little brown shoes.

  • dennis

    2002/12/01 at 6:25 pm

    Matching shoes and belts? Not natural. I’m a bad man for thinking it, but I wonder what my girlfriend would do if I asked to “inspect the bottom system”…?

  • LandingInTheSummer

    2002/12/01 at 6:36 pm

    Yeah, uh, be careful with the mobile liquor cabinet. As a friend’s father once pointed out – “Just when I learned to drive drunk, they went and made it illegal.”

  • Kris

    2002/12/01 at 6:41 pm

    Just think what you’ll find in Utah:
    People wearing secret funny underwear.
    The Wasatch Mountains, which make any others look like poseurs to me.
    Achingly beautiful skies (except for inversion days, er weeks, errr months).
    CleanFlicks … which will allow you to see everything good from Hollywood but “without the sex, nudity, profanity or extreme violence.”
    Tens of thousands of RMs (returned missionaries), primarily at BYU, all on a new mission: To marry and reproduce.
    Tens of thousands of fluffy-haired young women attending BYU trying to snag one of those RMs so they can get their MRS degree.
    Dick Nourse and his latest half-his-age co-anchor.
    Marky Snowbank and his son, Kevin, who competes on the other channel.
    Liquor laws relaxed since the last time you lived there, to wit: Mixed drinks and wine may be ordered with food in most restaurants from noon to 1 a.m., and beer may be ordered from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Patrons may be served at their tables or in waiting areas. Drink menus and wine lists are provided only upon request, so you must ask your server for such a list. Likewise, servers are prohibited by law to ask patrons if they would like an alcoholic beverage; the request must be made by the patron.
    The Kiss: While Rodin’s sculpture was banned from public display at BYU in 1997, the newly remodeled Museum of Fine Arts on the U of U campus has given it a place. As one journalist noted: “If someone’s morals must be corrupted, better those heathens on the hill than the sensitive souls at God’s University.
    The Salt Lake Weekly which should become your primary alternate weekly as soon as possible.

    Enjoy Zion!

  • couloir

    2002/12/01 at 7:25 pm

    for those of us just tuning in lol…. they’re FROM UTAH!!! i think they’ll know what they’ll find there.

  • dennis

    2002/12/01 at 7:38 pm

    I require further information on “secret funny underwear”…

  • Em

    2002/12/01 at 8:08 pm

    I love how clever little kids are. I love little kids in general. But your niece sounds like a real character.

  • megchem

    2002/12/01 at 9:11 pm

    OK! I don’t like the spanking reference (barbaric…idiotic….get a grip). My son had issues with a bulldog’s ass cuz its hole was black…interestingly enough he couldn’t get over it until he was five. A lot of staring ensued…..

  • megchem

    2002/12/01 at 9:17 pm

    just a side note….isn’t dooce from the south…yeah she went to school in utah, but really she’s from the south…jon…he’s a mystery…. at least to me(ok searched his site…for um, well, 1 min, nothing)

  • Xanthan

    2002/12/01 at 9:29 pm

    Oh, the secret underware! Oh, please reveal the mysteries of this Mormon mystery for us, Dooce. I’ve wanted to know why the Mormons have special underware ever since I went to Primary at my best friend’s ward when I grew up (they didn’t like me much: I knew more bible stories than the Mormon kids and I was making ’em look bad, or so my Mom sez).

  • dooce

    2002/12/01 at 9:36 pm

    a few notes:
    my brother has never once raised his hand against his children. he was joking. it was a joke.
    jon is from utah, i am from tennessee, we both lived in utah for a very long time, were both members of that mormon church and know exactly what to expect when we get there.
    the secret funny underwear is sacred heavenly underwear that isn’t very sexy.

  • Ex-liontamer

    2002/12/02 at 2:50 am

    At least you’ll be able to get drunk when you complain, you sexy heathen, you.

  • Kate

    2002/12/02 at 5:50 am

    Bah, there is a difference between spanking and assault.

  • Cindi

    2002/12/02 at 6:04 am

    Welcome to Utah Dooce!

  • Paul Gutman

    2002/12/02 at 6:08 am

    I’m stuck on Kris’ description of an anchor old enough to have an anchorman son but is still named “Marky”. Didn’t Wahlberg even give that up?

  • Stephanie from Seattle

    2002/12/02 at 6:55 am

    I am so glad you enjoyed Seattle! It’s nice to hear other people say nice things about the city where you grew up.

    As to all the people out there wondering about secret underwear: I grew up Mormon, but am no longer, so I can spill the beans about the undies. Basically, after you visit the Mormon Temple, you wear special white undergarments. For women (I haven’t seen the men’s), they look similar to a tshirt with cap sleeves, and a pair of fitted shorts that extend to the top of the knees. You would wear your normal underwear, such as a bra, on top of these garments. They are supposed symbolize purity, and remind you of the promises you made to God while in the temple. In addition, they supposedly help protect you from evil. In the Mormon community, lots of stories are told about how Suzy Mormon was in a car accident and how she received injuries to every part of her body except where her garments covered, or how John Mormon was chased by a bear and bitten on the leg, but the garment prevented the bite from piercing the skin. The garments also remind you of your modesty. You cannot wear clothing that would show the garments – which means no tank tops or short shorts. You can read the official explaination of these underwear

  • Glen

    2002/12/02 at 6:57 am

    No, there’s a difference between a “pop”, where I smack your hand because you keep reaching for the stove, and a “spanking” where I take you to the couch, put you over my knee, and whack your bottom (with our without belt) numerous times until you are bawling. The latter is assault and has no business being part of the parenting repertoire.

  • Stephanie from Seattle

    2002/12/02 at 6:57 am

    Gah! What happened! I apologize for the long, one paragraph thought, as well as the link not showing up. Apparently I don’t know how this comment thingie works. This is the link: http://ldsfaq.byu.edu/emmain.asp?number=88

  • PJ

    2002/12/02 at 7:23 am

    Thanks for the info on the underwear, Steph. I had no idea there was such a thing. Does one of the Mormon persuasion have to wear this all the time? Sister Mary Ruth, my 6th grade teacher, is looking postively risque in comparison!

  • Naaman

    2002/12/02 at 7:39 am

    Did I miss something? Is there anything wrong with matching one’s belt with one’s shoes? Particularly brown? Maybe I’ve been living in SF too long…

  • kane

    2002/12/02 at 7:42 am

    Nice to see that your niece has signs of the dooce gene. There is hope for the future afterall. =)

  • Dave Thomas

    2002/12/02 at 7:56 am

    From a garment-sportiní Mormon: The idea is that you wear it all the time, except when a specific activity such as swimming or balling or yak grooming, makes it unreasonable. Also, I offer the following as supplement to Steph’s info-rich link: (1) While there are established guidelines for garment wearing, it’s ultimately left up to the individual (as “an outward expression of an inward covenant”) to determine how rigorously one will adhere. Which means there are no snap skivvy inspections or nothing. (2) The list sanctioned garment-free pursuits includes loviní and touchiní, as well as squeeziní–which, considering the garmentís widely-acknowledged lack of ha cha cha, is nice. (3) I don’t know about the protection-from-physical-harm business. Mormon culture is replete with “faith-promoting” urban legend-type malarkey, which this type of thing tends to be. I wear garments and I still suffer the occasional boo-boo on my thighs and upper body. Maybe I should use more starch… (4) Finally, if most Mormons seem uncomfortable with speaking about the garment in detail, it’s because it’s a highly-symbolic (and sacred) practice which many Mormons themselves don’t feel they fully understand, and also because, well hell, it’s their underwear.

  • Stephanie in Seattle

    2002/12/02 at 8:07 am

    Dave, you crack me up. 🙂 Maybe you should use more starch, lol. Great additional info!

  • SnarkyPup

    2002/12/02 at 8:50 am

    You know, Utah has a porn czar. This could go either way, of course, but unfortunately (and perhaps unsurprisingly) it goes the unfun way.

  • Funtime Ben

    2002/12/02 at 9:42 am

    I was not aware of any religion using undergarments to promote faith, but I love the concept. I know I sometimes find undergarments do inspire prayer… especially on the right Bottom System.

  • jacksongrey

    2002/12/02 at 9:58 am

    brown shoes are overrated, just as brown belts are. You think it’s all neo-wookie wonderland, but then you realise it’s just pompous nouveu riche trying to dress down in some sort of apology because they drive a $50,000 volvo.

    and the wasatch mountains? heh– i used to think they were cool, but now i live in the alps– that esplains all the laughing germans i used to meet in park city.

  • ericalynn

    2002/12/02 at 10:01 am

    I lived in Utah for about eight months and sadly, I never got anyone to strip down to their garments 🙂 I couldn’t corrupt any Mormons so I took my naughty self back to New York.

  • rosebaby

    2002/12/02 at 10:41 am

    spank me on my bottom system baby! oh, ok. all that talk about mormon underwear positively makes me want to react. hearing that described is really truly like an army of thousands doing nails on the chalkboard all at one time. i don’t know why. certain religious affiliations raise my blood pressure more than others. heather, i’m sure you’ll spice it up out there. 🙂

  • Dave Thomas

    2002/12/02 at 10:50 am

    Sorry, rosebaby. I only shared because Some folks seemed curious. Didn’t mean to give you a reaction. Oh, by the way, you might want to stay away from nuns. They wear their funny religious clothing on the outside.

  • Funtime Ben

    2002/12/02 at 10:58 am

    Hey, do we know for sure that nuns don’t wear funny religious clothing underneath and is there a website for it?

  • Totah DinÈ

    2002/12/02 at 11:15 am

    Utah culture cannot be truly appreciated unless you have lived there. Being a former Provo resident I can say that it consists of three basic types: Mormons, Jack Mormons and Mormon haters. All three are the main industries of Utah. You can actually make a living off of hating Mormons in Utah.

  • Deb

    2002/12/02 at 11:18 am

    All this talk about undergarments… heh.

    I want to know more about the “bottom system”.
    I am intrigued!

  • garrett

    2002/12/02 at 12:26 pm

    Some of attitude in these comments cracks me up. Anyway… I just rediscovered your site after forever. Imagine my surprise to learn that you will be living in Utah. As someone who has spent lots of time in Utah and finds himself there again (perhaps in a situation similar to your own), all I can say is, “Welcome back to Zion!” We’ll be glad to have a couple more cool people to add to the roster. 🙂

  • moose

    2002/12/02 at 12:40 pm

    Your niece sounds like she’s been hanging with your Dooceness. If you take the freeway it’s sad but true that you’ll miss the best of Idaho. For instance, Mountain Home is not in the mountains. At one time it’s approximate location was called Rattlesnake Station. There you have it. Don’t go sticking your fingers under those rock systems in the desert.

  • moose

    2002/12/02 at 12:41 pm

    Sorry, “its” — not “it’s.” One of my own damn bugaboos, too!

  • Your Correctional Officer

    2002/12/02 at 2:04 pm

    You were right the first time, Moose. ‘It’s’, as in short for ‘it is’ as in ‘it is sad but true’. ‘Its’ means to belong to something

  • rosebaby

    2002/12/02 at 2:10 pm

    ben – no worries 🙂 it’s actually fascinating but in a real ‘house of yes’ sort of way. most religion gives me the heebies beyond a certain point. 🙂 but this is coming from someone who at the age of 18 was high-velocity born again and left the church so i could have sex without guilt. on the other hand, if the whole weird underwear is a fetish thing, that doesn’t make me squirm. har. didn’t mean it quite that way.

  • rosebaby

    2002/12/02 at 2:10 pm

    argh! dave dave dave. doh.

  • Kate from Seattle

    2002/12/02 at 2:48 pm

    I just moved out here (to Seattle, that is), and the driving the speed limit-thing makes me INSANE. I’m starting to drive like that myself (in addition to using turn signals once every ten turns), and all I keep thinking is, “I’m going to get in at least five car accidents my first week back east.”

  • peggy

    2002/12/02 at 3:15 pm

    I buy my sacred heavenly underwear at Wal-Mart.

  • SpiKe

    2002/12/02 at 6:06 pm

    Underwear? Spanking? Bottom systems? I visited Utah for two-and-a-half days. Landed in SLC, drove south, saw the last Wal-Mart in Provo (at least I think that was Provo — right off the interstate — B&N with a Starbucks, the last Starbucks, near there), drove south, kept driving south — noticed everybody waving to me when they passed, waved back, kept wondering if they were friendly or if it was some kind of big Utah joke, got stopped for speeding (“Sir, 87 with the brake lights lit is mighty quick. I cited you for 5 over the limit — just send in the $50, sir, and we’ll call it even.” I waved as he drove off. He waved back.), saw some beautiful country and brilliant night skies.

  • mal

    2002/12/02 at 6:45 pm

    ah, mormon bashing. the only remaining acceptable form of religious bigotry. (much like anti-arab activities and mexican-ward eye rolls, which are the sole remaining bastians of acceptable racism.) sad to see it here — especially because the lowest i’ve ever seen dooce, herself, stoop was “i don’t want to be that way anymore, so i’m not.” religious clothing isn’t such a foreign concept (as Dave said — stay away from nuns, if you’re creeped out), it’s just that mine is less intrusive. less in-your-face. isn’t that nice of me?

  • dennis

    2002/12/02 at 7:34 pm

    Mal: Mormon bashing? Religious bigotry? Racism? Perhaps I skimmed too quickly through some of the commments, but what did I miss? I thought we were talking about underwear?Of all places, dooce.com shouldn’t be one where people are perpetually worried about what they write…

  • HurgleGurgle

    2002/12/03 at 12:26 pm

    Going to Seattle first was a big mistake. I still pine for Oregon.

  • Jenny

    2002/12/04 at 7:51 am

    I tried the whole Mormon thing. I grew up in Utah, and was raised Mo-Mo. But after I got old enough to accept it or not, I tried, and it didn’t do it for me. Therefore, I USED to wear the funky underwear or ‘magic jammies’ as my brother calls them. I found them comfy in ways, except that you had to wear your bra over the top. Also, they are so-unsexy it just plain pissed me off. Now I’m back to my real self, the wine-drinkin’ sinnin’ utahn-SANS-garments.

  • kath

    2002/12/06 at 4:31 pm

    Dear Correctional Officer: When attempting to uncorrect someone’s self-corrections, it is helpful to read their whole entry so as not to look foolish by uncorrecting the wrong thing.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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