On Tuesday I had my lunch interview with Paige. I started my school day as usual by swinging by the cafeteria and getting my meal plan breakfast and lunch as sack meals so that I would have some food to bring to share. After spending the morning in my Latin and Multivariable Calculus classes, I set off for Paige's house.
It turned out that she lived off-campus in a house that she and a group of other girls were renting. That sort of set-up appeared a lot more fun than the dorms, especially since she had her own room.
Paige's room was full of candles on various foreign-looking candle-holders that appeared perhaps to be from India or at least from Pier 1 Imports. The candles weren't lit as there was daylight streaming in through the window past the Indian-print cloth that served as a curtain. She was playing some soft music in the background that was at once mournful yet kind of funky.
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For lunch Paige had set out some whole-wheat bread and cheese and fruit. Despite this apparent penchant for natural food, she was willing to partake in the cookies and chips from my sack lunches when I offered. Then we both took a seat on some of her many floor-pillows to continue eating and discuss her article.
I started by telling Paige that my friends had suggested my strange hairdo after hearing me constantly complaining about all of the conformity at BYU. I wanted to try to make myself sound brave and/or heroic in this story, but ended up explaining honestly that I couldn't stand all the dirty looks I was getting, and after less than a single morning of it, I took to doing my hair so as to cover the shaved half whenever I was on campus.
"It's interesting how similar your experience is to a story I heard from another student," said Paige. "This other student told me that one day -- just to be different -- he went around campus wearing a rainbow-colored beanie with a propeller on top. I would regard that sort of thing as silly but inoffensive. Yet apparently some girl on campus looked him straight in the eye and gave him such an accusing look that he ended up just taking the hat off and never wearing it on campus again."
"Yeah, that's definitely similar," I agreed, laughing. "The desire was there, but like me he was too chicken to buck the social pressure."
"I think in my story I might take the angle that while there's a lot of conformity at BYU, it's essentially enforced by social pressure, just as it might be at any other school," said Paige.
"Well, I wouldn't go that far," I said. "The dress code here is strictly enforced as part of the Honor Code, and that contributes to a prevailing attitude that a conservative appearance is a sign of good character."
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