Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It Has Begun

Greetings!  I am embarking on a journey to explore things that fascinate, perturb, and excite me.  I hope you will enjoy my musings and feel free to respond with your perspective or suggestions for future posts.

What’s in a Name?

The title of my blog is “Dancing with Traffic Lights,” which comes from a line in a song called “Alone in the World” (depressing, right?) by Everybody Else.  Actually, this title has a lot of personal meaning—one, I LOVE dancing and I go at LEAST once a week; two, I tend toward the poetic side of language, and this phrase is beautifully crafted with assonance and rhythm (don’t worry, there’s a poetry post to come); and, three, the music from this band just seems to speak to me and reminds me of the adventurer I more-or-less recently discovered in myself. 

So, stay tuned for posts to come, but until then, here is a repost of my first blog entry EVER which debuted on the Garrulous Clan, a blog created by my old friends from high school.  They asked me to address the term “NCMO” because they thought it was just another weird “Mormon thing.”  Here ‘tis: 

There is a culturally unique phenomenon that occurs at BYU (Brigham Young University) when two people of the opposite sex find themselves attracted to each other but not looking for a serious relationship. We call this NCMO (“nick-mo”), or Non-Committal Make Out, fondly referred to as the “Mormon One-Night Stand.” Yes, I am Mormon; no, I’m not a weirdo. But, here at BYU and in the LDS Church, we have a certain set of standards. One of those is that we wait to have sex until marriage. I know that sounds CRAZY CATZ, but I believe it’s actually a good idea. Anyway, that means that the only form of “getting it on” before marriage is making out. Some hook ups are trashier and more fleeting than others, and some BYU-ers shun making out all together, but that’s another story.

The History of the NCMO

Apparently, the term “NCMO” was coined by some BYU students back in the day in a blog. This term spread like wildfire on campus despite the efforts of the faculty to stop it. (They should have known better than to try to stop rampant making out!!!) It has now become a common term in our vernacular, and it’s generally only used by students who are currently attending or who have previously attended BYU. My friend defined a NCMO this way: “Making out with someone without the intent of dating them seriously. As in, they are not a marriage prospect, you just really have the urge to make out with anything that moves and they are feelin' the same!”

My Experience

I’m mostly an observer of this phenomenon, as I am generally a more committed, old-fashioned sort of girl. But let’s be honest, “I believe in kissing, kissing a lot,” as Audrey Hepburn would say. My friend, on the other hand, is crazy into boys and she is always looking for a good NCMO. In fact, she’s been known to hook up with guys in the middle of the dance floor. GET IT GURRRL. I get to live somewhat vicariously through her frivolity, but I don’t quite envy it. Don’t get me wrong, kissing is a favorite past time of mine, but let’s just say I keep it classy.

(Preface to the following story: Contrary to popular belief, the term “ward” does not refer to a wing in a mental hospital. In the LDS community, we are assigned to certain buildings and times to go to church depending on where we live. We call these assigned groups “wards.”)

Recently, a guy friend of mine committed one of the cardinal sins of NCMO: He made out with a girl in his ward. Let me tell you why this is a bad thing. When a girl (or a boy) is physically intimate with someone she doesn’t want to be serious with, she doesn’t usually want to see that person again, and being in the same ward means she would see him at least every Sunday, if not more. The situation is made more awkward because the two had talked about how neither of them wanted a committed relationship, but he just said that to lure her in, and now he’s acting all possessive and needy like they’re a couple. Not cool. And there’s no way to avoid him because he’s in the SAME WARD. That's just a bad move, son. I once heard it described as “peeing in the pool.” Don’t do it, it just makes things awkward. However, it does make good material for telling dramatic boy stories. J

Is this something that happens outside the BYU bubble? I know that people in the outside world have one-night stands all the time, but what about one-night hook ups? Perhaps it is just the term that is unique, I’m not sure. The problem with NCMO, the BYU version or otherwise, is that there’s not really a way to completely cut off your emotional attachment to someone, and though you both might agree that it is “non-committal,” one or the other will inevitably be left wanting more or feeling guilty. But I guess that’s the risk taken when kissing on a whim. Let me be clear, though, that I fundamentally believe that kissing is meant to be a special thing shared between two people who genuinely like and care for each other . . . but, then again, it’s hard to resist a bit of frivolity every once in a while. J

Keep it classy.