PROVO, Utah—Engineering student Steve Perkins is counting his blessings for the 74th consecutive night after quietly escaping from his four-man apartment through the kitchen window without an awkward encounter with his roommate and his roommate’s girlfriend.
“It’s just uncomfortable,” Perkins said. “Every time they sense your presence there’s this sudden rustling on the couch. When you walk in they’re just sitting there like mannequins pretending not to have been making out two seconds earlier. They’re not fooling anybody.”
Perkins attributes the all-too-common scenario to Brigham Young University’s Honor Code, which prohibits the opposite gender from entering apartment bedrooms. “It’s a great rule,” Perkins said, “but it does force couples to camp out in the living room every single night. We single roommates are forced to live in the solitude of our rooms.”
The exit strategy
Perkins, who says he hasn’t been out on a date since declaring his major three years ago, goes through the same trepidatious routine every evening to leave the apartment.
“The hall floor is extremely creaky, so I’ve learned to wedge myself between the walls above the ground and shimmy my way down the hallway.
“Once there, I reach around the corner with my universal remote and increase the volume on the TV. My roommate has been wanting to get a new one for months. He thinks it’s broken, but it’s just a distraction so I can slip into the kitchen.
“From there, I open our tiny kitchen window. I enrolled in a yoga class this semester specifically for the purpose of being able to contort my body into a shape small enough to fit through our kitchen window.
“We live on the third floor of my apartment building, so figuring out how to make it from the window to the ground took some thinking. An uncle of mine is a rock climber, so he let me borrow a harness and rope, which I keep on a Command hook outside the kitchen window. I use it to rappel down the side of my building.”
Our TSP reporter asked Perkins why he doesn’t simply change apartments. to which Perkins replied:
“Oh I’m not the only one who has to do this. There’s always one guy in every apartment who’s consistently in a relationship. Once that happens, there’s no reasoning with him. He’s checked out. It’s BYU, after all. It’s the animal kingdom out here; the African savanna of the West.”
In a survey of 5,046 random BYU students, 82 percent report feelings of awkwardness and discomfort when leaving their own apartment. Strangely, the other 18 percent of participants were involved in steady relationships.
The return trip
But the problem extends far beyond the initial escape from the apartment.
“Coming back home is almost worse,” one sophomore bachelor said. “You have to approach the front door carefully. You’d think that if the lights are off you’re probably safe—nobody home, right? Not so. Not. So. I try and peak through the windows to see if anyone is on the couch.
“There’s usually some movement. I have to back up from the door and re-approach as loudly as I can, laughing at nothing in particular. I take my time unlocking the door, making as many loud scratches as I can along the way.
“Without fail I open the door and there they are, sitting with perfect posture a foot away from each other looking like they both just rubbed sandpaper on their faces for the heck of it. Whatever.”
A larger issue
The survey also revealed that this problem affects the female student body just as much as their male counterparts. Diana Simmons, a microbiology major at BYU, says that despite her best efforts the living room shenanigans continue.
“I’ve accidentally walked in on them kissing 14 times. After the first dozen they just stopped caring and simply pretended not to notice me coming through the front door every night.
“Finally, we had a roommate council about it. All five of us told Ashley about our concerns and she promised to improve, until Mr. ‘Sides-shaved-but-long-on-top’ showed up with new flavors of Kisstix lip balm.”
For students wishing to express their frustrations in a spirit of unity and solidarity, a volunteer organization of affected roommates calling themselves “OurLivingRoomToo” meets every Saturday night in Provo. More information about times and locations can be found here. A Rexburg, Idaho, branch is rumored to form in the near future, once temperatures allow students to be outdoors in any form.
This article is satirical, it’s not true, though its premise is based off of a harsh reality for many BYU students. You know who you are.