While living in the United Kingdom, I had many bizarre conversations with charming souls who had slightly misinformed views of America. This story is a rendition of a conversation I had while working towards my History postgraduate degree.
Can you really plan for these things?
Honestly, it could happen to anyone.However, I never thought I was one of those people who found myself in these situations. In England. Or more specifically in the office of my postgraduate administrator, for that matter. But as I say, you can’t prepare for these things.
Okay fine, yes – I did get a little carried away watching Sister Wives last year – perhaps I gave a bit too much thought to how nice it would be to have a few brother husbands of my own…someday. But were my passing thoughts enough to give me away to the casual observer?
I should have expected it, this coming from the same man who sent me a link to an exhaustive review of British etiquette and customs after I apparently affronted him with my American forthrightness (read: badgering). And yet, believe it or not, the question still caught me off guard.
“Are you by any chance…a Mormon?”
It was a cloudy Monday afternoon and I’d just finished receiving his assistance in signing up for the optional modules I’d be taking in the Autumn and Spring terms. To be fair, I had mentioned that my particular area of interest in history lay in domestic life. Little did I know at the time that this was a strong indicator of polygamy. (Editor’s remark: It has been duly noted. I now refer to it as ‘the genealogy of home life’…)
After clearly disappointing him with an answer in the negative, I ventured to ask if there were any indicators that made him question my allegiance to only one man at any given time. “Well, we tend to have someone from Salt Lake City every year…you know…just curious if you had any experience with that sort of thing and all, especially since you’re all about being domestic!”
I inwardly wondered if this would be a fitting moment to share my childhood aspirations of becoming either a nun or Mary Tyler Moore.