Just Wait

This cartoon is very specific to BYU culture. Allow me to explain (and in so doing, analyze it to the point where it's not funny anymore).

There is a marked age difference between male freshmen and male sophomores at BYU. This is because most male students do a two-year volunteer missionary service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints between their freshman and sophomore years. (Disclaimer: Missionary service is not part of the BYU curriculum in any way; it's just that most BYU students are members of the Church, and so they choose to serve a mission. LDS young adults are encouraged to serve missions whether they attend BYU or any other school, or no school at all. Furthermore, going on a mission is voluntary, and that some leave before their freshman year, or after their sophomore year. But statistically, it just works out that the majority leave after their first year of college. At least, that's what I did... and I'm normal, aren't I?)

Anyway, people who have completed their missionary service are usually called "returned missionaries" (or RM for short). And RM's have a well-deserved reputation for getting married within a few years of returning home from their missions. So, freshman girls (who rightly consider themselves too young for any such commitment) usually try to avoid hanging out with male RM's, for fear of getting wooed into marriage. They generally prefer to hang out with freshman boys their own age -- boys who will shortly be leaving on missions themselves, and who are therefore similarly eager to avoid commitment.

But then something interesting happens. Once the girls become sophomores, nearly all their former male friends are gone away on missions, and they get lonely. And suddenly, all the boys in their classes are sophomore RM's. The girls slowly start to realize that RM's aren't quite as scary as they once thought they were. Then they start to date the RM's, and eventually they marry one. In short, a year's added maturity, coupled with a new group of friends, leads the girls to fall for the very caste of young men that they shunned only one year before.

It is in tribute to this most unique (and not just a tad bizarre) phenomenon that I drew this cartoon. It depicts two lovesick RM's hanging around the freshman dorms, and checking out this year's crop of girls. The one RM counsels his friend not to be concerned about the fact that the girls are giving so much attention to the noncommital frosh boys. Next year always comes.

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