Today’s fantastic guest post comes from Whitney Archibald. Whitney, the mother of three boys (one of which will officially arrive in a month) and a freelance writer and editor, is currently attempting to emit the Vibe through layers upon layers of winter clothing in Rochester, MN. She is excited to change her Segullah status from lurker to contributor.

Jen had it. None of us could put our finger on just what “it” was; we were just grateful to be her roommates. Because of “it,” we didn’t have to roast beef or cook brownies to fill our apartment with boys from the ward. We always had adventurous weekend plans — with boys. For a never-been-kissed freshman that turned Neanderthal every time I was alone with the opposite sex, this was unprecedented.

The fact that Jen had a boyfriend back home was even more to our advantage. This prevented her from choosing from among the eligible males who made our kitchen a routine detour on their way home from class, which would have staunched the flow.

Jen was pretty, but not remarkably so. She was funny, but not riotously so. When we asked her how she attracted men like lint to a black sweater, she attributed her success to “The Vibe.”

We didn’t need her to define the Vibe. We’d seen it in action. On the dance floor, at church, in the library — anywhere she encountered a semi-interesting male. Her eyes danced (the fandango). Her mouth tilted in an intriguing half smile. Sparks shot from her hair. Boys flocked, fawned, hurdled tall buildings.

Call it what you will – charisma, magnetism, sex appeal – I decided to make a thorough study of it while I had such a classic manifestation living right in my apartment. The aim of my anthropological research: harness the raw power of the vibe and use it to my advantage.

As I studied the Vibe, I noticed that some girls (like Jen and my younger sister) just come by the gift naturally. One toss of their hair, one bemused smirk, and they become pied pipers of eager suitors.

Other girls, like me, have to practice. I came up with a recipe. First, and most importantly, the “come-hither gleam.” To accomplish this, I had to consciously think about making my eyes sparkle as I walked on campus. It helped to say to myself, “I love life. What a beautiful day. Look at all these fascinating people.” I showed noticeable enthusiasm when I came across an acquaintance. My eyes projected intelligence and wit.

Next, I worked on my conversational skills – not what I said, but showing genuine interest and rapt attention when someone else was talking (and not just thinking about what I was going to say next).

The final piece to the puzzle was mastering the private exchange, a brief personal connection with one person in a group. I couldn’t pull off the subtle wink, partly because there’s nothing attractive about the way my left eye half closes each time I close the right. I had to settle for the half smile and laughing eyes.

I didn’t become a Vibe expert until the beginning of my sophomore year. When I did, I got immediate results. For the first time in my life, I actually had to check my schedule before accepting a date. When paired with a tennis racket (a no-fail conversational foot-in-the-door), which I carried around all day in anticipation of my afternoon class, the Vibe was inimitable. Guys asked me out in class, at church, even just walking down the sidewalk on campus. For the first time in my life my crushes were reciprocated and I actually had to choose among interested men.

The Vibe condensed my active dating life into about three months. I’ll condense it further into a few paragraphs. The highs included several really nice guys who, despite efforts on both our parts, just weren’t “the one.”

One of these nice guys was from my home stake. Since he had lived four hours away and was two years older – not to mention an untouchable basketball star — the thought of the two of us in any context had never even occurred to me. Now he was asking me out.

I prepared to turn on the Vibe like never before. And I did, to great effect. I told entertaining stories at a hamburger joint. I grabbed his hand during the couple’s skate at the roller rink. I even Vibed my way to third place in the disco skating competition. But I could not maintain the vibe at this intensity for long. On our second date, in a less-lively venue at Johnny B’s comedy club, he actually commented about how last time I had been the life of the party.

The lows included many first-date-only guys, including the one who “cooked” me a spaghetti dinner (“Hot spaghetti plus a cold jar of sauce from the fridge. That’ll be just right.”). As the date dragged on, he repeatedly tried to rest his head on my shoulder during a hypnosis show at Johnny B’s comedy club, attempted to warm his feet in the crease behind my knees while we watched Monty Python, and then endlessly serenaded me with his guitar.

I went on countless “creative” group dates, including a mortifying scavenger hunt, during which we accidentally knocked on the door of a married couple at 10 p.m. and woke their baby.

Most importantly, the Vibe helped me meet my husband in biology class (thanks to that tennis racket). A few months after we met, we started dating exclusively and I reserved the Vibe for him alone.

*****

Ten years (and two children) later, I happen to pass a mirror just after the nightly call from my husband, telling me he’s on his way home from work. Smudged mascara, a booger-encrusted shirt, holey jeans, and a disheveled ponytail. The only vibe I’m emitting is the ambivalence of one-who-has-let-herself-go.

I flash back to that vivacious girl with the tennis racket, rush to my room to change my clothes, give my face a scrub and a fresh coat of mascara, and smooth my hair.

It’s time for a Vibe revival.

January 15, 2010
January 18, 2010

23 Comments

  1. JM

    January 16, 2010

    Thanks for the inspiration, Whitney! Time for a Vibe revival at my house. Although when my husband passes out from shock, he will need to be revived.

  2. Terresa Wellborn

    January 16, 2010

    Fun, light-hearted post.

    I had a BYU roommate who oozed the Vibe. She was an RM, dressed like a model, tall and blonde, and actually was a model (part time). She pulled guys in with her Vibe effortlessly.

    But more than that, she was kind. Generous. And served me in ways I’ll be forever grateful. That is the Vibe that I’ll most remember her by.

  3. jenny

    January 16, 2010

    Um, Whitney?
    You totally have “the vibe”. You have one of the happiest smiles I have ever seen.
    Fun post. 🙂

    xo- jenny (David’s cousin)

  4. Fairchild

    January 16, 2010

    Funnily enough, my best friend with the Vibe is still single in her mid-thirties. She has had plenty of boyfriends and proposals, but I guess it hasn’t been right yet. Men still love her though!

  5. Justine

    January 16, 2010

    ooh, I knew women like this in college. I could just never figure it out! I was just too awkward. Plus Kylie was my best friend, and let’s be honest, have you seen how gorgeous she is!? She had the vibe.

    I actually feel more of a vibe now, as I approach 40, than I ever did then. I’m way more secure and happy. And I’m sure that has a lot to do with it.

  6. Jennie

    January 16, 2010

    I’m with Justine, I have way more vibe now than I ever did before I was married. When I was in college I was sullen and snobbish–wonder why I never had any dates.

  7. Selwyn

    January 16, 2010

    I didn’t have the vibe in my teens or twenties, and wasn’t actually sure I WANTED it – it seemed like an awful lot of work! Here’s to regular vibe renewal, regardless of if it’s for ourselves or others 🙂

  8. Lauren

    January 16, 2010

    I never tried to analyze the vibe, though I definitely saw it in action. There was an apartment of girls in my BYU ward who ALL had it, and ALL the guys were over there. I managed to room with them one summer term and enjoyed bobbing along in the wake of all the boys. 🙂

    The Vibe, I think, boils down to knowing who you are, loving who you are, and letting that show. A confident woman who’s excited about her life and who’s interested in the people around her will always be attractive!

    Now I’ll go wipe the baby spitup off my jeans….

  9. m&m

    January 16, 2010

    My feelings on The Vibe in dating are this:

    Sometimes it’s a genuine thing, and sometimes it’s a game. I hate the game. Always have.

    But I love the Vibe application to a marriage. Totally different thing altogether there, imo.

  10. Rose

    January 16, 2010

    😀 Loved this post 😀

  11. Heidi

    January 17, 2010

    I’m impressed that you studied and practiced The Vibe! I have always thought it was an innate talent, rather than a practiced skill. Very interesting!

  12. traci

    January 17, 2010

    I agree, I love how you studied and paracticed the Vibe. How Cool! Forever i seemed to attract guys to me that wanted a “buddy”. That was ok, for awhile. Then when I met my husband, he told me I had the Vibe, when I met him. I figured the NEW Vibe, mush have come naturally. hehehe for him.

    I remember when I was little my grandma always about 3 to 4 would shower and change clothes for my grandpa coming home. She always dressed for him and worked to straighten things up so he didn’t have to see the laundry etc – wouldn’t want to bother his pretty head about such things. They were to never see the work she did, could see nothing 1/2 done. (ok, that is a little too much for me, personally)
    But the idea that I spiff up for him, i haVe been working at each day – KEEP THE VIBE GOING!

  13. Johnna

    January 17, 2010

    I’m all for useful skills, and I’m noticing these Vibe skills are among the set Fascinating Womanhood preaches–right down to the note that it’s not the most gorgeous women that attract guys, but the ones who seem healthy, happy, busy, and friendly. Did Whitney sieve the icky from the useful here?

  14. al

    January 17, 2010

    Loved this!

    I need some vibe!

    (I had a roommate born with it too!)

  15. Karen

    January 17, 2010

    My college roommates who had the Vibe were well endowed, had long hair and curvy hips. I did not.

  16. Joanna

    January 18, 2010

    Love it! It’s all in the eyes. I have tried to use the vibe since I was 16 years old. It is so much better at 34! My problem has always been trying to maintain that hard-to-getambience. I wear my heart on my sleeve and it is way too intense for most.

    Here’s to the vibe however it may work for you in your life!

  17. Joanna

    January 18, 2010

    Love it! It’s all in the eyes. I have tried to use the vibe since I was 16 years old. It is so much better at 34! My problem has always been trying to maintain that hard-to-get ambience. I wear my heart on my sleeve and it is way too intense for most.

    Here’s to the vibe however it may work for you in your life!

  18. ErinAnn

    January 18, 2010

    The Vibe. That’s a good name.

  19. Melissa

    January 18, 2010

    What a fun post! I wonder after 22 years if I’ve still got it? I’ll have to try it out. 😀

  20. Kay

    January 18, 2010

    Never had it, honestly men and how to attract them were a complete mystery to the shy girl that I was. Now, my 13 year old daughter is another matter altogether. We are going to have to lock her up pretty soon, gorgeous, confident, sociable, and boys flock to her. Whatever she has, she oozes it and boys love it.

  21. Jessica Beitler Stevens

    January 18, 2010

    Love it Whitney! You are an awesome writer. I think the vibe is confidence. And thank you for reminding me, I need to take care of myself a little more!

  22. Robin

    January 19, 2010

    Whitney, I love to read your writing! I think you always had the vibe, even before college!! It’s a great reminder to look good. I am in that second trimester–growing everyday and need to remind myself to keep the vibe going! I especially like the reminder to consciously think positive thoughts.

  23. Robin - the other roommate

    January 22, 2010

    *sigh* I’m a vibe retard. I lived in the same room with you that year and I was oblivious to how Jen had it. You were the smart one to figure that at the get-go. Do you give lessons?

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