Recently I was chatting with a young man who as thinking about attending BYU, and a third person chimed in to let him know it wasn’t all purity and goodness there, and told the following tale:
At BYU, there were some female students who ran a brothel out of their dorm rooms (usually identified as Heritage Halls). They would signal their availability by putting a tennis racket in the window, leaning one way to show they were currently with another client, the other to show they were available — a cunning secret code.
I’m prepared to stand corrected, but I’m pretty sure it’s a BYUrban legend. I often heard it when I was a BYU student, and I’ve seen reports of it having happened in the early 1980s … yet my mother reports having heard it as well back in the late 1950s, and she specifically identifies it with Heritage Halls, where she was an RA. For the unzoobified, Heritage Halls are dorms which are ‘apartment-style’ with no centralized, closely observed entrance, and in the 50s and 60s they were only for women. If the story originates in the 1950s and was specific to Heritage Halls, perhaps the original intent of the legend wasn’t just lascivious wishful thinking — it was also motivated by an anxiety about female students living in (relative) independence.
Here’s my own connection with the legend: when I lived in DT, we decided to put a tennis racket in our window, changing the position from time to time, to see if we got any response. We didn’t expect a trail of women (or men) to drop by for services rendered, but thought maybe some university official might come and tell us to take it down, thereby validating the story to some degree. After a semester, nobody said anything. Our attempt to get everyone in the building to put tennis rackets in their window was met with apathy and stupid questions.
So I assume the story is still around? Are there any variations? Are there any other ‘outlandish sinfulness at BYU’ legends?