Do you have a question about relationships and flirting?

You can email me about any of your relationship and flirtation questions, and I'll be happy to address them in my blog. Won't that be fun! Its very Dear Abby, but hey...I'm just as good as she is! Just put "Dear Ottis" in the subject. Make sure your letters are annoymous though, to protect you and me. Send all questions to

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Some Lee-isms

"What is this, what's going on here, what's happening?"
--Lee, stolen from Karen Walker on Will and Grace

"Ugh, you're such a man sometimes"
--Lee, from a conversation with Chuck

"Things are going swimmingly" "No, they are going glacially"
--Syd and Lee, a conversation

"I make a pro/con list for everything. 'Should I talk to Sydney today?' pro/con"

"Listen, j'adore you ok. Je can't get enough of you."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dear Ottis-

Normally I don't go for anyone I see at the gym. Ever. They're just not my type. But there's this guy who works there, and I can tell from the way he swipes my card- he's not like the rest of them. He always smiles at me, looks me in the eye and asks how I'm doing- like he knows me! Today he even looked at the computer screen to get my name and said something like "have a good day, *Hottie." (*name has been changed to protect me and the cute gym guy) So. How do I get my flirt on with a guy I see twice a day for 2 seconds?? (usually that second time- on my way out- I am not looking I try to just rush out) Help, Ottis! Help! (then again... he could just be a friendly guy. Aghhh!)

Much love,
The Hottie in the Story

Dear The Hottie in the Story,

Thank you for you letter. What a very intriguing story you have here, one unlike any I've received before! I'm very excited to try it out and see what we can come up with. I've done some pondering, and these are the points I've landed on.

The first concern is that he may just be a nice, friendly kind of guy. This is definitely a legitimate concern. He is in the costumer service industry, and thus may just be good at his job. However, we need not forget that we're in Utah, and friendly costumer service have nigh been one of the strengths here. So, thats looking up.

Second, about the flirting part. First off, I'd recommend getting the bulk of your flirting done upon the entrance of your gym time and not at the exit, since you'll be sweaty and such when you leave. As for how to actually flirt with him, you need to figure out a way that you could stay and talk to him for a spell. Maybe you could have some kind of question that you could ask him upon entering. Something quasi-playful and quasi-legit. Then see if you can't strike up a little conversation with him. This is a good time to catch his name (I'd recommend doing a formal introduction thing, instead of just looking at his name badge. . . though, if you think you could pull that off in a very flirty way, go for it). Once you get his name, you should USE IT. . . consistently. When ever you see him as you come in, say it. This will show him that you've taken the time to remember his name. Always a plus. From then on, little conversations, smiles, and winks should get the message across.

Good luck with your flirting. There are many techniques that have been outlined in other Dear Ottis letters that I'd recommend looking at. Or, if you attended any of my seminars, then you should be set. Just remember these three important things: confidence, humor and charisma. Happy Flirting!


Life Goal: Graduation

This weekend was one of the pinnacle moments of my life. I have now officially graduated with my BA degree. I'm the second in my family to do so, and the only to accomplish this feat at my father's alma mater: BYU. It was a glorious occasion, and one that was shared with many family members and friends. My cousin Rachelle and I both walked together, which made it an extremely fun happening.
Joining us for the festivities of commencement were several members of our ward, the BYU 198th ward. We decided it would be fun if we all went into commencement together and sat in the same row. It definitely added an element of familiarity to the commencement ceremony.
We all gathered in the ASB parking lot, and then began our processional to the Marriott Center. On our way, we passed several flags from the countries of our graduating comrades, and a tent filled with the dignitaries that would be attending the commencement and convocation ceremonies. Walking with the graduating seniors felt a bit like being herded with a variety of peripatetic farm animals.
They herded us down into the tunnels in preparation to entering the Marriott Center floor. The feelings of anticipation were near overwhelming. Everyone was filled to the brim with excitement, nervousness, anticipation, thrill and joy. I was so happy to be sharing this experience with dear friends.
As we stepped foot on the floor in the Marriott an overwhelming sense of humility over came me. I am so blessed to have been able to attend this great institution. To have such amazing, inspiring and dedicated professors. And to see all of the friends and family members of the graduating class there, supporting their student, was so powerful.
We quickly took our seats and waited for the dignitaries to come in so that the commencement would. . . you know. . . commence. Rachelle and I of course began the tireless search for our parents.
Once President Samuelson and the others entered, we began. Elder D. Todd Christofferson was to be our commencement speaker.
We had a grand old time. I'm so glad that I decided to participate in my graduation ceremonies. I'm also glad that my parents were able to attend. I owe them so much. They have been so supportive and instrumental in my success. I am so grateful for them and their love.
In the days that followed we had a very rainy day of convocations, and many a dinner out on the town. It's always fun being with family at these times. We also went to the Brown's and the White's for some BBQ/party type fun. It was great. We of course invited all the peeps to come along.
We also engaged in one of my favorite Smith family pastimes: singing.
All in all, it was a great weekend. And in the final words of Elle in Legally Blond, "We did it!"

Monday, April 19, 2010

Picnic Season

For the past several weeks we have had a few intermittent days of utter beauty. Well, that is to say utter Utah beauty. There have been some beautiful sunny days, and this year I've committed myself to taking full advantage of them. Therefore today I say, "Welcome, welcome picnic season! Now we rest from every care!"

There is something beautiful about being able to throw on a pair of shorts, a beat up pair of flip flops, grabbing a blanket, some aviators, and a basket of snacks and heading to the perfect grassy knoll. I have taken the time to do this 3-4 times in the last couple weeks. It's a time that I set aside, knowing that when I'm done I have to get back to studying, writing papers, doing homework, and preparing for life. Regardless of the countless things that life has for me to do, every second of that time I spend out in the sun relaxing is worth it. Maybe I'll bring a long a book to read, maybe we'll play a little frisbee, or maybe I'll just have a good old heart to heart conversation with some fantastic individual to pass the time.

I encourage everyone who may read this to go and spend some time out in the sun. Take your family, take your significant other, take your roommates, take your inner circle, or just take yourself and get out to a wonderful picnic. It'll do your body and your mind some good to just be free for a few. We all have crazy, hectic schedules and various things to do, but hey. . . this is the time to enjoy life. So, cast care aside and enjoy your summer! After all...Such is life!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Thanks to JenJen, I now have a new look to my blog. The Such is Life: A Lee-ism was actually designed and created by her. She's so talented! Thanks Jen! It looks great!

Reading Day, part 2

Well, my second reading day proved to be less exciting than the first (thus the delay in writing it). I actually had to go to work, study, and continue working on a paper. Absolutely boring, I know. But, there a couple bonuses. So far, I've unofficially been hired on to do three weddings this summer. One in the Salt Lake Valley, one in the Utah Valley, and one in Arizona. I've been talking nonstop with Devan (my amazing friend/sous-chef/lyricist/former mission companion) about menu ideas. I tell ya, you put the two of us together for something like this, and we'll come up with some dang amazing food. So, if any of you need someone to cater your wedding reception/luncheon/rehearsal diner. . . you've got some very capable and talented people here!

Also, I've found that I can watch full episodes of Modern Family on the internet today. Hulu only had a few episodes, but I got a site that has them all. Can I just say, that show is hysterically funny. I hope my life can be that funny someday! Ugh, love it. Until that day, I'll just be here. . . blogging. Trying to sound funny, but. . . Such is life!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reading Day, part 1

Reading days are these exceptionally wonderful days accorded to us by the university so as to allow us time to prepare for the dreaded finals that are fast approaching. As a very studious young man, and as one who is always on top of things, I make sure to take full advantage of my reading days. Allow me to take you with me on this journey. Today, I woke up a little later than usual. Ok. . . a lot later than usual. I think I finally got out of bed and into the shower around noon. It was so amazing to just stay in bed all morning and really catch up on my sleep. I'm proud to say that for the first time this semester, I feel totally rested! Now, I don't typically endorse such overtly lazy acts, but heck. It was so worth it.

After getting ready for the day. . . or afternoon, I watched a good episode of Matlock (the show that first convinced me to go into law) and the history channel at the same time. The history channel program talked about how Oregon was the capital of the skin head/modern KKK movement in the United States. It started in the Portland prison system, go figure. It was very interesting to watch indeed.

After my fill of TV I headed over to Tucano's for the annual Men's Chorus Feast. I was very proud of myself for two reasons. Firstly, I only got one spot on my shirt. For me, that huge, thats like a blessing from heaven, like guardian angels were taking the hits for me. And for that, I'm thankful. Secondly, I didn't gorge myself as usual. Typically at Tucano's, and like most members of the men's chorus, I'd eat until my stomach hurt, then take a nice break, maybe walk around, and then start again. Basically, its a formula for intense stomach pains for the rest of the day. This time around, I only ate till my stomach hurt, then I just stopped, and stayed strong. After eating, we sang the Miq Maq Honor Song and Witness for the people. They enjoyed, as usual. Then, after all the hugs and good byes, we got our Men's Chorus year books and went our separate ways. Its always rather sad to leave. To say goodbye to such fond memories. Luckily, I know I'll still be around for another three years.

Afterwards, I popped up to Barnes and Noble to buy Glee Season I Volume I. Then, I headed up to Highland to the Kendrick's house to get some watching in. It was a delightful time. I got in a good gossip session with Tonya and then watched a disk of Glee and American Idol result show with Tonja. I do love my Tonj/yas. I didn't get home until. . .well, now. It was so much fun, as always.

Such an amazing life we lead on reading days. Like I said, I'm a very studious person. I like to get all my things in line. That didn't happen today, cause it was warm outside and I wanted to play and be happy. I may regret it later but. . .Such is Life!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Musical Journeys on Youtube

Today at work I decided to go on one of my customary musical journeys...perhaps I should start off by explaining what on earth that is. Basically, I get on to listen to a song. As I listen to that song, it either reminds me of another song, or there is another song I want to listen to in the "related videos" column, and thus begins the journey. I can literally spend hours doing this. Today's journey was a little more impactful on me than usual. Let me bring you along on the sparknotes version of my journey.

It all started when I was watching a documentary on the making of Wicked; one of the greatest musicals of our generation. This lead me to ask the questions, what's good old Idina doing these days. Well, low and behold she is going to be joining the cast of glee on this weeks episode. Naturally, I had to go watch come clips from that. Its gonna be amazing. And herein begins the musical journey.

After watching the teaser for today, I watched Glee cast members Lea (Rachel) and Chris (Kurt) sing there rendition of Defying Gravity (since I was already on a Wicked kick). Can I just say that its pretty incredible. Mostly just that Kurt hit some freakishly high notes. And he can get up so high without going totally falsetto. Amazing.

After watching this, what did I spy in the "related videos" but the cast of Glee singing the national anthem for the world series. Now, having listed to several different renditions of the national anthem performed at various locals, I have to say that it goes right up in my top 3 favorite. They have actually taken their places beside the ultimate diva Whitney Houston (who's rendition is widely considered the best version) and Destiny's Child's crazy girl group version (which just makes me chuckle every time I listen). This one just gave me chills. So good.

This clip got me thinking about that crazy kid, Sam Tsui, who got together with his friend Kurt Schneider to make some incredible musical experiences. I was exposed to him when he covered Glee's version of Don't Stop Believing to which I've already blogged and posted about. What makes him absolutely entertaining is that he provides all his own back up music. He is a one man Glee, thanks to todays technology. Well, he has posted some new videos. Of note, he did a Michael Jackson medley, Owl City's Firefly, Whitney's I Wanna Dance With Somebody, and Katy Perry's Thinking of You. No one can deny that the kid is talented. . . has way too much time on his hand, but talented nonetheless. He also enlisted the help of his gal friend Allison Williams to covered Breaking Free from HSM. I have to say, I think its better than the movie version. A little different, but this is what real singing is all about. I highly encourage you all to give him a looksy on youtube. Its worth it!

Now, don't get me wrong. This is just today's journey. I don't always go on such. . . musical theater-esque journeys, but it was one of those days. Though there were many other songs in between, by the time I ended with this last number I realized something: nothing gets my heart going and my entire being excited like music. Its part of my very being, it dominates my thoughts, its rejuvenates my mind, it captivates my ears, and brings pure joy to my soul. Rare it is that I feel as much excitement about anything else as I do with good music. I suppose Devan and James were right when they independently told me that I was meant to be involved in music for the rest of my life before, well before I even knew I was supposed to but...such is life.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Exciting News!!!

In the iconic words of Mortal Kombat the movie: "It has begun." Due to the popularity of my presentation of Flirting: A Seminar For Beginners along with the other private flirting consultations and lessons, I have decided to begin writing a book to compliment and remind readers of the techniques and practices taught in those presentations. The book will also introduce a wealth of new information that goes above and beyond the scope of flirting.

The book will cover preparing to flirt all the way through to the engagement or inevitable breakup. We hope to some day have a companion DVD to help illustrate the points made throughout the book, as that would constitute a huge resource to the novice flirter or relationship beginner. Perhaps in the second edition?
*If you're interested in participating in the production of the DVD, feel free to let me know!

Since this manual will be focused primarily on the BYU and Mormonia dating culture, it will also feature a glossary of terms that the outsider might not be fully aware of. This will aid the incoming students who were not raised in the Happy Valley/Jello Belt cultural abyss. Included in the glossary will be words that I constantly use (e.g. Mormonia) which may also need defining.

We're also very excited to announce that this book will feature some new data on dating at BYU. We're in the midst of getting our IRB approval to begin our research. I hope that each of you will take a few minutes to fill out the survey. It will help enormously in shaping the path this book will take. I will also be including several of the Dear Ottis letters that I've received to help illustrate common problems. So, if you have any other dating/flirting questions please feel free to write in. The more the merrier!

Here are the tentative chapters to be discussed in the book.

Foreword: Introduction, Disclaimers and Things to Note

Part One
I. The Basics: Confidence, Humor, Charisma
II. Flirting 101: Introduction to
III. Flirting 102: Preparation
IV. Flirting 201: Across the Room
V. Flirting 202: Close Encounters
VI. First Date Etiquette
VII: Touching 211: The Basics
VIII. How to get a Second Date
IX. Non-committal Dating
X. Frenshman Year Dating

Part Two
I. How to Convert Casual Dating to Serious Relationships
III. Relationships 321: Understanding Commitment
IV. Relationships 322: Communication
V. Relationships 340: Conduct in Groups
VI. Relationships 341: How to fight Fair
VII. Touching 311: Advanced Techniques
VIII. Dispelling Myths
IX. The Breakup and Post Breakup Dating
X. On to the Engagement

Appendix A: Quick Reference for Men
Appendix B: Quick Reference for Women

Feedback is welcome! Thanks!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Life Goal: Sing in the Conference Center...check!

This year the BYU Men's Chorus, along with the men of the Concert Choir, BYU Singers, and various alumni of the choirs were asked to sing in the Priesthood Session of General Conference. I've always dreamed about having the opportunity to sing in that marvelous building. We prepared three wonderful pieces: God Loved Us So He Sent His Son arr. Danny McDavitt, Choose The Right arr. Rosalind Hall, and finally The Iron Rod arr. Dr. Ronald Staheli. Each song had a unique feel and spirit involved. Danny's arrangement was simple, elegant, reflective, and humble. It was a great way to open the conference. Sister Hall's arrangement was lush, dense, Eric Whitacre-ized, stunning, and unlike anything I've ever heard at conference. Dr. Staheli's arrangement was moving, powerful, spirit filled, energized, and the perfect way to end a session. It was such a joy to learn and sing these pieces.

As Saturday arrived we headed up to the Conference Center in SLC. We went into the Little Theatre on the north west side of the large edifice and began to rehearse.
This was actually my first time ever going into the Little Theatre. It was lovely. We rehearsed there for a little over an hour. Then The conference center staff surprised us with some Luncheables, carrots, water and some candy.
There was of course a wild frenzy over who could get to the left overs first. As policy dictates, seconds are on a first come first serve basis.

After our rehearsal we lined up in the tunnel and headed up to the choir loft in the main auditorium. As we rounded the corner and headed up the choir loft, looking out was quite the site. This marvelous hall is unlike any other in the world. Seating 21,000, the space was absolutely enormous.
As we sat in our seats and did our quick run through of the music for the technical team, it was hard to not marvel at the space and the experience. This was to be our biggest performance ever. Not only to the full auditorium, but to the millions watching around the globe. The hall quickly filled to capacity.
It was quite the site to behold. We were all so excited to share our musical message to the world that would be listening to us.

This was an intensely spiritual experience for all of us. The session was definitely one of the best I'd ever attended. As we all stood in quite reverence to usher in the Prophet, the spirit rested upon us. We knew he was the Lord's anointed servant. I greatly enjoyed the discourses shared. As we sang The Iron Rod at the end of the meeting, the spirit once again swept over me. What a marvelous opportunity it was.

At the end of the session, we all stood quietly allowing the general authorities time to exit the auditorium. Clay Christianson was on the organ, quietly playing. He had but a hymn book in front of him. This man is absolutely amazing. He played very simply at first. Then he began modulating all over, introducing imitation, pulling more and more stops. What an amazing musician. Few noticed this organist having a bit of fun on his instrument.
Dr. Staheli and I both looked on, enjoying watching this masterful musician show us what that organ could do. His modulations because more complex, the volume increased, the counterpoint more apparenty, the stops kept being pulled out. Until a huge ending rocked the whole building. I could feel the vibrations from the organ as he played that last huge chord taking the pedal down an octave. I was in utter awe.

As things calmed down and we began exiting the auditorium I passed by the huge conductors podium. I had the distinct feeling that some day I would be atop that podium, conducting an ensemble in that building.

This was the completion of a life goal. Now, I just have two more to accomplish: sing in the Tabernacle and direct a choir in the conference center and/or tabernacle.

Here are the videos: