When it came time for my wife and I to start having kids, I just kind of assumed that they would all be boys, square-brained and easy to understand. I’d teach them how to shave and they’d help me cut the yard. Easy enough.
It didn’t happen that way. Every time I turn around these days, there is another female in my house. Unless one of these little girls is a masquerading boy coiffing a Steve Taneyhill, I remain the only male. I guess it was all those prayers I sent to God when I was 12 asking him if I could one day live in a house full of girls who run around naked all day. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE, GOD. NOT FUNNY.
One of the things I do is write letters to my girls in case I die early. I do this because, well, I don’t know. I came of age in the nineties, soaking in Edwin McCain and Varsity Blues, and they told us that everything was epic and that it was epic all the time. We didn’t ask questions. We just put on navy and got all weird and moany because it seemed cool.
So in the event that I am not around when my girls hit college, I’ve been working on a primer for dating different kinds of SEC guys. It’s a work in progress.
This one is tricky. Is the boy in a frat? RUN AWAY. Perhaps he says he is not, but you suspect he is: Is he wearing a long-sleeved dress shirt, white shorts, and a visor? RUN AWAY.
As you girls know, I graduated from Alabama—approximately fifty million years ago. I can attest that there are many good men at the university. Such as….well….that one guy. I think his name was Connor… or was it Brodie? Trey? I think he had bangs.
*Will no longer be a member of the SEC by the time you start dating. Not exactly sure how it’s going to happen, but it will involve state militias, Southern Baptists, and the short-lived ascension of Boggy Creek auteur Charles B. Pierce to a position he will call The Prefect of Razorback Nation.
Dating a man from Auburn is kind of like dating a man who is five inches shorter than you. He says he’s okay with it, he seems okay with it, and then you find him on the internet at three in the morning ordering a case of shoe lifts from some wholesaler in Oregon.
My daughters, if you have fallen in love with an LSU man, then we are past the point of fatherly advice. I have already failed. If you had fallen in love with an axe murderer, then there would be nothing I could write at this late hour that could somehow retroactively guide you away. So it is with the purple and gold. The only difference, I would suppose, is that an axe murderer would not ask you to hold his nachos while he urinated off the top row of Tiger Stadium.
Pay attention to how a Mississippi State man rings his cowbell. (If he denies having a cowbell, he is either a liar or a coward and needs to be dumped) Does he ring his cowbell during play, openly flaunting league rules and doing his part to disrupt the opponents’ ability to hear? If so, he is a principled, fearless man worthy of your affection. Does he put his cowbell away during the mandated periods of silence, thereby robbing his own Bulldogs of home field advantage? If so, he is a relativist and has no moral compass; he will lose interest in you when you hit 40 and will attempt to seduce your Eastern European baby sitter. It will not work.
There are many plusses to dating an Oxford man: he has dapper fashion sense, he has well-manicured nails, and he is most certainly a proficient speller. He likely smells of rich cedar and warm cinnamon. That being said, he is a gentle flower, one who requires special care. Every Saturday evening you must take his arm on those long walks back through The Grove. Fill his ears with kind words. Tell him it’s not his fault, it’s just that the university won’t pay for a top coach. Remind him of the glory days, of Eli and of the time that the Rebels beat Texas Tech. Tell him that it doesn’t matter to you how many times his football team loses. (Lie, basically.)
Proceed with caution, because I have very little to offer regarding a Texas A&M man. I have never met one; none of us have. From what I understand, A&M is a male-only military college. They shout a lot, and I don’t think you’re allowed to sit down if you go to school there. I don’t know—they had the fastest tailback in all of Bill Walsh College Football ’95 and relegated him to second string, so it’s hard to draw a bead on those guys.