An SEC East Dating Guide For My Daughters

This is the second of two parts. The premise is in part 1, here. Basically, these are my dating instructions to my daughters in case I die early…


Girls, the very thought of you dating a Florida man sends a shiver down my spine. The vast majority of Florida fans are insufferable snarkists for whom the actual football game is a mere formality to be endured until they can commence their true passion—lording their success over opposing fans.

And yet I cannot forbid you to date someone simply because they are a Gator. Florida is the petri dish of America, and there are all kinds of outliers who wear the blue and orange. The quiet boy in the corner wearing the Gator hat? He is actually a Pensacola Christian College student. He has never seen a girl before. The polite boy at the tailgate who invites you over and offers you a bottle of water? His parents are Assembly of God evangelists, and he’s just out here ministering to people, and he loves the conflict of offense against defense because it reminds him of the conflict between angels against demons.

So I don’t know. You’ll be rolling the dice.


A Georgia man will present well. He will bring you flowers and open doors for you. Dinner will be lovely; he will ask about your family and listen intently to your answers. He will not only compliment your dress, but tell you why it looks nice. He will grab the bill without hesitation. He will drive you home at a reasonable hour and walk you to your door.

And then…

He will lean in to kiss you goodnight and jab his nose into your eye.

He will tell you that he had a good time because you remind him of his mother.

He will try to save things by stumbling through an original pickup line that contains the word "Zeier" as a verb and ends with a proposition asking you to be his Uga.

I’m not telling you not to date a Georgia Bulldog. I’m just saying you have to be prepared. He’s going to fall apart at the end. He can’t help it, and neither can you; all you can do is help him pick up the pieces and console him until the next preseason rankings are released.


If you are approached by a boy claiming to be a Kentucky football fan, it is a trick. Quickly run to a public place and shout STRANGER DANGER until the authorities arrive.


A long time ago, before you girls were born, I lived in Missouri. I was there for most of my teenage years. I saw the arch, I went to a Cardinals game, and…uh…saw the arch. Before I moved away, I fell in love with five different Missouri girls. Also, and this is important, I only met five girls in the entire state.

My point is this: the spread offense will never work for Missouri in the SEC.


As you know, there are members of our extended family who have attended Tennessee. Given this, I will tread very lightly, taking into account the feelings ofHAHAHAHAHA JUST KIDDING. Of course it’s not okay to date a Volunteer, ever, for any reason.

But on the off chance that one of you falls for their clumsy, philistine grunts of courtship, I suppose it could be worse.

The Volunteer man is not an outwardly wicked man like his Florida or LSU counterparts. He is a middling fellow, a lovelorn specimen who will sip a Zima and feign great drunkenness while wailing loudly about the glory days that never quite were. He will regale you with stories of Peyton this and Peyton that, filling your ears with reasons why Peyton could never quite get over the hump. He will never stop talking about Peyton, because in his mind, he and Peyton have become synonymous. He now views himself as the victim of the same inescapable conspiracies. If you ever break up with him, he will spend days in the fetal position, moaning incoherently about Spurrier and Volunteer receivers dropping passes.

South Carolina

A Gamecock man is essentially harmless. He is bracketed on all sides by ACC colleges, and he is just happy to have seat at the table of champions. He has benefitted from the easygoing pace of beach life, all without the cultural runoff of Florida. He is shaped by the eastern seaboard tradition of academia, but he is far enough outside the beltway to have retained his soul.

However, in the event that a Gamecock boy offers you a drink called a Palmetto Sunrise, all of those compliments are rendered moot. Do not drink a Palmetto Sunrise.


To fall in love with a man from Vandy is to initiate a compromise with yourself. He will be an Assistant District Attorney, but his team will remain mentally incapable of beating Florida. You will drive a Lexus, but you will have to muster excitement every year when he tells you don’t worry, baby, the Kentucky game is almost here, and we got this one. You will host wonderful dinner parties: his friends will mill about on the outdoor kitchen drinking imported beers while his friends’ wives marvel at your home. It will be a fall Saturday, and the television will be off. This will be your life, and if you’re okay with that, then that is all that matters.□

Addendum: shameless self-promotion. It will stand as the definitive high school football opus, until the release of Varsity Blues 2: Kilmer’s Revenge.

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