Q: My wife has just informed me that we will be attending her college roommate’s wedding, which is to be held in Phoenix on the first Sunday in February. The problem, as you are likely aware, is that this is Super Bowl Sunday. Who plans a wedding on Super Bowl Sunday? Secondly, how do I get out of going?
Name Withheld , Dallas
A: The Texanist dimly recalls having once been involved in a covert operation at the postnuptial festivities of a forgotten (to him, at least) friend of his missus, during which he and a dozen or so other spouses, fiancés, boyfriends, uncles, nephews, cousins, a waiter, a cellist, and a ring bearer skipped the dancing, toasts, and cake and piled into the back of the idling wedding limo to watch the final innings of game six of the 1993 World Series on the twelve-inch TV. Despite the threat of discovery and public scorn, this particular mission had a successful outcome (especially for the cellist, a Blue Jays fan). But in truth, it is never much fun to watch a game while constantly looking over your shoulder for the hand that will grab your ear and drag you, feebly protesting, back to the buffet. The Texanist should know. In search of (the) game, he has also slipped away from—and been firmly returned to—funerals, baptisms, one bris, a couple of quinceañeras, and children’s birthday parties too numerous and cake-smeared to recall. But that was all before the invention of a small, miraculous device known as the smartphone. As you and the Texanist both know, without first getting out of your own marriage, there is no way you are getting out of going to Phoenix for the most ill-timed wedding since the Von Whosits tied the knot on the upper deck of the Hindenburg. But unlike the Texanist back in 1993, you have options. Instead of stealing away to the dressing room, lobby bar, upstairs bedroom, or hotel kitchen, nowadays any interested party can simply sneak a peek at his phone. Just make sure the shindig is not in some remote Sonoran Desert locale unlikely to have reception or Wi-Fi. In that case, the Texanist recommends trying the limo.
Q: We just purchased a pretty little parcel in the Hill Country and we’d like to meet some of the neighbors, most of whom have electric gates. When the gates are closed we assume the owner wants his or her privacy, but often they are wide-open. Is an open gate an invitation to stop by and say hi? Should I bring biscuits?
Jay Tanet , Boerne
A: Your desire to exercise old-fashioned neighborliness with your new Hill Country countrymen is as natural as it is commendable, but the Texanist would have you exercise a little caution as well. It’s true that an open gate says “Welcome” more than a closed one, but as sure as there is hair on a javelina’s hindside, there are those to whom your approach will appear more threatening than friendly. Be advised that a door-darkening (or even a driveway-darkening) can bring about a sudden sky-darkening, as the sun becomes clouded with gun smoke and the heavens rain down two barrels’ worth of rock salt on your kindly pate. This will be the exception rather than the rule, of course, and you will more likely be in for an afternoon of the casual front-porch fat chewing that you are envisioning, but tread slowly. And as for the biscuits, by all means. Everybody likes biscuits. Almost everybody, that is.
Q: I recently caught my twelve-year-old son and a friend of his smoking grapevine behind our garage, and I came down on him pretty hard. When I told the friend’s mother, she just laughed it off, and her boy received no punishment. I think this is wrong. What is a good punishment for smoking grapevine?
Name Withheld , Beaumont
A: The Texanist spent a fair share of his formative years on the grapevine-rich banks of Temple’s Bird Creek, puffing away the afternoons with his friends, but he doesn’t recall ever being come upon by any adults. And if he had been, they most likely would’ve asked for a sprig themselves. At that place and in that time, children were allowed to roam with a much looser rein than they are today. And yet, those same children grew up to be people like, well, the Texanist (i.e., stand-up citizens, taxpayers, moderate drinkers, Sunday golfers, etc.). Considering the alarming array of intoxicants your son could be ingesting (glue, cough syrup, salvia, ecstasy, Four Loko, laughing gas, PCP, tequila, crack cocaine, GHB, paint fumes, Jägermeister, hallucinogenic mushrooms, horse tranquilizers, crank, bennies, black-tar heroin mixed with Tylenol PM, roofies, LSD, malt liquor, OxyContin, and pure Mexican peyote), a little grapevine should be the least of your concerns. Instead of punishing it, you ought to do your best to encourage the habit, relatively harmless as it is. Buy your son a nice lighter and point him to the nearest thicket. Trust the Texanist when he tells you that a few hits off of a dry twig of grapevine won’t kill him, stunt his growth, or even lead to the use of harder vegetation—at least not directly.
Q: I’ve always allowed my dog to sleep in bed with me, but I have just moved in with my boyfriend, and he doesn’t want the dog in the bed or even the bedroom. So far I’ve gotten my way, but it’s beginning to have a negative effect on our relationship. How do I keep both