Q: My daughter, Kelsey, is a senior in high school this year, and she has never had a boyfriend. When I was in school, I was voted homecoming queen my senior year and received a triple mum. Kelsey has gone mumless to three homecomings, and I don’t want her to have to endure another. Would it be okay for me to buy her one and say it’s from a secret admirer?
A: Looking back on his years at dear old Temple High, the Texanist must confess that his efforts at the time were more often directed toward deflowering than beflowering the female Wildcats skipping past him in the halls. Upon reflection, had he applied himself to the latter, he might possibly have achieved greater success with the former. In those days of yore, the mum, a corsage on steroids, was a worry mainly of the sportarati. Geeks, freaks, tokers, bandos, motorheads, and the Texanist usually had occasion neither to give nor receive the floral trophies. But you have come to the Texanist not for a tale of woe but for affirmation of your plan. And while he is not usually one to abide deceit, he understands that yours is a scheme born of a mother’s love. Like a Hallmark card, a sappy made-for-TV movie, or the girls of Boys Town, you have touched the soft underbelly of the Texanist. Get Kelsey that mum! And make it a double! With all the streamers, teddy bears, bells, and whistles you can afford. As long as she doesn’t run with band nerds, goths, religionists, brains, greasers, stoners, goat ropers, skaters, rockers, or, God forbid, loners, she won’t be totally mortified.
Q: I desperately need help. I have about two acres of yard, about 90 percent stickers. I have a child and two dogs that can hardly go outside. We have sprayed and handpicked. More grow. What do I do?
Margie Gentry, Jewett
A: Feeling your desperation, the Texanist turfed this question over to his esteemed colleague, Dr. James A. McAfee, an Extension Turfgrass Specialist with Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension Service, who offered the following advice for someone with an unestablished lawn (the Texanist has augmented the doctor’s counsel with a few thoughts of his own):
1. Spray Roundup, an herbicide, a few times at ten-day intervals. (Setting the whole yard on fire might work too.)
2. Next spring, seed Bermuda grass at one pound per 1,000 square feet. (Also consider a flowering herb like Cannabis sativa.)
3. Water, water, water. And good luck if you’re counting on Mother Nature. (Mother Nature is a shiftless floozy.)
4. With proper fertilization, mowing, and irrigation, you can produce a turf dense enough to prevent sandbur (stickers) from becoming a recurring problem. (This sounds like a lot of work; have you considered just paving it?)
Q: I have lived in Texas off and on for about eight years now. My long-suffering fiancée still lives and works in Chicago. Her wardrobe consists primarily of black dresses for all occasions. How can I convince her to dress a little more Texas-casual when she’s in town?
Name Withheld in Fear, Killeen
A: Every gal’s closet has a hanger or two reserved for the ubiquitous little black dress. They’re the female equivalent of the male blue blazer (or, in the case of Little Bubba, the Texanist’s winged, claw-footed, man-handed—and some might say, imaginary—tiny friend, the colorful wizard’s sombrero). Unfortunately, it appears that your bride-to-be has turned her rack of pitchy numbers into a uniform. While there are appropriate venues for this classic outfit, the tractor pull is not one of them. Nor the rodeo, town dance, or late-night hog hunt. Nonetheless, the Texanist would be failing in his duties if he did not strongly urge you to say nothing of the sort. The topic you have broached is laden with prenuptial peril, Mr. Name Withheld in Fear. You are treading on dangerous ground. A gentleman must never give the impression that he knows better than his lady what she ought to wear. To any event! Ever! If you are truly intent on joining this woman in matrimony, going all Mr. Blackwell on her is not advisable. Here is your best option: The next time she is in town, find a reputable bootmaker and treat her to a pair of custom boots. Not only will this garner points, but it will allow her a good foundation on which to build a look with a bit more regional panache.
Q: If I go to a fiesta and take a twelve-pack of Lone Star with me and only drink eight, can I take the remaining brews home with me?
John Valdez, Austin
A: Experience tells the Texanist that even when one arrives at a party empty-handed, drinks one’s fill, makes a horse’s ass of oneself with the host’s college-age daughter, steals out the back door with an armful of clanking liquor bottles, and stumbles down the street loudly singing that old Larry L. King favorite “Jesus on the Five-Yard Line” until a very stern policeman who appears out of nowhere and looks like one’s Uncle Gary asks one to shut the hell up, even then, Mr. Valdez, nobody is likely to say a word. Shocked gasps? Maybe. Real verbal confrontation? Doubtful. There is a limit, however, to the number of times one can blithely trample on society’s good graces, so if for no other reason than to build up a great storehouse of credit for those terrible groggy mornings when you will need to spend it, the Texanist advises you to not relieve the icebox of the remnants of the $8.49 twelver of Lone Star longnecks with which you so generously blessed the festivities. Just go on home.