Is it really appropriate to make love in a campground?
Is it really appropriate to make love in a campground?Illustration by Jack Unruh

Q: A few summers ago I went camping with some girlfriends at Guadalupe River State Park. Imagine our surprise when we were startled one evening by a loudly amorous couple in a neighboring tent. The passionate din went on most of the night. At four in the morning, desperate for sleep, I finally yelled at our horny neighbors, but to no avail. Is it really appropriate to make love in a campground?
Kate Kiser, Austin

A: The Texanist confesses with apologies that after reading your missive, his first thought was to forward it to Penthouse Forum. His second thought, with another apology, was that this would be the perfect basis for an adult film titled Guadalupe River State Pork. His third thought . . . well, the Texanist never thought this would happen to him, but he is having trouble focusing.

As to the question, if you were deprived of sleep and bothered, it was not wrong to cry out. But generally, when happening upon nonindigenous state park fauna in rut, the Texanist responds with applause. Here’s to them! Were he to find himself in earshot of the sleeping-bag thrashers whose clamor disturbed you, he likely would have paused in wonderment of the natural world and then vigorously saluted the enthusiastic and impressively protracted doings. Among purveyors of social advice, the Texanist may be alone in his appreciation of campsite copulation; as far as he can tell, no etiquette manuals have addressed this situation. Perhaps one should be written. It might be called Campground Love: A Many-Splintered Thing. Or perhaps The Hornythologist’s Guide to the Tented Texas Lovebird. Or simply The Kampa Sutra.

Q: Is it okay to take your children to a bar?
Elaine, Via e-mail

A: No. The Texanist prefers his watering holes to be peopled with legal barflys of questionable intent rather than junior barflys of questionable parentage.

Q: Why is Big Red so good?
Shelby, Via e-mail

A: Why is Big Red so good? Why do the bluebonnets grow? Why is Bob Wills still the king? As a young fellow, the Texanist often pondered koans of this sort during a morning ritual that involved burning incense of cedar and sage, imbibing copious amounts of cowboy coffee française (French press), and studying the works of Breathed, Schulz, Trudeau, and, on occasion, Guisewite. One morning, out of coffee and in a terrible blurry-headed need of stimulant, he popped open a can of this sweet scarlet lifeblood. At that very moment a ray of sunlight shone through his window, and there, illuminated and radiant, was his, and now your, answer: carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup, natural and artificial flavor, red #40, citric acid, and caffeine. The Texanist, to this day, remains low on coffee beans and happily full of Big Red.

Q: I am a fairly new resident of the state, but I want to host a get-together to celebrate Texas Independence Day. First, as a non­native, is this even advisable? Second, what are the makings of a good Independence Day celebration?
Mike Weathersbee, Lufkin

A: If there is one certain thing in this world, it is this: The Texanist likes to party. Mere invitations have caused him to break out in gleeful fits of jigging. He enjoys weddings, birthdays, bar and bat mitzvahs, Irish wakes, quinceañeras, graduations, ice cream socials, the dropping of hats, and generally speaking, any gathering at which spirits are high, plentiful, or both. Status as Texan, non-Texan, or recently arrived Texan has no bearing on your ability to fete our state’s birth as an independent republic with a suitable bash. And nothing would cap off your event with more pizzazz than the rowdy fellowship and boozy aerobics of, that’s right, the Texanist. Though he is still groggy from this year’s festivities, he has checked his date book and sees that there are still a few blank spaces on his dance card for next year’s. It’s never too early to plan!

Q: How does one properly dispose of chewed gum when one is without a proper container for said chewed gum?
Patricia Threadgill, Marlin

A: The five-year-old daughter of the Texanist recently shared a tidbit of wisdom that is suitable for this very situation.

Diminutive Female Texanist: Daddy, do you want some gum?
The Texanist: Are you implying that the Texanist has been drinking?
Diminutive Female Texanist: Yes.
Diminutive Female Texanist: Hold out your hand.
The Texanist: Thanks. What am I supposed to do with this?
Diminutive Female Texanist: Chew it. It’s ABC gum.
The Texanist: Okay. [Puts gum in his mouth.] What’s ABC stand for?
Diminutive Female Texanist: Already Been Chewed.

So you see, in the presence of family and close friends, you are never without a receptacle for your rubbery, flavorless, germ-infused, and altogether spent gum. When among strangers, swallow.