texanist oysters
How many Gulf oysters does it take for a person to see results from the aphrodisiac qualities that they are said to possess?Illustration by Jack Unruh

Q: How many Gulf oysters does it take for a person to see results from the aphrodisiac qualities that they are said to possess? My wife and I were recently visiting Galveston and shared three dozen to no avail.
Name Withheld

A: Ah, the oyster. The most delectable and voluptuous of all the sea’s fruits, supple and salty, posed there on the half shell like Aphrodite herself. The Texanist has been known to wantonly lap up piles of these lovelies in sessions that last for hours, and although the purpose of such binges has been more epicurean than erotic, he has not failed to take notice of the effect a boatload of bivalves has on his libido. And, truth be told, the results have ranged from “Katy, bar the door” to “Katy, not tonight, the Texanist doesn’t feel so good.” See, the thing they don’t tell you about oysters—or cobra blood, powdered rhinoceros horn, Spanish fly, tiger penis, barbecued beef ribs, skink flesh, wolf meat, and all the other ingestibles said to possess aphrodisiacal qualities—is that eating an amount sufficient to produce the desired effect may also leave you feeling too full to perform (such is the case, at least, with tiger penis—very hard to digest). Another thing they don’t tell you is that any uptick in sexual desire that appears to correlate to the “love potion” is actually derived from the eater’s openness to and hunger for such an uptick in the first place. And it is clear, to the Texanist at least, that on the evening in question you were simply not “in the mood” for an uptick at all. Which happens. Surely Mrs. Name Withheld understands that these are mollusks, not miracles. But you shouldn’t get your dauber down. The night wasn’t a total loss, after all, as you were able to enjoy 36 of Galveston Bay’s finest, probably chased down by a few cold beers, and catch all of The Tonight Show to boot. What could possibly be better than that?

Q: Several decades ago, when I was in my formative years in San Angelo, men removed their hats when seated for indoor dining, whether in a private home or a public restaurant. Nowadays I regularly see people—of all age groups—eating with their hats on. Has the rule of etiquette changed?
Lester Purdham, Weatherford

A: While there has been no change in the official etiquette concerning the wearing of hats at dinner, there has been a pronounced shift in the acceptability of the corrective measures that were once used to communicate with violators of this code. The Texanist was taught, like you, to never wear a hat at the dinner table or even indoors, save for public places like the bank, hotel lobbies, and the post office. But—and here comes the important part—were he to do so, he would have been, like you, the recipient of a nonplayful whack to the back of the head, compliments of his mom, dad, brother, uncle, neighbor, pastor, teacher, dentist, barber, garbage man, or town drunk (it really did used to take the whole village). Today it would not be considered acceptable for any of these people to strike a child for improper hat usage, and, needless to say, once you stop striking children for wearing hats indoors, it’s very difficult to start again. So while the young are still probably being told that it’s not okay to wear a hat at the dinner table, this has become yet another one of those unenforced rules of conduct, the toothlessness of which has hastened the overall disintegration of our society. For this the Texanist is sorry.

Q: My daughter has decided that she wants to try out for the drill team at her high school this spring, but her father has expressed apprehension, believing that drill teams have become “too racy.” I think he’s being a little prudish. Please tell me I’m right.
Name Withheld

A: As you know, the drill team was born at Kilgore College, in East Texas, in 1940 with that school’s squad, the world-famous Rangerettes, and has since become a huge to-do in Texas, bringing a unique combination of youthful exuberance, ratcheted-up school spirit, wide smiles, good posture, and shiny satin-and-sequin uniforms to stadiums across the state. Drill teams are now an integral part of our Friday night (and Saturday and Sunday) football culture. Not only is it perfectly understandable that school-age girls such as your daughter would want to try out for the squad but entirely appropriate for her to do so. She has God-given gifts for precision dance, leaping, and enthusiastic pom-pom work. It’s natural for her to want to take these gifts and parade them across the field at halftime, before stands full of her schoolmates and all of the team’s boosters. It’s also natural for her father to want to keep these gifts wrapped tight and locked up safe in her bedroom. His sudden turn to puritanism comes from the deep-seated memories he has of his own youthful reaction to seeing long lines of his high school’s short-skirted high kickers. The appearance of a miniskirt in his daughter’s wardrobe—even when it is school-issued—will often prompt a father into a protectionist mode. And this too is perfectly natural. But he will soon learn that nothing can be done, and once he does, it will all begin (aided by three nightly scotches) to smooth itself out. Before you know it, he’ll be just as proud and supportive (and privately horrified) as all the drill team dads who came before him.

Q: Does a man really need a truck in addition to his everyday car? My husband thinks so, even though he rarely drives the thing. Many of his friends believe as he does and have trucks sitting in their driveways too. Couldn’t he just use one of theirs when the need arises?
Carolyn McKay-Smith, Houston

A: Throughout a man’s life he will possess a great many things that, while not technically mandatory for him to continue living, are nonetheless essential to his existence. Let us tour the Texanist’s garage. It is packed to the gills with gear—enough mint-condition fitness equipment to outfit a gym, a five-foot tower of golf training aids, at least two $400 drivers with broken shafts, a cement statuary collection (mainly burros with carts), two pianos, and a few thousand more bits of life’s well-intentioned flotsam. Beyond the door (hard to close), we come to his own weekender, a green Chevy long bed with an “Ain’t Skeered” window sticker. About the only thing the Texanist is skeered of is parting with this valiant machine. You see, trucks are special. Owning a truck allows a man to separate himself from those weenies who do not own trucks, and as you probably know, at the core of the male psyche is a powerful urge to do whatever it takes to separate himself from the weenies. Let him keep the truck.