The Southern Humorists Present ...

February 2005 is Redneck Lovin' Month!

Hey y'all! Yer fav-o-rite redneck momma gone and missed January, but she's got some irresistible stories below.

February is Redneck Lovin' month and the Southern Humorists have all kinds of passionate, wild and stinky lovin' tales to share. Thanks for readin', y'all!

The Idiot's Guide to Romance | Country Courtin' | The Date | To the Complaint Department (With Love) | Cletus on ... Love | Stupid Cupid | 6 Smooth Ways To Decline A Date | Nicky's Love Story | It's Love 'til The Dollar Store's Closed | It's Valentine's Day: Why? | True Dove | A Valentine's Day Gift-giving Dilemma | Dating Has Come a Long Way Since the Caveman | Belles | Gertie Elaborates on Lovin' | Queen of Hearts and Diamonds |

The Idiot's Guide to Romance
By: by Jason Offutt © 2005 All Rights Reserved

No matter how inept you are in the world of romance, being romantic isn't a mystery.

Heck, it isn't even hard.

Romance isn't delivering flowers and candy to your loved one on days you're expected to, like St. Valentine's Day. Romance isn't letting your significant other cook for you. And romance isn't paying your partner a compliment with the words "you know, maybe you haven't gotten that fat."

Can you learn to be romantic? Yes, of course. All you have to do is this: Think of your partner's* comfort before you think of your own.

That's it.

Romance is that simple, it's that straightforward and you can do it every day because being romantic doesn't have to cost you a thing.

Romance for idiots

Open doors: What is more thoughtful than opening a door for your partner/date? Not much. It's old fashioned and it shows respect. Besides, if your date walks through a door first, you get to stare at his/her butt.

Pay attention: If your partner has changed his/her hair style, wardrobe or vehicle, you'd better notice. Paying attention shows them you're, uh, paying attention - to them.

Say something nice: How would you like someone to tell you how attractive you are every time you see them? Or that they like your hair? Or maybe they say "I love you" every once in a while for no reason other than they do?

Lover's Tip No. 75: If you say "I love you," you sure as heck better mean it. Unless, of course, you're just dating and are trying to use this to your advantage before you dump them.

Do something nice: Such as, cook your partner/date dinner, surprise him/her at work just to say "hi" and drop off their favorite snack, or take your partner on a date without making them chip in for gas. Showing your partner/date you're willing to go out of your way to see them smile is worth a thousand half-meant "I love you's."

Lover's Tip No. 241: Stopping by your date's work more than once a week, e-mailing more than twice per day, or starting any telephone conversation with "I know what you're wearing," could result in police intervention.

Tell him/her it's endearing (for first timers): If the words: "Most people think _______ is annoying," come out of your date's mouth, this is a tactical advantage - take it. Something this person does obviously gets on people's nerves and he/she's testing this annoying snort/laugh/nasally whine out on someone new. They want your approval. Give it to them, and you'll get something in return. The appropriate romantic response guaranteed to get you some sort of action is: "Annoying? I think it's cute."

This brings you no more than 30 minutes away from a lip-lock. Forty-five minutes, tops. If your date's really annoying, heck, it's not like you even have to give them your real phone number.

A few don'ts (mostly for guys):

Don't show up late - for anything.

Don't cancel a date to go bowling/golfing/fishing/cruising for chicks.

Don't ignore her for reruns of "Seinfeld."

Don't leave stacks of porn around your apartment ... unless she's into that sort of thing.

Don't expect her to eat over the sink.

And don't play Nintendo while you're having sex.

Enough said.

There you go. Just do something to show you're thinking of your partner before yourself. You're not just thinking romance, you're living it.

*Partner defined as wife/husband, girlfriend/boyfriend, cheap floozy whose last name you'll never know and person whose status isn't legally recognized in most states.


Jason Offutt is an award-winning humor columnist. You can subscribe to Jason's (more or less) monthly newsletter and buy Jason's e-book "Didn't life Used to be Easy?" on the World Wide Web at: www.jasonoffutt.com

~*~*~

Country Courtin'
By: Angela Gillaspie © All Rights Reserved

I am surprised that I ever found a husband.

Turning sixteen, my sisters and I were finally declared, "Of Age," and had to follow guidelines on courting and hygiene. Of course, my parents each had a different set of rules. Momma taught us how to walk properly, sit lady-like, smell good, talk politely, and be coy, and Daddy educated us on useful things like how to bush hog, hoe, and giggle hysterically when a body function presented itself loudly. Also, when we become "Of Age," we were finally allowed to shave our legs.

When Cletus, my first date arrived, Daddy positioned himself on the front porch cleaning his shotgun, and Momma hid behind the curtain in the living room (to make sure Cletus was a gentleman and opened the car door for me). I answered the door dressed in shorts and color-coordinated bandages on my knees (to cover my razor burn).

I barely survived that date; next time I vowed I'd bring flash cards with Momma's etiquette rules on them so I'd know whether to eat pizza with my fingers or with a fork. However, I did remember to be a lady (like Momma said), and I even remembered to ask Cletus to pull my finger (like Daddy said).

Oddly enough, Cletus never asked me out again.

From then on, my older sister taught me to meet my dates down at the Burger King and to not listen to anything Daddy said.

When I was twenty-one, I met my future husband, Paul-Bob, and he insisted on coming to my house to meet my folks. I gave him vague directions to my house, but he ended up finding it anyway. He presented Daddy with a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and buttered up Momma by telling her how wonderful her biscuits were.

Yup, this one was a keeper.

Paul-Bob started visiting my house more often, and I allowed myself to finally become more comfortable with him being around Daddy. But little did I know that dear old Daddy had some tricks that I hadn't yet seen.

Late one night while Paul-Bob and I watched television, Daddy got out of bed to relieve himself. The parlor is next to his lavatory (which had no insulation) and all the sounds echoed loudly. From beginning to end, we heard all three states of matter.

Pretending that I couldn't hear Daddy, I talked loudly over the noises creeping from the bathroom. Finally, I gave up and said, "If you promise to never do that I'll marry you."

Paul-Bob reluctantly agreed.

On another night, Paul-Bob got a glimpse of Daddy in his worn underwear scratching his forever-itching behind after he exited the lavatory. Paul-Bob commented to me, "If you promise to never do that I'll marry you,"

I agreed, and a few months later, we were wed.

Daddy finally accepted his new son-in-law and Momma was overjoyed. She did get upset when I asked the preacher to pull my finger, though.


Click HERE to subscribe to Angela's newsletter! - It's free!

~*~*~

The Date
By: Edward Hurst of Southern Comedy

1980 my sophomore year.

I have a date for Saturday night. Not just any date, but THE date. The bubbly, bouncing, blue-eyed cheerleader is my date for Saturday night. I am a shy bookworm and have no clue why this goddess would even speak to me. Why would she spend hours alone with me without a gun to her head?

The "girl" is not just any girl. She is a petite blonde, with a smile that blinds, and a personality of perpetual perk. She never walks. She bounces from one in-crowd to the next. Her friends circle her like a wagon train in the morning to protect her from "ordinary people." They only release her for a few minutes a day into the world of regular people; she should not be subjected to regular.

Miraculously, in an un-circled moment she speaks to me, not about me - TO me. In my confusion at being addressed by the school star in terms other than "pass the salt" or "drop dead Bozo," I make the ultimate geek mistake; I ask her for a date. She propels me beyond astonishment into disbelief. She not only squeals a YES; she sets the date and time then writes her phone number on my arm. She gives me a light hug, turns and bounces away; I turn and walk into the wall, careful of my arm.

My mind has shut down. There is only room in my head for thoughts of true love and an eternity of bounce. Food, homework, chores, all the everyday things are somebody else's worry. Luckily, the date is for seven p.m. the following Saturday, or I would starve, possibly a day or two before flunking out of school.

The Saturday arrives. No general ever prepares for battle more thoroughly than I prepare for this date.

I wash my car. I iron my best Calvin Klein jeans. The crease does not line up perfectly; they are sent back to the ironing board. I take my secret weapon from its hanger in the back of the closet. My secret is a dark red Polo shirt kept separate from my regular clothes.

It is the dangerous color of red used by bullfighters to drive bulls insane, and, of course, will perform the same function on teen-age girls, bounce or no. I take a bath in Chaps cologne because of a three-week old rumor that my date for the night thinks Chaps is GREAT. I give my white Nikes a micro-level inspection for fear that a speck of dirt, or any flaw for that matter, will send my hyper-quivering date on a downward spiral into an un-cheerful mood. I raid my bank account; all one hundred and twenty-four dollars are placed at the whim of a girl who has spoken no more than twenty words to me in ten years of school together.

After all battle plans are addressed, I wait. I stare at the clock. The clock has stopped - vile clock. I turn on the television, hoping to force time to march in thirty-minute sitcom steps. I believe the actors are speaking a foreign language - vile actors. I go to the fridge and make a sandwich-planning to eat my way to seven o'clock. I return to the couch to stare at a television that makes no sense and eat a sandwich I don't want.

I make the ultimate mistake. A drop of mustard hits the front of my dark red, drive-'em-insane Polo shirt. I am a clumsy idiot. Vile mustard. The magical red is compromised.

The phone rings. I answer. It's her.

I listen to her and stare at the mustard stain. Wait, she has said something. "I'm going to have to cancel our date; my grandmother was hit by a car and killed."

"What?" I ask.

"My grandmother and her best friend were hit by a car and killed; I'm going to have to cancel our date, I'm sorry."

I could not believe she would use such a lame excuse. Did she think I was stupid? I told her just what I thought of her lame excuse and we never spoke again. In time, you forget teenage stupidity.

I married a wonderful woman and am happy, but my wife is a reminder of that Saturday. That Saturday a car struck my wife's aunt and her aunt's best friend, Carol's grandmother.

The Carol I accused of lying.

I still owe Carol an apology.

~*~*~

To the Complaint Department (With Love)
By: Sheila Moss © 2005

to the complaint dept (with love)

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing in regard to your notice about the delay in shipment of my order for 14 dozen Olympic quality, ultra accurate, gold tip arrows. Perhaps you do not understand the urgency of the situation. I realize that you have no control over the suppliers of your stock; however, surely you have an existing supply in your warehouse. As a valid customer for so many years, I appeal to you to consider filling my order ahead of any others.

Since Valentine Day will fall on the 14th day of February, as traditional, it is imperative that my order be received no later than the 13th. I must be ready for my flight and travel early the next morning in order to assure that couples the world over are not disappointed. Without equipment, I am powerless and love cannot be delivered to those in need of a bit of extra incentive at this time of the year.

Poets the world over have written poems and sonnets of love. Famous couples throughout the ages have depended on me to add that extra spark to their relationship that makes it more than just mere friendship. Surely you can understand that Cupid must have arrows! Each and every year, I alone am responsible for targeting the hearts of individuals and filling them with passion for a beloved. What sort of Valentine's Day will it be if Cupid cannot complete his task? I ask you, what sort of world would it be without love?

If you do not have the specific superlite carbon arrow, perhaps you can substitute a graphite of equal quality. While I do have a strong preference from my many years of expertise in these matters of heart, this is an emergency and not a time to stand on principle. We are talking about love here. Providing the incentive to fall in love is serious business. While I do prefer carbon, ultra accuracy is not entirely essential, as my shot is so powerful that it is likely the unwary lover will be evoked into action even by a near center shot.

Reusing old arrows is not a practical option in my particular situation.

Regardless of the durability of the arrow shaft, those struck by the arrow of Cupid usually become so amorous that is almost impossible to recover the arrows. For days, weeks, or even years afterwards, they will continue to pursue the beloved - to the highest mountains, to the deepest seas, to the ends of the earth, if necessary - well, you know the clichés. This phenomenon is widely documented in song and poetry.

You may have felt the sting of my arrow at one time yourself. Sooner or later practically everyone in the world is struck. You see, therefore, just how essential it is that my order be filled in a timely manner. Please ship the 14 dozen arrows or an appropriate substitute at your earliest convenience. Otherwise I may be forced to refer the millions of irate lovers who will be asking why there was no Valentine's Day this year to your complaint department.

Thank you for your kind attention, and I shall be waiting for your express package with my bow and quiver ready. The future of procreation is depending on you. I'm sure I can count on your cooperation.

Love,
Cupid

(c) Sheila Moss


Sheila Moss is a humor columnist who writes a weekly column at http://www.humorcolumnist.com. She has articles published in newspapers, anthologies, and online but is always looking for new markets. This article was first published in 2001 and is still a favorite with her readers.

~*~*~

Cletus on Love
By: SouthernAngel.com © 2005 All Rights Reserved

cletus on lovin

~*~*~

Stupid Cupid
By: Melissa Baumann © 2005 All Rights Reserved

I despise Valentine's Day. I detest every manipulative, controlling minute of it. I have a problem with any alleged holiday that makes people, mostly men, quantify their affection against the diamond scale. Men tend to resent this kind of coercion and I'm here to stand in solidarity with them.

For a full month leading up to Valentine's Day, the catalogs that arrive in our mailboxes look like they've been dipped in pink diarrhea medicine. Shop windows contain more red lace than a Hollywood madam's lingerie drawer and I could get a cavity from the sugary messages dripping out the radio and TV.

Every six minutes it's another arm-twisting sales pitch implying that if you don't go into debt buying a diamond necklace, a cell phone or a big fuzzy bear that says "I Wuv You," you're a heartless lout. You don't deserve the sweet girl who is, at this very moment, baking heart-shaped cookies for you and your mom.

It does not matter that your chic girlfriend has never shown any interest in magnetized stuffed animals. Get out there, man, and make your purchases because you don't want to be stuck with only remaining card at the drug store - the plastic-coated sappy one that will expose your poor planning skills.

Guys know their girl won't accept any lame-o excuses about loving her just as much on Valentine's Day as he did on Feb. 13. Or how he just forgot the day. Better hit the jewelry store. Preferably one where he can spend $199 on a necklace that's worth $20.

Women play their part in this drama, too. We get sucked into a vortex of unreasonable expectation. Suddenly, it's not about the guy who brought us soup and girlie movies when we had the flu, or painted our toes when we were big-as-a-house pregnant.

It's all about the flower trucks stopping out front, delivering overblown arrangements to the pop-tart receptionist three floors up. Someone sure loves her and you can bet she never cleaned up dog barf at 3 a.m. because Mr. Bigshot had an important meeting the next day.

We spend the whole day getting nervously overexcited, so we can't help but be let down by a hastily purchased gift.

"How much does he adore me? A quarter-carat total weight? That's not much. I think the level of my disappointment is going to be directly proportionate to when he'll be seeing me naked again."

I suspect this is why not that many babies are born in October. It's the you-cheesed-me-on-a-diamond backlash.

It's clear to me that this is a mob mentality. Mass hysteria foisted upon us by merchandisers who didn't make bank over the holiday shopping season. And I don't want to deal with the guilt from getting an overpriced gift we couldn't afford in the first place.

"Kids, we're going to be eating macaroni for the next month but doesn't mommy look pretty in her diamond chip heart pendant? It came with chocolates... we can share those for dessert!"

I cashed in my ticket to this guilt trip about a decade ago. In 1992 we were a sea-duty family, financially strapped and stretched thin over three boys, all under the age of seven.

I stood there on Valentine's Day, holding a yowling baby in one hand and a cranky toddler in the other, feeling jealous self-pity as I watched each of my neighbors accept spiky arrangements of roses.

That feeling, gave way to one of frustrated disappointment - but not in my husband, in myself. What kind of a person forces someone they love to jump through these superficial hoops?

Buying cards, candy or jewelry because a greedy salesperson insists we should isn't love; it's shame, and I didn't want any part of it.

My husband is more than welcome to bring home the romance 364 days a year if he chooses, but Valentine's Day is off the table.

We've exchanged trees on Arbor Day, had candlelight dinners on Millard Fillmore's birthday and started building a deck on Memorial Day.

This President's Day, he's going to fix the water pressure in my shower. Now that's love.

~*~*~

6 Smooth Ways To Decline A Date
By: Phillip Jones © 2005 All Rights Reserved

Following another lead from one of my Southern Humorists buds, I see that MSN, the experts in relationships, recently put out a piece called "6 smooth ways to decline a date". The author suggests that if you're asked out on a date by someone you wouldn't wish Mary Kay Letourneau on, you shouldn't be "curt or mean". Rather, you should make it clear that you would only date this person if the event they took you to was your funeral, and that you should do so by lying convincingly. The six suggestions that follow are more pathetic than a poodle being swallowed backwards by a boa constrictor with a broken jaw.

If you're going to lie, then lie boldly. Be creative. Use tons and tons and tons of hyperbole. By the way, authors should rarely use hyperbole. Not one author in ten hundred million bazillion gagillion does it right. With this in mind, and little else in mind due to storage capacity limits, I came up with my own collection of "6 smooth ways to decline a date". And let's be realistic about this. It mostly women who have to fend off guys that make them shudder hard enough that if they actually climbed off their barstools to date these men they would immediately collapse into a quivering pile of jellied human flesh. Therefore, these suggestions were developed for the fairer, more put upon sex.

Better think of an excuse quick, because he just spotted you.

The "Al Qaeda" excuse

"Oh my gosh! I am sooo sorry! If we had met just two days ago, I'd be giving you such a different answer! Yesterday, I converted to Islam and was immediately recruited into Al Qaeda. I leave tomorrow for a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. Listen though, I'll be back in a few weeks. Give me your number, and I'll call you. Say, you wouldn't happen to work in the airline industry or in a large financial institution, would you? If you did, that would simply be wonderful. My Al Qaeda handler has suggested I make contacts in those two areas."

This excuse should be delivered with breathless excitement and the fervor of a new convert. Be aware that you'll need to leave the area where you use this excuse and avoid it for the next few months lest you find yourself going out on a date with John Ashcroft.

The "Serial Killer" excuse

"I'm sorry. It just isn't possible for me to take you home. I'm running out of space in my backyard. I tried jack hammering the concrete in my basement, but it would have been easier to freeze the guy's body and feed him through a tree mulcher. I just can't afford to rent the equipment... unless you have a lot of cash on you? No? Well, there you go. Listen though, my filthy neighbor just bought a nosy dog, and it's been digging around my yard. Give me your number, and if I have to move away suddenly, I may call you. If I get a lot of coverage on Fox News, it may be awhile. Is that okay? I'm really not into head games, believe me. I'd like to get a place in the county so that I don't have to turn down sweet guys like you."

This excuse should be delivered with vexation mixed with frustration of strange, unfulfilled needs. Don't worry if he calls the police; it will be bonus entertainment while the police hassle this guy after digging up your backyard. Just remember to deny everything.

The "Stalker" excuse

"Oh, I'd love to go out with you! But, like, there's a problem. The judge who, like, issued the last restraining order against me said he'd seen me in his court, like, once too often. He said I posed, like, an imminent threat to all males, and so he handed down, like, a universal restraining order that says I can't get within 500 feet of any human male. I, like, followed the judge around for a couple of years hoping he'd change his mind, but he, like, didn't seem to like phone calls in the middle of the night, you know, or finding his family's pets boiling in their kitchen. Like I'm so thankful he never found it out it was me, because I think he would have, like, sent me to jail, you know? Listen though, if you don't, like, care about restraining orders and all, I'll, like, go out with you. Like give me your number, or better yet, give me the make and license number of your car, your home address, and, like, any security codes you use for both. Like it'll save us soooo much time."

Just act slightly manic and crazy when you deliver this excuse. If the guy doesn't, like, start backing away after the thing about the pets, I'll owe you $5.

The "Trekkie" excuse

"Gee! I've never been asked out before... well, except for that guy dressed up as Capt. Kirk at last year's convention, but he was sooo fat, I'm not kidding you because Vulcans never lie and I'm always in my T'Pring Vulcan character, lots fatter than William Shatner, and I just couldn't see us together though I'm sure we had lots in common. He had, and I'm not kidding you because I'm deep into the plak tow of T'Pring right now and she would never lie, the MOST RADICAL Kira Nerys action figure collection! I swear, I almost went out with him because he's got an original 1st issue Major Kira Nerys 1993 Playmates' number 6206 of the 6200 series! STILL IN THE BOX! I almost went for it just to get to hold it! If he had had an Ensign Wesley Crusher from the 6070 series still in the box with near mint card, I would have married him! Please tell me you have one!? No... oh, well, you are cute and not so fat... I guess I'll go out with you. Oh, listen, I just remembered! This is sooo perfect! This is so like that time Leonard Nimoy made the Vulcan sign to me and said "Live long and prosper" while I was paying him for his autograph! My mom, dad, and me... did I mention I still live at home... it just sooo expensive buying $4,000 worth of Trek stuff every month!... we're starting our third viewing of the complete second season of V-Trek again tonight (hee hee, we call Star Trek: Voyager "V-Trek")! You can come, and even though you missed the first two times we watched season 2, which is kind of bad because you probably won't be able to recite the dialog with us, it will still be near perfect for you to see it starting from episode # 120, "The 37's"! Do you have a Voyager costume from season 2? No... oh, well, you might be able to wear my dad's season 1 Tuvok costume... there are some slight differences between season 1 and season 2 costumes, and I WOULD HOPE you know what they are if you're going to date me!"

Gush when you deliver this excuse. Drooling a little might help too.

The "Trekkie" excuse might not work on guys like this. Be prepared to improvise.

The "Barfing" excuse

"Go out with you? I'd love too! Have you ever heard of anyone with a vomit fetish? No? Well, it helps to have a lot of plastic in your wardrobe. If you don't have much, it's cool because you're about the same size as the last guy I dated. He broke up with me after he went into the hospital with severe anemia. Don't worry! I'm not one of those sickos... you know, the ones that don't stop after they see blood? There's this Chinese buffet down the street, and they get the most horrendous health code violations! If you want, we can have dinner there and see a double feature. After that, the REAL fun will start."

Make giggling, gagging sounds while you deliver this excuse.

The "Polyamorous" excuse

"I am so, so, so sorry... if I hadn't just married my 35th and 36th husbands, I'd go out with you, but I am sooo tired... you just wouldn't believe it. I'm polyamorous, and Ted, Frank, and I JUST got married this last weekend in the MOST beautiful Goddess ceremony in this unbelievable cornfield! I wore my favorite wedding gown, even though it needs a little mending, and my new husbands wore these adorable plaid skirts. All my husbands were there, and it was so beautiful. Rev. Sally said it was one of my best weddings she'd ever performed. Or am I getting confused with the ceremony for husbands 21, 22, and 23? Oh well, it doesn't matter... they were all beautiful. Listen, let me get you number, because I'm thinking about throwing out my hideous little jerk of a husband # 6. He's been making some noise about wanting to marry another woman, and I just don't think I could stand for any of my husbands to that. You're not the jealous type, are you? And do you like Robert Heinlein? I couldn't marry a man who didn't think Robert Heinlein took over heaven when he died..."

Act very tired when you deliver this excuse. The guy while either believe you and think you're insane, or he'll just think you're insane.

Print this picture of an actual poly wedding and keep it handy. It shows "you" marrying two strapping bull specimens of men.

If you use any of these excuses, just remember that I'm not responsible for the consequences.


Phil Jones is a humor writer on the Web. You can find him at BrainBullets.net."

~*~*~

Nicky's Love Story
By: Nicky © 2001-2005 SouthernAngel.com All Rights Reserved

Once upon a time, there was Madison. She is in my class and she is pretty. She has blonde hair, green and black eyes and she is half and five years old. I love her.

She tells the teacher, "Nicky said something!"

One time she stepped on my foot (that had a shoe on it) and she said, "I'm sorry." That's why I love her.

She doesn't sit by me in class, but I swing next to her on the red swing. Whenever she swings, I always swing next to her.

I'm in love with Madison. She has a pretty smile.

I want to give her a special Valentine. It will be a big red one that says, "I am in love with Madison!"

We will get married and live with Mommy and Daddy. When I grow up I will be the Purple Ninja Turtle. Madison said that she wants to be the Blue Ninja Turtle when she grows up. We will beat people up - fighting for good guys, not bad guys.

The End.

Nicky is four years old, can ride his bike without training wheels, and enjoys Vienna Sausages with ketchup. He lives with his mommy, daddy, sister, and brothers in the Deep South.

**Mom's ... uh ... Editor's note: Nicky is now eight years old and while he still likes Vienna Sausages with ketchup, he thinks ALL girls (yes, even Madison), are yucky.

~*~*~

It's Love 'til The Dollar Store's Closed
By: Tisha Sharp © 2005 All Rights Reserved

Bobby Joe had a plan. First, pick up his paycheck, drop a payment for his Polaris ATV, and then swing by the Dollar Store for Charlene's Valentine's Day card. Maybe a present, too, but he'd have to choose better than last year. Charlene didn't cotton to his romantic idea of that "Make your own porn" kit he ordered through the mail. He wasted a good three bucks on the card, too, and it had all that lovey dovey horse crap he thought she wanted. Sure it had an old ugly guy on the front but Charlene obviously didn't like it. The next morning he found the card in her garbage can.

This year, he was bound to do better. Her best friend Sheryl said whatever he did, was to make sure he got her the gold necklace with the ruby heart . . . or was it silver necklace with the gold heart? Hell, he'd buy her two iff'n the Dollar Store was runnin' a special.

At the Dollar Store, Bobby walked up to the card display, and stepped between Pedro, a guy from work, and Nate, a four wheeling buddy.

"You waitin' pretty dang late, Bobby," Nate grinned.

love in the dollar store

"Don't matter," Bobby snapped back.

Pedro snatched the last pink card from the empty card case.

"Dammit, Pedro, I need that card!"

"No habla ingles, señor Bobby," Pedro said as he strutted off to the cashier, picking up silk roses and a box of chocolate covered cherries along the way.

"Dammit dammit dammit!" Bobby stomped his foot. Taking a deep breath he asked Nate, "You taking Darcy anywhere for dinner?"

"We're getting Red Lobster to go." Nate winked, "Got plans for tonight and don't need an audience."

Bobby fiddled with the large red velvet card with "To my darling wife" swirled in gold calligraphy.

Nate looked over at the card in Bobby's hand, "You gonna pop the question, Bobby?"

"Hell no."

The intercom blared, "We will be closing the store in five minutes. Thank you for shopping with the Dollar Store."

"See ya next weekend," Nate shuffled off to the cashier with his 12-pack and bag of pork rinds.

Bobby stared at the scant card display and the lone "To my darling wife" card stared back at him.

"We're closing, sir," the dwarfish cashier called from her perch.

"Aw, the hell with it," Bobby tore the velvet card from its slot.

"Oh, your wife will love this card," the cashier gushed as she rang up his merchandise.

"Y'all got any gold rings?"

And that's how Bobby Joe Mackey finally married Charlene.

~*~*~

It's Valentine's Day: Why?
By: Mike Bay © 2005 All Rights Reserved

February 14 is upon us once again. St. Valentine's Day. A day remembered for that special someone (or someones, for the more adventurous/scurrilous). But what exactly is the origin of this particular holiday? Who was St. Valentine, and how did he -- and/or Cupid -- come to symbolize this annual celebration of love?

As you've come to dread, I took a bit of an historical look at this unusual holiday. After all, I've looked at it from the standpoint of men's alleged lack of romance and the conspiratorial aspects of the holiday on prior occasions. And as you've come to expect, I've never let a lack of knowledge on something stop me from weighing in on it in my own inimitable, full of snarf way.

So . . . what do we really know about Valentine's Day?

St. Valentine's Day came about as the result of the alleged martyrdom of one or possibly two legendary persons. Both were Romans of the 3rd Century AD: one was a Roman priest and physician, who fell victim to the persecution of Christians by the ACLU.

Oops . . . wrong era.

He allegedly fell victim to the machinations of Emperor Claudius II Gothicus -- losing his head in the process -- and was buried on the Via Flaminia, in Rome. According to one legend, Pope St. Julius I would later build a basilica over the gravesite, in what could be a modern-day parallel to Jimmy Hoffa and the Meadowlands Sports complex in New Jersey, with emphasis placed on the word, 'could'.

OR, he may have been a bishop of Terni (Italy), who was just as martyred, also in Rome, by the same emperor, probably in the same non-surgically imprecise manner, for similar reasons. Either way, the martyrdom of one/both of these extinguished gentlemen resulted in the establishment of St. Valentine's Day -- a lovers' festival -- approximately 10 centuries later.

You may ask how we got from one or more beheaded Romans, to a day of celebration for lovers? Beats me, but it sounds almost as logical a leap as lovers often display in their thinking, too. And if you wonder why I'm still single, comments like that are probably a big part of the reason, but I digress.

At any rate, about 300 years after the establishment of St. Valentine's Day, an obscure Italian artist -- Vincent Guido Frontino Hallmarko -- created what is theorized to be the mother of all greeting cards. Until about 1800, paper valentines (variations of Hallmarko's first designs) were the norm. After 1800, and in response to rising demand by persons wishing to honor their lovers with the memory of headless martyrs, hand-painted copper plates were produced. From these eventually sprang wood cuts, lithographs, chocolate hearts, the Franklin Mint, and finally mass-produced greeting cards.

So much for the basis of the holiday..(?!)..now let me compound the confusion by delving into the other mentioned part of the love equation: Cupid.

Most of you recognize Cupid: an impish infant with wings, who flits around with a bow and quivver of arrows, shooting them into various and sundry, leaving his 'victims' smitten with love, lust, passion, and occasional clothing repair bills. Despite that, Cupid somehow managed to keep his head, which suggests to me he came along after Emperor Chop Chop.

Cupid's association with Valentine's Day makes sense: he was the ancient Roman god of love. The son of Mercury (the messenger) and Venus (goddess of flytraps), Cupid became a ready symbol for all things denoting love. A counterpart to the Greek god Eros; an equivalent to Amor, of Latin poetry. Even a weekend ale-swilling, arrow-splitting chum of Robin Hood. Cupid made the rounds, and in so doing became a world-wide symbol routinely associated with Valentine's Day.

Alas, progress -- aka, political correctness -- caught up with poor ol' Eurocentric, white male Cupid. For starters, he got himself banned from Transylvanian Rumania, as one of his 'love arrows' fatally felled Count Dracula. The then-Rumanian Product Safety Commission forced Cupid -- throughout the remainder of the country, and quickly adopted throughout Europe -- to substitute his wood-shafted arrows for those with Nerf shafts.

Thus begat the slippery slope.

In America -- a heretofore heaven and target-rich environment for Cupid -- religious fundamentalists objected to Cupid's "immoral, immodest attire" in his public appearances. Radical feminists objected to Cupid's contributions toward "the enslavement of women to male domination". Behaviorists objected to the symbolism of Cupid shooting arrows at others, suggesting this was furthering a positive image of violence to youth in society. Gun control advocates objected to his being armed with "a deadly weapon"; Native American activists objected to both the image of the bow and arrow, as well as the fact that Cupid hailed from the same homeland as did Christopher Columbus. The media hounded him; the tabloids had a 'print everything and anything negative' heyday with him.

Amid increasing controversies and distractions, Cupid's Nerf-shafted arrows increasingly missed the mark. He took to weekend binges on vodka-soaked gummy bears, denied knowing what the definitions of "is" and "sex" meant in any context, and even stooped so low as to air embellished, sensationalized 'dirty laundry' on Jenny Jones and Ricki Lake, even getting into a set-wrecking brawl on Geraldo.

All Cupid had ever represented was almost ruined in perpetuity, and he was temporarily reduced to being an assistant second best boy key grip on the camera crew of the Survivor series.

Today -- in spite of some continued controversy by groups with nothing better to do than whine like the DNC -- Cupid perseveres as a representative symbol of love and St. Valentine's Day. It's just in certain places -- Washington DC, San Francisco, parts of Denver and Newark NJ -- that he feels obliged to wear dark glasses, a wig, denim overalls, and now uses a paint ball gun (paint balls loaded with biodegradeable, FDA approved Love Potion #9).

Not quite as effective as heretofore.

Now, armed with this knowledge of what you're celebrating, go forth and do up the holiday right for that 'light of your life'. Take her to a dinner, show, lavish her with gifts expressing what she means to you. Later, as the two of you perhaps indulge in a pleasurable adult interlude, she might get around to asking you why St. Valentine's Day is celebrated thus. You'll now have the answer: you're commemorating an ancient beheaded Roman and a naked, culturally-maligned, horizontally-challenged Roman mythological character with a William Tell complex.

Or, you might opt for the wisdom-laden, "I don't know, honey" answer.

~*~*~

True Dove
By: S. D. Youngren © 2005 All Rights Reserved

Doves of course are supposed to symbolize peace and love. But if you want to see my husband groan, all you have to do is say "Lovey dovey," or "Dove of peace." Sometimes just the word "dove" will do it.

"They fight," he says. "And they're awful." All the same, there's a lesson here somewhere.

My husband's hatred of these birds began with a white dove from the pet shop where I worked. The dove, which was infested with mites, could not stay in the store's bird room. As I had no birds at home for the mites to attack, I was persuaded to take the dove home to treat . . . and to keep.

It's not that I presented the bird to him without warning; I called first. And it's not that he was nervous about the mites, which could not live on either of us and which in any case proved beautifully cooperative, dying almost as soon as the mite spray hit them. It's that the dove, whom we ended up calling Feathers (my husband had a habit of addressing the creature as "You with the feathers"), turned out to be a male.

Male doves, especially the white ones, coo.

And coo.

And coo.

And white doves coo pretty loudly when they're in full voice, which is always. Feathers I think was worse than most; we'd hear him cooing as we approached the apartment, and he'd shut off abruptly when we got to the front door. "Bird," my husband would say warningly. And Feathers would sit quietly for as long as he could stand to--maybe a minute or two--or maybe much less than a minute--and then out it would come: "Coo-ca-coo-coo!" Frequently ending with a "boing!" noise that drove my husband right up the wall.

My husband likes his home quiet. Very quiet. We were living at the time in a studio apartment, and there was no getting away from the racket. I began hearing about fantasies involving a dove pie, cooked with Feathers' feet, beak, and wing tips sticking out of the top crust. "I'm only putting up with this because I love you," my husband said. Because Feathers, for all his noise, had been there when my husband was away on what turned out to be an ill-timed (for me) business trip and I needed a friend. And when I sang anything, Feathers proved he had no musical sense by flying over to land on my head and (it was inevitable) coo. (I suppose he may have been trying to drown me out, but he seemed pretty happy.) The fact that he had clearly begun to try to compete with my husband for my affections I only found funny, especially as he was really in love with someone else. But my husband found Feathers extremely annoying. He was only mildly amused by Feathers' attempts at courting.

"That idiot bird," my husband would say, in disgust. "He's in love with a goldfish!"

It was true: The primary recipient of my dove's ardor was one of my goldfish. Teddi was, I admit, quite a fish. And unlike Feathers, with his perpetually scruffy tail feathers, she had a magnificent tail, which fanned out behind her in all its double-finned glory as she calmly went about her happy life, eating, playing, spawning with her tankmate, and ignoring Feathers entirely.

Feathers was not deterred. He'd fly over, land next to the tank, and serenade her for all he was worth (which wasn't much, according to my husband). Sometimes he would get really excited and land on the glass lid of the tank, which obviously got him no closer to his beloved but only resulted in a great deal of avian confusion. More often, he would try to fly gently to her through the side of the tank, flutter a while against the glass, then slide down to end up in a heap on the floor.

"Stupid dove," my husband would say. "Look at that; the fish are smarter than he is."

Eventually, between Feathers' cooing, the neighbors' pounding on the wall, and the occasional I'm-a-bigger-badder-bird-than-you-are threat directed at him by a creature who couldn't have weighed two pounds, my husband could stand no more. I couldn't bring myself to take Feathers back to the pet shop, to be purchased by someone who wouldn't know how to take care of him, so I gave him to my mother, a lifelong bird person who was involved in a wildlife rescue group. That way, I reasoned, Feathers could be looked after and even have friends, as the wildlife people could not release into the wild any domesticated species brought to them; escaped and formerly-feral doves found their way into various rehabilitators' homes. Our apartment was a lot quieter after Feathers left, and a lot more peaceful. I missed his antics--he'd even had toys he played with--but settled for a decrease in family tension. The goldfish, of course, never noticed the difference.

I don't remember how much longer it was before I got a call from my mother. Feathers had once again been evicted; my father couldn't stand the cooing. My mother had had zillions of birds pass through her home, including, to my recollection, at least one male dove--a male who had even had a female he'd cooed at through the bars of their separate cages--and my father had never complained like that about any of them. So Feathers went to live with a different wildlife lady.

"Ha!" said my husband. "Vindicated! What did I tell you?"

At this third home, Feathers initially had been set, in a cage, in the middle of the dove-and-cockatiel aviary. His toys were taken away, as they were plastic and posed a hazard if chewed by cockatiels. Alone, he watched and watched the other birds until his cage was opened and he was allowed to join them. He then promptly beat up all the "old man doves" who'd been ruling to that point, set himself up in their place, and got himself a dove girlfriend. He settled down quite happily, and no longer needed his toys. Somehow, no one seemed to mind his cooing.

You might think my husband would have been pleased that Feathers wasn't courting goldfish any more. Instead, he was outraged to hear of the good fortune of his onetime nemesis. "I still think he'd have made a good pie," he said.

He still hates doves, though he tolerates the much-quieter mourning doves who visit the balcony of our current apartment. And after all these years I think he still thinks of Feathers as a vanquished rival who had tried, unsuccessfully, to steal his female.

"He really wanted Teddi," I say, but this doesn't seem to make much difference. The bird-brained Romeo is out of the picture, and once again it seems that love--true love--conquers all.

S. D. Youngren is the author of the fiction Web site "Rowena's Page," http://sdy.org/rowena/ , and of the paperback Rowena Gets a Life, which is comprised of stories from the site. She was born and raised in San José, California, and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and an indoor cat who dreams of eating the wild doves on her balcony.

~*~*~

A Valentine's Day Gift-giving Dilemma
By: Barbara Madden © 2005 All Rights Reserved

It seems that just as the hubbub of the Christmas gift-giving season is over, we are faced with the stress of Valentine's Day and trying to find that perfect gift for our special Valentine. In all honesty, this is one "holiday" that I have never really put a lot of stock in. I am one of those women that prefers a long lasting green plant to fragile fresh flowers, and in the fine chocolate department a Snickers bar suits me just fine.

Being a fairly easy person to please has its disadvantages. For one thing I have been responsible for helping to create a husband who is pretty clueless in the gift-giving department, or so I thought until this past Christmas when he and the children surprised me with the laptop computer I had been secretly eyeing at the local electronics store. I should have known something was up when the children unselfishly insisted that mama open her gifts first. I realize now they were more excited than I was about what my dear Santa-husband had successfully sneaked into the house, which could have been a dangerously expensive proposition considering his gift-giving track record over the years.

I have futilely tried to forget the year he presented me with a gift box selection of four pairs of socks or the first Christmas we were married when he gave me the same cologne his mother has worn for most of her eighty years. A nice gift, but what new bride wants to smell the same as her husband's mother? Thus began the post-holiday-birthday-or-any-special-occasion ritual of returning various well-intentioned gifts.

Thankfully, this pretty much ended a few years ago when I finally decided it would be a whole lot easier to just cut out the middle man, so to speak, and plan ahead and do the gift buying for my husband. Generally, I select and wrap the gifts, make them available at the appropriate time, and try to act pleasantly surprised upon opening them. This is something I have become pretty good at over the years.

And this is just what I had intended to do this past Christmas, but obviously my husband had other plans. Even though, he and I would have both been quite pleased with his proxy selection of red satin pajamas.

As I was shopping for those pajamas I struck up a conversation with an older couple who had suffered through the same sort of gift giving détente over the years. When I explained for what and why I was shopping, the woman pointed back at the gentlemen who was peering over her shoulder, laughed and said, "Well, why do you think he's here?"

When I shared with them about the year of the socks, she smiled a knowing smile, but he commented that he thought socks were a very useful and practical gift. "You needed them, didn't you?" he asked. Of course, he was right, I did need them, but I contend that any woman in her right mind would rather need red satin pajamas.

Well, Valentine's Day looms near and I am stumped. After all, it is going to be pretty difficult to top the ever practical Black and Decker circular saw I surprised myself with last year.


Barbara lives in the Missouri Ozarks with her family and big, black Labrador, Susie Belle. Barbara can be reached via www.barbaramadden.com.

~*~*~

Dating Has Come a Long Way Since the Caveman
By: Mark Berryman © 2005 All Rights Reserved

If you are not married, or a monk, or a nun, then you probably have attempted the human mating ritual called dating. On the list of cruel and unusual punishments, dating is found somewhere between Chinese water torture and walking the plank.

This being said, unless you want to remain single, you must date. I have heard those wild stories about someone meeting someone, it's love at first sight, they fly to Vegas immediately, get hitched and come back to live happily ever after. No dating. No stress.

Those two things alone are enough to make me consider it.

I'm not sure who the first person to actually attempt a date was, but I am pretty sure he was the same person who invented the guillotine. I am also sure that in the beginning there was no dating.

Take the caveman for instance. He would go up to a cavewoman he found attractive, hit her over the head with his trusty club, and drag her back to his cave by the hair. They would then live happily ever after.

Before I get 400 complaints from women about male chauvinism, I do think it could have been handled differently. Take this scenario for example.

The caveman SHOULD have walked up to the woman, and uttered gutturally, "UGH!" He would then patiently wait for a response.

In reply, if she were so inclined, the cavewoman would reply, "OOGA OOGA!" Then, and only then would the caveman hit the cavewoman over the head and drag her back to his cave by the hair.

As far as I know, humans are the only creatures who in fact date. I am not Bill Nye the Science Guy, so I am not positive. I know that there are some animals that mate for life. I would like to have been among that list, but being married to Attila the Hun in drag changed my mind. Yes, I am joking. No, there is no chance she will read this column. If my obit shows here next week instead of the column, you will know I was wrong.

Why can't we do as nature? You have seen those nature shows where the male jumps and flutters and squawks around until the female is sufficiently impressed. After about half an hour, they go off to nest together in blissful harmony.

No months of worrying about what to wear or stressing about saying just the right thing at the right time every time. Nor are they expected to remember the 3 month, 6 day and 14 hour anniversary of when we first met.

Even if we did mate like that, I could be in trouble. My fluttering, hopping and squawking would probably look more like an orangutan who just sat on a fire ant bed. You see, I am rhythmically challenged. Ask any poor female who has been humiliated by being on the dance floor with me. At one time, there was one dance I thought I did fairly well. Do people still do "The Bump" today?

They now have rules for dating, and a points system.

I haven't read the book yet, but being a sports enthusiast, I think I could get behind something that awards points. It would be great to know stuff like, you get three points for getting the woman's door, 25 points for complimenting her appearance without mentioning her chest or rear, or 1000 points for remembering the date and time you first kissed. Bonus points would be awarded for remembering what she was wearing during the kiss. Attilla was wearing the skin of some huge furry animal. I think it may have been a wooly mammoth.

You can have points taken away as well. Trust me, you will get mucho points deducted for telling a woman she looks really good in the dark. It was an honest attempt at a compliment, I promise. I am still working on getting out of the hole with that one, and we aren't even dating now.

Don't get me wrong. Dating isn't all bad. I have been on some great ones. As a matter of fact, all of this dating stuff has got me feeling all fluttery and squawky again. I believe I'll call some female I know and see what she is doing tonight. Now which way to that plank?

~*~*~

Belles
By: Ben Baker © 2005 All Rights Reserved

Being probably more fortunate than a person like me should be, I have been blessed to have a number of slow-talking Southern Belles walk through my life. Maybe I cannot remember many of their names, but each one still has a place in my heart.

Dear ladies, thank you for gracing me with your presence and your speech.

For those of you, men actually, who have not been so blessed, you are missing something. Perhaps if the fates are kind, a slow-talking Belle will enter your life and make you a better person for it.

A number of these ladies have mentioned to me that some people, mostly men again, think the slow Southern drawl makes the lady sound stupid. I have even met some people of this opinion and some will probably read this book.

If you are one of those, I pity you and shan¹t say more.

For the record, a slow-talking Southern Bell may not be the brightest bulb in the package, but she's a sight smarter than you are, if you question her intelligence.

I am at a loss for words to adequately describe why the Slow-talking Southern Belle is so amazing, but as that would leave me with several blank pages in this book, I shall attempt some explaining.

If you have ever fully experienced such a Belle you know what I'm talking about. If you have not had this experience, well, I can only hope that some day you will.

I speak from experience as I relate to you some of the amazing things a Belle can do with a properly pitched voice at just the right tempo.

A Belle can jump start puberty in a young boy. All she has to do is look him right in the eye, lean down close and say "Sugah. I wish you were 10 yeahs olda." The boy will suddenly sprout pubic hair, his voice will drop an octave and a half and he will immediately produce a half gallon of testosterone.

A Belle can have an amazing effect on grown men as well. "Sugah," she says real slow, "I just cain't (get my car to start/change this tire/open this jar/kill this bug/reach that box/etc)." If she looks the man right in the eye, he will suddenly develop super powers, such as the ability to perform brain surgery with a Barlow knife, see through walls, lift entire buildings and defeat onrushing hordes of Mongolian invaders with nothing more than a rusty paperclip.

She ain't helpless, no matter how it appears. The helpless act, misunderstood by so many, is a carefully cultivated act designed to make a Southern Man feel important, invincible and make him want to tenderly care for this priceless object which has just walked into his life.

Once the man has started the car/changed the tire/opened the jar/killed the bug/reached the box/etc, the Belle may feel the need to express her appreciation, sometimes with a kiss or a hug.

"Sugah," she says so slowly it takes 30 seconds. "You come heah..." The sentence took 2.5 minutes to say, but the man doesn't care. She now leans forward, giving him ample opportunity to admire her eyes as he would never check to see if she was wearing a push-up bra. She is, of course, quite aware of what she's doing to you. Southern women are born with this knowledge.

On the other hand, if you've never experienced a Southern Belle, it's horrible. Stay where you are, lock the door and turn on Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.


Ben Baker is the world's oldest redneck genius. He ponders the meaning of just about everything each week in his column, available at doseodrivel-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

~*~*~

Gertie Elaborates on Lovin'
By: Gertrude Butterbean © 2005 SouthernAngel.com All Rights Reserved

Breakin' up? Comin' together? Goin' out? Wantin' to go out but you ain't got nobody to go with? What music do you put on to get in or get out of that lovin' mood? Keep on readin', cuz Gert's got help!

Dear Gertie,
I heard that you was giving advice about lovin', so I thought I'd share some pro boner advice cuz I been married four times and I know all the rules. If you are having maritial problems & it looks like divorce in the future. Here's some tips I learned after my 3rd husband.

  • Remember in the divorce settlement always get the dog(s), truck & trailer.
  • Don't try to keep any mementos of him. Toss out those overalls & long johns, but keep the flannel shirts. They are great for sleeping in, but be sure to wash them first. That way your next serious bed guest will never know who wore them.
  • Don't fight over the little, trivial things like who gets Mama. She goes with the rocker.
  • Keep the good cookware. It's expensive to replace cast iron.
  • Give him his naugahyde recliner. You got another one on the porch. Be generous.
  • And be sure to get your own dentures. My last ex picked up my mason jar by mistake and it took me 6 months to get them back.

Cuzin Lo'Reeta

Hidy Lo'Reeta,
As always, you give danged good advice - especially 'bout the flannel shirts. Thanks!

Dear Gertie,
Earl and me is about to break up cuz we don't get along no more. What music should I play on the 8-track to soothe my heart?
Ruth

Dear Ruth,
If you have Earl in the pick up with ya, try playing these:

  • "All I Want From You (Is Away)", or
  • "I Don't Think My Heart Can Stand Another You", or even
  • "How Can I Miss You if You Won't Go Away?"

If you're by yourself, I suggest you to go shopping at the Wal*Mart to lift yer spirits. On your way to get something chocolate, listen to:

  • "I'd Rather Pass a Kidney Stone than Another Night with You",
  • "You're a Hard Dog to Keep Under the porch"
  • "I Keep Forgettin' I Forgot About You", and
  • "I Still Miss You, Baby, But My Aim's Gettin' Better".

There's always my favorite, "I Don't Know Whether To Kill Myself or Go Bowling." Of course, going bowling is much better than havin' Earl around any day, child. Heck, even the shoes smell better.

Dear Gertie,
Can you hep me? My sweetie just got out of the county "vocation" recreation center. She was on a 6 mon. job training program. Now she's up & changed. She used to have 'nough dips & curves to fill a pork barrel slap full. Now shes chopping her Prissilly Presley hairdo off & is bench pressing with my wheelbarrow. And she just don't take crap off anyone no more, especially me. I just want my 'lil Pressie back. Last night we went over to the our favorite honkey tonk, the Dew Right by Me and she was ogling the waitress. What am I gonna do?
Ernie

Dear Ernie,
Well maybe your sweet little Prissilly is explorin' her masculine side. Why don't you let her drive your tractor and herd up the cows this weekend? Shoot, it wouldn't hurt to even let her lead when y'all slow dance. Don't worry, I'm sure you can rekindle the romance by instructin' her how to seductively belch "Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer."

Dear Gertie,
I don't deserve Darla. She's so purty and she bakes the best red velvet cakes. I'm a good fer nuthin' jerk cuz I been seein' Berneace up behind the shed after takin' Darla home from church on Wednesdays. I done told Berneace to stop wearin' them jezebel-like skirts and I ain't gonna see her no more. I swear. Should I fess up and tell Darla about what all I been doing?
Daggum Daryl

Dear Daggum Daryl,
Yup, you're a real turd. You need to take Darla out to a real nice restaurant, you know, Cracker Barrel or Waffle House, and get down on your bended knee and sing "I Fell in a Pile of You and Got Love all Over Me" and, "I'm Havin' Daydreams About Night Things in the Middle of the Afternoon," and maybe even "I've Got the Hungries for Your Love and I'm Waiting in your Welfare Line." Don't you go backsliding now, Daryl. Just think of those luscious red velvet cakes.

Dear Gertie,
I found out Daryl's been cheatin' on me. Should I dump him? How should I cut him loose? He always smelled funny anyhow.
Darla

Hi Darla,
Cheating is a serious thing. Find out why he was cheating, but dump him anyway. Also you might give him a parting gift of deodorant soap. How to dump him? Well that's easy. Give him back his duct tape and tell him to hit the road.

I'm in a musical mood, so I'm gonna recommend some good listening music for ya:

  • "Did I Shave My Legs for This?"
  • "I May Be Used (But Baby I Ain't Used Up)"
  • "If I Can't Be Number One in Your Life, Then Number Two On You!"
  • "If the Phone Don't Ring, Baby, Then You'll Know It's Me"

Be strong but don't get even (unless you don't get caught).

Hey Gertie,
Now listen up. I ain't got no story 'bout breakin' up er cheatin' er nuthun' like 'at, but I do know this. When ya wanna git sumpin fer Valentines Day that YOU want, not what the ole' man wants to git fer ya, tell --------better yet, show it to yer kids and let 'em werk on the ole' man. This worked fer me this year. I told both 'em boys I got sumpin diffrnt and I got 'em both!!! Now, there ya have it. Use them thar kids to get whatcha want. I do so love my Dale Earnhardt throw rug and purty porcelain bacon grease holder!

Down in upper LA,
Thelma Loo

Hidy Thelma!
Those are some really good pointers! I think I might just try that approach to see if I can Clyde to get me my own Earnhardt throw rug!

Dear Gert,
I can't get a date for nuthin. Momma said I need to stop seein' married women, but I can't help it. Hey, you got plans fer this Saturday?
Wilbur

Uh Wilbur,
I think my dear one, Clyde, and his 350 pounds of lovin' fury might notice my side of the pick up was empty when he goes down for the hog biddin'. No offense, now. As far as finding a date, I suggest you go trawlin' and get your own wife and that way you'd be courtin' you a woman you done got a license for. Also, it'd probably be in your best interest to take a turpentine bath after your date, too. Just to be safe.

Dear Gertie,
I finally got a date with Walter! He's taking me out to the Red Lobster for a real nice supper. I'm so nervous! What do I wear?
Sharlene

Dear Sharlene,
Congratulations Sharlene! Woo hoo! Since it's your first date, you don't want to look too needy. Try wearing something comfortable yet stylish like those faded jeans, cowboy boots, and that shiny blue-silvery polyester shirt with the horseshoes. Yes, wear a bra. Why be sleazy when you can be spicy? Also put your can of Skoal in your left back pocket so that when your date is checking out the merchandise, he'll see your good taste too. Now myself, I always wore my lucky Dodge Racing hat when I went on a date. Of course, this might backfire if your date is a Ford fan. In that case, dump him and find a feller that pulls for ANYBODY but a Ford driver.

Dear Gertie,
I finally got out of the Georgia Big House. That crooked Sheriff got me arrested for ... never mind, but it's been fifteen long years since I took a woman out on the town. Got any pointers on corralling a beauty?
Franklin from Folsom

Dear Franklin,
Go slow and easy, bubba. I imagine you ain't paid too much attention to personal hygiene lately so let me give you some pointers:

  • Do bathe at least three times a week and try to wear deodorant.
  • Do try to get most of the dandruff off of your shoulders
  • Do blow your nose - green hangy-down boogers ain't sexy.
  • Do brush your teeth (dentures?) at least once a day and carry breath mints with you - bad breath is a bad death to a good time.
  • Don't burp/fart/sneeze/cough/sniff too loud - it's a turn off for most women. Definitely don't sniff after you fart loud.

Now as far as date manners go, try these tips:

  • Don't clean your ears with your keys then offer them to her. Offer her the keys first.
  • Do open the car door, bathroom door, trailer door, and oven door for her.
  • Don't open the bathroom stall door for her.
  • Do compliment her outfit and hair, but don't say, "Wow, you can't see your panty lines in those pants!"
  • Don't ogle at the waitresses - your date might get the wrong idea, oh, and eat with a fork - it's allowed now.
  • Do show her all those fancy dance steps you learned in prison - she will be impressed.
  • Don't show all your tattoos all at once. Save some for another date.

I hope these tips help!

Dear Gert,
I've been dating Floyd for about two months now. I've been to his trailer bunches of times for supper and, you know, other stuff. He's just a pig - I tell ya. I don't think his commode's ever been scrubbed. How can I respect a man that don't clean his toilet?
Pauline

Dear Pauline,
You sound young and I hate to tell you this but 99.9% of men are pigs, baby. They don't know many things we womenfolk do, stuff like:

  • Sheets actually get dirty and need washing a couple of times a year
  • They have scrubbers for toilets and there is a substance called "toilet cleaner" freely available and cheaply priced
  • Toilet paper holders are refillable
  • Shower curtains can actually be cleaned and not just thrown away when the mold and scum gets an inch or so thick
  • Milk jugs are resealable

Sorry about that honey, but life is give and take. It all works out in the end, though. We women need men to carry out the garbage, kill the spiders, buy the duct tape, and open the pickle jars. This I know.

Dear Gertie,
Momma don't like my newest girlfriend, Thelma. Momma said Thelma ain't got all her teeth so she ain't good enough for me. It's real uncomfortable when Thelma comes to visit, cuz Momma sits on the couch on the front porch spittin' tobaccy and polishing her .38. Dang, the least she could do is offer Thelma a dip. Should I walk down the road to meet Thelma?
Dewayne

Dear Dewayne,
Your momma loves you and wants you to have what's best: a carbon copy of herself. Besides, as long as you live with your momma, she's gonna get in your business. I suggest you get your cousin to help you rebuild that '78 Chevy so that you can pick up Thelma in your own car. Plus, if Thelma has her own truck, I imagine she has her own dip. Speakin' for myself, tobaccy is a personal thang you don't want to go sharin' - unless it's someone REAL special.

Got a question? Email Gertie!

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Queen of Hearts and Diamonds
By: John Brazell © 2005 All Rights Reserved

Patsy Lou was a ponytail-swinging, walking, talking doll -- but she was a better second baseman. Actually it was a collision at second base that got the ... uh, ball rolling.

Even when you're eleven -- or especially when you're eleven -- you look for common ground before investing a lot of time in a relationship. Our interests were indeed common and literally the ground, the softball diamond at Slocum Elementary.

It only happened because Melvin Joe came down with the chickenpox. We were already short in the outfield, but it didn't matter since nobody but MJ could hit the ball out there anyway. If I may say so, with him at first and me at second, we had a pretty good one-two punch. But Patsy wandered up, glove in hand, and said she was the best second baseman in school or something like that.

Of course, our collision at second base was just a manner of speaking. I took umbrage to her attitude: the kind usually reserved for boys. Everybody knew, especially me, that I was better. Just to prove a point, I moved over to first base. Big mistake. Turns out she was right.

You could call our relationship rocky, and you'd be correct. I got plenty of those tingly feelings around her, but wasn't sure if I wanted to hold her hand or beat her in the next race ... or kicking contest ... or something. Fact was, I seldom did.

We managed to hold our romance together for a few weeks. Then the end came in dramatic fashion.

The big event for Valentine's Day -- aside from exchanging valentines -- was a box supper. Patsy Lou gave me all the hints that I needed. The ribbon on her ponytail matched the neatly wrapped shoebox sitting near the middle of the table. Plus she told her best friend, who told her best friend ... I wasn't concerned; just bring my two bucks and bid when the time came. Seldom did a kid's dinner go for more than a dollar and I had twice that amount.

The Principal picked up the pretty box, held it aloft, and started, "How much am I ..." when I nervously yelled "fifty cents." Patsy was across the room waiting and others were already eating. I readied myself to pick up the box when a voice in back, barked, "Seventy-five."

I turned slowly to see the voice. Robert, "The Fink," was grinning ear to ear.

I gritted my teeth and countered with "One Dollar"

"One fifty" came the whiney voice.

I fumbled in my pocket for money and grasped it all. Here goes, "Two dollars," I barely squeezed out of my mouth.

After the longest few seconds of my young life, the voice rose from the back one last time and I slumped in a heap to the bottom of my chair. I had no idea what was bid or what happened after that. "The Fink" would be eating biscuits, fried chicken, and a brownie made by Patsy Lou especially for me. Worse still, he'd be sitting close and sharing it with her.

Things didn't go real well with us after that. I remember getting socked in the nose, but she said it wasn't on purpose.

Of course, this happened a long time ago but it provided some important lessons in life.

  • Should a small blonde with an athletic swagger wander up and suggest she could kick your butt, believe her.
  • It's a good thing to "rat hole" a few bucks for emergencies.
  • Never underestimate your competition.
  • And finally ... if you're trying to impress your sweetie on Valentine's Day or on any other important occasion -- get yourself an American Express card and don't leave home without it.

    ~*~*~