To my Precious Baby Belles:
I write to you today because your mama has some very important guidance to impart and it should therefore be memorialized in writing. (I’m a lawyer, what do you expect?) Although your daddy would like to pretend that the day will never come, two beautiful and engaging angels such as yourselves will certainly draw the attention of the opposite sex (yes, gross ol’ boys). Rather than leave you completely unprepared for the inevitable onslaught, I’d like to give you a few guidelines to help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
First and foremost, please remember at all times that you are Southern Belles and therefore well bred. You act mannerly and gracious to everyone, so why in the world would you go for a man that that doesn’t act the same?
Chivalry isn’t dead although it might need a couple of shocks with the paddles and an Epi injection. A man should open the door for you, hold your seat for you, offer his coat if you’re freezing and look you in the eye when he’s talking to you. Furthermore, he most certainly shouldn’t have to be told or guided to be polite. A man who has to be told to act with respect isn’t worthy of your respect (although you’ll still be nice to him anyway because manners are in your DNA).
This next part is a little tricky because the pendulum can swing too far one way or the other: A fella needs to care about how he looks. There’s no point in trying that My Fair Lady method of taking coal and turning it into a diamond. Yeah, he might clean up good for a minute or two, but he will always find his way back to his “comfortable pants,” his ratty t-shirts, scruffy hair and—God forbid—he might even start smelling a little ripe. Run, my child, run and don’t look back!
Conversely, you don’t want a man who cares too much about how he looks. Just like the scruffy boys who carry a high risk of getting scruffier and scruffier, a lad who is too dapper could turn positively foppish. I do so hate to throw around pop culture terms, but a metrosexual is something you want to avoid when looking for a mate in life. Yes, he might smell better, but you run the risk of being the one tapping your foot in the hall and glancing at your watch as you wait for him to conclude his toilette. Furthermore, someone that picky about his appearance could start to take issue with your appearance and he should then be shot.
It is important that the man you meet is his own person, but it matters equally if not more that you feel you can be your own person around him as well. Relationships that start off with a lie quickly turn into relationships that have a great big elephant in the room. For God’s sake, don’t pretend to like something just to fake common ground with him. If you find football to be a glacially slow and confusing sport, fess up! Otherwise, you will find yourself freezing your ass off on various bleachers throughout the land and/or nearly dying of boredom watching the Saturday/Sunday/Monday game on a couch infested with potato chips. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
Also, if you like something, don’t be afraid to speak up for fear that it will turn a guy off. You like historical documentaries? Good for you! He doesn’t have to watch them if he doesn’t want to, but he’d better gracefully leave you to it. He’d best get used to your mind-boggling intelligence if he has any hope of tagging along behind you on the trails you blaze. On that note, you want a man with enough mental capacity to at least get within sight of your brilliance...playing with the dumb ones gets boring after a fashion.
Jealousy. Yes, jealousy is another touchy subject. We’re only human and, on occasion, it is affirming to see the extent of your gentleman’s interest in you and ladies as fantastic as the two of you will most certainly garner the interest of more than one Y chromosome. A little flare-up of a man’s passion is one thing, but there is a fine line between simple protectiveness and knuckle dragging chest banging. Like I said, you’re drop dead gorgeous and a catch equivalent to Harry Potter’s golden snitch, so the man you are with had damned well better get used to others’ interest and trust you enough to deal with it appropriately.
Furthermore, you are my children, so I am certain that you have very strong beliefs and opinions about things (to be fair, you get a healthy dose of that from your daddy’s side as well). You are entitled to believe what you believe and he’s entitled to believe what he believes. The two of you don’t have to agree with each other (it actually makes things more interesting if you don’t), but you need to respect each other’s freedom to have your own opinions and, if he talks down to you or dismisses your beliefs, feel free to slap the shit out of him before you turn around and walk out of his life.
Of course, there is much, much more. You will no doubt hear from me again. I will leave you with something that you taught me. We (Baby Belle 1 and I) were sitting on the playground watching some girls chase the boys around the slides.
As we watched the fevered activity, you said, “I don’t chase boys.”
I asked, “Why?”
You answered very calmly and matter-of-factly, “Because I don’t have to.”
That, my dears, is how you should live your lives.