Friday, November 5, 2021

What every young man needs to know about women, Part IV-c

“When you find yourself at the end of a dead-end road, all you can do is turn around” Fred told Owen, his grandson.

“All you have to do is tell Mary Jean that she surprised you when she said she wanted to go up-North on the same day as our family reunion. Tell her you had time to think about it and now you are ready to talk about it” Fred said.

“But I DON’T WANT to go up-North to meet Mary Jean’s family” Owen said.

Fred gave Owen a long, hard look. “Why not? Great fishing. Great hunting. No big cities. Seems like you would be chomping at the bit to go to Newago.”

Owen looked embarrassed. “I don’t like meeting new people” was what he was able to grind out.

That set Fred back a bit. Thinking back, Owen’s crowd of friends was not a very big crowd and hearing it from Owen’s own mouth made a lot of details pop into focus.

“That is a tough situation” Fred admitted.

“But you gotta remember, this is not about you, it is about Mary Jean. The folks you will be meeting for the first time are only looking to get one thing answered: Are you good for Mary Jean or are you a jerk?”

“What you need is a ‘Bull Durham’ script” Fred said.

“What is a ‘Bull Durham’ script?” Owen asked.

“Bull Durham was a movie about an old catcher working in the minor leagues. His job was to coach the pitchers who were about to move up to the big leagues on how to give great interviews” Fred said.

“If you give the news reporter a great story with no loose ends, everybody is happy” Fred said.

“So as soon as you can work it in, you let whoever you are talking to know that Mary Jean is the best thing that ever happened to you, that you adore her and cherish her.”

Owen looked aghast. “But she might hear that!”

“I expect she will and that won’t hurt you a bit” Fred said. “Just like ‘respect’ is the oxygen men need, being loved and cherished by their man is the oxygen women need.”

Owen had a tortured look on his face. “But I will probably crap my pants when I have fifty strangers around me asking me all kinds of questions.”

He really looked like he was on the verge of a panic attack. Fred wondered how he ever could have missed it.

Fred back-pedaled a little bit.

“You remember when I was telling you about you and your wife having the-week-from-hell and then fighting when you had an hour together?” Fred asked.

“Yeah” Owen answered.

“The fight was inevitable because you and your wife put everything else ahead of making your relationship strong. Coaching the soccer team, baking cookies for the PTA bake-sale. At the end of the week, you didn’t have enough time and energy left for both of you to get your needs met” Fred said. “One of you was going to have to do without.”

“What does that have to do with Mary Jean’s reunion?” Owen said.

“Her need is to have you meet her family and impress them” Fred said. “Your need is to know a few of them well enough that it doesn’t feel like you are walking into the reunion ‘cold’.”

“I am not saying this is the only way, but one way to fix it would be for you and Mary Jean to go up-North a couple of days early so she can introduce you to her granny, so Uncle Rufus can take you walleye fishing and Aunt Edna can show you the still in the old chicken coop.”

"Then Granny, Uncle Rufus and Aunt Edna will have clued in the rest of the family that you are a good-guy BEFORE the reunion starts."  

“My boss won’t let me off work” Owen declared.

“You ain’t asked him yet. I bet if you told him it was for Mary Jane he would say ‘Yes’. A good crew is hard to keep together and he is likely to agree because losing you for a couple of days is better than having you quit and losing you for the rest of the summer.”

“But what do I say when I am with Mary Jean's family?” Owen asked.

“Lemme tell you something my Granpop told me” Fred said. “If the only thing they have to serve is biscuits and home-made jam, tell them that nothing tastes as good as their jam. If the jam doesn’t taste good, them them the color sure is pretty. If the color ain’t pretty, tell them it spreads good and that is hard to do with home-made jam. And if you can’t say that, then tell them their fresh biscuits are so tender and fluffy they don’t need no jam.”

"The thing is, Mary Jean's family wants you to be a great guy. They want to believe Mary Jean's guy is a great catch. You don't have to give them a lot for them to decide you are 'OK'."  

“At this point, you only have one decision to make. Is Mary Jean important enough that you are willing to take a couple days off work and be uncomfortable for a little while?”

“I don’t know about you, but if I had a machine that I could feed $1 bills in one end and it spat out $20 bills on the other, I wouldn’t be spending any time trying to figure out how to run it on-the-cheap. I would be feeding in the $1 bills as quick as I could” Fred said.

“Looking at how happy you and Mary Jean are together, you are getting a hell of a pay-out for the effort you are putting in.”

“So are you going to be Boss Wallace and try to get out as cheap as you can or are you going to stuff $1 bills into that machine and $20 bills into your pockets? I know what I would do” Fred said.


  1. Agreed, a good analysis of relationships put in an easy to understand form.

    1. Exactly. Do what she wants, or else.

  2. Very good. Wisdom. I met a girl, went to meet the family for supper, and we had what looked like fried macaroni. I asked what it was, and was told don't ask. I kept at it, and finally I was told it was tripas, fried goat small intestines. It was really tasty. I asked what made it taste so good, and my future mother in law said she didn't wash them out completely. All eyes on me at that moment... I asked for seconds...

    Passed the test, picked the wrong sister to marry tho....

  3. I'm a bit confused about the week from hell. Who did that happen to?

    1. Every married couple will find themselves over-extended at some point.

      Fred painted a picture of a future Owen and his wife in that situation and stitched back to it in that paragraph.

      I apologize if I did not write clearly. Please send a copy back to the publisher and demand double-your-money back.

    2. Ah. Ok, I understand now. Thanks!

      Not that my marriage EVER had that problem (Cough).

  4. Yes, the ups and downs WILL occur. How they get handled will determine the 'life' of the relationship!

  5. A little bittersweet though. I read this and now realize what an ass I was, my pride getting in the way of what could have been a 'meant-to-be'.

    It worked out in the end, both of us are still married for 25 +years with kids.

    1. It is my belief that one-third of the eligible candidates have the potential to be suitable (i.e. lifer) mates for nearly all half-way normal men and women.

      Crap gets in the way. Life is more dynamic than it was 1000 years ago. There are certainly more distractions and more 'distractions" that make it hard to remain true.

      God made us like Legos, there are many other "Pieces" we will fit to.

  6. I wish that someone had set me down and told me these things when I was still in high school. It could have saved much painful and expensive on-the-job training.

    Apparently I have done somewhat well by my son. At least he's not falling for everything female he sees and hoping that "it works this time". Of course, he's picky enough that we somewhat despair that he will ever find a mate. Of course, he's at the age I was when I met Mrs. Freeholder, so there is hope.


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