You know what? I UNDERSTAND arranged marriages now

As an “extroverted introvert,” life relegated to being trapped in the house without it being an option I exercised to be there is not my thing. Sometimes, being “out” is not much more than being in the car and burning of ten bucks worth of gas while I ride around with the bambino and take pictures and such.
At times, my travels take us – that is Katie and I – with the baby to our normally necessary locales like Wal Mart, the grocery store and/or to the malls/shopping centers…

and to the task at hand...

Today, on lunch, I went to a grocery store on my lunch break for a salad, and there was a woman who I would presume was a single mother because part of my introverted extroversion involves being a judgmental asshole. She had 3 sons, none older than 4 by my first guess (because this is a school day and it was only 11:40am) and ALL poorly behaved. When I say that, I am being nice when I say “poorly behaved,” because I really wanted to shake the shit out of all of them. The youngest was extra clingy, repeating “mommy, ma, ma, mommy, mommy…” and the older two were too busy with a cantaloupe to be terribly bothered with her attempts to rein them in with threats of physical violence without alerting the--… um... “non ethnic” people in earshot in the produce section of the store.

Anyway… As an American, I always thought it kinda fucked that in some countries, people are not allowed to marry for the reason of their choosing – be it because they are in love or because they have fucked up and made a baby – and instead have their partners chosen for them at or near after birth for whatever reason involving keeping the filth out of the family tree.
As a new father of a daughter who is still mostly perfect to me, however, it was at that moment as I stood at the salad bar at Harris Teeter that I FULLY FUCKING UNDERSTOOD and supported arranged marriages. If I leave my baby girl to her own devices and free to make her own mistakes, it could stand to reason that one of these heathen niglets will avoid jail long enough to tell my daughter a lie that I might not have told her to avoid, not that there will be many of those by the time this day is upon us.

Now, as my little lady will be 2 months old tomorrow at 8:47pm, I am going to outline the initial part of the process.

Step 1 – age birth through 4 years…

Anyone interested in their son marrying my daughter will submit an application drawn up by myself and my daughter’s security team (my sisters Regina and Victoria). All questions must be answered and specific detail and weight WILL be given to the grammatical accuracy of the parent filling out the application. Questions will involve family histories of the parents, as well as the prospective suitors. All applications will be thoroughly gone through and a great many of them given to the round file within the first seconds of the process.
To be frank about it, there are a great many people who we grew up with whose children were FAR out of the process before we even had kids… sad but true, cold fact.
Think of it like the Navy Seals: hundreds of people in formation, all are told to look at the man in front of, behind and both sides of them, then think to themselves “only one of us will make it to the next step.” Yes, that serious.

Step 2 – school age, Kindergarten through 3rd grade…

The kid who happened to make it through the first step, but doesn’t know that eating the paste in kindergarten is a bad idea will be immediately disqualified. The kid who still needs pull-ups at age 4 is out. The kid who cannot spell his first name, and instead prefers “man man” is out… Wait, in fact, “man man” probably didn’t make it out of step one.

Public motivational speakers like to lean on the narrative that they use the information gleaned in the testing of third graders to make the plans for the future prisons they will need to fill. We plan to use that same information to decide who goes on to the next step when we get to it.
In the meantime, this will be handled with kid gloves (no pun intended) and it WILL be a touch-and-go operation. No need to worry about hypocrisy as it relates to this. If anyone has seen how kids in my family are reared, we will know that fairness is coming down from both sides.

Step 3 – ages 8 through puberty…

Wow, things are very much looking up, aren’t they? We’ve made it through 2 steps in 8 long years and seen just how necessarily stringent this process will be.
At this point, Regina, Victoria, Katie and I have worked on another test and this one is to be completed by a 9 year-old suitor in a room alone without parental interference. As Victoria is an educator, we trust her to be able to conduct this fairly. In such, she will conduct this round of eliminations. Once through and at the end of 5th grade, as the onset of puberty begins, prospective suitors SHOULD have met Ava in person by now in school, and now will be allowed to do so – SUPERVISED – on the outside of it.
… this is also the part of the process where physical enforcement – my brother Preston, my best friend Roger and myself – get involved.
With that last sentence in mind, remember that ANYTHING perceived as disrespect of my princess, to a discerning and potentially slightly inebriated father and his like-minded brothers will be met with swift and brutal retribution. So your son should mind his fucking manners when addressing my child.

If not killed or otherwise scared off of interest in my child, you can move on to the next phase.

Step 4 – 7th grade through 11th grade…

All your son has to do in this part of the process is what he is supposed to do. Show up to school, continue to not be a dumbfuck, NEVER have a Mohawk or wear skinny jeans and/or spaceboot sneakers and refrain from doing ANYTHING suggestive of sexual ambiguity. These items are as reflective on the specific tastes of your child as they are your raising of them, so this will be the culmination of 12-16 years of your own work as well as a parent.

Once the freedom that a high school child begins to earn is upon them, your son will be allowed to take Ava on a date, but only if she likes him. Making it through the exhaustive process doesn’t mean she has to like your kid, keeping in mind that your son will STILL not be the only suitor in this. Before being allowed to take my child out of my field of vision, he will be required to sign a contract specifying what he is and is not allowed to do to her, all in the presence of my co-enforcers, our guns and whatever god you pray to. You will find that specific deity SUPREMELY important if he runs afoul of the items contained in this contract and I ever catch wind of it.

And that there is still only step 4…

Step 5 – senior year…

To be frank, other than getting famous, there is really ZERO reason that a kid cannot at least graduate high school other than laziness, and that is inexcusable. If your kid makes it through 3 years of high school and are not on track to finish, and meet the minimum requirements to get into a State University, then you have wasted 17 years of your life and probably wouldn’t make it this far in the process anyway.

Still, you will not be considered to be “in the finals” until you have walked across the stage at your high school graduation. But don’t celebrate yet, because Victoria will be waiting on you with another test in which you will lay out your plans for the rest of your life with my daughter. Only the realistic and viable plans will be taken seriously and considered for contention, and “rapping my ass off” will not be a seriously considered future.

Step 6 – college (or…)…

Okay, you’ve made it through the battery of tests, and now you have 4 years of college (or real life, as it were... and if he's going for the "real life" option, then this plan had better be VIRGIN tight. and speaking of "virgin"... no, nevermind) to prove you’re willing to do what you said you would at the end of step 5 above. At this point, the numbers will have been pared down to MINUSCULE number and the person who is allowed to marry my daughter will have truly earned it. Think, through concentrated efforts toward education, braving the clear and present danger to his life for fucking up and the respect it taught him, and general internal strength otherwise.

… if not set up to be allowed to marry my baby girl by this time, he could be a damned fine marine and should still thank me.

With that out of the way, if any more than one suitor makes it through to the end, the rest lies PURELY in the hands of the dowry provided by his family.
As I type this post, the starting point has been set by Roger and Katie at “17 cows, 10 blades of magic grass, and a miniature giraffe like in the DirectTV commercials” (their wording, not mine). In the interest of actually retiring and seeing more of the world before I die, it will become a bidding war from there.


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