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Boyfriends, Girlfriends, Bobby Petrino and Me

As an Arkansas fan, I have been glued to the Bobby Petrino story as it unfolds like a Greek tragedy. This drama was a bug looking for a windshield from the beginning, but what I find most interesting is the more than 4,300 text messages Bobby sent his mistress/girlfriend during their relationship. I don’t think I’ve sent my wife nearly that many texts in almost 20 years of marriage????? Boyfriends and girlfriends text and give gifts – husbands and wives don’t do a very good job of this.

The Bobby Petrino story is a classic tale of a 51-year-old married coach at the top of his career who fell for a 26-year-old young lady. The relationship was on the down-low until they wrecked while on a motorcycle ride together. He tried to cover up the fact that she was riding with him when they crashed, but eventually the truth caught up – it’s never the crime, but the cover-up that always gets people in trouble.

What’s interesting to me is how this story points out how differently people interact with their boyfriends and girlfriends than they do their spouse. Since Bobby was using his work cell phone to call and text his girlfriend (another bad decision), we know that he sent over 4,300 text messages to her during the course of their relationship – Just PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL! I would be willing to bet that during that same time frame there were about 100 text messages between him and his wife, and they were basically the same three things my wife and I text about:

WIFE: What time are you coming home?
WIFE: Will you pick up some milk on the way?
WIFE: Call me.

I can’t use the excuse that I didn’t grow up texting. Bobby certainly figured it out. I text a love note to my wife once, but I accidently sent it to my 12-year-old daughter instead. Awkward. So, I’m still working on it.

Bobby also gave his girlfriend $20,000 that she used to buy a car, and he hired her to work with him. A gift AND a job??? I don’t know of any husbands that give their wife cash AND hire them so they can work together??

To be fair, I am wondering if Bobby ever asked his wife to go on a motorcycle ride. And if he did, did she go?

Switching gears for a moment, I have a friend who was dating a woman that gave him an almost new bicycle since he liked to ride. Nice gift. The funny part is that it was her ex-husband’s. So, my buddy’s girlfriend gave him her ex-husband’s bike. Again – boyfriends and girlfriends giving gifts. Then, one day he tells me he wants me to have this bike his old girlfriend gave him because he already has two other bikes (he has lots of girlfriends), I ride a lot more than he does and it’s too small and doesn’t fit him anyway. Thank you!! (Somewhere there is guy out there wondering what happened to his bike during the move.)

So, what did we learn from all of this? Well, girlfriends and boyfriends are expensive. Forget about the $20k Bobby gave his girlfriend. That girl cost him a job that paid $3.5 VERY LARGE a year. Text your wife (not your assistant at work) to go on a motorcycle ride with you, and on your date don’t talk about kids, money, in-laws or any other hot-button issues in your house. It ruins the mood. Boyfriends and girlfriends don’t talk about this stuff on their dates, so you shouldn’t either. If you are riding on the back of a motorcycle with your husband, don’t be thinking (or talking) about who will take care of the kids in the event of your death (it’s bad enough this conversation happens before every airplane flight) – you will not be a fun date. Give your husband or wife a gift. This makes them feel like a boyfriend or girlfriend and keeps things fresh. Lastly, if you divorce your wife, chances are good she will give your bike to her new boyfriend.

Who won??? The way I see it I am the only real winner in all of this. One day I am sitting there eating a burrito and my friend gives me a cool bike. So, if you want cool stuff, you really don’t need a girlfriend. You just need a friend with a girlfriend. It’s much easier.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved


No, Daddy Can’t Afford a Girlfriend. Besides, Mom Won’t Let Me Have One

After teasing my 10-year-old daughter about having a boyfriend, both my girls decided to tease me about having a girlfriend. I told them that mom won’t let me have one, and besides, I really don’t have the time or the money.


I realize it’s commonplace for many single, middle-aged guys to have girlfriends, but I explained to my daughters that I’m married to mom, so it’s not allowed, and I have neither the time nor the money. First of all, I really don’t see how these guys that have a girlfriend on the side afford it. With a wife and two daughters, it’s all I can do keep them feed, clothed and watered. Not to mention all of the recurring non-recurring expenses that seem to come up each month (broken washer, broken phone…etc.). So, I’m not sure I would impress any ladies with the $20 I get to keep for myself after each paycheck. If we each paid for our own lunch, then maybe, but my wife and I already do that and it’s not getting me very far. I tried to explain that I want a simpler life, and that would just complicate things.


Forget about having to remember ANOTHER birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas, but I would have to buy ANOTHER present for each. But before I even got to that point, I would have to have a cool car, clothes that aren’t too big and actually fit and a pair of shoes that I didn’t buy because they were comfortable.


I know it’s fashionable for single guys my age (I’m 43) to have a 20-something girlfriend, but I really don’t get it. I view 20-something women like Italian sports cars – great to look at, but expensive to own and eventually I would look ridiculous with one. You see, those guys in their 40s somehow feel like they are having a second life after they hook-up with a 20-something. I TOTALLY get it. They are traveling, having fun and feel like they are in their 20s again. I understand that. Sounds like fun. But they are COMPLETELY oblivious to the fact that their girlfriends are still women, and after they get married everything will eventually change when that 20-something soon becomes a 30-something and wants babies.


So, the guy that thought he was one of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys dating a Pixie and living in Never Never Land will soon find himself in his late 50s, having babies and changing his kids’ (and not his grandkids’) diapers and trading in his sports car for a mini-van so he can help with carpool. Nothing wrong with that, but that isn’t how he thought things were going to turn out when he was picking up his 20-something girlfriend with the top down a few years ago. Let’s not forget all those guys that had their wings clipped will need to get that reversed and then redone. Trust me, living through this once is enough. More kids also means another round of private school tuition, prom dresses, first cars, college expenses and weddings. Not to mention uncomfortable holidays with your in-laws (since you are about the same age) and complicated estate plans.


So, like I said I can’t afford a girlfriend.


© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved

Grocery Shopping with Kids is a Glimpse into Hell…

Grocery shopping with children is something akin to a circle of hell in Dante’s Inferno. The misery begins when you tote babies to the grocery store in the early years, and there seems to be no relief in sight even when they hit 10 & 12 years old.

When your kids are babies, the difficulty of grocery shopping mainly revolves around them licking and putting their mouths on the grocery cart handle and touching everything in sight. Being a germ freak myself, I would rather them eat off the floor of the men’s room in the LaGuardia airport than use the plastic handle of the grocery cart as a teething ring. This was always good for 1-2 sleepless nights from a cold turned – ear infection. Lovely.

When they get a bit older and hit the toddler years, it get worse because not only do they want you to push them around in the grocery cart that looks like racecar, but they start to have opinions about what goes into the shopping cart. The racecar carts, the State Fair and Free Day at the Zoo are a case of the Rotavirus (the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children) waiting to happen – if your kids have had it, you know what I’m talking about. The coup de grâce of this family outing is the inevitable blow-out diaper that happens sometime after you have tried to pacify your cranky kid with Goldfish and a juice box. (I’ll save my opinion of the grocery store changing tables for another day.) And if you are lucky enough to have an extra diaper, chances are good you are out of wipes. The trip ends with you trying to find their shoes and socks as they sit barefoot on the floor by the checkout stand crying with a severe case of grocery store feet (you know – they’re black on the bottom). Remember: you are allowed to cry, but for all involved, please do it standing up. Then, you are the parent trying to buckle a hysterical child into their car seat in what looks like a cage fighting match in the back of a minivan while people stare just so you can throw your 72 sacks of groceries into the back of your car. And, of course, they are sound asleep before you get home totally wrecking their afternoon nap.

Even as the kids get older you can’t go down a single grocery store aisle without your kids wanting at least eight things. Even the baking aisle is a complete beat down because you have to explain why we aren’t going bake a dessert each night, why we don’t want you kids to bake dessert every night, why we can’t afford dessert every night given that we spend a gazillion dollars on groceries each month, how it’s not good for out bodies to eat dessert every night….etc. Then, when I put ONE six-pack of beer in the cart, I feel like I am getting chewed out by Dr. Oz. (or my wife) about how bad beer is for my body, maybe that is why my hair is falling out, when was the last time I had my cholesterol checked, how much do I drink each week, maybe that’s the reason why my face looks like I have gained weight, do I understand the negative health effects of even one drink a day…etc.

I know the marketing industry has spent billions of dollars to figure out that putting kid items at their eye level on grocery store shelves promotes the sales of these goods. It also adds to the total misery of grocery shopping with kids. If the name and address of any of these marketing geniuses founds its way onto the internet, I have to believe there would be carloads of parents at their front doors with torches and pitchforks like barbarians at the gate. Until that happens, I have to find comfort in the idea that there is a place in Dante’s Inferno for the misery the masterminds of marketing put us through each time we show up at the grocery store with our kids.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved

‘Cute’ is the Highest Compliment You Can Give Your Wife

My friend Joyce recently reminded me that ‘cute’ is the pinnacle of female compliments and trumps ‘Pretty,’ ‘Hot’ or whatever. For guys, this is important to know but it takes years of practice to master the use this word because it’s not part of our natural lexicon prior to marriage.

As Joyce pointed out, women love to hear the word ‘cute’ to describe or compliment anything about them – Cute hair. Cute shoes. Cute outfit. Cute house. Cute dress…etc. From experience, the superlative to cute is “SO cute!” This compliment is even harder for guys to pull off, but it is the highest of compliments a girl can receive from another girl. Remember, women dress, do their hair and keep their house tidy for other women – not for guys. So, when another woman compliments them with a ‘cute’ modifier, that lady has received the seal of approval from one of her peers. For example, if your wife has hosted a Bunko night (Bunko is some game the girls get together and play around my neighborhood) you will notice that not only does the house need to look like its being featured in Martha Stewart Living before her friends show up, but your wife will spend more time getting ready and looking nice for her friends than for a date night with you. So, it’s not you dude. They all do it.

This is a difficult word for guys to work into their vocabulary. In fact, I’m not sure most of us know its real meaning beyond it being used to describe a puppy. Guys don’t have toys that they want called cute. That is a girl word. Guys don’t go up to other guys and say, “The real-tree camo finish on your turkey gun is cute. It will go well with your hunting outfit.” Guys don’t have cute motorcycles, cute trucks, cute fly-rods, cute bass boats, cute duck blinds…etc. And that is why newlywed guys will answer the following question completely wrong when inevitably posed by their new bride at some point early on in their marriage: “Do you think my friend is cute?” Guy: “Yeah, she is totally HOT.” Wrong answer dude! This is a classic rookie fumble that will cost you dearly. My experience is that women, in general, don’t use the word ‘hot’ and don’t like to be called ‘hot’ because it makes them feel self-conscience or as though other women might think they look trampy. Women want to feel pretty. Not trampy. And even though ‘hot’ is the highest compliment a guy can give in our limited jargon, don’t use it to describe other women in front of your wife. In fact, lose the term altogether. During the summer, just say it feels ‘warm’ outside today. That way you don’t make a mistake.

For a woman, the word ‘cute’ is a complex term with a multitude of meanings behind it. It means pretty, desirable, fashionable, smart, confident, charming, clever, endearing, appealing and a lot of other things all rolled up into this one little word. They know what it means, so you should also. Timing and practice will allow you to effectively work this word into your daily conversation, and once you learn to use it effectively it will totally save your hide. For example, if your wife says, “I feel like I look so fat in this dress.” You say, “No honey, I think it looks SO cute on you.” Voila’ – Disaster averted.

Thanks for the blog suggestion Joyce! I am always looking for ideas.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved

They are Called ‘Road Trips’ and Not ‘Road Vacations’ for a Reason…

This year I loaded up the family truckster (aka – minivan) with the family as well as a friend and her daughter for a 12ish-hour drive to go skiing for Spring Break. It was me and five females. And despite the years of marriage and raising girls, I always learn something new about my wife, daughters and women (in general) that I didn’t know before.

Me, I don’t like the car so packed full of stuff that I can’t see out of the windows. So, I meticulously packed up our van (roof box included) to avoid a personal claustrophobia attack during the 12-hour pilgrimage to the mountains for this year’s edition of Spring Break. After years of leaving our personal pillows in hotels across the United States, I thought my wife had stopped the practice of bringing a pillow. Not only was I wrong, but now our girls are in on the game. I thought loading in the car for a road trip looking like Linus from Peanuts was unique to our family as I am married to the “Princess and the Pea” who is kept awake by the smallest of undulations in the sheets, mattress, pillows or whatever and NEEDS her pillow in order to rest. That was until our friends loaded up with… you got it – their own personal pillows. So, we left town with what felt like five California king-sized bed pillows stuffed in what little extra space the van had. I now realize pillows are a female ‘must have’ travel accessory. How they tell them apart remains a mystery to me also, but I quit asking questions. I just drive.

After years of car travel with my wife and daughters, I am very sensitive to the gas station bathroom situation and always ask where they feel most comfortable making a pit stop before choosing a place. On one occasion, I was trying to pull into a station but an 18-wheeler had completely blocked the entrance and was stopped. It was at this point that I realized a woman can go from a state of slight discomfort to extreme agitation in an instant. There was a moment when I greatly feared for that truck driver’s well being, as well as my own, as I watched my sweet, blonde, Southern wife (and others in the car) transform into individuals I did not know. Luckily, he moved and a Jerry Springer moment was averted.

After years of waiting outside countless restrooms for my wife and daughters, I expected a little grace if I was the one running a little behind. After all, I did gas up the van, check the oil, clean the windshields… etc. before heading in to powder my nose. Nope. If they are ready, then the bus driver had better be also. I told them there is quite a selection of air fresheners to choose from if they got really bored. No laughs.

One thing about being on the road is that you tend to eat things you wouldn’t find in your normal diet. Truck stops offer a cornucopia of options typically not available in daily life. I generally go for the double-caffeine coffee, but the potato wedges are a personal favorite and some truck stops in Texas have incredible beef jerky selections. I explained to my wife that a Slim Jim is not beef jerky. It is a meat ‘product’. But much like the African Vulture, it became clear to me that my wife clearly lacked both the sense of both taste and smell as I watched her tear into a 22-inch Slim Jim stick.

About mid-week while driving up to the ski area after days of carrying skis, walking in ski boots, not sleeping well, not eating well and dealing with tired kids my wife looks at me and says, “You know, this is really more of a ‘trip’ than a ‘vacation’.” Yes it is sweetheart. Yes it is.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved

This week’s re-post of one of my first blogs…

It’s Spring Break week this week and next, so that means re-runs of two of the original posts that are the backdrop to all of my blogs. If you haven’t read them, I think you will really enjoy this week’s and next week’s posts….

Diary of a Girl Dad

After our date night dinner, my daughter, Emily, was chilled by the summer air conditioner draft blowing on her bare shoulders. My 9-year-old daughter then asked if she could sit on my lap while the waiter brought our check. While holding her on my lap I thought about how I wouldn’t be able to do this in 11 years. She would be 20 and I would be 53. I know it happens in this place, but it usually isn’t the guy’s daughter. In nine more years, she will be leaving home for college, and my job as a child-raising parent will be behind me. How did I get to be middle-aged with a family, a mortgage and a mini-van? The road to this point has not been what I planned, but the family road trip has been pure comedy. As it has been said before, it is not reaching a…

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Yes…. I am a Closet Hairstylist

To say I “Do” hair is a like claiming I know how to install cabinets or replace the transmission in my car. What I “Do” when it comes to styling my wife’s or my daughters’ hair is more like me planting my flower beds or staining my wood fence – someone asks me to do it, I do a good job, but I avoid it if I can.

It all started years ago when we were newly married, I was in graduate school and we didn’t have a lot of extra money for my wife to in for a buff and puff. So, she came home one day with a hair highlight kit and asked me if I would do it for her one Saturday. So, after carefully pulling her hair through the cap, mixing the color, and applying the solution (and ruining a chair in the process since it’s like bleach) I instantly vaulted myself into ranks of a noted closet hairstylist. I can use the word ‘noted’ because of the compliments my wife got on her hair in the following weeks. When a friend asked her who did her hair I knew I had earned my ‘street cred.’

And so began many years of home highlighting. I think maybe you get less feedback if you color someone’s hair who isn’t your wife. “You’re hurting my head.” “Don’t leave the color on too long – I don’t want it to be WHITE.” “Make the highlights around my face really look like the sun kissed it.” My response – “Uhhh… I’m an analyst not a magician.”

After I finished graduate school, I retired for a few years only to come back many years later. My comeback was marred by an incident that was not my fault. We had two kids under the age of 3-yrs-old, hadn’t slept in years and my wife wanted to “go for something different.” So, we went through the routine and when I mixed the color it looked a little different than it did years ago, but I didn’t say anything because I learned by this time not to provide too much feedback on decisions regarding hair styles or hair color. In the end, she ended up with purplish-brown hair and resembled an older version of Wednesday Friday Addams. It only cost me about $400 to get that fixed.

So, aside from the occasional hair bun for ballet class or side pony tail for school I have been in retirement until a few weeks ago, and I am once again back in the game. I’m not allowed to do color anymore, but I have mad skills with a curling iron. The only problem is that after you do your wife’s hair, then your daughters want you to do theirs also. I have a ton of respect for how well the pros ply their hair skills because it is not easy and it takes a lot of time. When my wife’s friend asked if I would do her hair I had to explain that we would need to work out a separate compensation arrangement since we work on a barter system in my house… and I keep careful accounting.

So, much like the cowboy poet who pens his limericks on the open range with only his faithful mount and a few hundred head of cattle as his audience. I too hone my hair styling craft in relative obscurity.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved