Gather ‘round boys, and listen in.
A year ago, last Valentine's Day, I introduced you to the wisdom of the late Crazy Ned Van der Meyer, an 88-year-old Holstein farmer living on a lushly plowed dirt patch in Custer, Washington.
Crazy Ned “dispensed advice to spare,” as folks say politely in these parts. Yet the bulk of his advice was straight-shooting common sense.
“Today’s young folks don’t know a hill of beans about dating,” Crazy Ned told me flatly one day. “It’s all fancy dinners and roses and amusement parks. But that ain’t what marriage is about ‘cept maybe once or twice a year.”
“Do tell,” I said. "So, what makes a good date?"
So Ned did tell.
I’ll pass along Ned’s advice to you here and let it stand. If your current social status is single, take heed. If you know someone in this season of life, please forward this post.
If you’re married, just sit back, smile, and nod knowingly. You should be good at that by now anyway, Ned said.
Crazy Ned’s 5 most important dates
any person needs to have
before getting married
1. Buy a hot water heater valve together.
In your married life, something’s bound to break and will need replacing.
“You won’t even know this thing exists until it busts,” Ned said. “But trust me, it will bust, and at the most tiresome and aggravating time.”
Then you won’t be able to live normally until you spend a lot of your hard-earned money to get the problem repaired.
2. Have a small child upchuck in your car.
“Once you’re hitched and have young’uns of yer own,” Crazy Ned said, “ain’t no avoiding this.”
So when you’re dating, borrow someone else’s sick kids, and let them heave all over the seats of your Xterra.
You and your date can discuss how to best deal with the situation, and watch the rollicking good times that result.
3. Go to the post office together.
When you’re hitched, “you spend a lot of time going to needful places where there ain’t much excitement,” Ned explained.
So if you can still have fun together on a boring date, then you know you’re actually interested in the person you’re dating.
But if you can only have fun together while doing something fun, it might be that you are more interested in the event, rather than the person.
“Used to spend tons of time necking with my dates in the parking lot of the A&P,” Ned added, a slight grin on his weathered face.
4. Sit on the couch together and watch TV.
“You and the wife will be doing this most evenings for the rest of your lives, Ned said. “But it ain’t bad.”
As a bonus, watch a show that one of you likes, but the other one hates.
As a double bonus, have the other person eat something crunchy and loud, like an apple or popcorn, during all the important talking parts.
5. Pack up a room together.
“I ain’t one for moving around much,” Ned said. “But you’ll probably need to find work in another town at least once in yer married life.”
Moving involves sorting your belongings into three piles first, Ned explained. “The stuff yer taking with you. The stuff yer letting her throw out. And the stuff yer hiding from her so she can’t.”
Crazy Ned had been happily married to the same good woman since he was 20 and she was 17. He knew powerful secrets about marriage, he said.
Me? … I’ve been married for 14 years now.
I believe Crazy Ned was spot on.
Question: What’s the most important thing for a man to learn while he’s dating? If you're married, what's a good date look like for you?