I have learned that down South, fraternities generally have arcane and odd rituals related to them.
A year and a half ago, my husband Chuck and I were at a wedding of a friend of his. The man belonged to a fraternity that had a series of rituals that they enacted at the reception, including the singing of a lovely song to the bride that doubtless dates back to around the 1930s.
My husband hasn’t fully admitted this — think Skull and Bones — but he surely has every sign of belonging to a secret Southern fraternity — I am convinced he’s a member of the venerable order of Messy Mu Delta.
How do I know? All his activities point to the initiation rites of the group, as they have been exposed in the media by people who live to tell the tale.
For instance, I go outside in the morning, and I see that Chuck has turned the cushions on our lawn furniture upside down, and on the ground, I find beer cans strewn — were they positioned to spell out an ancient Greek message? Perhaps, “Clean me up?”
I think so.
Often, he shouts from the next room, “Honey, where’s my other shoe?”
But he knows where it is. Surely one of his fraternity brothers has taken it as a pledge for him to attend a clandestine meeting where the men swap shoes as a sign of everlasting fidelity to the group.
One day last summer, I saw a heap of clothes near the back door of our house. I reached down to get them into the laundry, wondering what they were doing there. A frog hopped out, making me scream in surprise, then laugh hysterically. Don’t you see? This is the Messy Mu Delta form of courtship.
I mean my husband is ALWAYS showing me he loves me — he leaves his underwear within three feet of a hamper without picking it up. That says, “I’m your hunkahunkaburning love” in Messy Mu speak. I find his smelly socks waiting for me on the kitchen table. That’s Messy Mu for, “not only do I want you to smell my feet at breakfast — I also want to wake up every morning to your pretty face on the other pillow.”
Isn’t he sweet?
I come home and find the vacuum cleaner is spattered in mud. When I ask Chuck how that happened, he claims he has no clue. Surely, this is a sign that he has been promoted in the Messy Mu ranks to grand master mess. I know he can’t tell me, but I’m so proud of him.
Perhaps your husband is a Messy Mu Delta member, too.
Here are some signs:
- He loses his shoes, his belt, his pants, and can’t remember where they are even when they were on him only moments ago.
- He thinks it appropriate to wear nothing but his underwear to the dinner table when a sporting event involving his alma mater is on television.
- He leaves sweet nothings for you — torn up envelopes, crumpled Kleenex, and peanut shells — everywhere.
- He uses things for purposes that any non Messy Mu would never use them for — feeding the dog in your wedding china but feeding himself out of his lap, Using your Wusthoffer knife as a screwdriver, Using his t-shirt as a napkin.
- And the number one sign your husband is a member of Messy Mu — he is entirely unable to account for his actions, or he offers wholly implausible reasons (e.g. “I had to use the cat as a car chamois cloth because the gas station is closed.”) for whatever he has done that points to the secret fraternity.
We ought to start a support group for women who know their husbands are part of the secret fraternity but cannot get a confession from them. Perhaps we could sit around like the female characters in Gone With the Wind while the Yankees wait for our husbands to come home — reading David Copperfield from the beginning as we knit and try not to look nervous. Perhaps we could find something less ladylike to do — let me know when I can come over. That way, our husbands can leave us sweet nothings, spell out Greek words in beer cans on the lawn, and engage in acts of brotherly fidelity while we find ways to amuse ourselves.