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Gauntlets

It’s tradition.

Upon the arrival of their sister’s date (or even a potential date), brothers are required to find some way to intimidate, impress, annoy, or endanger the individual. This rule especially holds true for younger brothers not yet in the dating pool.

 Examples may include, but are not limited to,

-Asking questions such as, “are you going to MARRY my sister?!” This method may backfire, or become unintentionally hilarious, should the date inadvertently reply, “YES!”

-Coolly cleaning a gun or knife on the front porch. Fathers also have a tendency to use this method.

-Politely inviting the date in for a glass of lemonade, then while they are preoccupied, hiding their shoes, keys, or the flowers they brought.

-Requiring the date to sign a .45 cartridge, then explaining where said bullet will be aimed should their sister come home with so much as a hangnail. When this method was first introduced, ammunition sales in Western states skyrocketed.

-Locking the date in the bathroom.

-A less popular method: yelling for their sister within hearing of the date, i.e. “You have a DATE! I know, I couldn’t believe it either! Well, better get down here before he finds out!” (Reverse psychology at its worst. It’s another method popular with fathers.)

Or, in a nod to ye olde chivalric code, the brothers may just throw down the gauntlet.

According to Wikipedia, “A gauntlet-wearing knight would challenge a fellow knight or enemy to a duel by throwing one of his gauntlets [armored gloves] on the ground. The opponent would pick up the gauntlet to accept the challenge.” Picture a six-year-old brother figuratively “throwing down the gauntlet” by asking their sister’s potential love interest if they like to play with toy weapons.

Cute, right?

Wrong.

Should the date accept the challenge, appropriate weapons will be recommended. (Note that, in another nod to tradition, the opponents must have equally intimidating weapons. A foam ax vs. a rubber sword might be appropriate—a semiautomatic Nerf Gun vs. a plastic cutlass, not so much.)

The field of honor will then be selected. Popular fields include front lawns, living rooms, and spaces as close as possible to the date’s new-and-still-unscratched car. Any house rules will be rehearsed, a quick tap of the weapons may signal the opponent’s readiness, and it’s time to defend your honor.

But don’t strike too hard: making a cute little brother cry is guaranteed to lose you favor with the lovely lady.

And don’t ever lose your cool, even if you break your glasses. Or scratch your car.

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©2014