To the young man who had an argument with his girlfriend in the post office, in front of everyone, and yelled horrible things at her:
I don’t know you, son, but I overheard your girlfriend call you Jeremy. I’d like to share a few things with you, Jeremy.
First: if you’re going to have an argument, do it in a normal place like everyone else. Argue at the beach, the supper table, a car dealership, or at the cash bar of your cousin Phil’s wedding reception.
But wherever you argue, keep in mind that the woman you’re arguing with is not just a woman. She’s a magnificent human being.
Choose your words carefully.
Women should be spoken to sweetly. Ugly words are out of the question because they never disappear once they’re said. Tomorrow, your hateful words will still be hanging in the air like week-old body odor.
So for the love of Mike, lower your voice. Smile at her. Talk WITH her, not AT her.
And while we’re on the subject, when you speak to your girl (or any woman for that matter), leave her better off than you found her.
Make this the goal of your existence, Jeremy. Don’t just be nice, try to make her feel confident.
For example: saying “You look nice today,” might make her feel okay. But that’s about it.
“Gee, you’re pretty,” is getting warmer, but only Swanson-TV-dinner warm.
“Darling, you’re the best thing that ever happened to me and I want to buy you food which contains dangerous amounts of refined white sugar.”
Now you’re cooking with peanut oil.
So sugar is good. Shouting is bad. Don’t shout. Especially not in public where innocent bystanders are buying stamps.
And don’t belittle a woman. Not ever. Not even if she dips you in commercial pump lubricant and sets you on fire with an acetylene blowtorch.
She deserves more, and so do you.
Women have it hard in today’s world. You might think I’m nuts, Jeremy, but I’m not the one having a nervous breakdown over by the Priority Mail kiosk.
There are voices in this world who compete for your girl’s attention. Everywhere she goes, she hears them. They aren’t nice voices.
The billboards tell her how she ought to look, act, and think. They say she’s too fat, too skinny, too short, too quiet, too much like everyone else, too different.
You know the voices I mean. They’re at every supermarket magazine display rack. The cover models who look like Barbie’s starved stepsisters. The underwear ads featuring ladies who haven’t eaten an actual smoked rib since the Carter administration.
It’s our job, as card-carrying males to undo this. To buy her flowers, frilly things, and tell her this world is brighter because of her.
Show some effort, Jeremy. Some of us have dedicated our lives to learning how to love someone. Some of us feel lucky to have the woman we’re with.
Take a look at what’s in front of you. She’s strong and fragile. Sometimes she’s sure of herself, sometimes under-confident. Happy one moment, sad the next. She can laugh and cry in one breath.
She’s a woman.
And she needs you. She needs someone who knows her. Nothing in life feels better than being known.
She’s a person. She’s someone’s baby. Someone’s daughter. And this girl is trusting you with her life. So treat it like it means something.
Now, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to say something to your girlfriend:
Honey, ditch the clown.
Phyllis Hamilton - February 19, 2018 7:26 am
Amen! You are so….correct and it’s wonderful to hear a man speak so kindly about us women.
Linda Acees - February 19, 2018 9:14 am
Sean, I just love it. You won’t get any medals for political correctness but I still love it! Your writing is like a burst of sunshine on a grey day.
Sharon Williams - February 19, 2018 10:38 am
Steven P Bailey - February 19, 2018 10:46 am
Cynthia Harmon - February 19, 2018 10:53 am
Thank you, Sean. I’m glad that someone’s trying. This has been a difficult year for my friends. Seven of them are getting divorced due to infidelity. 7! We are in our 50’s. Your essays give me hope.
CaroG87 - February 19, 2018 10:55 am
Cathi - February 19, 2018 11:23 am
AMEN! As someone who survived a bad marriage to an awful hooman, it don’t get any better when you say I do.
Sandra Smith - February 19, 2018 12:00 pm
Also, tell him…
“He better PRAY, her Mama & Daddy are no where around, cause he’d be tomorrow’s newest obituary” !!!
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - February 19, 2018 12:04 pm
You are such a wonderful man!! I think every mother and father should give your letter to thier sons and daughters. To their sons to show them what they should do. To their daughters to show them not to expect anything less. Have a blessed day.
Kathy - February 19, 2018 12:16 pm
There’s nothing like starting the day with some Sean wisdom and a laugh. Thank you!
LeAnne - February 19, 2018 12:26 pm
Sean, if I weren’t already your fan, I would be after this. 😉
Davida Hinton - February 19, 2018 12:50 pm
Sean…One of your best in a long time. I wish all men would read this!
John - February 19, 2018 1:07 pm
A guide to successful marriage, Sean!! I am proud to be loved by the woman in my life!
Connie - February 19, 2018 1:39 pm
I just love reading your column every day. Yesterday it was funny and made me laugh out loud and share with my granddaughter. This one? This one is going on FB so every friend I have can read it. Thank you for letting me know every day that there is at least one decent man out there.
Jack Darnell - February 19, 2018 2:40 pm
As some of my friends would say, “I am so very sorry honey………… BUT IF YOU HADN’T……….. Yeah, it would also be good if boys and girls, men and women would know how to apologize, huh?
Good one my friend, you are spot on!!!
Sarah Kennard - February 19, 2018 2:44 pm
One of your best
Dotte doherty - February 19, 2018 3:36 pm
Karlton Turner - February 19, 2018 3:52 pm
I once encountered something very similar in a Kroger parking lot … a young man (early 20s) was screaming at his girlfriend unspeakable things. He was about to hit her, and as the dad of three daughters, I stepped between them and ask him if he had ever had his ass kicked by a 40 year old man? He decided I guess by the look in my eye it would not be something he wanted to experience. Ithen waited with her until a friend came and picked her up…I remeber telling her…”you can do so much better”!
paula jones - February 19, 2018 4:02 pm
LOVELOVELOVE. “Nothing in life feels better than being known,” is simply profound. My one criticism, In the sentence, “When you speak to your girl (or any woman for that matter), leave her better off than you found her,” change the phrase ‘your girl’ to ‘any human being.’
Joyce - February 19, 2018 4:06 pm
It’s been my experience that, in general, women tend to internalize the words said to them – for good or bad. However, it’s the negative messages that often scream the loudest. My husband & I recently celebrated 49 years together and although we’ve had our share of disagreements he has never, ever said anything hurtful or mean. Thank you for calling out this sort of behavior and I hope this young woman can find the strength to walk away from such abuse.
Melissa - February 19, 2018 4:30 pm
This just might be your best column ever. Girls today put up with the BS like Jeremy did to this girl. If women ditch all the stupid guys who act like this, guys will stop acting like this. And, Mothers, teach your boys some basic manners and respect.
Dave Swanick - February 19, 2018 4:36 pm
Barbara Schweck - February 19, 2018 4:41 pm
You got me!!! Right on brother!
Naomi Smith - February 19, 2018 5:29 pm
Your last sentence said it all. Life is too short to have to put up with rude, critical, mean-spirited people, in general, men in particular. I will not argue! If I have to defend myself and constantly live in turmoil, I will quietly leave. There is a bible verse in Proverbs 21:9. ‘Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.’ I take that to mean vise-versa. Our kids are well grown but they never had to listen to us fighting and wonder about the stability of their existance. Children have enough instability in their world without immature parents adding to it.
Pamela= McEachern - February 19, 2018 6:02 pm
I hope this changes someone’s mind, most people treat each other as they have been treated. I have witnessed both sides of this message and I think you have said it best. Respect should be our most important lesson learned for each other. Anger changes everything.
Peace and Love from Birmingham
Carla Dillenburg - February 19, 2018 6:36 pm
If he exerts so little self-control in public, I fear for what he does to her in private.
Susan Hammett Poole - February 19, 2018 7:35 pm
Yes, honey, ditch Jeremy faster than the time it takes for a glass of spilled milk to spread all over the table. You deserve waaay better than listening to verbal abuse. If Jeremy speaks like he did in front of people at the P.O., then I can just imagine what he says, shouts, etc. behind closed doors. Please follow Sean’s advice. It will be one of the best things you’ve ever done in your life.
Dianne - February 19, 2018 9:09 pm
Susan, that is wonderful advice!!
Dianne - February 19, 2018 9:07 pm
Love this advice you gave the young woman………….so true!! Made my day!
Susan - February 19, 2018 9:57 pm
Some times it’s the reverse, it’s the sweet soft spoken man that runs head first into a beautiful woman that treats him like dirt. Knocking the spirit and trust right out of him. His parents taught him right but hers taught to use and move on.
Jo - February 19, 2018 10:23 pm
Wonderful advice. I always told our kids, and my friends, that words should be carefully chosen before they come out of the mouth. You can’t take it back once said. Never. And they will make a lasting impression. And ladies, like Sean said to this girl: Ditch anyone that talks to you like that. It will not get better and life should be better than that.
Martha Wells Register - February 19, 2018 11:00 pm
Someone needed to tell him and I am glad you did…….He probably had never had anyone to really talk to him….
Debbie Taylor - February 20, 2018 1:28 am
Beautiful, Sean. You “get” us women … thank you.
Marcia Bridgford - February 20, 2018 1:52 am
Yes, ditch him – you might think you can’t do any better, but you can. Believe in yourself and your right to be treated with respect!
Deena - February 20, 2018 4:03 am
Cathy Owen - February 20, 2018 4:35 am
B. A. M. ! ! !
Elizabeth ( Betsey) Wooten - February 20, 2018 6:33 am
Sean, you are a “larger than life” kind of person. You have a way with words that would make Mark Twain green with envy, and the insight of a very wise man. Thank you for the entertainment , and the insight!
candyalso - February 20, 2018 11:10 am
Sean, do you have a twin brother, just like you?
Lee Taylor - February 20, 2018 5:14 pm
Right on Friend! Thanks for reminding me I need to buy flowers once in a while!
Diane Scotch - February 28, 2018 8:18 pm
Great fatherly advice. What would happen had you said something to him in the post office? So many people are just angry. I live in the same world they do, I’m older (72), live on minimum dollars with a husband who surprised the surgeons that he survived his heart attack, but not well. We pay our bills and do very little else. I’m not living on top of the world, but life is short and not worth the anger or energy it takes from people.
Keep up your interesting letters. They make me laugh and sometimes cry, but NEVER anger!
debysu - March 4, 2018 9:45 pm
Please, Sean, don’t stop making the world a little better and a lot brighter by your shared thoughts!
Frances C - March 11, 2018 11:41 pm
Thank you from a Steel Magnolia from Mississippi.
Carolyn Kelley - February 16, 2019 4:02 pm
Thank you I Love this, I’m going to share because more people need to see this❤️
Faye Pickering - February 16, 2019 6:01 pm
Loved your advice to the girl. Maybe Jeremy will do better with the next lady in his life.
MaryJane Breaux - February 16, 2019 10:15 pm
Heartfelt brilliance, thank you Sean. Your well crafted words are often the best part of my day!
Meredith - February 17, 2019 1:09 am
Sean Dietrich, If cloning humans was a thing, I would get one of you?????
Patricia Gladden - February 18, 2019 4:35 am
I really enjoy Sean of the south
revbigbaldguy - February 19, 2019 2:03 am
You’re cooking with peanut oil, Sean!