Here’s a guy trying to drink a beer while getting blasted by an industrial air compressor. Happy new year!

Ask The Dad: Girls’ Getaway

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This question is from Jackie in Greensboro, NC.

I’m a SAHM with rambunctious twins and my friends are planning a girl’s getaway weekend next month. My husband is giving me a huge guilt trip about it because he says he has a really stressful job and I’m “disrespecting” him by taking a weekend away from decompressing. My girlfriends are pissed and I don’t know what to do. Should I stay or should I go?

If you’re asking because you want me to confirm the completely obvious decision here, I’ll be happy to oblige. Doesn’t your lesser half know that raising twins is a stressful job as well? I’m a twin, and my brother and I gave our mom a fresh dose of hell on the daily when she was a SAHM. Thankfully, we’re older now and she’ll be the first to tell you it was all worth it (at least that’s what I’m telling myself).

Doyin, his twin and their mom
(Doyin Richards)

Anyway, most sensible people know that being a stay-at-home parent is more than sitting on the couch eating leftovers and watching Maury Povich reruns. Why the hell does he get all of the decompression time? Oh, you’re going on this trip, mama. Not only are you going, but you’re going like a damn boss.

Don’t ask him for permission. Does he ask for clearance from you when he does his thing? Probably not. Tell him that you’re heading out of town and bounce. If you’re worried about how competent your man will be with the kids, just enlist a family member (grandma, aunt, etc.) to check in on him. If those people aren’t available, “Susie” always is. Susie is that lady you keep in your extended circle because she brings bomb-ass snacks to your book club, but you’d rather tongue-punch the fart box of a constipated Billy Goat than spend a full weekend with her because she doesn’t stop talking about how her potty-trained 6-month-old says “mama” in Cantonese. Just tell Susie to pop by the house every now and then — and you know she will because it will make her feel better about herself when she confirms in her mind how much better she is at raising kids than you and your hubby are.

Oh, and when your man inevitably snitches on you regarding your whereabouts, you’ll have some explaining to do to Susie. But hey — after a kid-free weekend, you’ll feel like you can save the world, so you’ll be able to handle that with ease. Go party, get drunk, and turn “Mom Mode” to the off position. Your kids will be fine, your man will get over it, and you’ll be happier knowing that you’re standing up for yourself.

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Parents Are Giving Their Kids Booze Too Young

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Finally, we’re better than the French at something!

Are you giving your kids booze for some reason? Well, it’s time to stop flouting the law, because according to researchers, there’s no upside to introducing your kids to alcohol early, even if you’re doing it “responsibly” in your home.

Take that, France!

An article on BBC.com cites a study by two universities, University College London and Pennsylvania State University, that states that one in six parents give their kids alcohol before they turn 14.

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Wow. One in six? That’s a lot of boozy kids, and a lot of irresponsible parents. That number is both surprising AF and also dangerous AF, as kids’ brains have yet to fully develop at that age. Hell, I’m 41 and I’m pretty sure my brain is still figuring itself out!

If you’re a 14-year-old that’s reading this, you’re probably really excited about the possibility that your parents might give you some booze, but if you’re a parent who is actually giving your teenager or tween alcohol: WTF?

Maybe you think you’re a badass, in which case, NO, and also this study is unlikely to change your mind. But if you think you’re helping demystify drinking by responsibly giving your kids a taste?

This study is here to shoot that theory down.

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“Parents of socially advantaged children may believe that allowing children to drink will teach them responsible use or may in fact inoculate them against dangerous drinking. However, there is little research to support these ideas,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Jennifer Maggs.

In fact, prior studies have shown that kids who start drinking early are more likely to struggle behaviorally, perform poorly at school, and develop alcohol-related problems later on in life.

So who’s actually giving their kids the drink? Well-educated white parents, primarily. Hooray! The study shows that only 2% of ethnic minority parents allow early drinking.

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Surprisingly, it doesn’t matter if the parents are boozehounds or tee-totalers, because based on the 10,000 kids the study gathered data from, light drinkers were just as likely to let their children have a taste as heavy drinkers. So it’s not just a bunch of degenerates looking for new drinking buddies!

Most of this study strikes me as common sense. The drinking age is 21 for a reason. Maybe you want to argue that it should be lowered to 18, and I can see that. After all, if the country considers you old enough to join the army and fight in wars, it’s probably only right that you’re allowed to grab a buzz too.

But 15 and younger? That’s a (fatal) accident waiting to happen. Hopefully you didn’t need this study to prove that to you, but if you did, I hope it worked.

Because if you think teenagers are annoying when they’re sober…

After Gaming Online For Years, Groom Meets Best Man Days Before Wedding

(Twitter/chucknyce116)

They were X-Box friends for over a decade

Once upon a time, meeting people online carried a lot of baggage. If you were “online dating” you were mocked. It was considered shameful, for some reason, to resort to using technology to find a mate.

In this age of Tinder and Grindr and other apps I have no practical awareness of because I’ve been married for ten years (I even met my wife online! We wrote for the same blog though, we weren’t losers!), using the web to meet people is just the way it works.

Although it usually leads to actually meeting the people…

Charles Powell recently wed his girlfriend, Myra, in a presumably tasteful ceremony outside Cincinnati. But the bride isn’t the story here; the best man is. Because Charles had never met him before his wedding day.

Metro.co.uk has the details on Charles and his groomsmen, the three of whom met via X-Box online some 15 years ago.

Back in 2003, Charlie was playing something called “Phantasy Star” when he needed a magical item called “monofluid” and asked the player named “Sinjo” for help acquiring it. (This story requires lots of “this is kind of ridiculous” quotation marks.) Sinjo introduced Charlie to WilL B, who then introduced them all to Grimmjo (no relation).

The foursome has been friends ever since, Charlie told Metro. But with all of them living in separate places – Detroit, Ohio, Nashville – they never had the chance to meet. Until Charlie proposed to Myra. He invited all three of his online friends to the wedding but asked “Josephf” – that’s actually his name – to be his best man, having grown closest with him.

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This is a nice story and all, but it seems a bit dicey to be meeting these guys during your wedding weekend, which, if I remember correctly, isn’t exactly the most chill time in the world. But Charlie swears it went off without a hitch. And how would the bride react to not being the sole center of attention?

“I picked Josephf up from the airport on the Thursday before the wedding. My fiancée (wife now) would always hear him on the microphone we use so she’s seen him on Facebook and things but we all basically met for the first time then…The other two guys were not in the wedding but I saw them right before the ceremony…[Myra] treated Josephf as he was family. Since she always heard him for 4 years she knew we were close friends and treated him as such.”

Let’s hope she treats him better than Sarah Michelle Gellar treats gamers!

9 New Year’s Eve Tweets All Parents Can Relate To

9 New Year's Tweets by Parents
(Twitter/simoncholland Getty/taratata)

New Year’s Eve: The holiday that everyone loves to over-hype. I am here to say that I believe it’s high time for us to stop living in a fantasy land. Let’s ring in the new year in a reasonable fashion: from the comfort of our own homes and asleep by 10:30. Like adults.

1 I have kids, so New Year's Eve is not a thing.

The first step in this process is resetting society’s expectations. If we start establishing it early that we won’t be attending the parties, maybe the party invites will stop entirely. Now if you’re too polite for this, an alternative for you is to use your Ultimate Excuse Card, aka your children. 

2 Let's just get this over with.

The earlier, the better.

3 I've got a few tricks up my sleeve.

With a little tech savviness, everyone can be in bed at a reasonable hour. Remember, they’re certainly not going to sleep in on January 1st just because they stayed up four hours past their bedtime. Don’t be a hero.

4 I'm just...so...tired.

It’s not even just the kids I want to get to bed early, it’s myself too. I’m not sure if people realized this when New Year’s Eve celebrations became a thing, but midnight is late. You know when you hit that lag every day around noon and you feel like if you don’t get a nap then you will actually die? Midnight is literally HALF OF A DAY PAST THAT. 

5 Even if I did stay up, it's not like the movies.

Let me tell you, the real-life romance of this holiday is positively unmatched, folks.

6 If I do have to leave the house, just please don't make me dress up.

I am begging you.

7 New Years Resolutions: are we still doing that? Ugh.

I guess I was supposed to be thinking about goals and stuff?

8 Hey, that's one more than last year.

Maybe if we set the bar lower, then we’ll have a better chance at achieving some personal goals and 2018 will feel better.

9 Don't forget, if you sleep through New Year's Eve, you're not missing anything.

none of this matters. Happy New Year, Dads!

Been meaning to make this since 2010, but…

ScreenTime: Tangled Is Better Than Frozen, You Morons

Frozen is a smash hit. I don’t need to tell you this. It made $1.3 billion at the box office and countless more in merchandise. Tangled? Not so much. It made less than half of Frozen’s haul at the box office and trying to find a Flynn Rider doll at your local Toys ‘R Us is like trying to find a chameleon in an Army Surplus store. No home is free from the scourge of Let It Go, which is heard daily in my house, hourly at the weekends.

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But when it comes to Frozen: The Movie, my daughter couldn’t care less. Cries for Tangled ring out nearly as often as requests for “Padda“, but she hasn’t asked for “Elsa” once since she first saw it a few months ago.

Upon delving into the finer details of my precious offspring’s lack of interest, it became clear that her issue was one of representation. Specifically that Disney‘s 2010 offering did not contain enough characters of the equine persuasion. But this is, frankly, untrue. There are many horses in Frozen. Prince Hans has a horse, as does Anna, and there are several background equestrians in many key scenes. But none of these scenes bring effervescent joy to my daughter’s face like the moment in Tangled where the palace horse Maximus engages in a sword-fight with renowned thief Flynn Rider, who is armed only with a frying pan. 

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One could argue that this scene resonates so strongly merely because of the spectacle of a horse wielding a sword. But while such pageantry is impressive at first blush, it rarely holds up to multiple revisits. No, the power in this scene comes from beyond this cheap thrill. The power comes from the clash not of steel upon cast iron, but of idea upon idea, of dream upon dream. For Flynn desires nothing more than complete freedom, liberty from the hardship of everyday life, from his past, from law of the land, while Maximus’ ideals run directly counter to such libertarianism. The Rule of Law, Order, Peace. These are the things our noble steed desires. So when he crosses swords with the roguish Flynn, they fight not because of some plot contrivance, but because the fight is inevitable, because to fight is encoded in their very nature. 

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In contrast, the big action set-piece in Frozen sees our heroes Anna & Kristoff face off against an abomination of snow & ice, who’s inner life is not even hinted at. Does the frozen creature hate simply because he is created to do so? Does he wish to protect his creator, whom he truly loves? Or does he chase the interlopers halfheartedly, resigned to his lot in life, but without any real passion for his job? We will never know, because Frozen is uninterested in telling us.

This is emblematic of the difference between the two movies, one has depth of theme, character, and motivation, while the other has a lumbering snow-monstrosity whose dead eyes taunt the audience with their emptiness.

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This creature stumbles through scenes, grimacing and screaming, with no purpose or reason for existence. His cruel creation, ripped from black nothingness into a tenuously connected collection of geometric shapes and inexplicable whims is a twisted corruption of Frozen’s own inception, seemingly Frankensteined together from jarringly unrelated song fragments. Every moment he is on screen he taunts us with his own impossibility, mugging and “joking” his way through an existence that must be as painful for him endure as it is for us to witness. And then he starts to sing.

When Tangled’s characters sing of their dreams in the modern classic “I Have A Dream”, those dreams speak to the very core of who they are. Thugs and ruffians with hearts of gold, orphans so scared of being hurt again they can’t stop running, young women who yearn to discover who they are. They dream of lives free of constraint, of freedom from the prisons of expectation and judgement. We sing along with them because their dreams are our dreams, their frustrations our frustrations.

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When Olaf sings of his dreams, those dreams speak only to his emptiness. Olaf’s desire for “Summer” may match up neatly with Anna’s desire to end Elsa’s winter, but it isn’t motivated by real character growth or thematic depth. To empathize with Olaf’s dreams we must accept one of two premises:

1) He doesn’t know what Summer is, and so his desire for it is completely shallow, a wish for the baubles and trappings of a season that has absolutely no meaning to him.

or

2) He is very aware of what Summer is, and is performing ignorance to hide the dark nature of his cravings. He knows full well that the heat of Summer will destroy him, finally releasing him from his meaningless immortality.

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Either option reveals thematic underpinnings to “Summer” (and hence the character of Olaf) that have absolutely nothing to do with the purported themes of Frozen, and in the case of option number 2, directly oppose those themes.

It is here that we reveal the real difference between Frozen and Tangled: Tangled is ABOUT something, Frozen is not. Every scene, every character, every song in Tangled have something to say about its themes. Hope, Dreams, and Freedom. Lost Time and Past Mistakes. Tangled’s approach to these things can be summed up in a single moment.

When King Frederick & Queen Arianna are lighting their lantern in the ceremony to commemorate the lost princess, the King looks at his wife. He suddenly looks old, tired, hurt. The camera lingers, no words are exchanged. In this silent moment we feel all the time that has gone by and all the hopes and dreams that have been dashed by that lost time. It is a moment that subtly but powerfully reinforces not only the motivations of the King, the Queen and Rapunzel, but also the deeper themes of the movie.

Frozen doesn’t have any moments like this. It wouldn’t know how. For a start, Frozen doesn’t have the time to spend on such quiet contemplation, it’s too busy filling its time with gags and songs. More importantly, upon what topic would it meditate? What, at its heart, is Frozen about?

Sure, the final scenes of Frozen are about sisterly love, but what does “Frozen Heart” or “Let It Go” or Summer” have to say about that topic? The romantic arc of the movie deliberately subverts the Disney Prince archetype, but what do Duke of Weasleton or Elsa or Olaf have to do with that idea? Elsa’s story can be read as a coming out metaphor, but what does Anna’s relationship with Kristoff or Olaf’s desire for summer have to say about coming out? Frozen contains all these things, but it is about none of them.

It seems that my daughter, unlike the general public, requires not only more horses, but more depth from her entertainment. This is some thing Frozen cannot deliver.

Grandma Bills Daughter After Grandkid’s Visit And We All Say DAMN

(Getty Images/bobbieo)

I thought grandparents were supposed to be nice

When it comes to dealing with my kids, the only thing my parents do wrong is say yes too much. Most grandparents spoil their grandkids; not worrying about the consequences is one of the perks of grandparenting. You get all the cuteness and fun and none of the stress.

Even so, handing your kids off to Grandma and Grandpa is usually fun for everyone. Mom and dad get to have some kid-free time for once, the grandkids get to have extra dessert, extra screen time, and probably a few new toys, and the grandparents themselves get to purposefully spoil and corrupt the kids as payback for what you did to them!

But one woman’s mother doesn’t seem to take much joy in spending time with her granddaughter. In fact, she basically charged her daughter for the privilege.

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After leaving her daughter with Grandma for a few days, a mom calling herself “Burned By Grandma” wrote into The Washington Post‘s “Ask Amy” advice column for a little help. Because Grandma hit her with a bill for expenses.

I sent a check for $300 to my mother to cover my daughter’s expenses during her visit. Upon my daughter’s return, my mother sent me an invoice for $475.50 for additional expenses, including the cost of gas to and from the airport to transport her (45 minutes away), train tickets to go to the city to a museum and the cost of the museum admission. It was an itemized bill.

An itemized bill?

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Kids are expensive, there’s no doubt. But, as she says in her question, the woman had already sent her mother $300 to cover expenses. On top of that, there’s a history of grandma getting hella support – and perks – from her daughter.

The letter continues:

This is hurtful, as this past winter my mother came to live with us for four months and we paid for everything, including a nice vacation to an island over Christmas.

Including a nice vacation to an island. INCLUDING A NICE VACATION TO AN ISLAND.

They sheltered your ass for four months, didn’t ask for a dime, and bought you tickets to paradise. Oh, and when you host Thanksgiving dinner, they pay you for it. (Did I already say DAAAAAAAMN?) The least you can do is watch the kid for a few days. Plus, we already gave you a solid chunk of cash, so what the hell were you doing to add $500?

If my mom pulled this crap, I would be livid, just as “Burned by Grandma” is.

Now I feel she has taken advantage of my generosity, and I don’t trust her to spend time with my daughter because it is just too costly for me (financially and emotionally).

And that’s the real tragedy. Because while this woman’s mother has no class, even less tact, and a terrible relationship with her daughter, she’s still Grandma to her granddaughter. But probably not anymore.

Procrastination: OFFICIAL PARODY (2018)

Been meaning to make this since 2010, but…

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Father Figures: Meltdown Comparisons

(A Bearer Of Dad News)

“Just the other day, I was dealing with a meltdown from my newborn during a car ride. He absolutely detests car rides. Right next to him in the backseat, however, my two-year old was joyfully singing to himself. It amazed me that he was able to just drown out the glass-shattering screams from his younger brother.

I had to also remind myself that my older child hated car rides during his younger days. As you can see from the throwback photo, he did develop an ability to go from ‘Pissed-off to Zzzzz’ within two minutes flat once he was several months old.

It provided two great lessons for me, and maybe other parents who have dealt with similar situations can relate.

One, you will sometimes try to compare your kids and that’s okay. In my opinion, it’s human nature and you shouldn’t feel bad for doing it, as long as it’s not directly in front of your children. I know in that moment, I internally wished that my youngest kid was more like his big brother. And that he also came with a mute button.

That brings me to the second lesson I have realized as a parent. Sometimes, it’s good to observe how your kids handle situations. I was getting all tense from the wails of my tiny banshee, but then listening to my oldest just singing away brought a sense of calm to me. If he could handle it, then so could I, dammit.

At least until the point when my toddler decided to make it a screaming duet a few minutes later.”

A Bearer Of Dad News

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected].

Diet Doggo

7 Things I Thought My Dad Invented (Before I Knew Better)

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When I was but a wee boy, clueless to the ways of the world, I used to think my dad was the world’s greatest inventor. He was the one who mastered technology, who coined phrases, who tirelessly created new ways to be lazy. Yes, Dad was responsible for everything.

Now that I’m grown, I can admit that I was wrong. Way wrong. Hoo boy, was I wrong. But I love my dad, anyway, despite it all.

Here are some things I used to give the old man credit for, before I knew better.

1 Smacking your lips and saying “ahh” after a sip of soda

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In the “wisdom” of my thirties, I understand that this is a trope developed by the sodapop industry to make their customers believe that carbonated corn syrup is somehow refreshing. But a quarter of a century ago, I thought it was the funniest thing Dad ever did. Haha! What a sound! There wasn’t any explanation needed. It simply guaranteed a giggle-fit from me.

Compound this with the fact that Dad was strong enough to pop open the tab on my can of Sprite, and you can see why he’s my hero.

2 Petting the cat with your foot so you don’t have to reach

(LowCarbKitty.com)

Dad has never been one to extend effort where effort is not absolutely necessary. Our cat, Señor Fuzz, was well aware of this trait–honestly, I think he even admired it. When Dad would recline in his La-Z-Boy, Señor Fuzz liked to nuzzle his cheek right up against the bottom of Dad’s foot. Dad would, in turn, use his surprisingly nimble toes to scratch the cat’s chin.

When I was a boy, watching in awe as my father used his sweaty, stinky feet to bring bliss to the cat, it didn’t register to me as laziness. I saw it as the ingenuity of a true genius.

3 Calling Wednesday “Hump Day”

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What did it mean? Where did it come from? As a boy, I couldn’t fathom the answer to these questions. As an adult, though–well, I still can’t. Dad somehow came up with a way to make Wednesdays funny. From that day on, all Wednesdays were camels. Haha! Camels with humps.

In my teenage years, “hump” took on a new meaning. A meaning that Dad might imply, but would never come right out and say. I appreciate that, Dad.

4 Singing in the shower

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It’s pretty good, right? It was Dad’s idea to put the acoustics in there, you know. We could hear him all the way in the kitchen, bellowing out the “Scooby-dooby-doo” verse from “Strangers In the Night,” over and over again. His favorite shower numbers were definitely Sinatra tracks. But on rare mornings, when the mood was right, we’d hear him sing “Habenera” from Carmen, or that song that goes “B-b-b-b-b-bird bird bird, bird is the word.”

I want to be clear here: it wasn’t my idea to flush the toilet when Dad was on the bridge of “More Than a Feeling.” It was Matt’s idea, okay? You gotta admit, though, the sudden rush of cold water did wonders to help Dad reach that high note.

5 Slurping milk straight from the bowl after you’ve eaten your cereal

(1000AwesomeThings)

“You want to grow up big and strong, right? Just like Dad? Then put that spoon down, son. The time for spoons is over. Wait. Hold on. Okay, Mom’s not looking. We’re good now. CHUG, CHUG, CHUG!!”

6 Lighting a match after pooping

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In the summer of ‘96, my dad sat me down for a serious conversation. “Look, son. You’re developing into a man. Soon you’ll have hair everywhere you can imagine. Yes, you’ll be rich with hair. Richer than you could ever know. Sorry about that, by the way. It’s genetic. For now, your manhood is announcing itself–uh, what’s the word…aromatically–when you step out of the can.” And that’s when he handed me my very first book of matches.

As I lit a match for the first time after pooping, I was reminded, yet again, that Dad was a genius and an innovator–albeit, one who was too cheap to buy air freshener.

7 Oh, and Dad definitely invented the regulations for loading the dishwasher

(OnlyMyBestRecipes)

He just refuses to tell anybody what, exactly, they are. 

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Did my dad really invent these things? My heart says, “Yes.” My semi-functioning adult brain says, “No way, José.” But that’s not important! What really matters is that Dad taught me the skills, tricks, and quirks that helped me develop into who I am today. For that, I’ll always be grateful.

Now if only Dad could invent a way to tell me what to get him for Christmas…

Couple Gets Married At Colts Game, Person In Horse Suit Officiates

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Just what every girl dreams of

Plenty of girls like football. You don’t get to be a billion dollar business without having fans in just about every demographic. But I don’t care how into the Colts your lady is, the odds that she wants to get married at on the field before a football game are probably pretty slim.

Until you tell her the team’s mascot will be officiating. Then the odds are probably zero. Unless you’re the happy couple that got married in Lucas Oil Stadium before kickoff of the Colts/Broncos game on Thursday Night Football a couple weeks ago!

That’s right, the new Mr. and Mrs. Swain got married in the endzone before the game, and Twitter has opinions!

After the ceremony, the newlyweds received some quality gifts from their favorite team (I assume it’s their favorite team, otherwise this makes even less sense than it initially appears) and a cameo from a blimp!

The Colts mascot, Blue, a literal horse (just kidding: just a person in a horse costume) officiated the ceremony, in case you were wondering, and I doubt you were, because whether or not a man in an animal costume was present at let alone presided over someone’s nuptials is probably not something you wonder about very often. But in case you were, Blue held up placards with the vows and instructions on them (“You may now perform an elaborate end zone celebration with the bride!” was not included, unfortunately), obviously.

Because horses can’t speak, and if the people involved in this ceremony are worried about anything, it’s verisimilitude.

The Twitterverse was conflicted.

Some swooned:

Others had some specific issues:

This woman is clearly jealous, and inspired!

She’d better be careful, though, because it seems sports teams don’t roll out the red carpet for every couple that sacrifices propriety just to see the Patriots win again in person: