You wouldn't think snakes would be any great shakes at impressing females. Charley Bowen begs to differ, however.
"Women are normally scared of them," Bowen concedes before adding: "But they all want to see them."
Bowen is the resident serpent fancier on the Kansas football team. He's a senior strong safety who is, of course, strong on safety when dealing with limbless reptiles.
"I don't know why I like 'em," the Lawrence High product said. "I've been fond of them ever since I was little."
It's not a family trait, that's for sure. Bowen's younger brother, Clint, also a KU defensive back, has no use for the creatures.
"I HAD ONE, but didn't like it much," Clint says. "It kinda scared me when it made hissing sounds, and I was afraid to pick it up."
Guess how Clint obtained the snake. That's right. Charley gave it to him.
Today Charley has three snakes, including a small python named Taboo, and he covets another.
"Yeah, I'm thinking about maybe buying a bigger python, maybe a Colombian one about seven to eight feet long," he said.
One drawback. Off the rack at your friendly neighborhood pet store, big pythons retail for over $150.
Another drawback. If Bowen adds a python, he has to convince his parents to install another cage at their place because they are the current caretakers of his collection.
Snakes are off-limits at the Jayhawker Towers, the domicile of KU scholarship athletes.
DON'T TELL anybody, but Bowen smuggled a snake into the Towers once last year. In fact, the surreptitious serpent might still be there if it hadn't wandered off into a room occupied by defensive end Brian Christian.
Christian's reaction was apparently reminiscent of those Monday noon siren tests.
"I think that's the loudest I've ever heard him scream," Bowen said, grinning widely.
Bowen is doing a lot of grinning these days now that he and brother Clint are lining up just yards apart in the KU secondary. Last Saturday, with starting free safety Kwamie Lassiter out with a sprained ankle, Clint worked with Charley on the first unit.
The two Bowens played together at Lawrence High in 1988 when Charley was a senior and Clint a junior, but Charley was a back and Clint was an end. Now Clint is a back, too.
"CLINT IS smart. . .he knows what's going on," Charley said. "In fact, he does some things better than I do."
Charley will not, however, concede speed.
"I'm faster," he stressed, "but not too much because he's gotten faster."
Separated by two years on the calendar, the Bowens are nevertheless about the same size. Charley is listed at 5-10, 195; Clint at 6-0, 190.
And, of course, neither Bowen is snakebit.