Sunday, July 12, 2009

Southern Girls 101

My brilliant, beautiful friend Kim recently purchased a shirt that reads:

"Sassy, charming, classy, bright, beautiful, belle of the ball, sundress-wearing, sweet tea drinking Southern Girl... do I look like I drive a pick up truck?"

It made me giggle, because I'm a Southern girl too, and some of the myths about us are downright silly. We don't all like country music, we don't all own confederate flags, most of us don't drive trucks. Especially in the larger cities, many of us are downright metropolitan, though I will admit we do like our grits. But I thought maybe I'd provide a refresher course on a few key points, in case any of y'all are confused, and would like to maybe blend in a little more when you travel down here.

  1. Southern girls (and by girls, I mean any age, of course) wear panty hose to formal events. Now this tradition has loosened up a little bit in my generation, and we no longer are REQUIRED to wear them to church, as long as our legs are shaved and we have good pedicures, but anything more formal than the 11:00 service requires panty hose. Weddings, funerals, baby dedications, you name it. This is a tradition, by the way, that makes no sense at all, because it is hotter than the very hinges of Hell down here, but I would never say that out loud. Going bare legged is something that's just not done.
  2. Southern girls are taught by their mamas that certain things are "just not done". No further explanation is needed, and if you could see the facial expression that goes with the phrase "just not done", you wouldn't ask for an explanation either.
  3. Southern girls are demonstrative. We hug, we kiss on the cheek, we clasp people's hands, we pat shoulders and backs. We touch you when we're talking to you, and we call you things like "sugar" and "darlin'". The only exception to this outpouring of affection is anyone with whom we are romantically linked. If you are involved with someone, any public sign of affection is considered distasteful and trashy. If you're sleeping with him, you'd be advised not even to look in his general direction in public. You can possibly get away with holding your husband's hand in church, but don't make a spectacle of yourself.
  4. Southern girls are empathetic, and by empathetic, I mean we bring casseroles.
  5. Southern girls think hair is very important.
  6. Southern girls bless people's hearts. This is a very useful thing to do, as it allows you to remain kind even when the rest of your statement could be considered questionable. Example: "She went to that new salon, and got a haircut that is just HIDEOUS, bless her heart!" The phrase can also be used to mean "better that person than me", and is useful as a caring conduit for gossip, as in "she's been all alone with those six kids ever since her husband ran off with his secretary, bless her heart". "Bless your heart" is an appropriate response to any tale of angst or woe. It can also be used in cases of genuine empathy, as in "she's been really ill, bless her heart, so I brought her a casserole."
  7. Southern girls sometimes use the term Yankee. Now, there is a misconception that this is an insult, or a Civil War reference, but no, it's actually just a descriptive term for anyone who does not live here and probably does not know which things are just not done. It is an excellent way of excusing bad behavior, because other Southern girls know exactly what you're talking about. Example: "His daughter flew in for the funeral, and she didn't even bring any panty hose!" "I know, darlin', but what do you expect? She's a Yankee, bless her heart!"


perfect just like mommy said...

Pantyhose?! For real?! It's so unfashionable! I guess this means you also don't wear open toed shoes at formal events.

amy said...

Umm...hello? Have you never heard of toeless pantyhose? They sell them right there at Belk's, Darlin'! ;o)

perfect just like mommy said...

ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?! I have seriously never heard of toeless pantyhose. Nor have I ever heard of Belk's. I now cannot get the atrocious image of nude hosed sheen on the leg and bare toes out of my mind. *shudder*

amy said...

Silly girl, you wear "nude" hose over your lovely pedicured toes. It's a thing of beauty, I assure you. Come on, someone Southern back me up here! ;o)

perfect just like mommy said...

Wait, so what color is the rest of your hose? Honestly, I don't think I've worn pantyhose since my 8th grade graduation. I sometimes wear tights with my miniskirts and boots when I'm trying to be an ironic hipster. I swear I do not even own a pair of pantyhose. I would totally mortify you at a formal event!

Chaotic Joy said...

Um...I'm with you on everything but the pantyhose. Nevah, evah, evah, dahlin. Tights sometimes in the winter. But not panty hose. Of course, I was born in NY.

amy said...

See, but Joy, you just explained it. NY is the biggest Yankee state there is! ;o)