manners no. 17

This is a response to a post titled "Things All Southern Women Know To Be True" by Haley Hackett.  Savannah women strongly disagree with the descriptions in this list.  Women who haven't been raised up native (that's called "natural born" in Georgia) but have the blood coursing through their veins and were raised by southern women disagree.  I'm one of the latter kind. 

To speak for myself, I found the list simple, a disgrace to the very obvious complexity of being southern and for that reason, rude.  I've reworked the list.  

I invite you all to breathe easier now that we have at least a starting point for a more broad and comprehensive lesson for non-southerners and those who may be underserved by their families and communities.

1.  Monogram usage stems from necessity and youth. Some of us leave school and camp by the time we are eighteen. Others have habits. But, regardless of having or not, please sit with us; we want to know all about you and please make it good

2. Those living in the southern clime don camouflage when harvesting supper. Because that's the fastest, easiest way. We might also have some cargo pants with camouflage print, but we don't think they flatter us best - which is the point of clothing. In summary, camou is for the garden and grocery getting (in the aisles, woods or waters).  

3.  No matter where a baby is born, the offending parent should not place a headband on "precious". Southern women trust that their baby girl's face shines "divinely beautiful".  In other words, true beauty, like angels, need not declare gender (please see our young boys at Easter). The only excuse; Halloween. We need a method for holding antennae or cat and bunny rabbit ears.

4.  If hungover, it's hair of the dog (bloody, anyone?), salt and butter eggs with deer bacon (see number #2).

5. Southern women appreciate real men so it doesn't matter if they are short, Lincoln tall, Jack Spratt thin, corpulent, odd or old looking or even named Ashley, Blair, Kerry or Kim.  We want to laugh, have doors opened for us and run wild in the woods. We choose the men who do this with us while they quietly and adeptly stoke the home fires. By the way, one should reread Gone with the Wind. Often mis-characterized, Rhett Butler does say "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" and that may not be very nice, but it was necessary. Ask him why, he'll tell you.

6.  The dress or "costume" (we still say "costume" when we mean outfit) mandates the hair. No, no and no to a frilly high neck and hair fussy and down. All black and minimal outfit?  That may call for a big hair day.

7.  Southern gals drink a "bit" of everything. Sometimes even in moderation.

8. Seasons (by the calendar) let us know more about our gardens and our china than our clothing. We have priorities and standards.

9.  Southern women realize that sexism isn't sexy. That's why our daddies taught us to read, ride, shoot and run in 5" heels.

10.  Really southern women shop the closets of their esteemed elders, neighbors and sisters. Waste not, want not.

11.  The final word on jewelry and food storage:  real. It's got to be guaranteed gold, silver, bronze, glass or China and preferably handed down or purchased while traveling.

12.  Story telling is a way of life. The truth should never get in the way of this discipline. Being an accomplished story teller negates judgement of the storyteller. In other words, the teller is not a liar or a gossip if we've been properly entertained (we know to believe - and remember - nothing).

13.  Being a lady is like swearing. Sometimes the most effective choice is the nastiest. The whip-smartest southern women employ nasty and four letters judiciously. Being a lady also means no hiding from momma, but fessin' up by outlining good reasoning and humor used while "misbehaving".  (see #9, #12)

14.  We feel grateful to be southern and we invite you to visit often.

 olivia de haviland,8" x 8", water-based media on somerset, 2010

olivia de haviland,8" x 8", water-based media on somerset, 2010