Friday, March 30, 2012

Growing up SOUTHERN

I saw this article on my sister's facebook wall and had to share. It's about southern women....which is one of the defining characteristics of my life. I loved it and actually it pointed out a couple ways in which I am failing as a southern lady -- i.e., I have left the house plenty of times with no makeup or wet hair.

I think growing up southern is interesting. You are keenly aware that the rest of the country is intrigued by you yet full of improper misconceptions...and often times judging you.  My time in DC showed me that people assumed I was uneducated, racist, etc.  I even had someone ask me if white and blacks went to prom together or if we had airports?? really???  We are assumed to be either white trash racists with confederate flags in the back of our trucks, barefoot and pregnant or live in old southern mansions and drink sweet tea, boss our maids around, and plan charity events. Some of what people think is true, some isn't.  For example, the impression that we are highly religious, sometimes in a fake way...very true.  In the south, you are born Baptist or Presbyterian in the same way you are born black or white. It just is.  Others assume we love traditions, and that is true, but I think that the most southerners have learned which traditions are worth keeping.... confederate flags and separate water fountains weren't good, always bringing a meal to a new mom or sick friend is good.

I remember reading when I was a child about how some people in the civil war didn't have slaves, and probably didn't even care about states rights, but they were southern and they were fighting for the South.  I have thought about that a lot.  I am about has conservative and patriotic and loyal as they come, but I love the South.  If there was another war, I think I would support the United States, but it would break my heart to do that. Because I see myself as first, a Christian, second, and American and third, a southerner.  And like this article points out, no other group or region in the country feels such pride as we do.

Important things about growing up southern:

1) follow all fashion rules. White is not okay until after easter...neither is searsucker, lilly pulitzer or linen.  And you must quit wearing these items after Labor Day.
2) Every girl must own  pearls.
3) Smocked outfits are best for children. Babies should not wear jeans til a certain age. Kids should dress like kids, not jr. adults.
4) Double names are acceptable even when you are an adult woman.
5) Sunday Lunches are important. Just as important is never showing up at a party empty handed. Even a bottle of wine or tin of cookies will do.
6) Even girls should know and love SEC football which is clearly the best conference.
7) Yes mam, no mam, yes sir, no sir.
8) The truth can be spoken, but kindly, not harshly
9) You bring meals to the sick and help with fundraisers/charity events
10) you must know how to cook...even if its a few dishes or desserts, you must know.
11) Southern staples: fried food, watermelon, grilling out, bbq, sweet tea, mint juleps, grits -- I dont like fried food or tea very much so I must be a southern failure.
12) A southern woman knows how to be a good host.  Whether throwing an amazing party for your child's birthday, hosting an engagement party, or having people over to watch the game, southern women make people feel at home.
13) thank you notes (I have become bad at this too, its my goal to fix that!)
14) Dresses are most appropriate for church.  Some women wear pants now, but church is fancier than the rest of life so I stick to mostly dresses, especially for big sundays.
15) Always say hello and ask people how their day is -- my friends in DC thought I was so strange for this. I would ask the cashier at walgreens how she was doing, but thats how we were raised-- slower pace of life.
16) Church is important and family is second most important.
17) Front porch sitting is an activity
18) Tailgating is an art form and at Ole Miss, it requires nice table cloths, dresses and sometimes even chandiliers.
19) In the south (and I assume in most parts of suburban or rural america), people still parent their kids... even if the kid goes to daycare, even if he has a nanny, mom and dad come home and spend time with them and correct them and remind the kids who is the parent and who is the kid.  Obviously, even in the South, this has changed some, but most people I know still think a spanking or timeout is perfectly acceptable and expected.
20) In the south, men are still expected to be gentleman....and the women let them.  Sure, I can hold a door for myself or get home safely, but there is no reason to not let a guy do it for me.  Just like he can probably cook himself dinner, but he likes when I occasionally make him supper.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! It is something people don't truly understand unless they've been raised in the south as well!:)