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9.16.2009

us southern gals.

my parents and i have two rules regarding my blog. 

or rather, i have two rules for them.

1. they are in no way to suggest or dictate blog content

and 

2. sometimes what i write about so openly here, i am not yet ready to speak about over the phone (something about the violence of articulation). and so the phrase, but you blogged about it, why can't we talk about it, is never to be employed

i should tell you these rules are rarely adhered to. 

and it drives me a bit batty.

however, tonight after sifting through the contents of a package that winged its way from home, i found an article from southern journal with a post-it attached, that read: thought you would enjoy this. blog material? 

and well, mom, on this night, i bow down to you and say yes, yes, a million times yes. you have handed me blogging gold (or at least something to think about)

i'm on my sixth year of new york city living. and sometimes home seems worlds away.

my parents, both native new yorkers (my dad from the bronx and my mom from upstate), moved to houston just two months before i was born. and they raised me in a house that often viewed the ways of the south with a weary eye. however, after twenty-four years, they have completely assimilated (well, almost--my father still cannot pronounce an "h" to save his life, ask him to say houston and it comes out u-ston).

now texas isn't really the south--it's something altogether alien--but there are roots there that spread from our dry soil into georgia and virginia and tennesse--there are commonalities that bind us. i used to say growing up in texas taught me a lot about the kind of person i did not want to be (staunch republican, no thanks. big hair, unh-uh). but living in new york has provided a distance that proved enlightening. i am a product of my youth. and my youth was played out in a northern household planted firmly on the flat, arid texas land.  i am grateful to be a texan--or some version of one.

today at work one of my co-workers turned her head to me and said, that guy over there is so cute, and i knew exactly what she meant. i had noticed him immediately because he was donning the popular southern hairstyle that i will call the kennedy comb-over (and you know how i feel about the kennedys, so this is in no way a bad thing). confused? don't be. i've provided the following pictures to illustrate my point.

exhibit a:

exhibit b:

exhibit c:

exhibit a: pretty self-explanatory

exhibit b and c: i uploaded these two photos taken during my brother's graduation from the university of virginia. (he might kill me for doing this, or he might be tickled to no end. let's hope for the latter). in exhibit b my brother's lovely friend in the red shirt is wearing the style extremely well. and in exhibit c the boy in the yellow polo (back row, far left) as well as the boy in the green polo (back row, center) are two perfect examples). 

my enjoyment of the kennedy comb-over (rarely seen north of the mason-dixon line) is just one of the ways i know i am rooted in the south. it is derived from years in high school worshipping the upper-classmen who wore the hairstyle day-in and day-out, melting the hearts of many a fifteen-year-old. 

im getting off track. on to the article my mother sent me (with my own commentary interjected, apologies the original author, Amy):

15 Ways to Charm Her
Want to impress a Southern girl? Just think "What would my grandfather have done?"
By Amy Bickers

Number one: We still expect you to give up your seat for a lady. On a bus, at a bar, on a train . . . we don't care where you are. Unless you are at a restaurant and the only lady in sight is the one taking your order, stand up. Now.

On a recent Friday night at a bustling restaurant bar, two friends and I waited for our table to be called. The barstools were occupied so we stood patiently, sipping wine and chatting about the workweek. When a couple nearby stood up, another woman - who had been there less time than we had - swooped in, reaching across us to put her purse on the stool. This isn't the worst part. It's what happened next: her male companion then slid onto the other barstool.

Hang on while I do a geography check. Are we not in the South? If ladies are waiting for a seat and you have a Y chromosome, do you sit down? No, sir. No, you do not.

We know modern life is confusing. The roles of men and women have evolved over the years. As Pink once sang, "Shorty got a job, Shorty got a car, Shorty can pay her own rent."

But come on, let's keep some things old-school. My late grandfather - he of the East Texas upbringing, U.S. Navy captain status, and Cary Grant good looks - would never have allowed a woman to stand while he sat. And if you want a Southern woman to love you, neither will you. So, men, here's a short list of things Southern girls still expect from you.

We still expect you to . . .

[ONE] Stand up for a lady. Actually, this doesn't just involve chairs.

[TWO] Know that the SEC has the best football teams in the nation. Big 12 fan? Hmm, perhaps you should keep walking. {honest to goodness, even i don't know what this means. i loathe football (and in this way i am not texan at all).}

[THREE] Kill bugs. Delta Burke as Southern belle Suzanne Sugarbaker on Designing Women said, "Ya know . . . when men use Women's Liberation as an excuse not to kill bugs for you? Oh, I just hate that! I don't care what anybody says, I think the man should have to kill the bug!" {living in new york has taught me to kill many a bug (maggots included), but i'll never be that far from my three-year-old-self who saw a cockroach and could not be consoled by the babysitter (the poor girl had to call her mother to come over). so yes, the bug-killing skill is a major boon.}

[FOUR] Hold doors open. {i did once date a guy who told me i expected this simply because i'm from the south, but i just figured it was common courtesy. i like to think wherever i was raised i should expect this--we all should.}

[FIVE] Fix things or build stuff. I once watched in awe as my stepfather built a front porch on the house he shares with my mother. He knew just what to do, cutting every notch, hammering every nail. The project was complete by sunset.

[SIX] Wear boots occasionally. Not the fancy, I-paid-$1000-for-these kind. We're talking about slightly mud-crusted, I-could-have-just-come-in-from-the-field boots. {so true, there's an unexplainable appeal. swoon.}


[EIGHT] Grill stuff.

[NINE] Call us. If you want to ask us out, don't text and don't email. Pick up the phone and use your voice.

[TEN] Stand when we come back to the dinner table. "Just a little half-stand is enough to make me melt," my friend Stephanie says.

[ELEVEN] Pull out our chairs. Wait, that's not all. Scoot them back in before we hit the floor.

[TWELVE] Pay the tab on the first few dates. "If you ask me out, you pay," Stephanie says. "If I ask you out, you should still pay." Listen, guys, it's just simpler this way. {i've now dated two men who never offered to pay for anything. ever (even after i paid for a few things) and yes, i know they were struggling for many, but so was i. and it wasn't really so much about the money as the offer. what, he couldn't spare two dollars for my hot dog? before the start of summer i went out with a guy who paid for the meal as well as after-dinner-drinks and it made all the difference in the world.}

[THIRTEEN] Don't show up in a wrinkled, untucked shirt.Care about your appearance, but not too much. Don't smell better than we do. Don't use mousse or gel. You shouldn't look like you spend more time in front of the mirror than we do.

[FOURTEEN] Never get in bar fights. Patrick Swazye {rest his soul}might look cool in Road House, but in reality, bar fights are stupid and embarrassing. You don't look tough. You look like an idiot.

[FIFTEEN] Know how to mix our favorite cocktail just the way we like it. Fix your favorite too. Sit down on the porch (it's okay if you didn't build it), tell us how your day went, and we'll tell you about ours.

We'll leave the long list to the girl who falls in love with you.


okay, now that i've gotten all that off my chest. time for bed.

28 comments:

Krissa said...

Oh I absolutely LOVE this...I have found that men like these are very few and far between...I am still holding out hope that he comes along...with even just a few of these traits...my favs...Four, five, eight, NINE, and twelve.
Thanks for this post! I love it!!! I guess....kudos to you're wonderful mother!

JAMIE HIRYAK said...

Love it!!

Jayne said...

WOW. I absolutely ADORE this list! Thanks for sharing this, lovely lady!

Ross & Amanda Goodman said...

I TOTALLY agree wth your addition. My husband did that when we were about to get engaged, and it made me weak in the knees. Great post!

brown eyed girl said...

I wholeheartedly agree, especially with the asking the father part, and the Kennedy comb-over. I knew I always liked that look, now I have a name for it:).

Marisa said...

i like this post- I'm glad I married a southern man (though his hair just won't do that thing you talk about- its too curly :))

Olivia Rae said...

Meg I loved this!! Being from Nashville I was always so anti-south... but now I love and appreciate it so much! I'm definitely not a typical southerner (no southern accent, definitely not a republican, no big hair...) but there really are traits that come from the south that are timeless!

Tyler is the first real southern boy I have dated, and after two years he opens the door for me every time, pulls chairs out for me, always gives up his seat to women... etc. I never thought I would care about that kind of stuff, but it is just such a sweet gesture!

I'm glad your mom suggested this... my mom and grandma are always doing the newspaper article with the "blog material" post it!

Longest post ever, but I am so so glad I found your blog because I look forward to it every day! You're such an amazing writer.

Sara said...

This is good stuff. Minus only one or two (maybe the football thing), I think girls everywhere would love this.

I went on a date recently and not only did the guy hold doors and pay (which I love), he came around to open the car door for me. I have never had someone (except my dad) do that and I was speechless for a minutes.

He just looked at me, smiled, and said, "Welcome to the South."

laura marie said...

Oh my gosh... I have literally never been so enthralled by something circa 7 am - go figure, it's about Southern gentlemen - that'll wake ya up!

My mom is from Tennessee and although I was born and raised in the Midwest (Chicago), her Southern upbringing has been transferred to be through osmosis or maybe grits, but whatever.

Either way, this totally made my morning :) Thanks!

Morgan said...

How true is this. All the southern men in Charleston have that hair style. It's {almost} comical!

Mrs. B said...

LOVE, love the post! Born/raised in Memphis & now posted in Dallas...seriously - all so true! AND....ROTFL @ everything above "I'm getting off track."

R. Wallis @ TrueBeauty said...

Great post and sooooo true! Now, I'm no damsel in distress, but I secretly want to be taken care of at least a little :) I just finished the Twilight saga and I think that is why Edward in the movie is so dang sexy! It is his old school views on women and how we should be taken care of....love it!

whitney said...

Sadly, they don't make 'em like this in California :(

orsoifeel said...

i love this Meg - these ae things all women should expect and hopefully more women (in this generation) will raise their sons to do just that.
xoxo

JKreids said...

As a fellow Texan (but 1st and formost a Yankee from PA) I agree wholeheartedly with this list! Especially #8 -- GRILL STUFF. Nothing sexier than a man who can throw a slab of meat on a grill or smoker, smother it in bbq sauce while enjoying his beer and a football game. LOVE IT. IRRESISTIBLE!

Erin said...

I'm born and raised in the North, but I definitely agree with a lot of these.

Mandee lost her individuality. said...

I have to go thank my mother in law for raising such a gracious man.


my husband is a man's man and would never be caught showing emotion. when he asked my dad if he could marry me he was literally trembling with fear. Ha. one of my dads favorite moments to date.

Signorina Svizzera said...

i love this! and, i am from the north, but my father gets the door for my mother and I every time (my brother is still learning...). it's something i expect, but something i rarely find with modern men (although swiss men are more old-fashioned and i really like that). also, no hats at the table. ever.
oh, and yes, whoever marries me will have to ask my father first :)

iheartkiwi said...

loving this list... must give your mother her due!

p.s. i found out after we got engaged that kiwi asked my dad for permission to marry me... just the thought of him chatting with my dad made me melt. it's almost sweeter than the proposal.

Hanako66 said...

first of all, i love the relationship that you have with your parents.

i identify with much of this list and i'm a california girl! my husband knew that it was an ABSOLUTE must for him to speak to my father prior to asking me to marry him. he did so while my dad was driving to avoid him being able to take a swing at him though...ha!

MeganRose said...

ohhh Meg! I am from the North but can completely agree about so many of these!!! # 1 is one of my greatest turn ons/ turn off...After living in Chicago for soo many years I am still not over getting terribly angry at men who dont give up their seat for not just women ( that NEVER happens) but pregnant women and the elderly. UGHHHHH, but :::swoon::: to those who do!

misLaney said...

oh i can't tell you how much less of a freak i feel like i after reading this. i was near certain that ALL hope was lost, that i was the last girl on the face of the planet to believe that chivalry should be raised from the dead asap. to any boy who doesn't hold a door open for me, i do not even give the time of day.

i'm a big fan and have been following your blog for some time now, and i've never been a big blog-commenter, but i just had to say a quick "thanks" and "i so get it."

Randi Lee said...

I love this. One of the things I love about Florida is that, no matter where you are, if there is a male walking ahead of you, he WILL stop and hold open the door for you. It always makes me smile.

Christie said...

I love love these traits. As someone raised in South Carolina, I expect it, and am usually disappointed now that I live in Oklahoma.

I am currently staying the night at my brother and sister-in-law's house and have been so pleasantly surprised that he has killed the bugs, given me his seat multiple times, and generally waited on me all day. It's amazing. I miss it!

Also, a plus to being a southern girl is that sometimes it makes people want to do this stuff for you! We went to a college football game yesterday and someone gave me his pair of coach's 50 yard line seats because I was "just so darn sweet". Love it. I need to move back to the South.

Anna said...

I adore this post. I'm also a transplanted Texan on the East Coast (currently DC, but previously NYC). While Texas isn't exactly the South I was definitely brought up by a Southerner (at heart) and know exactly what you mean!

Thanks for a such a sweet post.

Spardha Malik said...

I looove sixteen too!!!
this is such a nice list.
bet it wud work on most of us girls regardless of geographical positioning!!

Brittan said...

I am from Dallas and got my undergrad at SMU, so the gentlemen in those photos look oh-so-familiar.

I love that list but I wonder if men like that exist anymore, even in Texas. A girl can dream right? The way I see it, I know how much effort I am willing to put into making someone happy so he should do the same, even if it seems silly or unnecessary, right?

And I'm with you, my lack of interest in all things football also defies my roots.

Melinda said...

My sister sent me this list- I totally agree especially #1!!

Love your blog- so cute! :)