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Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Southern Belle

Moving back to the South - and being unexpectedly content with it - has left me reflecting on what it means to be a Southern lady. I loved this beautiful article from Garden and Gun last year about what sets us apart. To be born a Southern woman is to be made aware of your distinctiveness.

As Allison Glock says, Southern women have a lot of pride. Here's why:
  1. We are caretakers.
  2. We use an abundance of salt when cooking. Just ask John.
  3. We are willing to give (time, food, hugs, advice).
  4. We are tied to history...when you carry in your bones the incontrovertible knowledge of man's violence and limitations, daring to stay sweet is about the most radical thing you can do.
  5. We know how to make other women feel pretty. This is important to us - to let our friends know how wonderful they are. Friendship is one of the only things we have.
  6. And of course, Southern women know the value of a stiff drink.
There's something irresistible about a woman who's not afraid of a little butter (I said a little, Paula Deen) and who can make you feel at home even when you're hundreds of miles away. There's something sexy about having enough self-respect to put on a nice dress and curl your hair, knowing it's about presentation rather than vanity. Perhaps we have it best in the 21st century, with the freedom to choose which Southern Lady rules to follow and which ones to break.

Thanks, Garden and Gun, for assigning words to something we live every day. You're much more eloquent than those "Southern girl" AIM profiles that were copied and pasted all the way into 2009. You describe us as good-humored, with a wisdom all our own, and we think you're right. You understand us, and we love you for it.

My grandmother, a beautiful Southern lady if I've ever seen one.

My aunt in Augusta, GA,  wearing a beautiful dress chosen by her mother, above.


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