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


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.