"To be born a Southern woman is to be made aware of your distinctiveness. And with it, the rules. The expectations. These vary some, but all follow the same basic template, which is, fundamentally, no matter what the circumstance, Southern women make the effort. Which is why even the girls in the trailer parks paint their nails. And why overstressed working moms still bake three dozen homemade cookies for the school fund-raiser. And why you will never see Reese Witherspoon wearing sweatpants. Or Oprah take a nap."
No, I didn't write those words—though I wish I had. Those are words from what quite possibly can be alternately titled "Ainsley's Favorite Article of All Time," an exquisite piece from Garden & Gun (last September, but I just stumbled into it again) on what sets the infamous women of the South apart.
I get it. We talk about being different alot down here. And for those of you who hail from the Midwest, East Coast, or New England, I know you're different and special and quirky and gorgeous in your own, unique way as well. I just so happen to adore the Southern unique way more than anything else in the whole world.
It's in my blood. It's in my evenings spent swinging on tire swings hung from the magnolia tree underneath my bedroom window. It's in my summers spent tanned and freckled in the bright Mississippi sun. It's in the heartfelt conversations had with Mama lounging on the front porch swing. It's in the blues clubs of the Delta, the tailgating of the Grove, and Sunday lunches at the Country Club. It's why my nails are always painted, why I drink my tea with sugar, and why I will always fall for a fella in seersucker shorts.
"Southern women see no point in the hard way. Life is hard enough. So we add a little sugar to the sour."
We say "thank you", "sir", and "y'all". Mama is always mama and Daddy is always daddy, no matter our age. And at 25 years old, I am still reminded to take a gift to my hostess and write a thank you note. We hug and we kiss freely—our children, our partners, our girlfriends, and our grandparents. A pat on the hand is a subtle condolence, and we'll bless your heart as many times as you need (or we need to.)
"Southern women know how to make other women feel pretty. Southern women like men and allow them to stay men. Southern women are not afraid to dance. Southern women know you can’t outrun your past, that manners count, and that your mother deserves a phone call every Sunday. Southern women can say more with a cut of their eyes than a whole debate club’s worth of speeches."
We are inherently aware of who we are, what is expected of us, and the means to make what needs to happen, happen.
I'm going to quit quoting this article now and demand that, if you haven't already, you go read it here.