Well I’m shamemeless when it comes to loving you
I’ll do anything you want me to
I’ll do anything at all
And I’m standing here for all the world to see
Oh baby that’s what’s left of me
Don’t have very far to fall
You know now I’m not a man who’s ever been
Insecure about the world I’ve been livin’ in
I don’t break easy I have my pride
But if you need to be satisfied
I’m shameless, oh honey I don’t have a prayer
Every time I see you standin’ there
I go down upon my knees
– Garth Brooks
If I’ve learned one thing about myself since living in California it’s this: I am a Southern Belle through and through.
Just give me a minute.
I feel like I’m having an out-of-body experience.
Let me get a hold of myself here…
Anywho, where was I? Oh. Yeah. The Southern Belle bit. Yes, well, we all know I can get a tad high-and-mighty at times. What with this move out West, the fact that I never claimed North Carolina as “home,” and the part about me growing up in a neighborhood… some might even say that I’m just downright stuck-up. But I know that’s not true. Trust me, I know where my loyalties lie.
And they lie just a few hundred miles south of the Mason-Dixon:
- First and foremost, my favorite food is gravy. That’s right – gravy. Biscuits ‘n gravy, steak ‘n gravy, hamburgers ‘n gravy, chicken ‘n gravy, your arm ‘n gravy… doesn’t matter what kind of gravy either, I dig ’em all. I dip my bread in gravy. I put gravy on my rice and beans. Hell, I’ll even make a pot of macaroni and cheese just so I can have something to help transport the gravy into my mouth. Don’t believe me? Ask Dad. He shakes his head every. single. time. I pull a bowl down from the cabinet when there’s gravy served at a meal. Never fails, he always says, “You gonna get a spoon too?” Uhh. Absofuckinglutely. Any time Momma asks me what I want her to cook for this or that, I make sure to say, “… and lots of gravy. A whole buuuunch of gravy. Like, the most gravy you’ve ever made!” And that B is always cuttin’ me off, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. An assload of gravy. I got it.” Whatever. I ain’t ashamed. Gravy = love, y’all.
- I have had my hair done out here twice. That’s it. And honestly, I should have never went back after this little episode: I sat down in the California stylist’s chair for the first time and she said, “Did you back-comb your hair today?” I blankly looked up in the mirror at her, “Umm. ‘Scuse me? You mean tease? Yes. Yes, I teased my hair today.” My eyes got big and shifty. My heart sank to the floor. I felt faint. Was that even a question? I mean, did the sun rise this morning? Of course I teased my hair today. I tease my hair every day. Honestly, it’s just a matter of how high I feel like going with it.
- If someone of the opposite sex tells me he “doesn’t know all that much about football,” I automatically think: “Oh. So, you’re not a man.” It weirds me out. Like, I can’t spend the rest of my life with someone who doesn’t fight with me over the remote on Sundays. Or worse – with someone who likes soccer. [Shivers.]
- The other week, I was telling my work peeps a story about my Nana. “Hey, Chris. What do you call your grandparents?” He turned around dramatically and said, “Oh. You know… Grandma and Grandpa. I’m from Utah. We don’t do cute names.” “Well, I have a Nana, a Papa, a Mimmie, a Pop, a Mamaw, and a Papaw.” They laughed. “Oh, and no shit, my little brother was called Bubba Leroy growing up.” The pod fell silent.
- I hate when people call me out for saying “y’all.” 1. Because everyone says it. And 2. Because it’s not “cute.” It’s efficient.
- I judge the hell out of a woman who shows up to a function without wearing a face full of make-up.
- I lose my shit when I see a Chick-fil-a. And I may, or may not have, made my siblings take pictures with me in front of a Bojangles’ sign at Christmas. #holygrail
- Let me set the scene: It’s October. We’re outside at a hotel bar on Coronado island. It’s 98 degrees-ish in Southern California. Kristen and I overhear some dumb whore make a comment about how humid it is today. I literally throw myself down in my seat. Please, asshole. You don’t know humidity. You don’t know humidity until your hair blows up like a fucking Chia Pet and you’ve got sweat running down the inside of your thigh. Is it just swamp ass? Or are they actual tears of a vagina in need crying out for help? Who knows. But the shit you’re feeling right now, my friend. That’s not humidity. No, honey, that’s just perspiration off of your pansy-ass white Zinfandel glass. So, sit tha fuck down and zip ya lip before it hears us.
- Just last night, I walked downstairs for some Pralines and Cream ice cream. I never buy ice cream. My favorite has always been Rocky Road (… art imitating life, I know.) but on this particular night I wanted something different, something that reminded me of home. As I walked up and down the isle, scanning the tubs of cream – nothing. I did find Butter Pecan. Butter Pecan. [Shake my head.] The next thing I know, I’m pounding on the glass freezer doors yelling, “But it’s not the same. IT’S NOT THE SAME, GODDAMNIT!” ‘Cause it’s not.
- What do you mean you “aren’t close” with your family? Y’all don’t do group texts, or FaceTime, or call each other just to announce you didn’t overdraft your checking account? Like, you actually wear pants around them… all the time? And – just to be sure I’m hearing this correctly – not a single one of your relatives has put a GPS tracking device on your phone? Humm. Weird. So, tell me. Do the wolves call you Mowgli too?
- I have manners. I smile at people. That is all.
- A couple of weeks ago, a girl handed me a shot glass and told me she “couldn’t take it.” Aww. Wasn’t she cute. In the South, we call that wasteful. That night, I got a free tequila shot.
- One day last week, I said to Sonny through gritted teeth, “Now, you’re gonna listen to me. Because I’m your Momma. Dammit.”
- There is nothing I love more than a sequin, a bow, some tulle, or lace.
- A little piece of my heart breaks each time I see a glass of “iced tea” waltz by my table. Why? Because those poor, poor souls have no idea what sort of gloriousness their dehydrated palates are missing out on. Then again, ignorance is bliss, right?
- I have only one speed when I get behind the wheel of a car and that’s – real fucking fast. I have been around racecars my whole life. I grew up in NASCAR country. For years, I worked sandwiched between one race shop and another. That being said, if you meet me on the road, you might just want to stay the hell out of my way…
- I only wear shoes A. Because I have to or B. To make an outfit.
- I collect koozies, for shit’s sake.
- I started to miss home (Charleston) pretty bad a few weeks ago. I think that’s been one of the hardest parts about moving out here – not being able to go home whenever I feel like it. Anyhow, so one night, I decided to pick up Momma’s copy of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Granted, it takes place in Savannah – not Charleston, huge difference. Whatevs. I figured it would do the trick and settled in for an evening of reading. At first, I didn’t even realize I was doing it. But by Chapter 2, it dawned on me. I was reading the whole damn book in a Savannahian accent. Point being: Only a true Southerner knows the difference between each region’s dialect. (For those of you who are curious: I get Texas a lot. What a fucking insult, right?)
- One time, back when I thought the only radio stations Cali had was Mexican and Gospel, I switched the stereo over to CD. I was anticipating one of my precious Spice Girls albums to ring out over the road noise. So, you could imagine my surprise when Garth Brooks blared through the speakers. “Huh. That’s different,” I thought. Then, proceeded to put “Rodeo” on repeat and sang that shit all the way home… from Orange County (an hour drive).
Look, I might not monogram my shit, or be a huge fan of country music, or say, “Bless your heart,” or like mayonnaise, or wear cowboy boots, but I am proud of my Southern roots. I am proud I put family and friends first. I am proud I know how to cook, and clean, and take care of a home. I am proud I have been raised to respect, not only my elders, but anyone who might cross my path. I am proud my Momma, and my grandmothers, and my Aunties taught me to take pride in my appearance. I am proud to be a lady with an opinion.
I have been all over the country, y’all. And not once – not. one. single. time. – has someone not been complimentary of the qualities listed above. Actually, most often, I am told it’s “refreshing.” People think it’s refreshing to meet someone like me.
Someone like us.
Someone from the South.
So, you keep on keepin’ on, my friends.
You use your please-s, and thank you-s, ma’am-s, and sir-s. You go ahead, hold all the doors for all the people, and then flash everyone a big smile. You show off each and every baby picture you’ve got in that pocket book, woman! You tell ’em how your “Momma always told you to do it this way,” and your “Nana always made it that way,” and your “Daddy ain’t never drank a drop in his life.” And I hope you y’all and bless the hell out of those fuckers too.
‘Cause at the end of the day, the South will rise again.
… at least, it will if they know what’s good for ’em, anyway.