A Hellacious Belle’s Guide to the New South: Ma’am Shaming

Yesterday, was my birthday.

Becoming a year older has brought to my attention, once again, that I have crossed the bridge of age, that arc of time connecting the bright and verdant shores of “Miss,” to the cracked, barren desert of “Ma’am.”

Because politeness is so important in the South, a formal direct address, based on age and status is dictated for every female. “Thank you, Miss;” or perhaps, “Excuse me, young lady;” are phrases every Southern girl hears growing up.

Then comes that wretched day for every woman, usually sometime in your thirties (or even forties, if you are genetically blessed.)  You fight against it as diligently and as long as possible: facials, exercise, dieting, bright colors, a sexy hairstyle, skillful cosmetics.

Regardless of how good you think you still look, whether or not “age is just a number,” without a heed to being married, single or even a mom.

It happens in one brief soul-searing, come-to-Jesus-with-your mirror moment and you are forever changed.

Of course, it’s typically from some young, handsome college boy.  You may have even lightly toyed with the idea of flirting with him.  He looks at you, radiant in his youth, correct in his upbringing, the flower of southern manhood.

“Yes, ma’am.” he smiles at you, proud to be properly polite to an older woman.

Oh, the agony. The humiliation. The shame. The loss of hope, joy, vitality.

You have been called out. It’s all over. Youth has fled. Embrace your inner crone.

You have been ma’am shamed. 

I am well in body, although completely rumpled up in spirit. Thank you, ma’am. — Lucy Maud Montgomery M

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A Hellacious Belle’s Guide to the New South: Daddy’s Girl

Yes, I am a Daddy’s girl. Since I am also a Southern girl, there is no shame in this at all.

Regardless that I am a forty-something adult woman, it is not only perfectly normal, but socially acceptable for me to still call him Daddy.  Not Dad, not Jim.

(In the South, btw, Daddy is actually pronounced \ˈdeh-dē\ or “deddy”) 

383614_10151224165692561_295008258_nThere is a special relationship between Southern girls and their fathers.

Southern mamas teach their daughters to be strong women; but their fathers teach them that they are invincible princesses with arcane superpowers who should be treated with monumental respect.

Daddies teach their girls that they are brilliant and beautiful, worthy of love and loving and can do anything they put their minds to: start a business, be an astronaut, be president of the United States, be happy and fulfilled.

8895_10151224165697561_1369087551_nMy Daddy didn’t raise me to believe that my goals in life were defined by my gender.  He taught me to be smart and quick and strong and give my best.  And if I worked hard and believed in myself and what I was doing, I could have or be anything I wanted.

He taught me integrity by daily example.

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He taught me to win without vanquishing others.

He taught me a love of learning.

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He taught me that if I ever borrowed anything, I should give it back better than I got it.  Don’t just fill up the gas tank, wash and wax the car.

He taught me to be a good friend and told me that was the most important thing I could be in life.

My Daddy is my hero. Now and always.

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One of the (few) benefits of being older is that my father is now my friend.  My husband and I not only vacation with my parents, but we have dinner parties with them. We go to the beach together.  We enjoy their company.  We hang out.

We are good friends.

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I am eternally grateful for the strengths he gave me.  He not only taught me to believe in myself, but gave me a port in the storm and a shoulder to cry on for those times I didn’t.  He has always been there for me.

Me and my awesome Dad.

Me and my awesome Daddy.

I am proud to be a Daddy’s girl.  My Daddy’s girl.

We pick our battles and fight with the heart of a pit bull while still maintaining grace and elegance. Our mystique is that of a soft-spoken, mild-mannered southern belle who could direct an army, loves her mama and will always be daddy’s little girl.”

– Cameran Eubanks

A Hellacious Belle’s Guide to the New South: Coke Addiction

“Can I get a pop?”

If you’re a Southerner and you hear this statement, two things happen.

Your inside voice says, “Oh, a Northerner. Isn’t that cute!  Bless their heart.”

Your outside voice says, “You mean, you’d like a coke?”

I’m sorry, but in the South, it’s just not a pop.

It’s a coke.

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I don’t care what type or flavor it is: Diet, Classic, Sprite or 7up, SPLENDA®  or Truvía®, decaff or caff, leaded or unleaded.  Our grandparents called them “cold drinks,” but we call them cokes because not only was the Coca-Cola Company founded in Atlanta, but it rapidly became the primary carbonated beverage sold in the region, and then the nation and then the world: providing jobs to generations, expanding into a global empire, and becoming “a world-wide symbol of refreshment, fun, good times, and the American lifestyle.

To most Southerners, Pepsi’s just another type of coke.  A little hard to find, a little too fizzy.  Eh. Whatevs. I think you can get one at Taco Bell.

When I’m in “enlightened” company (read: Europeans, people with advanced degrees, anyone from New York City), I will attempt to use the word “soda” instead, in an effort for sophistication.

Should I convey that same term to the server or bartender, they will more often than not ask what type of vodka I’d like to go with it.

 Still, the pause that refreshes.