Archive | September, 2012

All Hail the “Y’all”

27 Sep

Someone get the UN on the phone – I’ve had the ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction in my back pocket for years.

The Southern accent, when used appropriately, can lead to extreme personal gain.  I became aware of this fact after leaving the South.  My middle- and high-school self-distancing from Southern culture had involved beating my natural accent back behind one of the generic, American ones.  The Mid-Atlantic region alerted me, like Pavlov’s Dog, to the benefits of bringing out my more “at-home voice”. A borrowed chair here, or a few free drinks there, and I found myself subconsciously switching from my fairly Mid-western-ized accent to a sweet Southern accent dripping with syrup whenever I needed something. It became something which happened without my noticing, but, when it did, it always yielded fabulous results. In the past week alone, Dr. BWAPE and Miss O’Hara have been quite busy devastating the hapless population of DC with their acts, procuring everything from free alcohol to bungie cords to random acts of manual labor.

Southern accents can be useful in many ways, particularly in the way that non-Southerners perceive what the accent means.  Movies and TV have given all “Yankees” the impression that anyone with an accent is innocent and helpless. To boys NOT from the South, it brings out a deeply-buried chivalry which is always rewarded with a big smile. My Southern male friends up here are not so easily fooled. Whether it involves delivering groceries or delivering a well-deserved punch to another male, the Northern Knight, in his Nike Frees/tube sock combo, (nearly) always comes to the rescue of the poor belle. If only there was a way to make sure such good “bro-havior” stuck around all the time! The “holder of the accent” should always make sure to thank them graciously in an attempt to achieve permanent results. (Might I suggest homemade baked goods and/or sweet tea?) Works 85 percent of the time, all of the time. The hilarious thing is that, while I appreciate the cart gifted to me yesterday by the wonderful store manager at Wagner’s, he doesn’t (and will never) know that I was carrying THREE bags of cattle feed at a time by kindergarten age. No harm, no foul; as an added bonus, my hair ribbon stayed both intact and sweat-free.

In the job environment, the accent must be used in a loving but firm manner – it’s the belle’s greatest tool to acquiring her dream occupation. Many a successful Southern businesswoman before me have left me with these parting words: “Whatever you do, DON’T lose your Southern accent – you’ll need it ‘up there’”. In this context, our WMD is a beautiful weapon towards achieving beyond what we, or anyone else, thought possible. The same movies and TV programs which taught men that we are helpless taught women that we are incapable and foolish. Call me ignorant, if you will, when I open my mouth, but don’t be caught with your jaw open when what comes out is much more than you ever expected.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on Y’ALL.

To those well-traveled ladies who have found themselves shoving “y’all”’s and “yes ma’am”s in their skirt pockets for years – let them roam free! You may be surprised at what good comes from the sunshine of your unique and beautiful dialect. I would apologize for “ruining” our “best-kept secret”, but, while the Midwestern accent prevails as the norm, our accent will prevail as the sweet, elegant, and only slightly misleading (in a good way, of course!)



I Am the Lizard Queen

25 Sep

There comes a special moment in only the most “privileged” of Southern girls’ lives in which she gets to be a debutante.

I got to be one four times.

A tradition reviled by the rest of the world, the debutante ball is an age-old event in which fathers either show off their daughters or attempt to make them look better by parading them around in large, white dresses with trains. This event historically coincided roughly with the time at which fathers decided that their daughters should be sucking the monetary life out of some other hapless male in the community. Girls would take off entire years of the university schooling they weren’t actually participating in to plan dresses, menus, and guest invites. I’ve been told by many that anyone who can survive a debutante ball can survive a wedding.

My first “debut” occurred at the ripe age of 5 years. Despite the still-unexplained disaster of cutting all my own hair off the day before the event, I appeared on stage looking just as well as (read: considerably more adorable than) the other “princesses” and “pages” (dressed in outfits which indubitably would later turn one or more of them gay). I curtsied twice, as I was a perfectionist from a young age and dissatisfied with my first performance. Then, some hag in roughly one million sparkles attempted to steal my spotlight. I allowed her to do this, mainly because I was jealous of how brilliant her dress was compared to mine. After my ‘presentation’, it was time for the “party” portion of the charades. I drank red punch in a tiara while being doted upon by older people and chasing boys around the dance floor. It set me up quite well for what I proceeded to do three nights a week roughly twelve years down the road.

15 years later, I was informed that it was my turn to be that hag who both impressed and intimidated me as a princess. Other deb balls had come and gone, and I had been left at twenty-one years old with a skill set particular to the world of debutantes:

  1. I had, and always will have, perfected my curtsy. It is a swan-like maneuver of elegance and pretentiousness which will serve me well later in life, when I meet my mother-in-law, who will obviously be a European royal head of state.
  2.  My abilities to appear dead sober in conversations with “adults” after morose amounts of alcohol are bar-none the best in my entire high school and university classes. Additionally, I can drink like an English football fan without spilling an entire drop on my white gown and/or gloves.
  3. I can effectively make a horrendously uncoordinated, university-aged male look less like an idiot while doing the waltz.
  4. My high-stakes smiling endurance is both powerful and unwavering, and I am able hold a dazzling thriller of a toothy grin for 45 consecutive minutes.
  5. Lastly, but not least, I can carry a ten-pound bouquet of flowers on a plastic post, directly above my belly button, for several hours, whilst wearing slippery dead animals on my hands.

Ergo, I am more or less the champion of the world of cummerbunds. Nothing could prepare me, however, for the ordeal that was to be my night of queendom.

In my particular area of being raised, debutante balls consist of a court that is comprised of the “queen”, her “king”, her “maids”, and their escorts. Dress for these balls ranges from ridiculously elaborate to “secret society”- level outlandishness. Girls spend hundreds of hours and, subsequently, thousands of dollars in searching for the ultimate gown. Many a silkworm and baby goat gives up his life for 6 hours of drunken glory. When everything is put into action, and after all of the parties, luncheons, dances, after-ball breakfasts, and brunches are over, everyone has gained several pounds, an entire community’s economy has been sustained for a year, and all have enjoyed themselves tremendously, save the one set of parents whose debutante had to get scraped off of the ladies’ bathroom floor.

“Project: Turn an Awkward Nerd into a Queen” was destined to occur from the night I was put to bed as a 5 year-old princess and commenced full-throttle in the spring of my sophomore year. Both my father and mother made endless calls to me each day, which was particularly embarrassing, as I attended a university which had approximately two debutantes in its six-thousand-member student body. What’s worse is that my father’s Southern drawl heavily exaggerates my own, and NOTHING is more obnoxious than the girl walking around talking to “Daddy” about how many sequined gift boxes I wanted to be ordered, and when I needed to have my fittings, and “LAWD, girl, you have GOT to find an escort, and he can NOT be one of your gay friends in disguise.”

This was the biggest problem. When a debutante does not have a boyfriend, it becomes exponentially harder to find a date. When she is queen, this figure is multiplied by infinity. Going to a school in the Mid-Atlantic region made this a nearly impossible task, because it would involve explaining a debutante ball to a stoned guy in a lacrosse jersey. I finally settled on an old friend from Texas who vaguely knew the ropes, warning him that he would be asked over one thousand times if he and I were “going steady”. He was. Thank goodness he took it in stride.

This boy, however, was not my “king”. No, the queen is paraded around with a friend of her father dressed in knickers, makeup and faux-facial hair, who, when in full costume, bears a striking resemblance to the Burger King. My “king” was the most fantastic “good ole boy” the ball had ever seen, and the most Burger King-esque; thus, he had been the king approximately eight times before. My dad began referring to him as Henry the Eighth. I was nervous enough already and therefore not amused.

With everything lined up and the date fast approaching, I flew to my hometown and prepared for the “dress rehearsal”, which I highly anticipated upon as being a nightmare, and I was correct. It was at this rehearsal that I first became aware of my status as “the Lizard Queen”. I have never been appreciative other than at that very moment for my “athletic” build, because I was placed in an Elizabethan collar and a cape which weighed no less than 100 pounds. I asked an assisting member’s wife to bring me a mirror, in which I saw myself for the first time. “Jesus Christ; I look like a frilled lizard that’s just been startled.”

Six hours later, and, miserably, only one drink in, it was time for the presentation to begin. I had my hair and makeup done that afternoon and conceivably had never looked better in my life. I had simultaneously never been more nervous, and was constantly being threatened with questions about my love life and requests to remember people’s names who had “known me since I was five and in smocked dresses and bare feet running up the aisle to the front of the church for Sunday school (breath, agonizingly long, Southern-dialect pause) so are you dating that handsome young man with no accent?” I thought I would faint when it was time to put that godawful cape on. People with their best intentions were feeding me ice cubes soaked in whiskey and fanning me with the booklet accompanying my Swarovski crystal “scepter”. I needed a moment to be alone, so I stepped away to peek through the curtains onto the stage, just in time to see the last princess execute her little curtsy, turn around, and glance over at me in terror. “Great,” I thought, “I’m the hag that I saw 15 years ago, way too old to ever go back, and now I’m going to ruin what my father and my entire community worked so hard to put on for me.” As I shuffled in my enormous dress to my fate, I passed a mirror, in which I proceeded to give myself a good, hard, look. Then I practiced my smile, one last time. “No. I’M the Lizard Queen.”

Or, you know, the Pope.


“Wise Words” from a Senior to an Unsuspecting, Be-Pearled College Freshman

18 Sep

Dear FWAPE (Freshman with a Pearl Earring),

Congratulations – you’ve escaped the South – for now, at least! Now it’s time to head up to the “big city”, where you can use all of those still-fresh cuss words you’ve barely dared to think about since your mama caught you with them in the 6th grade. It’s also time to show those college kids you can drink with the best of them…!

Oh, wait; you go to a nerd-school.

We’ve got a lot to work through here. You’re about to make some classic mistakes. Please tell me you haven’t already forgotten the two pieces of sage advice Daddy gave you before you left:

1. “Bag Woman (charming nickname, I know), at every minute, at some point on campus, there’s a keg being opened. It is not your job to find every one of them.” (Cut to The Tombs, junior year….)

2. “Now, Sweetheart, you can’t just go off and start eating everything in sight. You’ve got a debutante gown to fit into in 4 months.” (And… Once more, with feeling!)

Even though your mother advised you to “go to a fun school, like SMU or UGA, have a good time, and find a husband”, you chose instead to head up to DC, where you admittedly kind of liked the warning that your oldest brother gave you, that “all Georgetown girls are bitches. Cutthroat bitches in Lululemon”. First mission: Find out what Lululemon is, and embrace it with all your heart.

Now, even though you’re currently a “city gal”, it’s okay to be proud of your Southern heritage. You will be, to some degree, for the rest of your life. Remember when you said you’d never listen to country again? Well, just wait till you’re homesick…or getting dressed…or curling your hair….or cooking dinner….Yeah. Nice try. You’ll be stuck with Merle Haggard and Garth Brooks for as long as your dad is still complaining about the “government spies”. It’ll become a strong case of Stockholm Syndrome, though. Just go with it.

THAT BEING SAID, PLEASE don’t go tackling everyone in a thirty-foot radius who uses the word “y’all”. You’ve got four whole years to prove to everyone that you’re absolutely bonkers. Pace yourself.

By the way: ROCK that sundress-and-pearls combo at your very first Hoyas football game. Just know that this is not Auburn University, and people will question your motives. That’s okay. No one’s going to look back and smile when they think about that tube top made of navy and gray Duct Tape they wore. Come on, y’all.

You’ll meet many people in these first few days and weeks. The majority of them will be from New Jersey. Some of these people you’ll call friends, and others will merit some degree of smile/recognition during your random campus encounters. Consider yourself lucky though: some of the best friends a Hoya could ever have will be found right on your very own freshman floor, and you’ll be laughing and crying with them through the end. When you go out dancing with them and their parents at Tombs one of the very first nights of your senior year, you’ll declare that it’s your best college memory to date. You’ll be absolutely correct.

Some girls you meet will be just like you – girls from New Orleans, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Arkansas, and you’ll take refuge in their company when times (and mid-Atlantic weather patterns) get tough. Many girls that you’ll meet in the beginning will be sweet and friendly, and they’ll be just as nervous as you are. Other girls will be not-so-nice. They’ll say that you came up to the North to get your “MRS Degree”, and that your way of living and style of dress are ridiculous. Don’t let them get to you – soon, they won’t even be blips on the radar.

Your worst enemy, however, will be your ROOMMATE, a London girl who you came to school with all the expectations of becoming best friends and skipping off into the sunset together with to your favorite bars. You’ll be wrong – at first. She’ll say she thinks you act and dress like a skanky version of her mother, that you try too hard, that she never should’ve lived with an American. You’ll say she parties too hard, that her friends are stupid and vain, and that she should go to the gym EVER in her life. DON’T EVEN THINK about moving out. You’ll be glad you didn’t. In three months, you’ll start understanding that the best parts about each other are the things which make you different (even though you thought you were perfect matches, via the Georgetown University “E-Harmony”). You’ll continue living together for another year and a half, laughing and yelling (often at the same time, and often at each other). When she studies abroad for an entire year, you’ll Skype and Facebook Chat every day, and it’ll feel like an eternity until she FINALLY COMES HOME. You won’t even care when she calls you from Shanghai at 2AM to ask you her life expectancy as it relates to a partially-thawed quiche. When senior year rolls around, y’all will be planning your futures together, and you’ll start getting worried when she applies to jobs in different parts of the country, because “who’s going to listen to my stupid stories, and eat kale with me at 3AM, and get bottles of wine on Wednesdays when it’s grossly in-apropos, and take heinously unflattering pictures of me and attempt to post them on the Internet?!” This is TBD, but here’s to hoping you’ll be making really embarrassing toasts at your hypothetical future weddings (FAR future. No worries.)

Other people will be slowing down from what they did athletically in high school. You’ll be speeding up. You’ll join the Triathlon Team, where you’ll meet the people who will push you to be your best. You will also marvel at their abilities to consume SO MUCH ALCOHOL and be happily in bed by 9:30, off on a ride at 11P. You’ll join the ranks of spandex-wearers, and wonder how you’ve ever hoofed it around in anything else. Embrace the spandex. You’ll never get over your thighs, but you’ll get over yourself eventually.

You’ll be one of the storied few who consistently goes on dates throughout your college career. Who would’ve known that you never got asked to a single dance in high school? You’re a belle, though; it’s to be expected. Those other boys, though… Well, they’re not talking to you or buying you drinks because they think you’re delightfully interesting. Wise up quickly, before things get ugly. Senior boys are trouble with a capital “T”, no matter HOW nice they look in Vineyard Vines bow ties.

Branch out! Enjoy the world you now live in of people who think it’s cool to be smart! Go to the prestigious debate society, and fail miserably at public-speaking. Those kids you call “nerds” now will never leave your side, even if they have purple hair and speak at you in what sounds like computer code. ESPECIALLY never let go of THAT one. She’ll be the one you can always count on, even if you forget to do the dishes….always.

Oh, and, by the way, you’ll get a tattoo. Bet you didn’t see THAT one coming.

Most importantly, though, never look for yourself in someone else. It’ll be one of the hardest lessons you ever learn, but, when you do, it’ll feel like you’ve stepped back onto the Hilltop as a brand-new belle.

Buckle up, lady. It’s going to be one hell of a rodeo.


Senior You


ListMaker 3000

16 Sep

A few things to start off:

1. Today, I’m wishing myself a happy almost-birthday to me. Fun Fact: I was nearly born on this date 22 years ago. Another Fact: My mother’s OB-GYN told her that he would induce labor, had I not been born before this date, because it was the opening day of dove-hunting season, and he “sure as hell” wasn’t going to miss the first dove hunts of the year for something so insignificant as a BABY being BORN. Thank goodness I showed up a month early. Clearly, I understood from an early age the importance of hunting to the men in my life.

2. On the note of hunting, a special note to the boy who laughed at me/my rebellious spandex on the treadmill on Thursday: Though I’m pretty much over it, next time, I’d pick on someone who’s not running as fast as I am and/or that is far less proficient in “Firearm”.

That being said, it’s been a wonderful weekend. As my roommate would say, “The sun is shining; the tank is clean..” My beloved Auburn Tigers eked out a victory this weekend, I didn’t get an awkward tan line while cruising around in the sun for hours. The small victories.

I have a confession to make, though: I have an incomprehensible addiction to making lists, and it’s getting worse by the day.

I’m not quite sure when it began, but I’m now up to 3-5 lists a day. I have three separate, differently-sized notebooks and a [naturally, Lilly Pulitzer] day planner, so that I can indulge my habit at any time. I currently have lists CATEGORIZING my other lists, and I have been absentmindedly tearing up unfinished ones, in order to create brand new lists with clean, empty squares to fill in next to the tasks. I derive unspeakable pleasure from crossing things off, be they completely insignificant (they usually are) or gigantic and fairly obvious (I WOKE UP THIS MORNING, Y’ALL). If you will refer to the above, I literally couldn’t begin my daily ramblings without listing.

Today was different. Today, I didn’t finish ANYTHING on ANY of my lists.

What I DID do, however, is created a new type of list, one on which I mentally checked off everything I did that made me happy today. In just TEN hours, I:

-cooked M&M pancakes and bacon for my roommates and made sure to give them all hugs,

-wore my favorite Lululemon top to the library, even though it could use a good washing,

-ate a free burger with some of my favorite pals and didn’t even stop to think about negotiating my daily calorie count,

-told my best friend that I loved him and how important he was to me (hugs ensued; hopefully it’ll give me another 3 weeks to forget picking up my printer at his house),


-wore pearls.

Happy Sunday, y’all. Oh, and “Shana Tova” to my many, many Jewish ex-boyfriends.


What’s in a Name, or The First (and Last) Time I Ever Agree with Kanye West

13 Sep

Before I go any further, I feel like I owe an explanation as to the origins of “BWAPE” (Let me help you never turn that into an acronym that people pronounce. GUASFCU (Georgetown University Whatever, Whatever Credit Union) doesn’t need any competition for “Most Awkward Non-Word Ever”.)

Unrelated, but my iTunes Library just went from “P.I.M.P.” to “Uptown Girl”. I do not understand, but I’ll embrace it.

I’m mainly giving my name explanation because of my beloved Doctor Daddy, who texted me today, saying, “Read first few lines of your Facebook post. Call as soon as you can.” After mentally kicking myself repeatedly for teaching my father about both texting AND Facebook, I called him back, assuming that it was about the blog. Turns out, my father both jumps to conclusions and cannot focus long enough to read a full sentence (I had to get it from somewhere), and he was ACTUALLY calling because “he was just checking his Facebook on the tractor and thought I was on crutches”. Brilliant. Yes, Daddy; though I have an orthopedic surgeon in the family, I’m going to attempt to hide a broken leg from you by posting about it as my Facebook status. Regardless, I got slightly nervous, as usage of “shut up” is banned for young ladies (me) in the Smith household (still, only me). The fact that I would publicly drop the B-bomb might react with the 65 years of built-up Conecuh sausage grease in his arteries. I do NOT want to be responsible for THAT.

In the “meta” sense, my name refers to the iconic Vermeer painting in my homepage background. For those of y’all who don’t intimately know me, art is one of my many vastly-unrelated passions in life. Alas, I have no interest in wearing black or quoting Sylvia Plath, so Vermeer’s Girl comes in as a double entendre! I am Southern, therefore I wear pearls every day. BAM. It’s as simple as that.

In using the word “bitch”, I am by no means self-deprecating. While I’m certainly Olympic Gold-grade in the category of Bitching and Otherwise Snarkily Observing Things, I don’t consider myself a “bitch” in a sense of degradation. I’ll prefer to think of it as self-empowering. As the dearly beloved, classy and overall me-like Kanye West observed on his Twitter last week, language is something that is perceived and changes through use and context.

Clearly, I wasn’t paraphrasing AT ALL.

Also, you’ve been witness to the first and last time I ever agree with Kanye West.

One day, someone will call my progeny an SOB, and they’ll say, “Duh. Thanks for noticing. Have you seen her other pearl earring, by the way?”

In the meantime, decorate your apartment with your very own embroidered Kanye West tweet-samplers, put Ibuprofen and water by your bed before you head over to Tombs, and keep your hearts light and minds clear.

Oh, and change into a different pair of Nike Tempo shorts. Let’s be real, you’re not wearing the same size you were sporting during JV field hockey. My sixth-grade science teacher would say they’re “too short, too tight, and therefore unacceptable”.


Boys From the South

12 Sep

For my first post, I’ve jacked the title from a Pistol Annies song that I particularly love to listen to when I’ve been drinking, or I’m procrastinating (often combined activities), but mainly because I’ve been bothered by something that happened to me on Friday afternoon.

I was walking down Wisconsin Ave. with my visiting high school friend, casually talking and window shopping, and I heard the familiar opening notes of an old Garth Brooks song. Full of nostalgia and otherwise Southern pride/cameraderie/singing-type urges, I looked over and saw the source of the music, a jacked-up black Ford-150. Inside sat a Hoya, year unknown, complete with Hoyas Football t-shirt and camouflage baseball cap, singing the words.

I. Was. Spellbound.

This guy could’ve had an enormous growth on his face, and he was probably “dippin'” Skoal or some other variety, but, in that moment, I had the MAJOR hots for this boy. It didn’t even matter that he may be the dumbest person in the DC Metro area for paying local gas prices to fill up that sucker. I wanted to jump up in the cab of his truck and sing along to the songs I listened to every SINGLE day my brothers drove me  to and from school.

I immediately informed my friend, who laughed and promptly told me that I had finally gone off the deep end.

She’s probably right. It could also be PTSSD “Post-Traumatic Senior Studying Disorder”. I spent my entire young dating life pointedly avoiding any male with a hint of Southern in his blood, often outsourcing  boyfriend-duties to dudes outside of the city or state. NOTHING about boys with “country” tendencies resonated with me at all. After all, it was embarrassing enough that my dad and brothers wore cowboy boots to every event possible. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with “dress boots”, know that they exist, and, for a man as old as Dr. Wilburn Anthony Smith, Jr. (MD, COL USAF Retired, “thank ya very much”), they have involved the sacrifices of many an ostrich.) I was convinced that, when I shipped off to the “big city” for school, I would meet a handsome, international-type man who would sweep me off my feet and give me children with dual citizenship. Three years later, I find myself vastly more attracted to men with working skill-sets of hunting, fishing, and horseback riding, the ones that can do a decent two-step, that know a little bit about craft beer, and that enjoy getting their hands dirty, than those that don’t. There’s something so….invigorating about going to a party and listening to country music, or seeing a pressed, clean button-down shirt paired with sunglasses on a “croakie”.

Have I regressed from the cosmopolitan young lady I thought I had become, or at least that I am attempting to become? Or have I finally come around and gained some common sense?

I am not sure, but I think it may have something to do with college men and their ways of interacting with women. I met a wonderful young man from Dallas the other weekend who was the epitome of “gentleman”, despite the fact I was probably boring him to death. There’s another I’ve known for three years from Charleston, SC, who has both the sweetest smile and the dirtiest mouth I’ve ever heard. The New Orleans Hoyas never disappoint at SEC Gamewatch on Saturday, and, even though it’s not TECHNICALLY the South, my best friend in the world will always be my first friend at Georgetown, a sweetheart from Florida who spends his time trying to be from everywhere else.

That being said, there are most certainly examples of just the contrary — Southerners that prove they’re the opposite of the gentleman (Here’s looking at you, Charlotte, NC). And Lord KNOWS there’s nothing more deceiving than the aptly-dressed Midwesterner. An absolute wild card.

In the end, it’s the way those boys (we’re seniors; I guess they’re “young men” by now) make a girl feel. Their skills and hobbies are the ultimate in “manly”, but their personalities make them irresistible. It’s the chivalry and deference that so many girls at Georgetown screech and protest about as being “insulting” and “backwards”. After 3 years of Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, and (God forbid) New Jersey, there’s nothing better than someone who you KNOW’s momma raised them right.

Pro tip to all of my fellow Lady Hoyas: In our path to using our designer degrees, the majority of us will head farther north. If you ever get a chance, grab a Southern beau. You’ll never regret it. It’s like they always say, “Once you go South, you never go….back”(?)

Okay, nothing rhymes with South that is not heinously inappropriate. You’ll have to just take my word for it.


(Exhibit A: Channing Tatum, Alabama native. Woof.)