Archive | October, 2012

The Iron Bowl Cometh

31 Oct

Now that Halloween is over for college students (regardless of the ACTUAL date, it falls on the closest weekend), we’ve got plenty to put behind us. We can begin the mental recovery required after seeing drunken freshmen (and seniors who should know better) dressed in Lycra and doing stupid things in public. We can put our extra gallon jugs of water, batteries, hand sanitizer, and spare Bibles away, now that Hurricane Sandy has passed.** We maintain the right to judge anyone who is still wearing white denim and attempting to call it “winter whites”. We have one more day to kiss our boyfriends/playthings before “No-Shave November” — the WORST “holiday” of the year – begins. What’s more, we can begin shedding the pounds from all of the candy and pumpkin-accented baked goods we “TOTALLY got for the trick-or-treaters” and start mentally preparing for the caloric/quasi-apocalyptic nightmare that is Thanksgiving. NO ONE wants their relatives to un-subtly (painfully so) remark about the “not-really-a-relationship weight” you may/may not have put on.

 **(On the note of Hurricane Sandy: We temporarily suspend our New Jersey-related jokes and comments, as they’re having a pretty tough time right now.)

 This brings us to begin preparation for what is, basically, the most important occasion of the year: The Iron Bowl.

 For those of you woefully-uneducated, pro-football-preferring non-SEC-supporters, the Iron Bowl is the hallowed annual event, held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, at which Auburn University (the Tigers, NOT the “War Eagles”…*facepalm*) and the University of Alabama (“THE Yew-nee-VUH-suh-tee”, for its most dedicated fans) Crimson Tide (strangely manifesting itself in the form of an elephant) face each other for ultimate bragging rights and general glory for the next 364 days. For Alabamians, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is both more significant and more anticipated than Christmas, Easter, General Robert E. Lee’s birthday, and their wedding anniversaries. The public snarling begins weeks in advance. Friendships are temporarily disbanded, and anyone foolish enough to wear team apparel runs the risk of polite, but nasty, commentary. “Houses divided” (in which fans of both teams exist) get tenser as the date creeps closer. Women (and my father) struggle for months in advance over whether they’re going to do “Black Friday” shopping, or if it would be better if they just stayed home this year and made yet ANOTHER CrockPot full of Rotel dip JUST IN CASE. Deer stands are abandoned at the opening notes of ESPN’s “College GameDay”, and they’ll remain that way until the game is over, unless there’s a clear-cut victor (The 2009 Iron Bowl, however, proved that this is not always the wisest decision.) Fans that are lucky enough to get tickets crowd the stadium in their orange/blue/white or red/black/white best. Every year I’ve ever attended, someone has gotten arrested for having “one too many” and harassing/assaulting fans of the opposite team (Thankfully, as an Auburn fan, I have selective vision and hearing that only recognizes Alabama fans as the troublemakers.)

 This rivalry has lasted since the inception of the event in 1893. People base their judgment of each others’ character, intelligence and class on their team affiliation. I once saw the most amazing gingerbread “double-wide” decorated with a teeny-tiny replica Alabama flag.

 People who live in the “Heart of Dixie” say that there’s no way I can be a real fan if I’m living up here. Don’t you worry; I’ve had my outfit planned for WEEKS (and there’s still 25 days to go!)


(I’ll be wearing the outfit on the RIGHT, duh.)

Halloween: Scarier than Fake Pearls (AND That Polyester French Maid Getup You’re Trying to Pull Off)

24 Oct

Halloween is an incredibly treacherous time of the year past the age of 12 or so. This rings especially true for those of us in Northern outposts.

 Reasons to Fear Halloween:

 1. While it isn’t a specifically-designated “eating holiday” (like Thanksgiving, when I go for a run to hide from the deep-fried turkey ‘spectacle’), Halloween is an equally-dangerous holiday for packing on the pounds. Starting roughly the day after Easter, stores begin putting out Halloween candy, which people increasingly attempt to stuff into you the closer it gets to the date. My mother’s favorite thing is to send me a care package full of Halloween-themed treats, which always includes Halloween Pumpkin Peeps (Peep-kins? I don’t know). This is the same woman who tells me that she doesn’t want ME blaming HER when I blow up like a balloon. Go figure.

 2. Halloween and the surrounding weekend(s) in the “big city” are a father’s biggest nightmare. Firstly, all of the time spent prancing around outside in costumes in the freezing “Nawthun” weather could lead to frostbite, or death, or WORSE, attention from Jewish Democrat boys. MORE importantly, daddies have to worry as to whether the annual “pepper-spray-keychains-in-Christmas-stockings” have lasted through the year. After all, having 8 backups may still not protect you from those awful Yankees.

 3. The amount of time spent on the Internet during the month of October squealing over pictures of animals and babies in Halloween costumes greatly exceeds ANY time spent studying.

 Last, but not least:

 4. Sexy costumes.

 My mother sewed all of my Halloween costumes (excluding the Pink Power Ranger costume at 4 years old) THROUGH the ones I wore to my high school’s senior-year Homecoming Spirit Week. Combined with the facts that a) the length of time between now and summer has left me looking NATURALLY like a ghost and b) finishing that last pack of Halloween-themed Sweet Tarts while watching Hocus Pocus, I am just not suitable for sexy costumes. I have mentioned before that I am not sexy. When I modeled my new lingerie last week, my British roommate asked if I bought my intimates at the Grandma Store. The “sexiest” things I can pull off are my running spandex (read: “Professional Athletic Lesbian World Tour”), and I get really uncomfortable thinking about dressing up as the sexualized version of Oscar the Grouch. It’s not a “feminist” thing, I just – well – y’all, He LIVES IN A TRASH CAN and HAS GREEN FUR. Also, there’s the graceful concept of a walk of shame in costume. Yikes. There’s no fooling anyone that you’re headed to a “Halloween-themed costume brunch”… Bless your heart.

 If you are like me and inherently pull off sexy about as well as Richard Simmons, I have some costume ideas:

 – Scarlett O’Hara. If you can make a D-I-Y antebellum curtain dress, more power to you. In fact, I’ll probably commission you to make my costumes for the rest of forever.

– Paula Deen. The costume is not complete without 1 or more sticks of butter. Perhaps someone could dress as a stick of butter to accompany you? I won’t push it.

-A debutante. Because OF COURSE I didn’t bring my extra elbow-length gloves/tiara to school with me for any chance to wear them in a costume-type setting. Or, you know, when I get bored.



If you’re at a COMPLETE loss, just borrow what your New Jersey friend wore to class that day. (Just kidding) (Or am I?)


Ode to the Big Brother(s)

13 Oct

In August of 1990, I decided it was my time for my world debut. This was a month earlier than anyone else had planned for it, of course – I play by my own rules – and so my mother rushed to the hospital alone. My father and brothers, then 10, 8 and 5, had gone out to Colorado for some mosquito-free, humidity-free, getting-out-of-my-enormously-pregnant-mother’s-face-related fun, unaware that I would pull my first stunt at such a young age.

My brothers had feared my arrival for months, and rightly so. There were rumors that there would be a girl coming into the family. They tried EVERYTHING to convince my mother to have another boy instead, short of begging for potentially-female-me to be put up for adoption, and maybe there’d be better luck next time (reports at this time are unclear on whether this may have actually happened). Their main concern: A girl would be simply unacceptable for playing the fourth Ninja Turtle. When my mother called on the ‘car phone’ to announce that there was a new girl in the family, audible groans could be heard from the backseat.

My absolute favorite picture of my brothers and me was taken when I was roughly a year old. We’re all out at the farm. I’m sitting in my carrier, pudgy-in-pink in one of the dresses my mother loved to sew for her only daughter. The boys are all standing around me, dressed head-to-toe in camouflage, guns in hand. Because it’s a “sibling photo”, our bird dogs are naturally in the picture as well.

There is nothing quite as lovely as being the only girl with three older brothers.. I was the “princess”, the faultless child who never got spanked (despite loud protest), and the one who always got everything first, according to the boys. Not only was I disruptive, nosy and bossy (we won’t argue about verb tense here), but I always got my way and got IN the way. When putting the enormous fake spider in front of their doorway lost its effectiveness (not that I figured out that it wasn’t real, but that I learned how to jump over it), all hope was lost.

As everyone who’s ever had siblings knows, though, the ‘kangaroo court’ always prevails. Punishments for the Super Brat (me) were sneaky. The most devious of all, however, was replacing the icing of an Oreo with toothpaste and tricking me into not only eating it, but sacrificing all of my Easter candy for it as well.

Despite all of the torment, I worshipped the ground they walked on. For years, I was Human Bird-Dog, Roping Dummy (forced, not to simply stand still and be a target, but also to run around and ‘moo’), Livestock Manager, Snack Concocter, Wingman’s Accessory, Secret Keeper (largely, a failure), Taste-Tester, Alarm Clock, Gate Opener and Closer, and Bank With No Interest or Guarantee of Repayment. The notorious “25-to-1 Rule” stated that, if I hit one of them, they were allowed to hit me back 25 times (a-la How I Met Your Mother, to be delivered when it was deemed most agonizing). In return, they were my protectors, my motivators, and chauffeurs. They even occasionally shared their beef jerky or French fries. They planned my future for me, declaring that one day I’d be World Rodeo Queen or the number-1 girl javelin thrower, or sometimes just the assistant in their internationally-renowned knife-throwing circus acts.

Now we are only three, spread out across the United States and fulfilling the dreams that none of us ever planned for each other, or even that we’d planned for ourselves. I’m no longer Stable Hand, and they don’t have to put the bait on my fishhook. I serve now as Private Consultant for Male Fashion and Wife/Girlfriend Gifts. They check my résumé, if I ask in a timely fashion, and they’re the best swing-dancing partners a girl could ask for.

I still maintain, like Dolly from the Family Circus comic strip, that I have no idea how girls can fall in love, because I have brothers. I still think they smell terrible, and they still make fat jokes and make fun of every boy I’ve ever dared to bring home. The “25-to-1 Rule” still gets enacted, on occasion. I haven’t fallen for the Oreo Trick in a while, though.

Even though I never was allowed to be the fourth Ninja Turtle, they kept me around, and I’ll always be the ‘princess’ (brat) that brought them sandwiches and Cokes during dove shoots. I think I got the better end of the deal.


(Let’s be clear on who never relinquished the crown.)

A BWAPE Primer

6 Oct

Earlier this week, I admitted to my family that I, their loving, pearl-laden Bitch, had created a blog. My father, who cautions people that I’ve become quite “avant-garde” since leaving for the “Nawth”, was not surprised. (“Your cousin KK has a blog-thing about her wonderful time nannying in Spain and her wonderful husband. You DO remember that they got married at the Biltmore Estate, don’t you?” Yes, Daddy. And I tend to fall for Jewish Democrats. It’s a terrible little ‘habit’ that, with any luck, I’ll grow out of soon.)

My mother, who is now the self-appointed Ebert and Roeper of BWAPE, got straight to work. “Some of these are funny,” she started. “Some are funnier than others.” After giving the breakdown of her thoughts surrounding pearls, men, and my ‘habit’ of wearing workout clothes to class just a little too much lately, she laid down the heavy-hitter. “So….Why are you doing this, anyway?”

I didn’t have an answer for her then. I think I do now.

It took less than two weeks back at Georgetown in my senior year to lose two of the most crucial items in my tool belt. The first was my Alabama driver’s license. Luckily, I have another photo ID, which allows me continue what I consider to be my ‘habit’, drinking men under the table and walking away unscathed. (Think Raiders of the Lost Ark, with more “bro tanks” and fewer Nepalese.) I briefly considered “taking the plunge” and getting a Washington, D.C. driver’s license to replace my Southern one. That notion didn’t last for long. DC is a mix of cultures – an exciting amalgamation of all that is cosmopolitan and Barbour-coated. I, however, am one in many cultures. I’m a Southerner.

Two nights later, I lost one of my beloved pearl earrings. I have worn pearl earrings every day since I got my ears pierced at 13. Nothing else seems quite as fitting. I’ve tried diamonds, dangles and other sad substitutes, but I am a girl of the pearl. I immediately set to work finding a shop in the area that sold pearl earrings. This seemed like an easy enough task, as there are five or more in close range at home. I came up empty. I was, from that point, the Bitch with a Pearl Earring. Only one. The lonely survivor sits on a monogrammed jewelry tray, one of the souvenirs of my debutante ball days.

It took me losing that simple pearl and finding it impossible to replace to realize what had been missing from life since I stepped, breathless and glistening (Southern girls don’t “sweat”, obviously), onto the Hilltop. I needed the South in my life. I had been denying it from time to time, embracing it at others. Each attempt to walk away from the foundation of myself as Bitch has reeled me back in even harder. I won’t be able to replace my lost pearl for another few months, but if anything I say can help other “displaced debs” remember and love where they came from (and if it can give non-Southerners a little insight into ‘our kind’) then it will be like I never lost that pearl at all.

As it reads in A Southern Belle Primer, “There is something about Southern upbringing that never goes away”.

Moreover, Southern women always like to feel that they are being useful. As I told a hapless Yankee earlier today, I adore doing things for others and giving advice when it’s requested of me.**

**Sometimes I even give advice when it is not requested of me. This is met with mixed reviews.

Or maybe it’s exactly what my exasperated, British best friend always says to me — that I love to hear the sound of my own voice. Now I just love to hear the sound of my own laptop keys.


Why I Love Gay Men, and Why You Should Too

2 Oct

There comes a time in (hopefully) every Southern girl’s life when she leaves the South for at least a little while, and she can choose to accept the sad realities of everywhere else in the country – that men are boys, that talking to strangers is odd, and that hair ribbons past the age of 10 is an association with Catholic schools, cheerleaders and/or a Lolita Complex, among other tragedies. In voluntarily casting ourselves out of Eden/ Mayberry, there are changes and consequences. There are some changes and new identities, however, that can and should be embraced. The best of all of those is gay men.

Now, let’s get one already-obvious thing abundantly clear: I find nothing “chic” or trendy in collecting many, MANY GBFs. I am not chic. In fact, please let me know when Otis Redding, Lilly Pulitzer and swing-dancing become “it” again, because I’ll march myself right into Vogue and submit myself as the cover girl. I’ll never take a man clothes shopping for myself, regardless of his orientation, and I have loads of wonderful friends that are male, but not gay, and even more that aren’t even male at all!

In my tiny elitist training compound of a high school, “gay” was unacceptable. I know more derogatory terms for homosexuality than I care to admit, and there was more than one individual verbally chased out of my school by nasty words and accusations of that sort. I know that this is equally true for many of the Southern men who now find themselves in New York, DC and Atlanta, struggling to embrace their heritage and reconcile the parts of their identity that our particular heritage does not always warmly embrace.

Here are just a few of the ways in which all Southerners are secretly gay men in disguise:

1. Southerners are blunt. We are rarely shocked or appalled, and passive-aggression does not factor into an argument. I have a 98% likelihood of going ahead with a terrible plan if someone is not going to be abundantly clear about it being terrible.

2. We have a love for the classic, the vintage, the sophisticated, and general decorum. A bowtie and a seersucker suit, Billie Holliday and Patsy Kline, and the simple elegance of fresh flowers never escape the notice of a Southerner. Write me a thank-you note, not an email. Appreciate the wood paneling in Daddy’s study or the importance of walking out the door looking put-together. And, God forbid, do NOT begin a text conversation with me after 9:30P. It’s rare that I’ll answer.

And, most importantly of all:

3. We’ve experienced struggle and have the strength it takes to cope with a heritage and identity which is frowned upon by plenty of others – to look our past in the face, and accept ourselves for what we can’t change, and, frankly, what we have no desire TO change.

I’m no Carrie Bradshaw, nor am I Grace Adler. There’s more to my life than what their fictional lives hold. I am a young Southern woman who has had the privilege of meeting some of the South (and North)’s formerly best-kept secrets.