Archive | February, 2013

The Care and Keeping of Your Southern Daddy

26 Feb

My father, when finding out I had a blog, immediately said, “Oh Lawd, the only thing that I ask is that you don’t write about me like that Rebecca Wells.” (Rebecca Wells, the author of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, grew up in the same town as Daddy, and they went on approximately one date. He enjoys reminding me from time to time that my uncle “Tick-Tock”‘s gas station/country store/restaurant is mentioned in the book. Not entirely sure what’s in the water in Louisiana.)

The Southern ‘Daddy’ is an archetype that has existed ever since the first BWAPE needed money for something or another. They function, not only as occasionally-effective banks, but as chauffeurs, dance partners, stable-grooms, surprisingly effective hair-braiders (“If you can braid a horse’s tail…”), fish de-hookers, and more. While they are not necessarily good for facts, they’re ALWAYS good for opinions. Classic answers to unasked questions include, “No, you cannot just start EATING when you get back to school. You still have to fit into that debutante gown at LEAST two more times” and “Yes, I would like some of those pancakes; don’t mind if I do!” If people say that Southern women are chatty, but they clearly haven’t encountered the Southern father. They are inexplicably loud, with a swagger that makes Kanye West look humble, and an endless supply of time to brag about their children and grandchildren.

My father is, in all of his suffixes, one of the most puzzling men I have ever met. Though having studied at Tulane, Texas, Georgetown and Cambridge, he still talks in the most syrup-laden Southern accent of anyone I know. His resume of pastimes reads like Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World’s — running, swimming, rugby, yacht-sailing, plane-flying, steer-wrestling, spear-fishing, sharp-shooting, pound cake-cooking, daughter-raising…. you name it, he has done it.

Despite many attempts at promoting otherwise, a Daddy is a creature of unbreakable habit. Mine still wakes me up most mornings that I am home by loudly singing the first Buddy Holly track that pops into his mind. For as long as I can remember, he’s worn the same shade of ostrich-skin cowboy boots, and he’ll never pass up the opportunity to wear a sweater vest with his ducks-and-shotgun-shells tie. Despite having horrible knees which are in desperate need of replacement, he is still the a Casanova on the dance floor, better than any man or boy with whom I’ve ever danced, spinning me around and laughing like it’s the best time he’s ever had. We’ve never passed up the opportunity to dance to “My Girl” by the Temptations. He’s never missed his Wednesday night “Prayer Meeting”, the name we’ve given to his weekly poker games out in the country with his fellow good-ole-boys (“I’m praying that I don’t lose too much money this week!”).

No boy will ever be good enough for Daddy’s little girl. Favorite terror tactics of “getting to know” my various beaus have included “‘coon-hunting trips” (5 Southern Men + 3 Dogs + 5 Guns + 1 Unusually Quiet Boyfriend, all at 2AM, in the woods), truck rides and various farm-chores. Of course, I’m never invited. I shudder to think what will happen should I bring my Portuguese boyfriend home.

While, at times, the Southern Daddy can be unbelievably frustrating (“No, Daddy, I already told you SEVENTEEN TIMES that I DO NOT have time to apply for the membership in the DAR”), he’s generally a source of unwavering, patient love. He’ll always think I’m “avant-garde”, and I’ll think he’s antiquated beyond the Age of the Dinosaurs, but, when he finally figures out how to work his new iPhone, he’ll always sign his texts with an “I love you! Daddy”. And that’s just fine with me.

“Crossing The Border”, or A Step- By- Step Guide to Bringing Your Northern Friends to the South

21 Feb

(**Apologies all around for nearly two Bitch-free months… Though I had been polishing up my curtsying resume and finding references to endorse my superior flower-holding skills, I found out that one cannot ACTUALLY become a professional debutante. This has severely put a damper on my plans for next year, but CERTAINLY not a damper on my Bitch-ing.)

This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the time when I became the “Lizard Queen”, that magical evening when I became positive that Elizabethan collars were the reason that Silly Straws were invented (Try getting a G and T to your mouth with THAT thing on. I dare you.) As a washed-up has-been, it was my job to shed my metaphorical queenly/reptilian skin (ew) and receive flowers at the presentation of this year’s queen. Naturally, I was afraid of becoming Cindy Crawford in the 00’s, so I took matters into my own hands. Debutante balls are not arenas for competition (or, so they say), so sneakier tactics were required.

And so, like Russell Crowe in Braveheart,with more hairspray, and a gown that would make Tina Turner turn in her own resignation, I marched my troops of Northern friends down the East Coast.

Previously, the “Bring Your Northern Friends to the South Day” exhibitions have consisted of two — or fewer — parties. I generally cheat by bringing a Georgetown friend of Southern descent to raise a few eyebrows, but this year, I went for the gusto. Friends from the likes of Baltimore, Chicago, Indiana (not quite sure where that is, but I hear there’s corn involved) and New Jersey, bribed with the promises of snuggling ‘coon-hound puppies and consuming copious amounts of free booze, took their slightly-fearful first trips into the 6-gate metropole that is the Montgomery Regional Airport.

Some very important questions were asked and answered in advance of the main event:  “No, there is ABSOLUTELY no grinding NOR are there dance-floor make-outs at a debutante ball”, “Yes, PLEASE attempt to say ‘Yes, Sir’ and ‘Yes, Ma’am’, lest you stick out like an Italian Ice in the Blue Bell Ice Cream Aisle at the local Winn Dixie”, “Yes, people WILL make incredibly off-color jokes; please just smile and laugh uncomfortably”, “NO, you may NOT pretend that you are British and fake a British accent the entire night”, among many others.

My dad had an even better time than normal giving his “This is How We Tastefully Drink at Debutante Balls” Pre-Ball Lecture. We made sure to point out that, “if an Alabama or Auburn girl drinks far too much at one of these thangs, people will just say ‘Oh, she’s in yew-ni-vuh-suh-tee’, but, if y’all are the ones doing it, they’ll say, ‘Oh, THAT one’s from Noo Juh-see'”.

“And there is NOTHING less classy than a drunk debutante or her passed-out date” (Once more, with feeling…)

At the end of the night, I would say that, despite their obvious lack-of-accents, my friends were some of the most elegant-looking never-been-debs at the ball. (Apparently, someone invited a girl that had a dragon tattoo crawling out of the back of her dress, so there were some obvious discrepancies.) Fun times were had by all when, after a few drinks, my convincingly-straight-date made bets with the girls as to which of the masked-members were “closeted”. (No further remarks.)

The weekend ended wonderfully with a post-ball-brunch-mimosa-binge at the Country Club, an ingloriously-long post-hot-tub-mimosa-binge-post-post-ball-brunch nap, and my dad feeding my friends hush puppies and venison-burgers instead of beef-burgers and thinking he was very sneaky.

Much less Cousin Vinny, but maybe just a tiny tinge of Sweet Home Alabama?

Word on the street is, they returned physically unharmed (save a hangover or two, and a few extra pounds), but may carry those mental images around for life. And, returning to a life post-invasion-by-Nawth’nuhs, The South is doing just fine, too.