Tag Archives: pearls

“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.

“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