For all y’all that ain’t from around here… Lessons on How to Be a Southern Belle:
1. Promptly add these words to your vocabulary and use them often: “honey”, “sugar”, “darlin’”, “y’all”, “goodness gracious”, “I declare!”, and “bless your heart”.
2. Always begin or end a conversation by asking about the other person’s mama. “… and how’s your mama? How’s her garden doing? Well, tell her I asked about her.”
3. Learn to use and understand the use of the phrase “Bless her heart”. This is key in understanding Southern speak. For example, if someone had been admitted to the hospital, the phrase “Bless her heart” is used out of concern. On the other hand, if someone has run off with another person’s husband, the term “Bless her heart” may be used to turn what some might deem “gossip” into a show of concern.
4. Always use manners. “Please”, “Thank you”, “Yes ma’am”, “No ma’am”, etc.
5. Not everything that goes through the brain should come out of the mouth. Southern Belles learn to filter appropriately, and can smile sweetly even while disagreeing with another person. Southern Belle’s never yell, demand, or throw tantrums… except in private.
6. Be sure to know how to make and enjoy eating standard Southern cuisine: biscuits and gravy, sweet tea, soup beans, corn bread, collard greens, and banana pudding. (And even though I’m Southern, I can’t eat grits… )
7. There is a reason why the South is known for its hospitality. Southern Belles must know how to be gracious, welcoming hostesses and always make guests feel right at home.
8. The bigger the hair, the closer to God. Enough said. (No, this is not from the Bible, please don’t try to ‘google’ the verse…)
9. Southern Belle’s are always dressed in a classy, feminine way. If you see a southern “woman” who is dressed in a trashy, revealing way, she is not a “Southern Belle”. Classy Southern Belles dress appropriately to be seen by their mama, their husband’s mama, or the Preacher at any time.
10. … and last but not least, every Southern Belle should know the entire lyrics to “Sweet Home Alabama”. If you do not know this song…. well, you ain’t from around here!