"Maybe she was praying for us cause we was gossipin. Maybe she was praying because the elastic is shot in her pantyhose."
- Truvy, Steel Magnolias
I gave quite a lot of thought to the beautiful complexity of southern women while writing Southern Solstice. A flowery cocktail comes to mind. The sweet kind; masking alcohol with intoxicating fragrance and the allure of swirling pink liquid making you lose count ("I don't even feeeeeeel anything!"). You don't know it yet, but you are drunk on sugar and presumption. (wink)
There is a duality that southern woman are able to maintain on a daily basis, flowing seamlessly from comforter to unwavering disciplinarian, short-order cook to effortless hostess, gardener by day, belle of the ball by night, secret vault and biting linguist. (Come to mid-town in Nashville sometime and see some of the prettiest little Chi Omegas in their floral rompers shotgunning bud lights at the Tin Roof).
In my barre3 class last week, there was a beautiful older woman wearing massive pearl earrings and bright red lipstick that matched her LuluLemon perfectly. It was the 6am class, y'all. Was it unnecessary? Yes. Do I want to be her? 100%. Bar: set higher (I'm currently just focused on not having that child who is always barefoot and sticky - #toddlerprobz).
When our family moved from North Carolina to Wyoming when I was almost ten, I saw this same duplicity recognized by other women as they observed my own mother, often commenting on "how she did it all" and asking "what don't you do?" I had never heard much talk of "being southern" until that point, but that title is what they believed authorized her with the ability to throw a dinner party and look completely untroubled.
One of my best friends is an Italian spitfire (surely her people hail from southern Italy...). Last week she came over for dinner and said, "You are every women.You are what Whitney was singing about."
Jaw. Dropped. Ultimate compliment. And so so so so so very far from true.
I haven't even gotten my azaleas in the ground yet.