Educating the world about Texas one Yankee at at time.

Educating the world about Texas one Yankee at a time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bless your heart, you’ve just been insulted

I and my gal pals were swapping e mails once again about topics that interest us, and it came up in conversation that people have shown more rude behavior to one another than ever before.

Texans and Southerners believe in good manners. We’ve been taught to be gracious even when others are not. We also are famous for being kind to be cruel.

Y’all, I’m apologizing up front for all this; Texans are supposed to be friendly, not tacky. But it happens. What’s more…we’re not just enthusiastic about it; we’re flat out creative.

Gal pal Chris wrote, “There are ways to be rude without being in-your-face about it. I think blatant criticism shows a great lack of feeling and imagination. It takes no forethought to say you hate someone's shoes. But to say when asked your opinion of someone’s footwear, ‘Those must be very special to you, I think you should request to be buried in them so you can have them with you for eternity’ takes flair and style! Girls need to be taught this by their mothers and grandmothers from a very early age.

“It takes a moment for the person to digest what you have just said, thus giving you time to beat feet out of the room before they can fire something back,” she continued. “Sometimes, depending on from what part of the country the person you have just insulted comes, it could be days before they understand that they were just hit with a well-placed insult right between the eyes. Most women can at least learn to use the obligatory ‘bless her heart’ after a commentary made on, say, the behemoth proportions of the derriere that just left the room. ‘Maybe she should limit her cupcake intake to say a case a week, bless her heart.’ Now, that just sounds like concern for a fellow human being to me, am I right?”

Well…yes. It does sound like genuine concern for your fellow human being. Pretty is as pretty does, or so said our mothers. We’ve been encouraged, taught and brow-beaten in to being “nice” for so long that even when we’re nasty, it sounds like we’re flirting.

It’s awful to have to admit this, but there’s a lot of fun in finding a way to tell people where to go in such a way that they actually look forward to the trip.

Our terrible habit of hurling flowery zingers at our “frenemies” was immortalized by Joe Sears and Jaston Williams in their play, “Greater Tuna,” by none other than Vera Carp, small town snob and busybody, when she turns to someone in the audience and says, “Oh I had a dress just like that…YEEEEEARS ago!”

Juls, our token northern gal, found these little gems and shared them with us. If you know who actually composed this list, let me know. I’d love to send them a thank you note.

Southern Belle Insults:
1) You're smart to do your laundry on Saturday night, when everyone else is out.
2) If you were taller, you could be a model.
3) Nice dress. I've seen a lot of girls wearing it, but I think it suits you most.
4) It's so refreshing to have a conversation with someone who doesn't feel the need to prove they are smart.
5) I think it's so cool that you're comfortable with how you look.
6) You look so nice today, I almost didn't recognize you.
7) I can't get over how good you look.
8) You're so lucky. If I ate like you…I'd look like a house.
9) You don't look happy in that.
10) That sweater is…interesting. I just think it's a little young for you.
11) You're more of a "street smart" kind of guy.
12) You're not the kind of girl guys date; you're the kind of girl they marry.
13) You're so real.
14) Oh. You're wearing THAT? Well, it's not something I'd wear but I guess you can get away with it.
15) You got your hair cut! It looks so much better!
16) That's pretty complicated. I'm surprised you figured it out.

Now, I believe if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all…if you can help it. Clearly, my friends feel the same way.

Just after our delightfully catty little electronic exchange, Juls wrote, “OH MY GOSH! I pulled a Southern Belle today and didn't even mean to. I saw a lady who was dressed down today -- frumpy t-shirt and old jeans and without thinking I told her, ‘Oh, you look so comfortable today.’ Everyone generally wears office casual type of clothes at the seminar I attended (it IS a professional seminar which is an opportunity to network) and she really stood out. She's nice so I hope she didn't take offense. Shame on me!”

Juls has been in Texas so long, she went native. Ever the genteel soul that I am, I responded with the classic Dorothy Parker line, “Girl, if you have nothing nice to say, come sit by me.”

By the way, Ms. Parker was born in New Jersey, bless her heart, but it never really showed.

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