Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The term is derived from the French word belle, meaning beautiful. The expression came to refer to a charming young lady of the Old South gentry. A true belle epitomized hospitality, beauty, and chastity. When I think of a southern belle, I envision plantations, staircases, chandeliers, parlors, porches, cast iron gates, oak trees, Spanish moss, hoop skirts, petticoats, corsets, hats, parasols, hanky, gloves, cotillions, mint juleps, hand fans, servants, silver tea service. . . basically, females who lived pampered, genteel lives of leisure. Based on those images, I certainly don't call myself a southern belle. Instead, I'm a bona fide GRITS (girl raised in the south). In fact, I have the T-shirt to prove it. A GRITS gal has equal parts of charming sincerity and keen, clever wit. She has impeccable manners, high expectations, and classy style. She is hopelessly in love with history, tradition, and religion. She's feminine, charming, flirtatious, hospitable, and possesses beauty (clear skin and a winning smile). She doesn't sweat, she glistens. She may have either a hissy fit, a conniption, or fly off the handle. She uses words like ain't, y'all, reckon, fixin,' do-hicky, yes-ma'am, yes-sir, yonder, directly, everwhichway, smack-dab. . . She uses phrases like "I do declare," "O shoot," "by and by," bless her heart," "living' daylights," "high on the hog," "all-get-out," "bound and determined," and "lo and behold," "aim to," Lord, have mercy," "older than dirt," and "come hell or high water." She makes friends while standing in the grocery line. She eats gulf shrimp, gumbo, jambalaya, fried chicken, catfish, black-eyed peas, fried okra, grits, biscuits, butter beans, cornbread, fried green tomatoes, fried apples, banana pudding, and red velvet cake. If you need a home-cooked meal, a place to lay your head, she won't hesitate to oblige. She endures rough times with grace and flair. Well, to those who know me best, what do you think, am I a GRITS? There are other titles for today's southern belle: Ya-Ya Sisters (gals with shortcomings), Steel Magnolias (soft and beautiful on the outside, strong and tough on the inside), Sweet Potato Queens (real women, figure flaws and all), Bulldozers disguised as powder puffs, S.L.U.T.S.(southern ladies under tremendous stress), and D.O.T.S.(daughters of the south). The lyrics of this song says it all:
She's a product of being raised in the country
She knows her roots and works hard for the money
Southern drawl and dark tan legs
Ain't nothing like a woman southern born and bred
She loves her Mama 'n Daddy and the Lord to death
Actin' innocent and playing hard to get
Girls tonight, man they're out on the town
GRITS man, Girls Raised in the South...
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