Now is the time for all good Southern ladies to come to the aid of their country. The stay-at-home slouch-fest is almost over, and we’ve got the needed skills to return America to proper civilized society.
We were taught that during trials, we should, “slap on some lipstick, stand up straight, and for crying out loud, quit that blubbering.” Our mothers knew that looking good wasn’t for self-promotion, but instead, made us feel confident enough to conquer the world, and was a sign of respect for others.
America will soon again be the land of the free — free from pajama pants, coffee stained Rascal Flatts T-shirts, and an overload of comfort food.
“Remember who you are” our parents would yell as we swished out the door. And just who are we? We’re both tough and tender hearted, and we’re educated, innovative, spiritual and love a good party. We’ve created feasts from garden scraps and skinny chickens, then whipped up a ballgown from the curtains. Sunday School teachers taught us to nurture the weak. We can operate heavy machinery or operate on your aortic valve, and we can do it all while looking pulled together and holding our heads high.
Our world is stunned, but don’t worry, sisters, we were created for a moment such as this. We know how to provide comfort in a hot casserole or a basket of homegrown vegetables. We can pray up a storm and if worse comes to worse, we’ll give you a send-off funeral luncheon that will rival a king’s feast. And through it all, we’ll respect you by not showing up in stinky sweatshirts. Even with pearls, there’s no excuse. You’re worth the extra effort — which is the basis for all good Southern manners.
My Georgia and Alabama friends (and one adopted from Wisconsin who has been here long enough to have a bonafide drawl) all confirmed that throughout this entire sheltering at home ordeal, we’ve never spent a single day sporting dirty clothes or hair. “You never know if the Fed Ex driver will turn out to be an old boyfriend” said NeddaRay. “I don’t care if anyone else sees me or not,” chimed in Laura Leigh, “I have to live with myself.” She has it right. “Respect for others” and “dignity for ourselves” were the first lessons from mama dearest. How to use a Toni Perm came much later.
I never grow tired of reading about two of my favorite Alabama heroes, Rosa Parks and Helen Keller. Their hardships and challenges make our recent ordeal seem like “free lemonade day” at the county fair. Not only did they hold their heads high and push through extreme trials, but they did so with elegance, grace, and charm. Work hard, stand firm, stay classy. We learned from the best.
Throughout the next few months, Southern ladies will volunteer for projects that enhance the economy. We’ll feed hungry children and freshen our dusty churches. We’ll reorganize schools and libraries and visit our older friends who are lonely. We’ll open the doors of our businesses and work harder than ever before. And through it all, we’ll look as lovely and strong as the women who came before, who taught us that true beauty comes from within — but a quick fluff of mascara never hurt.
This story first appeared on AL.com in the Mobile Press Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.
You always make me so proud of Southern women! And I’m blown away by your commenters’ endorsement for morning grooming. I want to be like y’all when I grow up, just don’t know when that will be. I may just have forgotten exactly how to put on makeup by the time I actually go out in public again. Thankfully, my daughter has just moved back to Nashville from Montana and she’s one of your kind so may take her mom in hand. She looked better in the hospital after both her sons were born than most women do going to the Swan Ball here in Nashville each summer. (I’m sure that has been cancelled but you can bet those women aren’t slouching around barefaced with hair in a ponytail each morning like me. I do put on my Jo Malone perfume every morning and I just spent a shocking $40 on 6 silk scrunchies for my ponytail; does that help?)
Absolutely. We all feel better in our own ways. I think the perfume is essential. My first trip out into the public may be to restock my own perfume since no one took my HINT for Mother’s Day. How nice your daughter will be near. All the best to you both!
Stands and applauds.
The only style articles I have seen since this quarantine have been about how to wear leisure/pj clothing!
My hair is styled, my lipstick on and I am dressed by 6:30 every morning. The piano students I Facetime with see me only from the neck up but I have the whole ensemble on!
You are so right. Getting dressed makes a world of difference psychologically on so many levels.
So proud of you for keeping the bar raised high! Interesting to do piano lessons by FaceTime. That has to be fun and a challenge! 6:30 am is pushing it for me, so you get extra points for being the early bird! Take care of yourself!
Well, in June we are back in the studio for duets/trios!! Blessings!
That’s great! Keep things moving! Your students are lucky to have you.
Powerful post Leslie Anne, and your wit makes it even better…I must admit to not wearing shoes for 2 months since I haven’t gone anywhere, but must have jewelry and lipstick everyday!! I have to go to Birmingham next week and my hairdresser is coming to my house to do my and my daughter’s hair!! Worth putting shoes on!
The shoeless days are excused since I happen to know you live at the beach! Stick with the jewelry and lipstick and you’ll be your regular gorgeous self! Take care.
Pam Richardson and I have already had this discussion! I have fixed my face every single day, mainly because I could feel Mama’s disapproval all the way from Heaven (she never mowed grass without her Revlon Lilac Champagne lipstick)! But I also do it to make ME feel better. Has my wardrobe ventured much beyond yoga pants…nope.
“Suck it up Buttercup” was my favorite expression to use with my girls at Clemson. I’m betting they are now using it on their 2 y.o. children! But seriously, I pray we emerge from our pandemic cocoon as a kinder, gentler nation.
I love the special lipstick for mowing the grass! What a mom! You have a great attitude, and I know you’ll emerge refreshed and ready to tackle the world. Happy Mother’s Day!
My beloved Mother always “fixed her face” daily. She would have been horrified to see me for the past 7 weeks. Finally, I willget my hair colored and cut next week!
Open the beauty parlors! Our mothers would understand about the last few weeks. But then they’d tell us to “suck it up, buttercup.” Hahaha!
I really think your article today is a bit lop-sided! Need I remind you that our fair city of Fairhope was founded by “YANKEES” ????
So let us include our transplants from up North with joining you lovely Southern gals , as we can roll up our sleeves put on OUR pearls and lipstick and come to the aid of the party!
PS ya’ll have a good one, love you Ms. Leslie
You’ll note I included a friend from Wisconsin, so it’s possible to be called up to the major league. I think you’ve been here long enough to qualify. It’s the mothering that counts. Nothing compares to being raised by a Southern mother.
I still can’t believe that Rhett laughed at Scarlet’s dress, can you? I love it. You are so right. I think I have only missed putting my face on and getting dressed one day during all this mess, and that is because I got busy before I had the chance. By late afternoon, I just took a shower and said the hell with it — after all, tomorrow is another day!
To quote another favorite film, you are “practically perfect in every way!” Bless your Southern heart!
Oh my stars! I’ve been telling my sister this exact thing for weeks now. You’ll feel better if you put on real clothes!!! Cracking up!
What are sisters for?