Sunday, April 24, 2011

This Is How It's Done Where We Come From......

Maybe I've read Gone With The Wind too many times. Maybe I think life is too much like the movies. I truly love how polite Southerners appear when they are translated into words and actions. I love that all the men had manners and the ladies had morals. I love the idea of young girls being courted, and young men learning how.

Dating in the South is complicated. And as a Mother of two male children, I take my job very seriously. My role in helping them develop into men is not taken lightly. They have both had to learn the "uncomfortable" way, that any obligations promised beforehand, will be carried through and met, before moving onto any others. They have both been educated in opening doors, yes ma'am and no sir, please and thank you, and no thank you, I wouldn't care for any. All those thing are fairly simple to teach, it's all the OTHER things that only true Southern Mama's will know about, that are little harder to make stick in their heads.

1.  It DOES matter what color her Easter dress, Prom dress, or Party dress is...you will want to match.  It will not be good for you when you show up in tan and red and she has on fuchsia and orange. The pictures will be a mess and it will be all your fault.

2.  When courting a young lady, you are essentially courting her mother and father as well. For a good little while anyway. And for any of you young men who do not think that is true, you my sons, are in for a very rude awakening. We parents, tend to judge how you treat us, as kin to how you will treat our daughters.

3.  On Mother's Day and Easter, if you are dating a young lady, and you are invited to dinner at her home, you will know, to arrive with flowers of some sort for the Mother. A gift for your young lady are added points for you.

4.  But more important than any of those things...these rules for eating dinner MUST BE FOLLOWED.

     A.  When everyone is called to the table to eat, do not mow down your girlfriend or any other family member to arrive at the table first. While it may have been two hours since your last "feeding", it is rude, and will not paint a pretty picture of you.
     B.  Do not dart your eyes rapidly looking for "the rest of the food". Women who have daughters, are not accustomed to serving large carcasses, sacks of potatoes, and loaves of bread at every meal. You can eat again when you get home.  
     C.  Please try and keep your head and shoulders even with the person sitting next to you. While laying your head down 2 inches from your plate is how you eat at home, it is not acceptable when you are sitting next your girlfriends eighty year old Grandmother.
     D.  Please act as if you are familiar with your fork and spoon, and try to use neither as a shoveling device. It's very distracting and the smaller children may think it's funny and follow suit. Only causing them to be sent from the table in gales of laughter and later...hunger.
     E.  I know we require you to do this at home, but please do not use your embroidered cloth napkin as a bib. Place it in your lap and use it. Often. More importantly, if you "feel" like you have gravy smeared across your face, you probably do. Wipe it off.
     F.  However, should you knock your entire tea glass over, and liquid is running in every direction, use your own embroidered cloth napkin to mop it up. Gently. Do NOT snatch Grannies napkin from her lap and lean over her plate to continue to clean. Nor should you try and dry Grannies lap, should any of the liquid form a puddle there. Let her family take care of that. For your safety.
     G.  Whatever meat is served, pry the meat gently from the bone with your fork or knife. Do not EVER pick up the bone and gnaw on it. Do not roll it up in your napkin saving it for later. And do not use the dog they do not have as your excuse.
     H.  At no point during the meal will it be appropriate for you to loosen, unbutton, or unzip your pants at the table.."to allow you to eat more". On the same note, belching (or worse) so that you can make "more room" will never be acceptable either. And belching, in NO country is really realized as a compliment to the cook. No matter what your Daddy has told you.
     I.  When the meal is over, you will offer to help clear the table and clean the dishes. Don't worry, no woman alive is going to let you handle her fine china, but it is the proper thing to ask.You will also tell your girlfriends mother how much you enjoyed your meal. Even if you were not sure what most of the fru fru food she served...was.
     J.  When your girlfriends mother asks will someone take out the trash, don't look in your girlfriend's direction as if to say " what? it's your job when I'm not here".  Ask where it goes, and take out the trash. 

Zachary is having Easter Dinner with his girlfriends family today. Zachary has attended many, many cookouts and parties with girls and boys. But never a sit down holiday dinner, somewhere besides our house, with a young lady and her extended family. I tried to cover as many of the above areas as I could in the short period of time I had to prepare him.

Zachary took his girlfriend a stuffed Bunny for an Easter gift and his girlfriends mother, a potted Easter Lily. Hopefully all will go well, and he will remember everything I have tried to teach him. But I will know, if he is never invited again, that it was that danged spilled glass of tea and trying to help dry Grannies lap with that embroidered cloth napkin, that probably caused it.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

1 comment:

  1. This is hilarious but also GREAT advice for sure!!! And Southern it is!!!

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