Monday, May 13, 2019


Texas Monthly: "How to Be Southern" --

How to Be a Southern Belle
A Southern belle is born, not made. (Some of them can be made, too, but we’ll get to that later.) And the place where she is born is in the mind of the Southern man.
Down through the tangled thickets of Southern chivalry, there was one figure who stood for everything that was pure—spiritually, culturally, racially, and sex­ually. That was the belle, and she was a great comfort to the Southern gentleman who had a hard time sticking to the high­road. When he was out dueling, he knew she was home embroidering. When he was succumbing to base desires in the bawdy house she was in raptures over the romances of Sir Walter Scott. When he was cheating his neighbor in business she was tending her sick mammy. And when he came home she loved him still. The belle worked the same magic as the Catholic church in Italy. After you got so dirty, it felt wonderful just to be around someone who seemed so clean.
Well, things are more complicated now, and everyone has trouble sticking to the highroad—as the young lady here sug­gests. But here are a few simple hints. Southern belles are usually smart, but they musn’t seem to be—that was Scar­lett O’Hara’s big mistake. Be tough on the inside and soft on the outside. Avoid excess in all things. You should speak in a low voice, keep your legs primly crossed, and dress in clothes that are tastefully seductive. But in a pinch, don’t worry about taste.

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