Tag Archives: culture

73. Makeup AKA Putting One’s Face On

19 Feb

Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch
Flickr Creative Commons

Here in Seattle, women brazenly go around showing skin in ways no Southern lady would dare. Would y’all believe that Northwestern folks consider it perfectly acceptable to be seen in mixed company with a naked…face?

I will pause here to give my Dixie readers time to recover from shock and/or faint.

Ok, then.

Yes, folks, I’ve personally seen bare-faced women in places you would never expect: parties, fancy restaurants, shopping malls, even CHURCH! I reckon they are not familiar with the 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not be seen without makeup in any public place, most especially not in the house of the Lord.”

Occasionally, exceptions can be made for things like early bird Black Friday sales (seeing as there are so few menfolks around). And you can also forgo makeup when dropping kids off at school or giving a friend a ride to the airport, but only if you don’t expect to: A. Get out of the car (or truck) or B. Run into someone you know.

Even so, there are some Southern ladies who stand on ceremony, showing up at Kohl’s before 4:00 a.m. in full makeup.

“Full makeup?” My non-Dixie readers might ask.

What? You didn’t know there are different levels? Ok, here’s a primer:

A bee-you-ti-ful makeup collection
from KeirasLuckyCharm blog.

Full Makeup includes, but is not limited to:
Foundation (aka “Base”)
Brow Pencil
Eye Shadow
Eye Liner
Mascara (two coats, minimum)
Lip Liner
Lip Gloss (optional)

Half-ass Makeup includes:
Eye Shadow
Blush (optional)

No Makeup consists of:
Lipstick (In a pinch, Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers will suffice)

Why is there still makeup listed in the “No Makeup” category? Pray that you never find out.

After 8 years in Seattle, I’ve started to assimilate. These days, I’m appearing in public more and more often without a stitch of makeup. But you won’t catch me returning to Mississippi without a fully stocked makeup bag in tow.

Mom with my sister, Jenna,
on her wedding day.

If you are not a member of my immediate family or a very close friend, you probably never saw my mother wearing anything less than full makeup. She thought of makeup like some folks think of American Express cards: Something you don’t leave home without.

No matter how much pain she was in or how exhausted she felt, she never went ANYwhere (including doctor’s appointments or emergency room visits) without “putting on her face.” Also: praying for a close parking space.

It probably isn’t standard operating procedure, but when my sister and I delivered Mom’s burial outfit (a tasteful cream-colored pant suit) to the funeral home, we brought along a selection of her Chanel makeup. Oh, and her eyelashes.

When we handed them her shoes, we were told that people are generally buried without them.

Not Patricia Holloway. She wore heels.

What item of cosmetics would you not be seen in public without?


71. Two First Names (A Story about Billy Joe and Bobby Sue)

17 Feb

Or Betty Jane...or Bobby Earl...or Linda Sue

Practically all the new parents I know in Seattle have saddled their newborns with two middle names. And not short, easy-to-remember names either. More along the lines of Rasputin Marlowe Fabian Jones (or more likely Jones-Smith) for a boy. Or Josephine Emily Prudence Smith for a girl. I’m not sure how they come up with these, but I suspect the formula goes something like this:

(Literary reference) + (Ancient ancestor) + (Favorite flower)

Or perhaps:
(Seldom-used old-timey name) +
(A virtue) +
(Open a book and point)

Sure, these lofty monikers may look great on the birth announcement, but perhaps parents should consider how many times their child will have to spell these names for call center operators in far off lands.

Southern parents traditionally prefer to keep things simple: two first names, no bonus middle one. Some popular choices include, Billy Ray (for a boy), Peggy Sue (for a girl), or Willie Jean (undetermined).

Yes, this is a stereotypical Southern trait, but it’s one that happens to be true. In case you are wondering, the South also features the largest concentration of folks named “Bubba” in the known word. Many a “Bubba” has passed as “Richard” or “William” for career advancement purposes or when living above the Mason-Dixon. But when he comes home, everybody still calls him “Bubba.” (Sorry, Bubba, we just can’t help it!)

I’m not sure how the two-first-names tradition got started. Maybe way back when there was a Southern couple who had a name they just LOVED and wanted to give it to all their children (as in “This is my brother Darryl. This is my other brother Darryl.”) But they figured it was best to give each kid an extra first name so everybody would know which one was currently being hollered at: Bobby Joe, Billy Joe, or Bubba Joe. Just kidding. Bubbas hardly ever have two first names.

My sister’s best friend is named Mary Bess (though my father – who’s known her for 20 years – always calls her “Mary Beth.” Which is actually pretty good, seeing as he’s liable to address folks named “Frank” as “Johnny” or “David.”)

Anyhoo, Mary Bess fell in love with and married an amazing guy whose last name for the sake of anonymity we’ll call “Tammy.” Before she had kids, she held on to her maiden name and when asked “Why?” (because Southern folks think everything is their business) she’d say, “Who wants to be a girl with three first names?”

One of my other Mississippi friends had the good fortune to meet and marry a girl with the best two-first-name name I’ve ever heard: “Mary Love.”

If y’all take a notion to start calling me that, I won’t mind a bit.

P.S. Please don’t make the mistake of addressing a doubly named person by a single name. A “Lee Ann” will not answer to “Lee” or “Ann.” Or if she does, you might not like what she says.

Does your family tree feature doubly named folks? Feel free to name names…

67. Deer Hunting (For Sport or Supper)

8 Feb

Photo by Kevin Chang
Flickr Creative Commons

At swank Seattle restaurants, venison is a delicacy, complete with delicacy prices ($25 to $45 per entrée). Southern fine dining establishments rarely feature venison for one simple reason: deer meat is FREE. Ok, I reckon you have to factor in the cost of a shotgun, some camo gear, a deer stand and possibly a four wheeler. But after those one-time investments, you can enjoy all the venison you like at no additional charge.

Of course, most Southerners don’t hunt simply for the meat. Would you rather A. crawl out of a warm bed at five a.m. to go and climb up a deer stand and freeze for hours hoping to get lucky or B. go to Kroger and buy a t-bone? Right.

So what is it about hunting that appeals to Southern males (and, yes, even some females)? The thrill of the chase? Well, no, you generally sit and wait for the deer to come to you. The camaraderie? I’m told you’re not allowed to chit chat so as not to spook the deer. Does it really come down to the joy of killing animals? Isn’t that how most serial killers get started?

Diana: Goddess of the Hunt. >br> Photo by Wally Gobetz
Flickr Creative Commons

Best I can figure, deer hunting is about bragging rights. As if the number of points on the antlers of a man’s felled deer directly correlates to the size of his unmentionables. I mean, you don’t often hear about someone shooting a 5 pointer. No, they’re all aiming for 10 or even 12 pointers.

Also, there’s the matter of taxidermy. What deer hunter doesn’t aspire to display his trophy deer head for any and all to admire? Some even go so far as to use the poor creature’s paws as a gun rack. Hmm…collecting trophies of one’s victims…isn’t that another well-known serial killer trait? Or am I the only one who watches far too much Law & Order?

In hunting circles, a boy’s first kill is a rite of passage similar to a bar mitzvah…with a lot more blood and a lot less dancing. At the very least, the blood of the animal is smeared on the kid’s face. Some folks even go so far as to encourage the kid to drink the blood or take a bite of the heart. If this sounds barbaric, well, that’s because it is.

Photo by lobstar28
Flickr Creative Commons

Speaking of barbaric, when I worked as photographer for a small town Mississippi newspaper, I was tapped to shoot pictures of recently departed deer alongside a happy hunter. Usually, the deer’s tongue hung out of the side of its mouth, which I always imagined as a belated eff you. And in case you are wondering, yes, the newspaper occasionally ran the photos if it was a slow news week. Like there’s any other kind in Crystal Springs, MS.

Some argue that deer hunting is necessary to thin the herd. Sadly, that’s true. Ask anybody who’s smashed into one of Bambi’s kin as it unexpectedly dashes across the road. And if you live in the South, you know at least one, if not a dozen, folks who’ve experienced that particular trauma. But, hey, even if your car’s totaled, you still get free venison. And you wonder why everybody in the South has a deep freeze

Are you a hunter or more of a gathering type?

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