Tag Archives: gossip

52. Beauty Parlors–Curl Up and Dye

5 Nov

By S. Myers: Flickr Creative Commons

It’s no wonder beauty parlors are such popular spots, seeing as they combine two of a Southern lady’s greatest loves, gossip and perms. Oh, and don’t forget pampering. Any belle worth her sugar loves a good pampering.

When you get to the beauty parlor, don’t bother picking up People or US Weekly. Wouldn’t you rather pass the time finding out who’s done what to whom? It doesn’t even matter if you know the “who” or “whom” in question. Some stories are just that juicy.

Back in the day, Southern ladies had standing weekly appointments for hair-do maintenance. I imagine many still do. You can spot them quite easily; they’re the ones whose hair simply DOES NOT MOVE. Ever.

How do they keep the hair in place overnight? Some swear by satin pillowcases, but my aunt Juanita relied on trusty toilet paper. Every night before she went to bed, she wrapped the back of her head with t.p. and secured it with bobby pins. I’m not sure about the science behind this, but her hair always had that smooth, shellacked look popular among women of a certain era.

Hairstyles of a certain era.

I, myself, have spent a fair amount of time in beauty parlors. When I was growing up, my mom’s best friend, LaRue, was our hair dresser. (I have no idea if that’s how her name is actually spelled, seeing as I’ve never had occasion to use it till now.) Anyhoo, as I recall, LaRue’s magazine selection was rather slim, so I spent many an hour perusing the J.C. Penney catalog. The thing I liked best about the beauty parlor was the jar with combs floating in blue liquid. Why modern salons have done away with them, I do not know.

When I was a kid in church, I scanned the hair-dos of the ladies in the choir, and I dreaded the day that I’d be required to sport the helmet-head look. Thankfully, I’ve realized that day will never come. Though each visit to my local beauty parlor finds me with shorter and shorter hair, my curls will never be considered ruly. And if you ever see me reaching for a can of Aqua Net, feel free to snatch me baldheaded. If you know what that means…

What are your favorite beauty parlor memories?

40. Gossip–Whispering Dixie

18 Jun

"gossip cats!" by fofurasfelinas

Forget Entertainment Tonight or People magazine. Southerners only want to hear gossip about people they KNOW. Or in a pinch, about one of their friends’ relatives. You will not often hear Southern women speculating on how many more children Brangelina will collect. Not when the next-door neighbor is collecting a passel of her own…all by different daddies. But y’all didn’t hear that from me.

The best kind of gossip is of the ongoing saga variety. Preferably involving people who are bat-shit crazy. I mean, who cares about the new TV your uncle bought at Walmart? Unless you mention that your aunt poured a fifth of 151 over the old one and set it ablaze. Along with his power saw and his favorite rodeo belt buckle. Why? Was he cheating? Lying? Stealing? No, Springer was a rerun, and she didn’t have anything better to do.

While Southern folks love exchanging the latest juicier-than-watermelon tidbits, there’s only so much that can happen in a day. Which is why we’ve perfected the art of gossiping about what happened…10, 20, 30 years ago. Faulkner said it best: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Y’all might think I mean reminiscing. Nope, that’s just talking about what happened. We Southerners like to talk about what might have happened, what ought to have happened, or what might could happen now that what happened happened. If y’all understood that last sentence, you get an honorary degree in Southern Vernacular Sentence Structure.

The thing you have to keep in mind about Southerner’s gossip is: A. We tend to exaggerate. B. We often misremember. Not always on purpose. And C. If what you said ever gets back to us, we WILL hold a grudge. Oh, we may not let you know, but you will find out one day. Oh, yes, you will.

And, of course, there’s always that “telephone” game factor. The story doesn’t even have to go through four or five people before it gets permanently disfigured. After my last trip home, I’ve decided that any information I get from my dad henceforth will have to be corroborated.

Case in point:
Me: “I’ve started taking kick-boxing classes.”
My dad to my sister: “Kim’s toughening up. She’s doing kick-boxing competitions.”
My sister: “Um…I don’t think so…”

One last note: Do not miss a family gathering because what they say TO you is hardly ever as bad as what they say ABOUT you.

What’s the most popular topic of gossip in your particular circle?

32. Walmart: Save Money. Live Better?

29 Mar

Photo by "el neato"
Flickr Creative Commons

You know you’re Southern if the directions to two or more of your kinfolks’ houses include the phrase “turn right at the Walmart.” Extra points if you’ve ever used the word “kinfolks.”

For Southerners, Walmart (or “Wally World” as it’s known to fans of National Lampoon’s vacation) isn’t just a place to score “everyday low prices” on toilet paper, big screen tvs, or whatnot. Oh no. It’s where folks go to socialize. You never know who might turn up at the local Walmart on a Sunday evening. And if you’re not there to take part in the gossip, well, one guess who the gossiping’s going to be about.

The odd thing about the Walmart social scene (aside from the fact that it takes place in Walmart) is that even though folks know they will run into their friends/enemies/rivals/relations, there’s no pressure to dress up. At all. Curlers in hair? Why not? Mud-encrusted boots? Come on in! Pizza and beer-stained wife beater? Who cares? If you’ve ever been to Walmart, you know I speak the truth. And if you haven’t witnessed these crimes of fashion firsthand, consider this exhibit A through Z: People of Walmart.

Walmart has tried hard to cultivate this whole “Walmart Family” image, but, folks, the store is not actually your house. You might want to change out of your pajamas before running in to get the kids’ OJ and Jimmy Dean Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick.

Photo by Adam Kuban
Flickr Creative Commons

I think Walmart must pipe some kind of crack-like substance into their air filtration system and Southern folks simply cannot “Just Say No.” How else can you explain their need to visit Every Single Day? And not just once a day. I reckon twice a day is about average. Which I admit is pure speculation based on how frequently my dad goes. Hey, I never claimed to be scientific.

I imagine Walmart has become the hub of many a Southern town because…well, hell, because Walmart practically IS a Southern town. You’ve got your optician, your hardware store, your pharmacy, your photo center…groceries, clothes, furniture, housewares, firearms, fishing supplies…restaurants…video rentals…“jewelry.” If the Waltons could figure out how to incorporate a church into the mix, folks would NEVER have to leave. And as a bonus, customers might step it up in the wardrobe department. Nobody wears curlers in the house of the Lord.

How often do you frequent your local Walmart? What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever encountered there?

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