It’s a known fact that Southern Mothers dote on their menfolk and children. Wait a minute, it’s more accurate to say- Mothers tend to dote on their sons, but advise their daughters. All. The. Time. Especially when it comes to dating. It is highly important for Southern girls, because their daddies have made them believe that no one- I mean in no uncertain terms, is good enough for their daughters.
Southern mothers on the other hand, know what’s good enough for their daughters and what’s not. Okay. Here’s the thing… at some point the mother’s gonna have to write out an Engagement Announcement. For heaven’s sake and the surrounding communities, it better be a good one! For instance, when she asks- ‘Does he have a job?‘ a Southern Mother wants the answer to be an unequivocal ‘Yes’ even if he has a trust fund. As long as he has some gumption and it’s honest work, she can make the best of it-
- Mechanic? ‘Harold Joe Smith is heavily invested in Automotives,
- Pulpwooder? Buzzie Thompson is invested in Timber,
- Farmer? Billy Mack Hopkins III has acres of Prime Real Estate or
- Coal Miner? Mickey Richards has Mining Interests.’
And if he has the semblance of a Last Name for a First Name, a Southern mother can get a decent write up for the paper. If he doesn’t have a Last name for his First name he’s probably a Yankee or a Redneck. It doesn’t matter if his granddaddy was as crooked as the Mississippi River, a Southern Mother can overlook and explain it as a colorful eccentric background.. Now, if the young man in question is a descendent of Buster Crabbe- his rugged good looks might have translated into Tarzan on the silver screen then, but a Chest so Hairy it comes up out of the neck of his shirt? That is completely unacceptable. If his hair is like Conway Twitty or Willie Nelson, she will charm him right out of wearing it like that- Put him in a Navy Blue Blazer and Khaki Pants and no one will ever know the difference.
Basically, the Southern Mother wants the young man to have Good hair, Good teeth and Money. She can generally take care of the window dressing, especially if he smells good, too.
Now, if the young man asks if the Southern girl lives close to a Church or School Parking Lot because he needs to park his 18 wheeler there– for a first date? Okay, that’s not okay. ‘Sara Jean, you are not climbing up in the cab of that truck on a first date, what if he plans on takin’ you to a honky tonk or a truck stop then what will you do? And his CB handle is ‘Hauling Trouble’ !
Now, if he has money or comes from money? Even if he is ugly as homemade sin, the Southern Mother can work with that, too. She’ll talk about his triumphs on the football field or the golf course and say, ‘Well, for goodness sakes! Who would want a man to be wan and pale anyway?’ Especially if she can smell old money.
Southern girls have to endure the Inquisition… *Warning these are trick questions, so be careful of pitfalls here. The list of questions a Southern mother will ask, include but are not exclusive to:
- Do you like his looks?
- Does he have enough sense to get in out of the rain?
- Does he clean up well? (If he does, no matter what he does for a living she will consider him to have potential.)
- Does his wardrobe consist of T-shirts with sayings on them? Does said Tshirt have a pack of cigarettes rolled up in one sleeve?
- Does the yard dog bark and growl when he comes to the door? Better yet, does that sensitive House Cat of yours screech and arch her back when he comes around?
- Do children whimper and run?
- Are you taken with him?
- Is he conniving or wishy washy?
- Does he have a limp wrist or a firm handshake?
- Is he stubborn as a long eared mule?
- Does he gallivant around?
- Is he a thug or a hoodlum? Does he act like a hooligan? (She will be checking for a prison record).
- If he has a big set of keys jangling in his pocket and a big billfold with a chain hanging from his belt loop, she might smell money, yet not equate it with class.
- Does he wear lifts in his shoes?
- Is he Old School or Wild as a Buck?
- ‘Are you just boring him to death Mary Lou or does he have narcolepsy?’
- Are those his Real Teeth or does he have a Plate? ‘For heaven’s sake, he needs help with that halitosis! The cheapest thing you can buy is a peppermint!‘
- Does he Yodel?
- *Now this is important! Does he wear cut off jeans, a Speedo, or Board Shorts to the beach?
- Is his hair a natural born color or is it green, blue or purple?
- Is he a dude or a dud? ‘Gaynelle, is he a dude or a dud, that is the question…’
- When you’re with him, is it Moon and Magnolias or a Buttermilk Sky and Blackeyed Peas?
- Does he have a tendency to Howl at the Moon or just when it’s a Full?
- Is he so Sweet it makes your Teeth Hurt?
- Does he go by to check on his mother? Or, does he still live with her?
- Is he a Man of the Cloth? This is truly a trick question…
‘Now, you know Merry Beth, preachers that thump a Bible and run the rails have a tendency to stab you in the back, however- if he does actually wear a collar and cloth- well, now that’s different.’ Not. Really. But still.
- Does he mostly take the Southern daughter to dance halls and honky tonks and is- ‘too drunk to kareoke’ ? (That’s coarse and common no matter how much money he has!)
- Does he have any common sense? Is he able to extend common courtesy? Does he have a sense of common decency? Hint: this may be the most important run of questions. Decency…
Now, even after all that, the prospective one will still have to have a ready answer for this one or she will never approve…‘Young man, who are your people?’ Remember she has a di-rect line that rings into the State Archives Director’s Office. Really.
Assuming he’s passed all the tests, he still has to get past Daddy- who leaves the Porch light on if the young man seems nice. If Daddy is worried the lucky couple is lingering too long, the Porch Light will be flipped on and off. If his precious baby daughter doesn’t come right on in… Daddy will turn on the Floodlights as he opens the door- looking down the barrel of his BB gun. Don’t get me wrong- Daddy doesn’t want to hurt him, just scare him a little bit.
It’s a wonder any Southern couple actually makes it to the Altar! But if he’s a good one…don’t let him get away! Even if you have to hog tie him and drag him fightin’ tooth and nail, get him to the altar! If you’re taken with him, if he makes you laugh, if he has some gumption and a sense of common courtesy and decency; the main thing is…when you can’t imagine life without him? Marry him, then dote on him like only Southern ladies know how!
Oh me, sadly all of this can or has happened. Yet, like all good Southern tales, this one is part truth, part myth and part outright lies.
Love y’all, Camellia
*This is a humor piece, please don’t ever point a BB gun at anyone! * A huge thank you to all the Southern girls who contributed to the Inquisition, you know who you are! * ‘too drunk to karaoke’ is good ol’ southern boy, Jimmy Buffet’s line *Almost all photographs are part of the Camellia’s Cottage collection, please do not use without permission. *The vintage photo of the beauty queens holding large coins and the three cute old ladies are AOL images and may be subject to copyright