The truism of the Southern Gentleman.

Last week I signed books at the Congressional Black caucus Convention In D.C. No pictures, because as usual, I forgot my clunker of a camera. The highlight of the event was not what I thought it would be, seeing Barack Obama (alas, I didn't get there, but I will fill you in on that later!), but it was being recognized.
Authors are people without faces (They just have words) and I was recognized not by a reader(well, I was, but that wasn't the thing), I was recognized by Thelma! YOu know, Bernadette Stanis, Thelma from Good Times. Let me just say, I googled her to figure out her birthday and sister is looking good! I want to be her when I grow up.
I left the convention center and thought I was headed to see Barack speak. I was feeling kinda paranoid so it was more like I was scurrying away, when all of a sudden, it hit me. I wasn't paranoid, someone was staring. I looked down at my shoes (they are always comforting, this time, a purplish Jimmy Choo sling back), picked up the pace and pretended to be on the phone.It didn't work. Brother man talked to his companion loud, just to make sure I heard. I didn't real care what he was saying, but the gist of it was, look at that GIRL (last time I checked I was a grown-ass woman), and she cute (Like a teddy bear?), let me holla at her (I am not deaf, I could hear him quite clearly). Now, there is something a little disconcerting about someone clearly your Daddy's age wanting to "holla" at you. Shoot. Every woman, no matter what their relationship status, appreciates a little reassurance every now and then, but dang, I'm sure I woulda felt better if a young thang wanted to holla. I mean, dang, did I need botox, a butt lift? HGH injections? What?
I thought I could get away, but then I noticed that the corridor as getting smaller and headed toward an un-avoidable escalator and granddad just wasn't giving up. He spoke and I smiled politely without really making eye contact, you know, the look that says, "I'm flattered but I am on a mission, excuse me, I want to hear Barack Obama."
He didn't take the hint.
he asked if I was married and I said yes, but still, he wouldn't take the hint.
He even tried to ride on my escalator step.
The nerve.
Did I look like the type to share an escalator step?
Brotherman just wouldn't stop. I felt accosted and decided to hop in a taxi back to my hotel rather than see Barack.
I had forgotten about the forwardness of the eastern peoples. I used to be one.
I think I have gotten soft living in the south (west) and I have forgotten how to thwart such advances.
You see, that just wouldn't have happened in Texas.
The south (western) man is just not that forward.
Instead of commenting on how I filled out my clothes after he's learned I was married and not interested, he would have told me what a lucky man my husband was and told me to have a nice day.
I know its part of our culture for a man to acknowledge (holla at) a woman he finds attractive in a certain way, but in the south, they seem to have a way of doing it that doesn't make you want to run. Its all about the subtleties of a situation.
Since moving here many years ago, I can count on one hand the number of times a male has spoken to me like that with out at least saying hello first to gauge my reaction.
There also have been numerous times that doors have been held for me and other women, just because.
Grandpa at the convention didn't hold the door, no siree. I opened it to go to my cab, and you know what, he walked through that sucker first. I mean, he'd just met me, and barely that 'cause if I didn't have on a nametag, he would not have known my name and I had to hear all about how he liked his women thick and I am no skinny minny, but he said he wanted to feed me to make me thicker.
Lawd, lawd, lawd.

You see, a southern gentleman,Opens Doors for other people,Offers to carry heavy things and won't abscond with them.
A southern gentleman smiles when he says hello WITHOUT licking his lips like you are a lampchop or pork ribs. Any other's? I'm sure you have a few. Please send them to me.
I must note that it is possible to be a southern gentleman without ever having lived in the south or stepped foot south of the Mason Dixon Line. ( south of it last time I checked but Gramps just didn't know or I'm sure he would have acted differently. And yes, I do know that the line was not really drawn to separate north from south but was drawn instead to settle a property dispute.)
But there was a good side to all this.
The man did say he liked my shoes.


Anonymous said…
As a transplated "southern" and in defense of all the fine looking, polite, respectful, young, middle-age, old and grandpa southern gentlemen that I have met since transporting to the south, you must certainly take into consideration that your "grandpa" admirer probably was visiting the nation's capital for the same event you were attending. Sorry, us southerners both the(born & raised and transplated) ones refuse to take credit for all the rude tourists that we, true southerners, take in our stride! True G.R.I.T.S. (girls raised in the south)have learned to ignore the rudeness of tourist with warm-southern charm, stating clearly and distinctly, "I'm not interested, but thanks for the compliment". "Yo'all come back soon" so you can experience the true "southern gentlemen", you certainly did not meet on on your recent trip!

A "transplanted" G.R.I.T.S!
Anonymous said…
a Gentleman (Southern and in other geographies):

- opens the car door for a woman all the time while dating, and 75% of the time after they are more deeply involved (we know a girl likes to be treated like a queen, but also can take care of herself when it makes sense)

- always compliments a woman on how attractive she is every time it makes sense in public (he also tells her how sexy she is every time he can in private)

- always pumps the gas

- always kills the bug or removes the snake (even if we hate bugs and are scurred of snakes)

- always changes the lightbulbs, gets the yard done (himself or hiring the yard guy), takes out the trash, etc. (again, we know you can, and when we are away we know you do, however we know it's something you don't like and when we are at our best, we LOVE all the chances we can get to appear to be better humans)

There are so many, Many, MANY more things, but I have to go take out the trash before I get spanked. ;-)

Anonymous said…
I still don't get why men do that...loud talk to get a woman's attention. Does that really ever work?
I've been in the south (west) for almost 20 years. Originally from the north (east) and am always catching women in the south (west) off guard. I don't think they expect men to do those special things for them.
My first wife, from the south (west) got used to it pretty quick. My current wife, from DC just doesn't get it. She claims it is because she was single so long, having to do everything for herself, that she wasn't used to a man doing it for her.
I thought I did it enough times for her to get the hint, now she only gets it when it is convienent. (Wish it was all the time. I like being a gentleman)

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