An example: I have lived in the North off and on for fifteen years. In all that time, only once did another woman prepare me a home-cooked meal (and she was from Florida). I recently visited Tennessee for one week and was fed by no fewer than three women, one of whom baked homemade cupcakes in two different flavors because she remembered I loved them.
Southern women are willing to give, be it time, hugs, or advice about that layabout down the road. Southern women listen and we talk and we laugh without apology. We are seldom shocked. Not really. Sex in the City may have been revolutionary for the rest of America, but not for Southern women. Of course we bond and adore each other, and talk about all topics savory and otherwise. That’s what being a woman means.
In Terms of Endearment, a dying Debra Winger visits a friend in New York and is immediately bewildered by the alternately indifferent and aggressive way the women relate to each other.
“Why do they act like that?” Winger asks a friend, genuinely confused. Why indeed.
Southern women see no point in the hard way. Life is hard enough. So we add a little sugar to the sour. Which is not to suggest Southern women are disingenuous cream puffs. Quite the opposite. When you are born into a history as loaded as the South’s, when you carry in your bones the incontrovertible knowledge of man’s violence and limitations, daring to stay sweet is about the most radical thing you can do.
Southern women are also a proud lot. In any setting, at home or abroad, Southern women declare themselves. Leading with geography is not something that other ladies do. You do not hear “That’s just how we roll in Napa.” Or “Well, you know what they say about us Wyoming girls…” You may hear “I’m from Jersey,” but that’s more of a threat than a howdy.