Oct 24, 2010

you said we might get into red flag danger

Words, Wide Night

Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.

La lala la. See? I close my eyes and imagine the dark hills I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you

and this is what it is like or what it is like in words.

- Carol Ann Duffy, 1990

Oct 7, 2010

a short list of things Southern girls still expect

15 Ways to Charm Her
Southern Living, July 2009

By Amy Bickers

“Want to impress a Southern girl? Just think “What would my grandfather have done?”

Number one: We still expect you to give up your seat for a lady. On a bus, at a bar, on a train. . . we don’t care where you are. Unless you are at a restaurant and the only lady in sight is the one taking your order, stand up. Now.

On a recent Friday night at a bustling restaurant bar, two friends and I waited for our table to be called. The bar stools were occupied so we stood patiently, sipping wine and chatting about the workweek. When a couple nearby stood up, another woman – who had been there less time than we had – swooped in, reaching across us to put her purse on the stool. This isn’t the worst part. It’s what happened next: Her male companion then slid onto the other bar stool.

Hang on while I do a geography check. Are we not in the South? If ladies are waiting for a seat and you have a Y chromosome, do you sit down? No, sir. No, you do not.

We know modern life is confusing. The roles of men and women have evolved over the years. As Pink once sang, “Shorty got a job, Shorty got a car, Shorty can pay her own rent.”

But come on, let’s keep some things old-school. My late grandfather – he of the East Texas upbringing, U.S. Navy captain status, and Cary Grant good looks – would never have allowed a woman to stand while he sat. And if you want a Southern woman to love you, neither will you. So, men, here’s a short list of things Southern girls still expect from you.

We still expect you to:

1. Stand up for a lady. Actually, this doesn’t just involve chairs.

2. Know that the SEC has the best football teams IN THE NATION. Big 12 fan? Hmm, perhaps you should keep walking.

3. Kill bugs. Delta Burke as Southern belle Suzanne Sugarbaker on Designing Women said, “. . .ya know, when men use women's liberation as an excuse not to kill bugs for you. Oh, I just hate that! I don’t care what anybody says, I think the man should have to kill the bug!”

4. Hold doors open. This goes for elevator doors too.

5. Fix things or build stuff. I once watched in awe as my stepfather built a front porch on the house he shares with my mother. He knew just what to do, cutting every notch, hammering every nail. The project was complete by sunset.

6. Wear boots occasionally. Not the fancy, l-paid-$l,000-for-these kind. We’re talking about slightly mud-crusted, I-could-have-just-come-in-from-the-field boots.

7. Take off your hat inside.

8. Grill stuff.

9. Call us. If you want to ask us out, don’t text and don’t e-mail. Pick up the phone and use your voice.

10. Stand when we come back to the dinner table. ”Just a little half-stand is enough to make me melt,” my friend Stephanie says.

11. Pull out chairs. Wait, that’s not all. Scoot them back in before we hit the floor.

12. Pay the tab on the first few dates. ”If you ask me out, you pay,” Stephanie says. “If I ask you out, you should still pay.” Listen, guys, it’s just simpler this way.

13. Don’t show up in a wrinkled, untucked shirt. Care about your appearance but not too much. Don’t smell better than we do. Don’t use mousse or gel. You shouldn’t look like you spend more time in front of the mirror than we do.

14. Never get in bar fights. Patrick Swayze might look cool in Road House, but in reality, bar fights are stupid and embarrassing. You don’t look tough. You look like an idiot.

15. Know how to mix our favorite cocktail just the way we like it. Fix your favorite too. Sit down on the porch (it’s okay if you didn’t build it), tell us how your day went, and we’ll tell you about ours.

We’ll leave the long list to the girl who falls in love with you.

(Credit: @SouthernLiving @ this post @BlueEyedBride)

Oct 2, 2010

i'm walking in my old footsteps, once again / and you say, just be here now / forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be   
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it moving
Beneath them now like the deck of a ship,   
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
They rediscover
The face of the boy as he practices tying   
His father’s tie there in secret,

And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.   
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope   
Behind their mortgaged houses.
- Donald Justice (1966)