May 28, 2011

What Most Southern Women Love about the “F” Word!

Now that’s a headliner! I bet I get a lot of reaction from this one. But we’ll save that for the comment section. Here’s the real story . . .
I love the South−slower pace, warmer weather, friendly people and tall tales told from the coast to the mountains. The richness of the language could fill reams of binders for entertainment and future writing projects. But there is one area of Southern culture I find waning . . . it’s the “F” word of the South−flirting!
As a young girl, I watched my grandmother charm the britches off a grave digger. Okay, let me clarify this old saying of my grandmother’s. Trust me that woman would come back from the grave to haunt me if I left this one unattended. This catchy little phrase of hers meant you had the wiles to charm anyone who wants to change. Now I know how comedians feel who realize no one got the joke and then had to explain the punch line. YIKES!
My grandmother, Antho Marshall Greer LeMaire, knew the art of flirting. The looks that woman gave, especially when around a male audience, could curl your toes or embarrass the fool out of you. But even while turning red, I watched mesmerized by art in action. Those Silver Screen actresses had nothing on this lady. She mimicked and perfected the many nuances delightfully.
Since returning to my home state of North Carolina, I am appalled at the lack of social flirting. Yes, my precious, there are many types we Southern women have achieved. And before I forget it, the other word Southern women love is the “P” word−Precious. Oh and there’s the “D” word−Darling. Lastly, so we don’t disparage anyone, we love the “GD” word, too−Gorgeous, Darling! It’s just so delicious! I feel like a Designing Woman. Here’s my homage to precious Dixie Carter!
Back to flirting . . . I see plenty of seductive flirting. Walk down the hallways at any middle school or high school and you want to cringe. That’s another kind of art all together which brings to mind all those images Mama said the devil would chew on till you went mad; so, we’ll stop here.
The third kind of flirting, courtship flirting, has flown out the door. Couples have completely forgotten it. I mean, why bother? Today everyone wants a quickie right now. Flirting takes time, energy and practice. And to my humble knowledge doesn’t come on an IPhone, IPad or ITouch. You can’t tweet it, text it or tweak it . . . well, you can vibrate it, can’t you? Oh my.
So what’s wrong? Where’s the playful flirtation. I do believe we are born with it. Look at the picture of my granddaughter, Reagan. It’s a perfect example of flirting. We have it and anyone can do it. Flirting doesn’t require age, beauty or personality type.

I grew up with the flirt girls. Examine these . . .
Natalie Wood

Marilyn Monroe

Kim Novak

Now let’s get down to the core of flirting. Here’s your lesson of the day.
1. It’s all in the look: open your eyes, then slightly close them for that smoky effect. Once in a while, pout your lips, but don’t overdo it. Oh, I forgot the shoulder image. Keep your right shoulder edged in slightly toward your chest and lower your chin. People love this one, makes them think you are truly engaged in whatever nonsense they are spouting.
2. It’s pulling out the deep down inside: irresistible humor, coy self-confidence, humbleness with intent (not the mushy kind), and a colorful spirit.
3. Play it, Baby! Go for the fun; it’s the core of flirtation. Draw out the best in someone. Everyone has a story. People need to express themselves. If you nod, it only encourages more. Be your gorgeous self!
Now I know you are thinking, “What’s in this for me?”
Precious, everything is in it for you. Sweetness is the absolute nectar of divas, Southern or not. You might seem to be giving a lot, but darling, you are going to be the recipient of it all. People will seek you out, have you on every intended list and you will feel empowered.
Happy Flirting!
Thank you Mom for this wonderful and thought-provoking post. As everyone can imagine, I was beyond terrified when Mom sent me an email asking if she could write a post on why Southern women love the "F" word! And a hint to non-Southerners, if someone in the South ever says "How Nice" it's translated into FU. Or at least that's what I've always been told!
Come on, ladies. Tell us your favorite story where flirting made all the difference.


Jan said...

What a beautiful, full post, and funny! I love the line, "Sweetness is the absolute nectar of divas." Maybe I'll even wear make up today. :)

I thought the F word was going to be FRIED.

Unknown said...

Looks like Reagan has the look down naturally. What a cutie! And I hope flirting isn't gone forever. An emoticon just isn't the same thing, is it?

Katy Manck, MLS said...

Oh, Mom! And don't forget, if you put "bless her/his heart" with any critical sentence, it so softens the blow that no one truly ought to take offense: "Martha's cakes would make the best boat anchors, bless her heart."

I do confess to having called my high school students "darlin" as they came into the library until I learned all 750 names - also helpful when a grad from years gone by stops you in Wal-Mart and you cannot recall their name!

Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at

Tia Bach said...

Jan, Fried would have been a great post. Lord knows we Southerners love our fried food. And, yes Jackie, Reagan is my "flirter" for sure. Katy, you are so sweet. A well-placed Bless your heart is a necessary Southern tool. Thanks ladies!

Lisa said...

Hmmm...I thought the f word was, indeed, going to be the actual f word.

Flirting sounds heavenly right about now. I'm up to my ears in chores and work and life. A little flirting might ease the tension and add a new lightness. I'll try it this aft!

Tia Bach said...

Lisa, so did I trust me. I was so relieved to read it was about Flirting! And yes, it's an art form we should all use more. Thanks for stopping by!

Tammy Ellingson said...

What a lovely post! I even heard Dixie Carter's voice in my head while reading parts of this. The art of social interaction and conversation - a dying art.

Tia Bach said...

My mom reminds me of Dixie Carter actually, so it didn't surprise me at all that she would channel her. Thanks for stopping by!