The North versus the South?

On day while I was working in my office (switchboard) a guest lecturer came up to ask me some questions regarding the location of her teaching session.  There was another  woman there, cleaning my office (and I use this term loosely – it was a 6 x 8 glass fronted box with a large desk and two file cabinets in it!)  She greeted the speaker warmly and the two began to chat immediately.

In very short order, it became obvious to me that the two knew one another from a previous speaking engagement that the older woman had there at IU a few years prior to this time.  Ellie, the cleaning woman, was animatedly sharing with the instructor what she had gleaned from the woman’s class.

She thanked her for empowering her to do what was necessary to remove herself from the physically abusive marriage that she had been in.  The instructor listened quietly and in her sweet Southern drawl said, “Darlin, whah I NEVAH told you to heit thayat mahn!!”  Ellie looked gobsmacked.

“Of COURSE you did.  You said that I should use whatever means I needed to, to get his attention.  The vacuum cleaner cord seemed like the means I needed.”  Now, it was the instructor’s turn to look gobsmacked.

She then went on to explain that what she had intended Ellie to garner, was the understanding for the need to perhaps employ some…feminine wiles in order to remove herself from such a relationship, but hitting him with the vacuum cleaner cord never, ever, E.V.E.R. entered her realm of thinking.

At the time, to a funky college student who had a disdain for all jerky men, I thought it served the man right.  If he was going to beat his wife, he deserved it.  This morning, as the memory came rushing back to me, I have a different perspective all together.  (And it has nothing to do with men abusing women – as that is one soapbox I will not climb on today!)   (You can thank me later.)   😉   🙂

This morning, after continuing to ponder how utterly astounded I was to think that the Lord really HAS given women much more power than we are aware of, I read Elizabeth’s comment where she mentioned she was from the south.  I didn’t think a thing of it, until I read her response to my “Don’t be a pain in the neck!” post.  She had a much better grasp of what was nigh on leaving me speechless.  I suddenly put the two together.

Ellie, my cleaning lady friend, couldn’t begin to comprehend how this woman could mean anything BUT decking this guy.  And this precious Southern Belle who was speaking, couldn’t begin to understand how Ellie could have possibly gotten THAT from her class.  Do southern woman, a la Miss Scarlet, have a better understanding of the power of their words and their ability to influence a man with them?

As a woman born and bred in the north, I have no clue.  My grandfather was a Rice from Tennessee (Rice Grist mill type), but he certainly didn’t offer me any teaching on what it means to be a southern belle.  My grandmother, his wife, was a tough big city woman who vamped him into submission, which he remained until his death.

Granted, it was definitely with her words that she held him in submission (okay, so he was just totally smitten by her from the moment he set her milk on her front stoop until the day he took his last breath, even though she had died several years before him) but they weren’t words dripping with honey and charm.

And I followed in her footsteps.  I could slice, dice and serve a man on a platter with my words.    I could field dress him where he stood, if he was in need of it.  (And I have, in my time, I fear.)  And yes, those kind of words do indeed influence a man, but I don’t recall any Ashley-types being willing to fall all over himself for my affirmations, as Mr Wilkes did for Miss Scarlet.   😉

So y’all….what do you think?  Are the young ladies bred in the south wiser about the power of their sweet words?  Or is it just MY lack of breeding?  🙂  (You won’t hurt my feelings if you say yes.  I promise.  And if you do, no worries, I’ll just chew you up and spit you out with my words.)   😉   😉    😀

8 Responses to “The North versus the South?”
  1. Shannon M says:

    Well, I came by to comment about being a pain in the neck:) but now that I see you’re thinking about the north v south thing, I’ll have to comment away up here! Women do have such influence with our words! Words are so powerful, but I think women and men use them so differently. We’ve all heard that women say something like three times as many words in a day as men – we’re kind of frivolous with them. But men weigh them a little more carefully. So when we’re speaking to them, what may be an off hand remark to us, is more carefully considered by them. And yes I think women in the south exploit this:) We may not be aware of it and maybe our mothers weren’t either, but southern women are trained to think about what we say. I know if my mama said “talk sweet” once, she said it a hundred times:) Some times it can be downright manipulative, such as when we plant ideas in our hubbies heads and then subtly talk them into it, all the while making them think it was their idea. But as long as we use our powers for good and not evil, I’m all for it:)

  2. Shannon M says:

    Golly, see what I mean about using a bunch of words!?!

  3. javadawn says:

    ??? Like THAT was a bunch of words??? (She said absolutely mystified.) 🙂

    Shannon, I heard “Speak nicely.” but I have a suspicion that that doesn’t mean the same as “Talk sweet.” Can you define what that means/meant to you?

    (Sarah!! Come help us out here. Along with Elizabeth, you three could just school us all. Just think of all the northern husbands who could be being saved from physical affronts, because of you!) 😉 🙂

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Actually, and I apologize for giving the impression I was raised here in the south…I have lived here (NC) only 4 1/2 years now. However, I have been influenced from my raising by most all parts of the country I guess you could say. I was born in California but my mom’s dad was from Texas and being my mom was babysat by his parents when her mom was teaching, etc…in some ways, some things about them were no doubt southern. Then my other grandparents were from Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, etc. so my dad was very much of that vein of thinking…and being he was VERY VERY DOMINANT in our home…well, a big dose of that. Then my mom’s grandma was kind of a modern woman, taught 38 1/2 years in public schools…and was a 3rd generation native born Californian. Then we moved to Idaho when I was a teen and the most of my married years we lived in Washington… SO WHAT AM I??? Not sure…my heart is in the mountains as to where I would prefer to live…here we live in the midst of mostly pine trees, so that is ok. But in ways I am a country girl, too…animals and farm living being in my background as well.

    I guess I value things from all the regions really…a Westerner pretty much says what they think, not caring a great deal what anyone thinks, with lots of independence thrown in. A Southerner may treat you well, as far as when you are a customer, but oh my, never in all my years have I been snubbed like we were in churches here…you see they think we are Northerners…and they lost the civil war and still are sore from it, to some degree. But what they do not understand, the Northeast is part of the country I have not been influenced by at all…never lived there…and in no way do Westerners consider themselves to be Northerners…but try getting a Southerner to see that. What is nice is that most all your shopping experiences are good here…and that can be a trial beyond all patience at least in some areas of the West….though that does not apply to the more western parts of the states along the Pacific Ocean, in my view. BUT…and do remember this…just because a Southerner may treat you politely DOES NOT mean they wish to be your friend. Most of my friends here in this area are originally from other places though they may have lived here 30 years…and thus are not truely considered Southerners. Now someone else who has always lived here in the south may not appreciate my take on things…but it is my experience thus far in life.

    Actually what taught me the most about how to treat a man is the faith path we have been on for several years now. We have been influenced greatly by many teaching Hebraically…or from a Biblical perspective. You see, when a man and woman understand how GOD thinks about how a man and woman ought to behave (and I have to say, for the most part not much of that is taught in other belief systems, to my knowledge) and when we better understand the meanings behind the stories told of real people in the scriptures…we can begin to see a better way of doing. All of us influence others, and that should be our mates. I believe we are put together by GOD (after all, HE designed the family unit) in such a way that will point back to HIM but also, for our benefit…to be a sort of checks and balances system. A man needs our intuition, our insights into human behavior and thinking…because frankly in the work world, they are very busy and maybe in general not wired to be very introspective nor even very concerned about what makes people behave as they do. Yes, we can use, if nothing else, because most men are somewhat a slave to their physical needs and desires, our “favors” or not to somewhat control them. I always thought that was not playing fair to use something like that. I am more prone to retreat from conflict myself…not the best way either. But also, learning what remittance is…and I do wish I could better explain it (a man named Henry Gruever, years ago via video tape) helped us learn a lot about this. When we are offended, attacked, wounded by others, we really need to remit it to the FATHER….that allows HIM to work things out. We tell HIM very frankly how we feel about the situation and then tell HIM we remit the situation to HIM. We have seen those prayers bear fruit and usually fairly quickly. HE has told us that vengence in HIS…and what occurs may well be that, or it may be in more the form of blessing…yet it brings a solution to many things beyond our human ability to deal with. Wow…somehow got off on a bunny trail here…but I hope it clears up a few things.

  5. April says:

    HOW did I miss you were back? Crazy. Now I’ve got lots of reading to catch up on.

    Sorry — no north v. south input. I lived in the Kentucky for 4ish years and I was grateful to head back over the Mason-Dixon line (or the non-geographical version of it, anyway.)

  6. javadawn says:

    Elizabeth, my dear, I’d sure enjoy sitting down to a nice cup of coffee (or tea) for a good long chat with you. Sounds like Father has taken you on quite the faith journey!

    Miss April, hmmm, don’t suppose it has anything to do with a little guy, sickness, macaroni & cheese, broken bones, hanging out with WW reporters and the like, do ya?

    I thinketh thou hast had but a few things on your plate, my friend. (Although selfishly, I’m thrilled to see your name in my comments box.)

    (And just fyi – I couldn’t respond to your anonymous blog post. Words escaped me. Hard to imagine, but they did.) 🙄

  7. Elizabeth says:

    And my dear, I too would very much enjoy such a thing…you really get my thoughts to flowing, by the way!! HA, as if you could not tell! Feel free to email me whenever you like! Not the same as face to face, but nonetheless…I do enjoy such exchanges too!

  8. javadawn says:

    Thank you, you may just find me showing up there soon. (I need to finish the book projects I have going, first.) 🙂

    (Telling self, “You must be an adult, Dawn, you must be an adult, Dawn.) 😉

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