I recently chatted with Hannah Norling. A Northerner who’s recently made her way to the South, Hannah is chronicling her adventures via her Northern Southerner posts. Here are her takeaways from our conversation as originally posted by Southern Living.
The South had rules of its own, and the women are charming as all get out. I wanted to find out more about the sweet, sweet life of a Southern Belle. I called up Erika Preval, our charm and etiquette expert to give me the 411 on what it means to be Southern, charming, and classy as all get out. Here’s what I got out of it all.I’ve never really considered myself polished. I mean, I learned how to say please, thank you, and how to eat spaghetti with a spoon and fork. You know, fancy American-Italian family stuff.
Tricks of the Trade:
1. This isn’t necessarily Southern, but I wanted to know why there are so many forks when you go out to a fancy dinner. You probably already know, there are forks for every course of the meal. Seafood, salad, main entree, and dessert. Forks, forks, forks. Forks galore.
2. When you look at your phone too much, you become a phone zombie who has bad posture. Don’t be a phone zombie, because no one likes zombies, and Southerners don’t like bad posture. Try looking up, put the phone away, and imagine a string pulling you up straight.
3. If you’re trying to break your swearing habit, use buffer words. Which all just happen to be related to sweets. Sugar, fudge, honey sweet ice tea, and butterscotch, (I threw that one in there, for safe measure).
Historic Southern Fashion:
1. Seersucker is only appropriate after easter and definitely not appropriate at Christmas time… And for your sake, please don’t wear it in December. Seersucker is a light fabric, and December is drafty.
2. The season for white is between easter and labor day, but not after labor day. Ya hear?
3. Speaking of white, there are 6 situations in a Southern woman’s life where she’ll need a white dress. White dresses are a must for baptisms/confirmation, cotillions, debutante balls, high school AND college graduations, and finally, weddings. When you hear the words “white dress” what it really means is “Mom and Dad, you’re going to have to drop some dough on this.”
4. Never leave the house without pearls, have emergency pearls for pearl appropriate situations. Even if it’s not pearl appropriate, throw those suckers on and you’re golden.
How to Be Charming 101:
1. Always consider others, be thoughtful and genuine.
2. Be attentive. When you don’t make eye contact with people, it’s considered rude here. Value the people you’re with, and look them in the eyes. Smize the sugar out of them.
3. Never show up to a party/gathering empty handed. Presents + you = friends. No presents + you = bless her heart.
Dating Southern Gents:
1. If a man doesn’t walk on the curb side for you, he has a few things to learn about gentleman-like manners. Send him to Erika Preval and she’ll set your beau straight.
2. If a man wants to take you on a date and you’re not feeling it, just be honest. Don’t say you have a boyfriend, because then it’s a month down the road, and you’re scrambling to make up an occupation, age, and Facebook profile for your fake boyfriend Adam who works in accounting and then you’re kind of cat fishing yourself. No one has time for that! Bottom line, the truth will set you free.
I learned a lot talking to Erika, and I still have so much to learn. First of all, I believe what will truly help me, is if I kept Erika on speed dial, so I can ask her questions all the time. Second, I think I need to just dive in head first.
If you’re looking for me, I’ll be working on my fancy skills. You know, learning to fox trot, curtsey, or saber a wine bottle with a sword.
Want more of the Northern Southerner? Find it here.