They are the pride of the South. The south is a perfect backdrop for the most feminine of all women who devote a good majority of their precious time fussing with their hair, nails and makeup, and, may I say, it sure shows. Their objective is to look pretty, and, even more importantly, to be lovely. Southern belles begin watching their figures early in life. They care equally well for their complexions too and go to great lengths to remain looking youthful and fresh in their advancing years.
A well-kept secret of southern belles is their temperament and how they allow southern values to tell them how they should behave in the company of others. It is impossible to make a southern belle angry – at least not on the surface. They are very selective about who gets to witness their wrath or any real emotion that would destroy their always pleasant demeanor.
Everyone knows that southern belles are masters at the art of social deception. They know how to control themselves in public, and, if need be, everyone else for that matter. Out of one side of their dainty little mouths comes phrases and verbiage that attests to their surliness, yet, all the while, simultaneously, out of the other side of their mouths they are spouting words of downright sympathy for someone with whom they have taken a fancy and will forgive, practically anything.
Today’s southern belle is a mix of the long-held traditions of the south and the new attitudes young women are embracing in the modern world. They still have their coming out balls – a formal occasion with the intention to introduce the debutant to the social scene (most likely, to a potential marriage partner) but these ladies are not so ready to be auctioned off. Many have opted for a greater sense of independence and have gone off to get a good old-fashioned education which they intend to put to good use after they graduate.
When I think of southern belles I remember my first encounter with one. I had just arrived in Washington DC and had barely had a chance to acclimate to the social club I had just joined. I was departing down the main staircase and was in route to the dining room when we crossed paths. Although, I knew women in the District favored authoritative wardrobe shades (charcoal gray, navy blue and black suits) I still continued to wear my bright California colors. On this day, I had on a chartreuse cashmere sweater with a pair of dark navy blue gabardine slacks, an outfit I had accessorized with a matching scarf. As I passed by her, she called out my name, and, then, she proceeded to say “ Victoria, you always look so, so, and then, she (paused) festive” and, just like that, she had complete and total control over our social encounter and, of me. I knew in no uncertain terms, that she always would. I conceded that perhaps, if I wanted to be one of the girls, I had better dress like one. I left the club that day, took cab home and, basically, threw out every brightly colored garment I owned at the time.
The Southern Belle Historically Defined
A Glimpse at True Southern Belles
Video – interviews of southern belles for a new reality series
Song – Southern Belle by Elliot Smith