- We raise our eyebrows to the heavens. Translation: Seriously? Have you lost your mind? What were you thinking? Have I taught you nothing?
- We close our eyes in weary defeat like we’re headed to the Appomattox courthouse. Translation: You have messed things up so badly that we can’t bear to look you in the face anymore. (Sometimes this is accompanied by fingers in our ears and a la-la-la-la-I-don’t-hear-you refrain like we’re monks seeking Nirvana on a mountaintop.)
- We cross our legs and swing the top foot in a rapid-fire motion like we’ve been mainlining caffeine since dawn. Translation: We can barely remain seated because a situation close at hand would be much improved if we got up and handled it, which we are sorely tempted to do, even though we know no good will come of it.
- We raise a pointer finger imperiously to the sky, a la Miss Clavel speaking to Madeline. Translation: Depends. Several possibilities here. Could mean: “Something is not right” in nun-speak. Can also mean: “I’m about to impart life-altering words of wisdom. Someone should really write this down”. Or it could be an all-the-way-across-the-room, modify-your-behavior-this-instant warning to children we have reared better than that. Rest assured, our children know what the finger means.
- We make “pfffing” noises with our lips. Translation: We are actually scoffing at your point of view. This is a more grown-up, sophisticated version of the classic raspberry.
- We roll our eyes. Translation: Your suggestion is too ridiculous for words. It is beneath us to discuss this again. We’re already on record—more than once—about this, and you are STILL wrong.
- We lean our heads back, close our eyes, and cross our arms. Translation: We Shall Not Be Moved. Think Mount Rushmore. We’ve DECIDED. Learn to live with it if you can’t love it. Whatever it is. Doesn’t matter.
- Hand on the hip. Translation: A verbal smack down is nigh. Somebody has it coming, probably had it coming for a while, and is about to get it. Prepare for incoming. Duck and cover, join forces, or get the heck out of the way.
- We tilt our head coquettishly to the side. Translation: We might be listening to your point of view. Truly. Or we might be mentally contemplating the many important things your mama apparently failed to teach you.
- We open our arms wide to you, extend both hands decidedly in your personal space, or reach up to kiss you on the cheek. Translation: Southern women are very touchy-feely. If you are not, you need to suck it up. You might be rewarded with pound cake. You should hug us back like you mean it. Bonus: If you pick us up off the floor in a bear hug and swing us around like we’re six-year-old girls again, you get homemade whipped cream with that.
Tag Archives: writers
One-time-only offer!!! I need a videotaped recording of one of my speeches. For some reason, I can’t find one online from past events,etc., and media clips won’t do. Here’s the deal: I will WAIVE my speaker’s fee for an event (you’d still have to pay expenses like airfare, hotel, whatever) ENTIRELY in exchange for a recording, so this could be a win-win for any of you out there putting together a gala, banquet, luncheon, fundraiser, whatever. I love what I do! Put me to work for you for FREE! Just this once, of course. . . .
- Date your friends. (You won’t have to divorce a stranger down the road.)
- Don’t burn your bridges. (It makes them awfully hot when you have to cross them later.)
- One day you won’t even remember his/her name. (You’ll just remember he/she was a jerk.)
- What goes around, comes around. (Sadly, this may take a while.)
- Wear sunscreen. (You will one day discover that you are not immortal.)
- A woman should dress her age. (Only two-year-olds are as young and cute as they think they are.)
- Be nice to old people. (With luck, you’ll get there soon enough.)
- Treat others as you would like to be treated. (Or you’ll likely get just what you deserve.)
- Think before you speak. (Saves lots of groveling later.)
- Chocolate never hurt anyone. (Recent big-money studies back this up.)
- Thank-you notes are important. (Every note you don’t write will be remembered.)
- Life isn’t fair. (And it’s a crying shame.)
One morning this week I dressed hurriedly, pressed for time, as always. I took one shortcut after another with my morning routine. My goal was simple: I wanted to look professional and at least marginally attractive. This gets harder and more time-consuming every year. I can no longer shower, slap on some lipstick and dark sunglasses, and go with a clean, fresh-faced look. If I forgo the make-up, I spend the entire day fielding questions about my health. People with skin as pale as mine look like we’re going to keel over at any moment without a touch of blush. If I omit concealer, I look like I’m coming down with malaria. I’m not exaggerating.
I miss the days of hour-long bubble baths, experimenting with make-up and hairstyles, and the anticipation of date night. Remember that feeling? By the time I finally walked out the door for the evening, I’d leave behind a pile of discarded outfits I’d tried on before selecting the right one for my mood. That was two sizes ago. Those clothes look like tiny hobbit clothes to me now.
After my kids were born, I considered myself good-to-go if I had on a shirt without spit-up on it—or worse—and I put on the first items I touched when I opened my drawers. On the rare nights when we could afford a babysitter, I dressed quickly. No way would I waste a second of babysitter time primping!
This week I stood in my closet at 6:15 AM dressing for a noon out-of-town speaking event. I had just enough time to finish my morning chores and toss something in the slow cooker for dinner before firing up my GPS. There was no time for waffling about cute outfits.
Breakfast was ready, and I’d packed my kids’ lunches and threatened them with the loss of something precious to them if they didn’t get up immediately and get ready for school. I’d barked out the daily reminders about homework, permission slips, and after-school activities before showering and heading to my closet to ferret out some mythical outfit that would somehow make me look tall, slim, and worth my speaking fee.
Dropping the towel to the floor, I wiggled into no-line panties and began the arduous task of smoothing stockings over my legs with fingers in desperate need of a manicure. I rarely bother with a manicure anymore. What’s the point? It never lasts. My hands are constantly working—dishes, laundry, flowers, and cleaning solutions. It’s a waste of money.
You can guess what happened. I barely got my stockings past one painted toe before snagging them with my rough fingers. Hopping on one foot, peering down over my dollar store reading glasses, and cursing like a sailor, I flung the ruined tights to the floor and opened another package to begin the whole wiggly, sweaty process all over again.
I got the second pair up over my hips—no small feat—before poking a hole in my panty hose that traveled all the way up my calf at the speed of light, blossomed behind one knee, and finally petered out at my control-top waistband. Like a volcano that has been simmering for weeks, I immediately erupted with more colorful language. I have a big vocabulary, and I’m oddly creative when I swear, so I was colorful in several languages.
Then I sat on my closet floor to fume and contemplate my options. It was too early to drink. I’m not an alcoholic. Yet. I was out of new stockings, but I had older stockings shoved in the back of the drawer. The colors were a little dated, but I was no longer aiming for perfection.
I remembered an almost-forgotten piece of Southern lady lore: you’re supposed to wear gloves to smooth on stockings. No snags! I felt like patting myself on the back for remembering that tidbit, and I immediately began rummaging around in my lingerie drawer for gloves.
Of course, I couldn’t find any white gloves. I don’t even remember the last time I’ve seen my white gloves. I did find some hot-pink winter gloves. They were a bit fuzzy, certainly not as smooth as white, cotton, bell-ringing gloves, but they were better than nothing. They weren’t mittens. They had fingers. They would do. I slipped them on and lifted a foot to begin another panty-hose application process.
That’s when my husband opened the door to my closet to discuss some calendar question and got an eyeful of me in my early-morning glory: panties—nothing else—half-mast stockings, and hot-pink winter gloves.
He took his time looking. I could tell he had no clue what to say. He couldn’t figure out what little party was going on in my closet. He looked puzzled–like a toddler who stumbles upon his parents having sex and tries to process a totally alien visual. It wasn’t a Fifty Shades of Gray moment. Trust me.
“Do you need something?” I asked testily.
“Not really,” he said, still looking.
“Do you need help with . . . anything?” he asked delicately, obviously attempting to tiptoe around any hormonal mine fields.
“Nope,” I responded, “I need to finish getting dressed now.”
“Sure. No problem. Absolutely. Carry on,” he said, closing the door with a perfectly straight face and zero color commentary.
He’s a smart man. I really should give him more credit than I do. We’ve been married a long time. My husband knows when to keep his mouth shut. I think that’s an invaluable marital skill.
SWAG READERS: BIG NEWS!!!
Would you like to read a new weekly SWAG column in your local paper? Call, write, or email your local paper and tell them you want it! I’m writing a new weekly humor column, and I’d love to add your favorite newspaper to my syndication list!
Newspapers everywhere are on a tight budget, but small weeklies and dailies are still going strong. Competition for space is fierce. I need your help to make this happen!
f you are a fan of my books, email me, and tell me the name of your favorite newspaper, the one all the natives read where you live. I’ll contact the paper and pitch the column.
Then, YOU have to contact the paper to let them know that readers like you want to read a SWAG humor column!
I promise to make you laugh out loud every week!
Thanks and happy reading!