SOUTHERN LIVING: Relationships Between Men and Women In The South


The upcoming She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour begins next Wednesday so I thought I’d give my readers a preview the kinds of articles you’ll find on the tour. So, I wrote this article to share with you today. This story is true. I was there to see it, so I know. I didn’t give specific names because the people involved are still alive and I don’t intend to cause any problems for anyone.

I thought I’d throw in a few articles in advance up the upcoming She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour, just to give you a taste of what you might find on the tour. I decided I’d share a story that shows a common relationship between husbands and wives in the South. So, here goes: There is a Mini-Storage in a very large city in the great state of Louisiana. A couple runs the business, and it’s been there for many years. A lot of customers are financially comfortable and rent spaces for storing Christmas decorations and other things that won’t fit in their garages.

The policy of the business is that whoever signs the contract has access and they can give access to anyone they choose. But it must be in writing. So Mrs.…let’s call her Smith, Mrs. Smith rented a large unit and her whole family participated in loading it. Months later her husband came to get something out. They have to sign in at the office. But his name was not on the contract, nor was there anything in writing giving him access. So Mrs. Manager told him he couldn’t get in. Well, being a ‘big man,’ he decided he’d do what he wanted so he jumped in his truck and drove right on back to that unit. Mrs. Manager walked back there, hot under the collar. She told him that if he tried to access the unit, she would call the police, to which he responded, “Why don’t you get your fanny up there in the office where you belong and leave me be.” He didn’t have a key, so he was going to cut the lock, which only made Mrs. Manager more irate. Wouldn’t he have a key if his wife wanted him in there? Are they separating and is he trying to take everything? She took out her phone and started to dial and the man threw his bolt cutters in the back of the truck, gave her a few choice words, and drove off.

A half-hour later, Mrs. Manager got a phone call from the wife. The two of them discussed what was wrong. Mrs. Smith thought her husband had access just like her. Mrs. Manager explained—again—the rules about written authorization. She also told the wife about the bolt cutters, a no-no on the property of any mini-storage, and what the husband said. “He said what?” “He told me to get my fanny back in the office where I belong,” Mrs. Manager said. “I’ll get back to you.”

A half-hour later, Mr. Smith returned to the Mini-Storage. He quietly entered the office, took his hat off and turned it round and round in his calloused hands for a moment, and then cordially apologized. To see that ‘big man’ so humbled was heartening. No one knows what was said between husband and wife, but whatever it was must have reminded Mr. Smith that men don’t talk distastefully to ladies, especially ladies they don’t know intimately. I suspect she had some form of ‘correction’ in mind for him. The couple moved everything out of that unit at the end of the month. After all, a wife can’t have a unit where her husband is not welcomed, and the relationship between Mr. Smith and Mrs. Manager of tenuous. Husbands and wives tend to stick together down here, even if one of them is wrong. Mrs. Smith chose not to do the simple thing and just give the written consent. She stood by her man, whom she assumed had been wronged. But only after she stood by a lady she didn’t know, and let her husband know she expected him to be a gentleman.

So, there you have it. While this story doesn’t represent all Southern men and/or women, it is representitive of our way of life. Husbands and wives stick together, but women tend to take up for each other too. Most of us take it for granted that if one spouse signs a document, it really includes the other spouse as a matter of custom.

I hope all of you will return and enjoy more articles about Southern Living. the tour schedule will be posted soon.

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One comment on “SOUTHERN LIVING: Relationships Between Men and Women In The South

  1. Sweet article. Remember when kids would complain about teachers, and the kids themselves would end up coming back into the classroom with apologies and tales of punishment at home? We all know we are loved and supported, but there is a measure of graciousness and respect that we give others, even if we disagree with the rules/authority. Like the couple in your article, many of us still practice this polite way of dealing with people. It’s a boon for living in the South, and I love it! Thanks for the delightful essay.

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