Southern Women were made for heat. It’s not that we like to sweat (or don’t sweat – don’t believe that line of bullmyth), or that we like to fight with our hair to make it do something, anything. Our attitudes toward heat just formed a bit differently.
I have a friend in the Midwest, where I lived for a brief, but frightening, time. Bless her little pea pickin’ heart, if it gets over 75 degrees, you can find her nearly naked in front of an air conditioner if she’s at home. But when she goes out, she tries desperately to fix her hair, put on her normal makeup, and wear her normal clothes. I think she’s crazy.
God made linen for a reason, ladies. He also made cotton and silk and did everything he could to make sure that we learned how to weave it all up and make nice pretty outer garments to cover our naked apple-pickin’ selves (just to clarify, that’s a biblical reference, not a pasttime or Southern Olympic sport or anything). Southern Women know how to dress so that all of that icky sweat wicks away from us and goes away as quickly as possible. Talking with our hands is just another way to inconspicuously fan ourselves since carrying hand fans went out of fashion.
Why have we historically drank things like mint juleps and various other forms of libation? For that matter, why on earth would we eat food with high seasoning in the summer? Doesn’t that just heat us up? On the inside, boys, on the inside. Ask Indian women: heat cools us off. Our bodies are so busy processing spice and alcohol that it forgets to make our skin miserable. They also act as asphrodisiacs. Think about it.
How do you stop your face from sweating? A hanky. A nice white cotton preferably with a monogram or other embroidery on the corner handkerchief. Now, in the real world, this doesn’t always work, and then we call it a glow, not sweat. As far as makeup goes, there are reasons why Southern Women usually have sultry, thick eyelashes – we just can’t wear eye makeup and keep our sanity to keep it on right. This is why most women from the South will never go anywhere without lipstick. A touch of the right shade of lipstick balances that nice pink hue that forms on the cheeks and somehow makes your eyes look better as well. Lipstick is a necessity. Everything else, except for a bit of pressed powder for those strange emergency makeup moments, is just plain unnecessary – and it’ll all mess up your complexion anyway!
How does our hair always look great? Most Southern Women have mastered the art of using their hair for cooling. Those women who wear their hair down? If you notice, it’s usually rather thin, and they’re usually blonde. It will reflect the heat and again help wick away the sweat. Darker haired Southern Women will usually wear their hair up in some amazing, sultry bun or wrap, and the younger ones – or the ones who like to pretend they’re a little younger – will wear classy ponytails that do not make them look twelve years old, like those yankee girls pretend to be. Some proper ladies will still wear a hat, especially if they have curly hair, because their hair will look great when the hat comes off.
Speaking of hats, a Southern Woman must always wear a hat in the garden. Yes, we garden in the heat of summer, and that would be why we also have the biggest brimmed hats anywhere outside of Mexican bar rooms.
We have also learned to value the siesta. We’re either helping the kids with homework, starting dinner, or having a nice tall glass of iced tea at the hottest parts of the day. And as for those of us who have responsibilities that keep us on the run: Do you really think it’s some kind of fluke that we do most of our air conditioned errends between 2pm and 5pm?
Shaded porches are a necessity. Again, it’s no strange coincidence that we have the most amazing porches in the world. There’s nothing more cooling at the end of a long day than to sit with an iced beverage on big wooden swing, lazily swaying with the breeze, foot dragging on the slightly spaced wood flooring (helps bring the cooler air up from under the house), watching the world go by. It keeps us social, it keeps us cooler, but it also keeps us able to handle the heat and stress of everyday life.
My advice to you other women? Get a porch, get a swing, learn to wear your hair up, buy some natural fabrics other than itchy wool, do some gardening at midday so you know what heat really is, grab a potent drink and quit complaining. No one likes a whiner.