|Year||Premier||Reason this premiership gets an asterisk|
|1897||Essendon||didn't even have a Grand Final|
|1899||Fitzroy||too much rain|
|1900||Melbourne||Melbourne winning the flag from 6th so bullshit they changed the final system in response|
|1901||Essendon||umpiring error gives Essendon the semi-final 'win' - should have been Fitzroy in the GF|
|1902||Collingwood||season tainted by Essendon's 'Goodthur' controversy|
|1903||Collingwood||Collingwood's captain was called "Lardie" that's not even a real name|
|1905||Fitzroy||MCG too wet and soft|
|1906||Carlton||fake Grand Final, was just the prelim in disguise|
|1907||Carlton||fake Grand Final, was just the prelim in disguise again - also illicit Geelong pre-season affair with the VFA's Richmond clearly taints the whole season|
|1908||Carlton||Essendon clearly psychologically scarred by vicious Fitzroy riots|
|1909||South Melbourne||Argus system 'challenge match' is kinda bullshit|
|1910||Collingwood||season tainted by Carlton bribery scandal|
|1911||Essendon||season tainted by player expenses shenanigans|
|1912||Essendon||rules tinkering: players have to be branded with numbers on their backs so that fascist 'Stewards' can report them - I mean what is this, the Napoleonic occupation of Iberia???|
|1913||Fitzroy||silly finals system allows Fitzroy to play St Kilda again in the GF after losing to them in the prelim|
|1914||Carlton||Jamieson illegally in the back of Bollard, South robbed, #justice4bollard|
|1915||Carlton||comp too imba after University pulls out|
|1916||Fitzroy||wrong for spooners to also be premiers|
|1917||Collingwood||season compromised by WW1|
|1918||South Melbourne||Carlton too distracted by the Allies thumping the Kaiser to perform well|
|1919||Collingwood||season clearly unbalanced by the winless Melbourne having their first professional season (ie. with paid players) eight years after the rest of the comp|
|1920||Richmond||a player debuts in the Grand Final for Richmond and plays a key part in the result? that's too implausible to be true|
|1921||Richmond||Richmond's season tainted by ball-stabbing incident in R7|
|1922||Fitzroy||season tainted by Richmond fans death-threating an umpire into retirement|
|1923||Essendon||Grand Final played on Caulfield Cup day? that's not even close to September|
|1924||Essendon||nonsense round-robin finals system that was immediately scrapped|
|1925||Geelong||compromised draw with the three expansion teams|
|1926||Melbourne||Collingwood into the GF without winning any finals - a contrived win for Melbourne|
|1927||Collingwood||GF the lowest-scoring match in 20th or 21st centuries, not good enough to count as a real GF|
|1928||Collingwood||Pies players under a bribery cloud|
|1929||Collingwood||Pies hoarding all the goals and premiership points actually the cause of the Great Depression? #wakeupsheeple|
|1930||Collingwood||Geelong defeats Collingwood in the Preliminary Final but the Pies get to go again because the Argus system is a joke|
|1931||Geelong||R6 was played in two halves, either side of R7 and R8? you can't count 1931! how do we know who even really won?|
|1932||Richmond||uh... Melbourne playing three games for premiership points at the Motordrome and losing all three clearly tainted the season in ways we can't fully appreciate|
|1933||South Melbourne||Bloods deviously importing so many players from WA they should be called the "Swans"|
|1934||Richmond||I mean technically Richmond kicked more goals on the day but that's no match for Bob Pratt's 150 goals in the season|
|1935||Collingwood||Bob Pratt taken out by a brick truck the Thursday before the GF and you can't prove it wasn't a Collingwood player driving the truck|
|1936||Collingwood||Gordon Coventry rubbed out for 8 weeks and missed finals but clearly he was just a fall guy and they should have suspended the whole team|
|1937||Geelong||Sellwood? Hawking? Abbott? if the Cats were going to time travel modern champions back to take the cup at least they should have come up with better fake names|
|1938||Carlton||MCG 12,000 over capacity? some people actually watched the game from on the grass inside the fence? well that's just unsafe|
|1939||Melbourne||rules tinkering: VFL trying to get holding the ball called more often - now you can't just drop the ball when tackled!|
|1940||Melbourne||if you don't think St Kilda winning the Patriotic Premiership was the real premiership that year then you might as well go kiss A-dolf Hitler's boot|
|1941||Melbourne||season compromised by WW2|
|1942||Essendon||season compromised by WW2|
|1943||Richmond||season compromised by WW2|
|edit: Methuen's suggestion - Jack Broadstock shouldn't have been on the field: went AWOL in order to play and was arrested by military police before Jack Dyer intervened|
|1944||Fitzroy||season still compromised by WW2 (no MCG)|
|1946||Essendon||some of the Bombers' record 11 third-quarter goals have to be fake, it's statistics|
|1947||Carlton||season clearly should have been called off in shame after the Big V went down to WA in Tasmania of all places|
|1948||Melbourne||clearly the season should have ended on the drawn Grand Final, 69 to 69|
|1949||Essendon||Coleman kicks his 100th goal for the season in the concluding minutes of the GF - a story stolen directly from Jack Titus in 1940, you have to ask what else was faked about Essendon allegedly 'winning' this premiership #fakenewsflag|
|1950||Essendon||Essendon's captain was the biggest Dick ever to play Aussie rules|
|1951||Geelong||Coleman set up by Caspar|
|1952||Geelong||season tainted by weather so wet and muddy they had to introduce white balls mid-season|
|1953||Collingwood||Cats' full-forward caught having an affair and forced out of the team, they then lose the GF and you can't prove it wasn't a Collingwood player in disguise sent to seduce him|
|1954||Footscray||season tainted by Fitzroy betting scandal|
|1955||Melbourne||Melbourne's kamikaze tactics|
|1956||Melbourne||season compromised by accommodations for the Olympics|
|1957||Melbourne||allowing everyone to compete for the night series clearly tainted the real finals somehow|
|1959||Melbourne||uh-oh, Essendon implementing a special high performance training regime, sounds suss|
|1960||Melbourne||Melbourne shouldn't have been able to play a Grand Final with no opponent, that's clearly unfair|
|1961||Hawthorn||just the expansion teams playing, doesn't really count|
|1963||Geelong||whole of round 11 postponed due to weather, season obviously invalid after that|
|1964||Melbourne||Fitzroy clearly should have won the premiership: their lay down misère (zero wins, #1 worst offence and #1 worst defence) was clearly the highest bid|
|1965||Essendon||crowd support drove the Dons to the prelim win and a GF berth after a brutal attack off the ball on one of their players but was it a false flag operation?????|
|1966||St Kilda||timekeeper was a big St Kilda fan you say? oh sure, we can toootally trust that the siren was correctly sounded in this close fought St Kilda game|
|edit: showmanic also suggests St Kilda kicking the ball out of bounds deliberately (legal until 1969) to use up time at the end of the match|
|1967||Richmond||competition clearly unbalanced by players wanting to play for the Galahs rather than compete for the premiership|
|1969||Richmond||VFL tinkering with the dang rulebook again to try to boost scoring: now you get a free kick if the opposition kicks it out of bounds on the full??|
|1970||Carlton||Syd Jackson probably should have missed the game through suspension|
|1971||Hawthorn||R21 Fitzroy v Carlton played in zero-visibility fog clearly a sign of interference by ghosts, season should have been abandoned|
|1972||Carlton||too many goals|
|1973||Richmond||take your pick of option 1, cheap hits and punches take out three Carlton players or option 2, Francis Bourke and Royce Hart not supposed to be playing but played anyway|
|1974||Richmond||Tiges tainted by R7 brawl at Windy Hill|
|1975||North Melbourne||season ruined by pointless rules tinkering: bizarre, wacky centre 'square' introduced to replace sturdy, traditional centre diamond|
|1976||Hawthorn||pre-equalisation era resource disparity: Hawthorn had a complete monopoly on former captains tragically about to die from cancer at too young of an age as a source of motivation, North Melbourne forced to rely on just wanting to win the premiership|
|1977||North Melbourne||rare second-ever drawn GF clearly contrived for the advantage of the first TV broadcast|
|1978||Hawthorn||political interference: North Melbourne supporters clearly too exhausted from booing Malcolm Fraser in R20 to effectively encourage the team to victory|
|1980||Richmond||bottom of the ladder Fitzroy had more points for than top of the ladder Geelong? clearly a fake season|
|1981||Carlton||Garry Sidebottom misses the bus|
|1982||Carlton||Carlton illicitly obtains special powers from Helen D'Amico|
|1983||Hawthorn||Morwood/Foschini transfer clusterfuck making a mockery of VFL transfer rules - plus the Big V goes down to both SA and WA, just call off the season already|
|1984||Essendon||season destabilised by breakaway competition rumours|
|1985||Essendon||season tainted by biff: Lethal breaks Neville Bruns' jaw, John Bourke for the Pies reserves gets suspended for 10 years and 16 matches|
|1986||Hawthorn||illegal Tasmanian bank account|
|1987||Carlton||compromised draw with the new expansion teams|
|1988||Hawthorn||compromised draw with the new expansion teams|
|1989||Hawthorn||illegal Tasmanian bank account|
|1990||Collingwood||replay of drawn Pies v Eagles QF pushes back whole finals schedule, disadvantging Essendon|
|1991||Hawthorn||take your pick of option 1, you can't play a legitimate GF at Waverley or option 2, match tainted by Bound for Glory|
|1992||West Coast||Vic teams get their zones taken away and a foreigner team wins as a result #AntiVicBias|
|1993||Essendon||Baby Bombers bust their way through the salary cap|
|1994||West Coast||rules tinkering: arbitrarily changing the length of quarters from 25 to 20 minutes|
|1995||Carlton||Diesel Williams the recipient of not only payments outside the salary cap but also one of the first ever racial vilification charges|
|1996||North Melbourne||West Coast forced to play 'home' semi final at the MCG|
|1997||Adelaide||psychological warfare: Port Adelaide entering the comp and blasting innocent ears with their terrible club song - Crows unfairly advantaged by being already partly immune to Port bullshit - alternatively steroids in the AFL|
|1998||Adelaide||Crows somehow allowed to win flag from 5th on the ladder edit: and while losing their first final, just like Carlton the next year|
|1999||North Melbourne||finals system is so shit that Carlton finishes 6th, loses first final, yet progresses to semi-finals where they play West Coast who are once again forced to 'host' a semi at the MCG - Blues make it to the GF where they're rolled by Norf|
|2000||Essendon||season compromised by accommodations for the Olympics (and retrospectively, Lions' intravenous saline scandal and Carlton's salary cap breaches)|
|2001||Brisbane Lions||Lions' intravenous saline scandal (and retrospectively, Carlton's salary cap breaches)|
|2002||Brisbane Lions||six games not involving Carlton forcibly moved to Princes Park after Carlton moves games to Docklands - meanwhile Carlton wins the spoon and then has their salary cap cheating exposed, fuck 2002 Carlton basically - also Adelaide forced to 'host' a semi-final at the MCG|
|2003||Brisbane Lions||all the non-Vic teams made finals #AntiVicBias|
|2004||Port Adelaide||Brisbane forced to 'host' home prelim at the MCG - also because Port's win triggers insufferable debates about whether to count SANFL Port's flags|
|edit: lbguitarist's suggestion - St Kilda's PF momentum ruined by ground invasion after the G Train's 100th|
|2005||Sydney||Barry Hall escaping suspension after the prelim|
|2007||Geelong||1) Cats commit murder in broad daylight and get away with it, 2) disgraceful Melbourne v Carlton spoonbowl with priority draft pick at stake, 3) 'Guttergate'|
|2008||Hawthorn||morally bankrupt Hawthorn triple team Fev to stop him also getting to 100 goals|
|2009||Geelong||take your pick of option 1, season tainted by Melbourne's tanking or option 2, Hawkins hitting the post|
|2010||Collingwood||St Kilda robbed in broad daylight and the police did nothing about it|
|edit: NitroXYZ's suggestion - St Kilda robbed of momentum by replaying the GF the following week rather than playing extra time, replay replaced with extra time from 2016 season onwards|
|2011||Geelong||tainted by Meatloaf and the lavish Gold Coast concessions|
|2012||Sydney||season tainted by Essendon doping regime and the lavish GWS concessions|
|2013||Hawthorn||season tainted by revelation of Essendon doping regime|
|2014||Hawthorn||Brendon Bolton coaches Hawks to five wins from five games while Clarko out with Guillain–Barré syndrome yet nobody tests Bolton to see if he's some kind of cyborg or superman (though clearly swapped back for the real human version to go coach Carlton)|
|2015||Hawthorn||treatment of Adam Goodes puts a stain on the whole comp|
|2016||Western Bulldogs||umpiring so biased the AFL had to apologise for it|
|2017||Richmond||THEY'RE WEARING THE WRONG JUMPER|
|edit: NitroXYZ's suggestion - Cats forced to play 'home' QF at their opponent's home ground; veryparticularskills' suggestion - Cotch dodges suspension after PF|
|2018||West Coast||Sheed played on|
|edit: PyrrhicNicholas' suggestion - Maynard was blocked|
I believe every woman should be a Southern Belle or minimally aspire to being more ladylike, charming, and intelligent, because we should all be treated well.As she continues, we get our first glimpse of the deep well of compassion that underlies Phaedra's mission to improve the lives of those around her.
Honestly, I sometimes feel sorry for women of northern persuasion. There they are rushing around in their baggy, drab clothes, doing everything for themselves and looking like they just rolled out of bed. They don't seem to understand there's a better way.Thankfully, I no longer have to count myself among that witless horde. I feel like, until this fateful moment, I have been living like one of those people from the black-and-white "before" footage of an infomercial -- haphazardly bumbling through the most menial of daily tasks with no way of knowing how much brighter my world could be. Phaedra has freed me from Plato's Cave, and I have no choice but to follow her instruction and strive to shape myself in her image.
Unfortunately, as we see more migration from other parts of the world, we also see an increase of poor manners and rude behavior.She elaborates, providing specific examples of the personal injuries incurred as a result of these unmannered interlopers.
I find it particularly odd in business, when the salespeople or tellers don't speak or thank you for your patronage. Don't they realize that without customers they would not have a job?I, too, find it offensive when minimum-wage workers have the nerve to act like actual human beings rather than automatons at the mercy of my personal whims, and I appreciate that Phaedra is bold enough to ask the question that has undoubtedly been on the tip of our collective tongue. Yet somehow, she still remains humble enough to freely admit where she has room to learn; here, she lets the reader in on "something I've never quite understood about non-southerners:"
They're suspicious of basic southern warmth because they're worried it's insincere. But at the same time, they will tell you the most inappropriate things! They tell you stuff about their health that you don't want to know. They launch into crazy stories about their terrible childhoods and how misunderstood they are. They complain about what happened long ago, and they fret openly about the future. Then they tell you what they paid for things and you want to crawl under the table.What is attractive, then, you may ask? Effusive compliments, for one thing -- "I don't know why some people are so concerned with being sincere, when being nice is so much more effective." We also learn to "never contradict anyone, even if you know they are wrong." Phaedra illustrates this particular lesson with the following example:
Frankly, that's not very attractive.
If someone tells you that your taxes are due on April 30 instead of April 15, you look puzzled and say, "Goodness, I had no idea. Did they change the date?"And what happens after that? Either the person says yes and you're forced to play along with whatever bizarre delusion and/or power-play your companion is currently indulging, or they say no and you say -- what? "Right, of course, I knew that the whole time!" Or, "Gotcha! It's April 15th, you incompetent fraud!" Or maybe, "I don't even know what taxes are -- money is for menfolk!" I just can't imagine any of those scenarios playing out with less discomfort than a simple correction, but after four years living in New England, I can only assume that's just northern negativity clouding my vision.
What an interesting way to think about it. (Good for a point on which you disagree with someone.)
You thought of every little detail; I love a meticulous lady!
Wow! That is so original. I would never have put it together like that. (In this South this might mean, "I hate it," but in a polite way.)Boss Babe is out -- Meticulous Lady is in! Phaedra reminds us to keep health concerns -- "especially female issues" -- far from polite conversation, then shifts gears to a much-needed lesson in verbal comportment. It's not just their "attractive regional accents" that distinguish Southern Belles from their less-attractive northern counterparts; they also devote great attention to evoking grace through their cadence and tone.
Sometimes northern women can sound awfully abrupt. It's just a habit they have, poor things.If you'd like to take your place amongst esteemed gentility, however, I urge you to change your ways! For one thing, when speaking, "slip in something affectionate so that a very harsh reality doesn't come across as rude or abrupt." For example, see how much unpleasant confrontation is avoided with the following turn of phrase:
Darling, don't you know you're too smart and pretty to be the town drunk?Silly girl, haven't you heard? Addiction is for ugly people! You should also feel free to use these compliments liberally throughout conversation -- "You don't have to mean it, you know." As an example:
If you can tell that someone has put a lot of effort into a particular aspect of her outfit, just draw attention to it. Sparkly stars-and-stripes high heels could be terribly tacky, but you bet they're supposed to be noticed, so go ahead and do it. "Those are certainly patriotic shoes!"Let me take a crack at it -- This book certainly has a lot of words in it! Writing a book is such an impressive achievement -- I'm sure it feels so rewarding to finally see it In print! And I love the way you occasionally use infinity signs as bullet points -- it's so evocative! I think I'm getting the hang of this!
Belle-Speak: She's a nurse-in-training.
Unvarnished Truth: She dates only old men.
Belle-Speak: She's a butter face.
Unvarnished Truth: Everything looks good but her face.
Belle-Speak: Hope he's got money.The second one is not even really a euphemism so much as Phaedra trying to demonstrate her knowledge of hip modern slang, but I digress. We transition into advice for conversation starters -- "don't throw them complicated or controversial subjects like politics, animal rights, or local zoning." Truly, I can't tell you how many times I've been approached at a party with an opener about municipal ordinances, and it just kills the mood like nothing else. Worried about how you'll ever find something to talk about under these restrictions?
Unvarnished Truth: He's unattractive and pays for affection.
Don't worry about sounding interesting. "Interesting" is an overrated notion. Just fill the empty air.That…explains a lot, actually.
Don't discuss hair color. Men always pretend they don't dye their hair, so you just have to go with it.At first glance, this seems reasonable enough, especially in the context of the social graces espoused by the book so far. However, Phaedra's attempt at further explanation quickly begins to careen off-course.
For women, it's a little bit more complicated because you have the question of whether the drapes match the carpet, so to speak. And I do know some who dye the carpet to match -- that was the big thing in high school. Now with all this weird waxing, you don't have to do as much dyeing, but that's another thing you don't talk about either!Let's see if I've got this straight: I should always believe a man about his purported hair color no matter what, but if a woman tries to lie about hers, she'll get caught…because I will inevitably be forced to confront the realities of her pubic hair? An intimate partner, sure, but I just can't imagine this situation arises with enough frequency to merit even the few lines its given in this text. And honestly, at this point, I don't even think I want to know what Phaedra means by "weird waxing."
A lot of women today enjoy being the feisty, brassy, foul-mouthed kind of gal who drinks with men and shows a lot of flesh. They think it's cool.Phaedra continues and reflects that, "I've heard the argument that this is progress, from the feminist point of view, but I don't necessarily agree." I can never remember -- which wave of feminism was the one with all the feisty gals? But clearly, their agenda has gone too far! How, in contrast, does a delicate Southern Belle behave?
She looks as if she's heard of sex, probably has had sex, but has no plans to have sex with anybody in the immediate surroundings.I'm not sure exactly how to convey this highly specific sentiment in any other way than purchasing a t-shirt custom-printed with the phrase, "I have heard of sex, have probably had sex, but have no plans to have sex with anybody in the immediate surroundings," so I hope that approach will suffice for now. Phaedra follows up by cautioning us that,
A lady never puts in the shop window what isn't for sale.Personally, I like to think of myself as more of a museum than a gift shop, but to each their own! We next learn more about the delicate balance a Southern Belle must achieve in order to maintain her esteemed position. For example, while "she doesn't cuss and doesn't talk dirty," frigidity is similarly unbecoming -- "if somebody tells a good dirty joke in her vicinity, she'll laugh." I'm barely a third of the way through this book, and I'm already exhausted at the prospect of having to remember all of these hyper-specific edicts. It's no surprise that the Southern Belle has to remain consistently vigilant; as Phaedra intones, "coming from a Pentecostal family, I hate to see a woman down more than two drinks." It seems to me like the simplest way to avoid such emotional turmoil would be to simply refrain from compulsively tallying the beverage intake of strangers, but I soon learn there are far more perilous hazards lurking around every corner. Phaedra shares her personal strategy for avoiding the very implication of incivility in the following excerpt:
I don't ever go to the bar at a party; I think that just looks terrible. If I must have a glass of wine or crave a fruity adult libation, I'll ask a nearby man to procure it for me.Sir! Procure me a fruity adult libation -- tout de suite! But I would hate to diminish the male gender by implying that they're only good for the acquisition of potables; no -- men can be leveraged in an increasingly broad array of day-to-day tasks. As Phaedra shares:
I have friends who have never in their lives pumped gas for their own cars. They will ask a complete stranger to do it for them. One of my besties from New Orleans will flag down a man, give him her credit card, and have him pump and pay for her gas.Honestly, I can't help but wonder if this might actually be some kind of avantgarde performance art, in the tradition of Marina Abramović's Rhythm 0. Because the idea that this gambit has never gone horribly, horribly awry truly strains credulity. As I read on, however, I learn that my current train of thinking is sorely misguided.
Sometimes when I'm at a grocery store the fellow bagging the groceries will ask if he can take them out to my car. Why would you say no to this? But sometimes women do. And I look at them and sigh and think, "Poor thing. She has a lot to learn."Thankfully for my personal development, the next chapter -- titled "A Crash Course in Being (Selectively) Helpless" promises exactly the sort of content that I so desperately need to understand. As Phaedra explains, a Southern Belle is "never intimidating, because some things she just can't do on her own." She goes on to offer concrete examples of how to incorporate this ethos into your life on beginner, intermediate, and expert levels.
Experts: assume help will arrive. Flat tire? Pull over to the curb, and don't sweat it. Can't figure out which wrench to buy at Home Depot? Or how to program your DVR? This is what former boyfriends and other gentlemen are for. Believe me, the age of chivalry is not dead.Rent due? Don't sweat it -- a gallant gentleman likely already has a check in the mail. House burning to the ground around you? You should know a Belle doesn't walk down the hallway on her own two feet! Bear attack? I'm sure a male bear is just around the corner, ready to jump in and defend your honor!
She never does that thing I hear of in the North sometimes of telling you how little she paid for something. Why would you brag about bargains?I can't hear the phrase that thing I hear of in the North in anything other than the voice of Tinsley's mother, Dale. Except she would probably use it in reference to something like "giving compliments to your daughter" or "weight gain." Regardless, a more appropriate question at this juncture might be, "Are you sure this book was proofread quite as judiciously as you claimed?" As I scan the page, my eyes happen upon the line:
10 percent for tithing, if your religion encourages tithing, which mines [sic] does.Of course, it would be entirely uncouth for me to brag about my typographical superiority in this context, so now seems as good a time as any to exercise some of my newly acquired techniques. Oh, Phaedra -- bless her heart! I suppose we can't all be detail-oriented, can we? It must be nice to be so casual and carefree when you express yourself!
The traditionally white organizations don't have anything comparable.Um, excuse me? Have you never seen this iconic video?! However, Phaedra does reassure us that she's far from ignorant in the ways of the world. As she states, "I have read about hookup culture and known a few easy women." Of course, easy men don't exist -- or at least, that's what I've read in all the most prominent textbooks regarding hookup culture. But don't mistake Phaedra's awareness for acceptance -- "that doesn't mean I like any of it." However, this sentiment is belied just a few paragraphs later, when our author recalls:
I offended the mother of one of my best friends once by booking some exotic entertainment at this friend's birthday party. My friend loved the anatomically exceptional dancer, but her mother was livid.I'm sure that it was only your friend who loved the "anatomically exceptional" dancer, and I assume this must have been one of your aforementioned token "easy" friends, besides. A Southern Belle, in contrast, is interested in serious, long-term relationships. And for this purpose, "it would be much better to marry a young man that you can train. I have always said that I would rather be a babysitter than a geriatric nurse." Yet even these kinds of discrepancies seem trivial in comparison to the boundless passions of eternal love. As Phaedra shares,
I want Apollo and me to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary, so I try to overlook momentary annoyances.That aged well. Bless her heart.
He doesn't know what her true hair color is, because the curtains always match the carpet.
He doesn't know how often she waxes, or exactly what waxing entails.
He doesn't know that she has her own credit card, her own savings account, and a safe-deposit box.I've got to say, that last one hits just a little bit different with hindsight. Always timely, however, are Phaedra's views on the importance of the homemaking arts. In this evocative passage, she describes the primal horror of an encounter with a woman tainted by an unimaginable curse:
A nice lady from another part of the country recently confessed to me that she doesn't know how to do any crafts. In fact, she said, she gets all nervous and antsy in crafts stores, because they're so full of things she doesn't understand. I laughed like I thought she was joking, but really, I felt bad for her. Imagine not knowing how to make all those cute objects that brighten up lives in the South! I shudder to think what the inside of her house looks like!With that fable still ringing in my ears, we transition to the next section of the book: "Look Pretty." Phaedra reflects, "I am always shocked when I leave the South and encounter the enormous number of women who don't seem to understand how their clothes should fit." Now feels like an appropriate time to draw attention to the book's back cover, in which an open-mouthed Phaedra swivels her torso in such a way as to create a bulging protuberance across one half of her chest. In awe of her commitment to inclusivity, I now realize this could only have been an intentional choice to make herself seem more approachable to us northern oafs, and for that I am eternally grateful.
I've never understood the appeal of the natural look. It's so easy to improve your appearance; why wouldn't you take advantage of the many beauty aids available to you?In a frankly unexpected dig against the ceramic arts, Phaedra notes that "unless you are a professional potter (and I don't think Southern Belles generally are), your nails need to be clean and filed." More generally, your physical proportions should remain mild and inobtrusive:
Ever since voluminous behinds became fashionable, I often see these lumpy, huge derrieres on women with legs as thin as a chicken's, and I think God would never put a rump roast on toothpicks, so why did you do that?That's why I always caution my friends to pair their butt implants with a battery of leg implants, in order to really round out the overall contour of the body and mimic that structurally stable, God-given look. After all, as Phaedra quips: "'Knowledge is power' -- that's my motto." But this knowledge doesn’t come without a price; being as world-wise as Phaedra often requires direct confrontation with the atrocities of today's world. As she recounts, for example: "I was astonished to find out that not every woman possesses a lint roller." It's truly a tragedy to learn how the other half lives!
I love diamonds; I'd have a diamond duvet if I could afford it.Because I am less fiscally endowed, I have had to settle for stuffing my duvet with assorted Swarovski crystals, at least for the time being. However, I'm eager to upgrade -- I can only imagine that the extra hardness of the diamonds will add a satisfying acupuncture affect to my nighttime regimen!
I saw a picture not long ago of some hippies or hipsters or whatever you call them from some remote city. The parents looked the way you'd expect them to look, a little bit bedraggled, but the worst thing was they had this adorable little baby all done up in a black onesie. And as far as I could tell, it wasn't even Halloween!How to combat this terrifying trend? Phaedra offers words of wisdom: "Little Southern Belles always look sweet and appropriately girlish." Specifically, we are encouraged to incorporate design elements like "tasteful, conservative rickrack." By way of further explanation, she clarifies that, "what they don't do is dress like Lady Gaga in dresses made of butchers' best cuts of beef." I'm disappointed to learn that my idea for an Etsy store selling bespoke meat-based children's clothing might be a nonstarter, but I suppose I appreciate our author giving it to me straight.
No costumes outside the house. Of course every little girl loves to play dress-up. But I truly dislike seeing Snow White or a fairy princess trailing along behind her mother at the Piggly Wiggly.As she sits in her living room, most likely waiting for a man to come to her aid for some reason or another, Phaedra is struck by a sharp, blazing pain. As the flash of blinding torment subsides, she catches her breath and shakes her head wearily -- another costumed child has gone into a grocery store. Forgive their guardians, for they know not the harm their actions have caused to our author's delicate and genteel sensibilities.
Sometimes I see pictures of women in store-bought football jerseys and I feel sorry. A store-bought jersey does nothing to flatter the feminine body.As for the game itself, minimal understanding is required -- "Naturally a Belle knows how much men enjoy telling her things, so she isn't shy about asking questions." True to her generous spirit, however, Phaedra nevertheless provides a basic primer in the rudiments of the sport:
Basically each team is trying to get the ball through the tall H-shaped goalposts at the end of the field. […] The problem is that the ball can look awfully little from pretty much anywhere in the stands. There's no shame in watching the video replay to see what really just happened.As a final tip, Phaedra suggests that "belles whose husbands have season tickets might even invest in matching linens and china." Our next unit of instruction concerns the arrival of a newborn bundle of joy; as we learn, "the birth of a baby is a big deal in a southern family." It's so interesting to learn all of these unique cultural details! I don't know if I've ever heard of another culture that places such importance on birth -- I'd love to get an anthropologist's take! There are also strict guidelines to which one must adhere regarding the naming of a debutante-in-training:
A Southern Belle's name:Once born and appropriately christened, children should be painstakingly shielded from the contaminating influences of the world at large. Phaedra explains that "pop culture is full of children behaving disrespectfully." Without the slightest suggestion of self-reflection, she goes on to declare that "besides, we think TV characters are basically tacky."
-- is obviously feminine.
-- is two syllables or more (names like Ann or Joan seem abrupt, like so many Yankees).
-- is a real name, not a geographic feature like Sierra.
-- means something. Preferably something nice.
Postmortem is no time to experiment with cosmetics. No one wants their sweet aunt Gertrude looking like some ashy Jezebel when she meets Jesus.The passage concludes with the brassy observation, "we don't usually cremate in the South; we figure if we wanted to burn we'd just live recklessly and go to hell."
So, ladies, how are you doing? I'm sure you've all been very attentive to my suggestions and are amazed by the results. You're probably totally used to a steady diet of compliments and flirtation and invitations. But here's a little quiz in case you feel the need to measure how far you've come.If you'd like to take the full quiz, you can do so here. But if your busy Belle schedule doesn't permit you to devote that much time to something so self-indulgent, a few example questions are provided below:
Your routine greeting when you meet a new person is:
a. A surly glare.
c. "Well, hello! How are you today?"
If your gentleman friend brought you a corsage to wear on a date you would:The answer key informs us that answering mostly C's means that "you are a genuine Southern Belle." As Phaedra goes on to suggest, "maybe it's time to share your new skills with a friend and pass along this book. I hope it's been helpful to you." As a book hoarder of the highest order, I will have to skip that suggestion, but I am nevertheless thankful to move one step closer to self-actualization with the help of another Real Housewife. Until next time!
a. Put it in the refrigerator. Nobody wears corsages nowadays!
b. Pin it to your coat collar and check your coat.
c. Pin it in an unusual spot like your waist or behind your ear, after extracting one little blossom to put in his lapel.
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