Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How I Became a "Society Girl"

Now, before I tell you this, let me assure you that this is not fiction; I do wish at times some of it was. All the girls from my town in Mississippi could not wait until the summer prior to their sophomore year in high school because you could become part of a “social service club”. Well, let’s just call it what it really is, a high school sorority. Now, in my town there are three clubs and they are linked to social status. So, 3 clubs-- one high-society, one mid-level hard-working folk’s daughters, and the bottom one was well, the bottom one. Now, that does not mean that everyone in the high-society one was from very wealthy families but most were and the others were raised as if they were. So, the summer of your sophomore year you sit and wait for “pick-up day”. That is the day when the club members come to your house, pick you up and take you to the home of one of the members. You are then invited to pledge or “rat”, yes, I said rat, because here is where southern irony comes in. You are going to become a member of a club that announces you into society and you will spend your high school years as a member helping others in the community, but before you can do that you will be treated like a mere rat. This is a primer for becoming a belle, you must go through some hard stuff before you can earn the belle title, I guess this is where they get Steel Magnolia. This training is crucial when you have to roll up your sleeves to help Tara from not falling into ruin or you have to throw a dinner party for 8 with only thirty minutes notice... whatever (I am rolling my eyes here). So, you spend the summer pledging which means you are at the whim of all the members and there are even ratting parties where you have to wear ratty old clothes, be berated by the members, and horrible rotting nastiness from the members refrigerators is poured all over you. Not to mention some of the mean member’s favorite things to do were to put either maple syrup or Vaseline all in your hair. Sometimes when we drive by chicken houses the aroma makes it all come back to me. At this point you are saying, why in the world would someone go through that to be part of a club. Well, as an adult I have asked myself that numerous times, but, that was just part of becoming a member of this exclusive club you had desired to be a part of since you were little and you could get through the berating and nastiness by thinking about the beautiful dresses you would wear to the formals and all the fun you would have at other socials. Oh yeah, and the good you would do for all the unfortunate people in the community (part of the motto, I don't think I really helped out much in those years - that is a regret). So, six weeks of buying member’s presents, being degraded, memorizing and reciting an entire club constitution, and so much more, then you go through Hell Night. Well, this is where they just pour more stuff all over you, you are lying on the ground while they do this. They yell horrible things at you, there is alot of screaming going on, this skill has come in handy when in traffic in Memphis at times, but that is about it. I know it is crazy. So, the next day is Instillation Day, you put on your beautiful white dress and become a member. The white dresses are pretty, but our Vaseline soaked hair had much to be desired. But, now we were part of the group, part of this exclusive "group". We had made it through! I think by sharing this I have broken some type of code, I guess I will not be invited to any socials anytime soon, thank goodness because I have not worn a white dress since my wedding.

It is all very silly to me now, my mother and grandmother raised me to be a proper lady, no club could give that to me nor would I let it take it away. Some of the older gilrs were wonderful and I would have loved to have been better friends with them, I really looked up to them. If I had it to do all over again...

The Lord knew to give me a house full of boys because I would have never gone through that stuff with a daughter. Plus, we don't have many debutante balls at a state park (we do have many queens around here though) Little Buckaroo has exceptional manners and is already opening doors (when they are not too heavy) for me and other women. My husband has always treated me like a lady not because he felt obligated but because he respected and admired the lady that I am. Or, try to be. On even days of the month, except when I am tired and am out of coffee.

This is from my senior year. Nice braces and big 80's hair, huh? Oh, but I did love the dresses.






11 comments:

Catty Ax Lady said...

Oh honey, I'm totally giggling at...well, pretty much this whole thing. I've always had this feeling that I'm part southern, basically because I have this twang thing that I slip into, especially when I get tired. (Disregard that I hate hot weather and humidity, and that I've never really been anywhere in the south besides Nashville, and driving through places on the way to Florida). Anywho...lmbo at the Queens remark. I'd love to visit your town!

Mapper said...

I am MUCH more of a lady when I have my coffee first too ;)

Sandy said...

Thanks for your comment on my site. I laughed at this blog! I had to take "cotillion" the spring of 8th grade. I guess it was so we could do the 'father-daughter' dance at graduation. White gloves and no patent leather shoes because boys could look in them and see your panties!

Gosh, we were funny.

Stacie said...

Too funny...I can't imagine going thru all that, I was too much of a tomboy and if anyone got in my face or said offensive things to me they were soon picking themselves up off the ground and rubbing that nice new shiner I just gave them. LOL. I do love your dress though..very pretty. shockingly, I had a pink one somewhat similar (but don't tell anybody ok?) ;)
Stacie

Stacie said...

ps..I hope you don't mind that I added you to my blogroll...if it's not ok, just let me know, I won't be offeneded

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Your 80's hair rocks!! How sad is it that my hair looks like that in my wedding photo from 91'! UGH....

Why didnt ANYONE that loves me tell me I looked like a GIANT HAIR BEAR!!!

Hallie

amyjo said...

Being a midwestern farm girl myself, I had no idea such things existed...I did go through some of the same things in greek life during my university days...

Cynthia said...

Huh, am always learning new things about the world by reading blogs.

I had hair just like yours!

Scarlett Wanna Be said...

Ooooo, I would have loved something like that in high school...in high school, now as an adult I see that there is so much more to life than big dresses and big hair...although God knows I love a big dress. I have to say, syrup in the hair...OH MY!!! I don't think I could handle that, my hair is the one thing I got going for me.
Looove the picture!

Mapper said...

Hey Mrs. Park Ranger, you major DEB you... I FINALLY got my blog roll going and you are at the top! You've been linked lady ;)

SharonB said...

You know I can't imagine going through all that, but I guess because I can be a real girly girl I secretly still would love to get all dressed up like that!
Sadly I'd have no place to go...

Thanks for sharing...