Holly Hunter, Lillian Hellman

Dating a southern woman

What follows are the beliefs about us that bother us the most. Some of us do not know what Southern hospitality means, while others of us are always offering anyone and everyone iced tea or second helpings. Plus, co-conspirators will come in handy for the obligatory over-the-top proposal plan. Southern women come in all colors. Ask yourself if this is worth arguing about for three days because she is quite capable of filibustering.

Women raised in rural

We all good cooks, and we all hospitable. Women raised in rural or urban poverty in the South may have more in common with women raised in such poverty in the Midwest. Many of us are also extremely successful women, who simply like to look nice. So stop putting us in a box, you non-southerners. She will travel the world with you, perhaps even move from the south for a while, but only if you promise to return.

We are vibrant, often colorful, opinionated and independent. Thou shalt learn a thing or two about fashion. You will be responsible for dusting, vacuuming and grilling. You must have a sit-down with her parents before asking for her hand in marriage. It's true that many of us go through a period where we wear tight jeans and low-cut blouses, but most of us grow out of it.

Thou shalt make jokes about her accent and southernisms. Thou shalt not speak of her mama in vain.

Thou shalt get permission before buying a ring. The thing is, the South is not a monolithic cultural landscape. Some of us voted happily for a Black president. Her daily to-do list will always be three times as long as yours. It's clear that women from the South still feel the weight of the huge shadow cast by the Southern Woman.

When I dated a Black man my mother welcomed him into our house. She indulges on bad days, good days and cheat days. Thou shalt not tease her about the size of her purse.

It is a mistake to think that a woman is a good cook just because she's from the South, although many of us are decent cooks. We've burned our hoop skirts.

When married we tend to outlive our husbands, and we are often the central cores of the families during crises. It takes five minutes to find anything in the damn thing, but she also has everything in that giant bag. Those of us who are white are racist. Think Barbara Jordan, Oprah Winfrey. We are obedient, repressed, conservative types.

This was the number one misperception my Southern women friends wanted me to mention. We are black and white and brown. Despite the fact that over half the states that rank worst in education are Southern states, it's a mistake to assume that all Southern women are uneducated and poor. Thou shalt be an excellent host alongside your southern hostess.

We all good cooks

It may be that some of us like lots of volume in our hair, but so do many of our Northern counterparts. But I have now lived half of my life in the Midwest and Northeast and can say without hesitation that most non-southerners have firmly held ideas about what a Southern Woman is and isn't. Thou shalt be a good sport about sleeping on the couch.