What Can’t Ya Stand Wednesday–When A Cute Boy Has A Girlfriend

It’s the age old story: Girl meets Boy. Girl is impressed with Boy’s Atlanta Braves hat and his knowledge, though not as extensive as hers, of the Braves’ 1990s era dynasty. Boy makes Girl laugh. Girl makes Boy laugh. Boy takes off Braves hat, revealing himself as a “hot bald”. Boy drops a giant “G-bomb”, the effects of which can be felt throughout the land. “I’m having fun throwing darts with you. My girlfriend and I like to play darts too.” OH DO YOU?! THAT’S NICE! *no it’s not* I am so sick of flirting all day and night with cute boys only to hear them say “My girlfriend…” (I stop listening after that) or “We went to wine country last weekend.” If he says that, the WE he’s referring to is either him and his girlfriend or him and his boyfriend because you know a group of straight men did not spend the weekend together at a vineyard sipping wine with their pinkies out. I think Tony “Banana Hands” Robbins should put a Shallow Hal-like spell on all the single ladies, making any man with a girlfriend or higher (fiance, wife, overbearing mom) appear to be an obnoxious, hairy-backed, confuser of “then” and “than”, can’t spell “resteraunt” (because ONE of us should be able to), super-warty man. (Keri ; ) Those are my deal-breakers. I’m sure ol Banana Hands can individualize the spell as needed.

"Don't get too comfy, Evans. This G-bomb is about to explode."

“Don’t get too comfy, Evans. This G-bomb is about to explode.”

One night while out on the town, I met a dude who was not completely unfortunate looking and was fun to talk to. A few hours into the conversation, we got on the subject of Halloween costumes. He begins explaining his elaborate costume, I do not remember, something stupid like a half man/half woman and I go “Are you gonna sew that yourself?” And he goes, “No, I’ll have someone else do it…probably, uh, my girlfriend.” Look, guy, don’t act shy about mentioning your girlfriend. I mean, I’ve enjoyed chatting with you and all, but you are only marginally attractive and I even had to talk myself into thinking THAT much of you by telling myself you don’t always wear such stupid shirts.

Another night, I was doing background on a movie with this guy–we’ll call him “Charles”, but his name is Justin. It was a long day, around 14 hours, and he and I had been paired together all day. We walked down the faux street together in the morning. We walked down the faux street together in the afternoon. We walked down the faux street together in the evening. Are you bored yet? Then you know how I feel when I do background. When night came around, they needed a romantic couple to cross in front of the hero couple, arms around each other with gazing eyes blah blah blah. Of course they picked “Charles” and me. Maybe I am wrong, but I got the feeling he was kinda into it and I thought “This guy might want to date me in real life.” At the end of the night we Facebook friended each other and he sent me a message and I did not engage because even though he was tall and cute and tall, all people who do background are weirdos. Present company excluded, of course. Well, we ended up working together a few months later and I was reminded of how tall and cute and did I say tall? he was so I took a look at his Facebook page. It isn’t stalking if you’re friends! There it was in blue and white “In a relationship with what’s-her-name” A cyber G-bomb. How is that not a weapon of mass destruction?! (I would like to welcome the NSA to the discussion. Nothing to see here, but please do not look at my article from last week about shoplifting.) I missed my chance with “Charles” and every time we work together I see more and more how he has his life together and he likes football and he knows about cars and he seems like a great boyfriend to what’s-her-name and I’m like, “Yeah, I know you guys are in love. Finding out if someone is in a relationship and how long that relationship is likely to last is one of the easiest things to figure out via Facebook and you two are in it to win it so congratulations.” *not congratulations*

"Hey, girl. It's me, Charles. We could've really been something, but now I'm with what's-her-name. Your loss."

“Hey, girl. It’s me, Charles. We could’ve really been something, but now I’m with what’s-her-name. Your loss.”

If you get nothing else out of this piece, please walk away with this: If you are gonna be a guy with a girlfriend who is not Cherie Elise Evans, do not be cute to me. Say it “supposebly” or be named Chip or say something stupid like, “I’m allergic to cheese” or wear flip flops on your dirty feet or tell me you’re an Auburn fan–something grody–and Justin, if you and what’s-her-name ever break up, text me. But make sure to include your height and something smart about cars in case I forget that I like you.

"Sorry about my dirty feet" "I don't think that you are!"

“Sorry about my dirty feet”
“I don’t think that you are!”

*His name isn’t even Justin either

What Can’t Ya Stand Wednesday–When You Think Everyone Thinks You Are Shoplifting

Every time I go into a store, I worry that the workers and other shoppers think I am shoplifting. Every time. I have never intentionally shoplifted. ONE TIME I accidentally shoplifted some earrings. I put them in the pants pocket of the jeans I was also buying–just to get them out of my hands–and forgot about them, but I look at that as getting a twofer. I have never even thought about intentionally shoplifting, except maybe embarrassing stuff like Monistat or bras. I just imagine going to the check out and the cashier saying, “You think you’re a 34B? That’s cute.” I do not need that, but I also do not need a mug shot floating around the internet where I hold a sign that says “Yeast Infection Medicine Stealer”…or however mugshots work, so I’d rather stay inside the law. A best friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, but maybe you can tell from the picture who it is because my drawings are pretty spot on, stole something embarrassing while Walmart hopping with his mom. The story goes, he stole some cond…iments from the first Walmart and got out undetected, but set off the alarm when he entered the next Walmart with the “CONDIMents” still in his pocket and got so scared, he returned the “CONDIMents” to the shelf in the second Walmart. Ya’ll know what I mean by “condiments”, right? I cannot bring myself to say the real word because I have the maturity of a twelve year old.

shoplift1

I think I have had this “people think I’m shoplifting” fear since high school when a classmate got arrested for shoplifting from the mall on a school trip. I say “arrested”; she probably just went to mall jail, but it was enough to scare me into never considering it. I am not sure how I made the jump from “I should never shoplift” to “I am bound to be falsely suspected of a crime I did not commit” but it has been my worry ever since. Just last week I was in a craft store and picked up a small trinket off the shelf. I was wearing a somewhat baggy army jacket with faux leather sleeves. I looked super rad, but also a little like a hooligan. As I held the Christmas ornament (because it is October after all) in my hands, I thought, “They probably have a Paul Blart Mall Cop back there who has zoomed a security camera in on me, just hoping I’ll slip this tiny Baby Jesus ornament in my pocket so he can tackle me to the ground as soon as I leave the store!” So to alleviate suspicion, I held the Christ Child as far away from myself as possible and carefully, yet definitively placed it back on the shelf. And just for good measure, I announce, “That Jesus just wasn’t for me. I prefer a ‘Last Supper’ Lord.”

shoplift2

My shopping fears are not limited to being falsely suspected of shoplifting. I also fear that while clothes shopping, I’ll wander into the maternity section and everyone in the store will leer at me and yell, “You get outta here! You don’t belong!” And in this fantasy, which has never happened nor is likely to EVER happen, instead of saying “I’m sorry, I wandered into this section by mistake” I keep an excuse locked and loaded that goes something like “My friend is pregnant and she didn’t even think she could have kids, so this is a big deal and I am buying this item for HER and then I will be leaving this area of the store so is that fine with you?” because the actual excuse sounds too far fetched. At Target one time, I took a dress into the dressing room that I had gotten from a sale rack which is a breeding ground for mistaken maternity wear. Of course the dress was too big and of course when I looked at the tag I saw the silhouette of a pregnant lady and of course I poked my tummy out when I left the dressing room in order to avoid embarrassment.

shoplift3

“Shut UP, kid!”

Like I have said before, the reality of the situation is that everyone is probably more concerned with themselves than to wonder about whether or not I am shoplifting. That is until they get into a situation where two people are exiting a store at the same time and the alarm goes off and they both stop and check each other out to see who looks more shopliftery. I am busted in that situation because I cannot not look guilty when an alarm goes off. Even if it is a car alarm 100 feet away from me I start yelling, “It wasn’t me!” Because that’s normal. Of course, I prefer at least a small investigation if a store alarm goes off. The worst is when it goes off and you stop, looking around for Paul Blart to take you down, but no one even notices so you keep on steppin’. It is then that I think, “I’ve been worried this whole time that you think I am shoplifting but you don’t even care so I could have been shoplifting all along and gotten another free pair of earrings.” I mean, I WOULDN’T DO THAT. I’m just saying I could have. Please no one arrest me.

shoplift4

What Can’t Ya Stand Wednesday–Hatefulness

My buddies will never let me live down the day that they were making fun of someone and I told them to stop because “You don’t know her journey”. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I realized I sounded like a total jag. It is one of those things you see on Pinterest and you’re like, “Oh, that is SO true!” so you pin it to your board titled “SO True” next to the meme that says “Leave a Little Sparkle Wherever You Go” and “Your Inner Beauty Never Needs Makeup”, but then you say it out loud in real life and, if your friends are not the worst, they quickly and repeatedly let you know that, even though the sentiment is nice, “You don’t know her journey” is a stupid stupid stupid thing to say.

This past week, I was the object of much ire from people I do not know, mostly because of things that I did not say. To those of you who read, shared, and nicely commented on last week’s WCYSW, thank you. The response was wonderful and overwhelming. To those of you who respectfully disagreed, thank you for the respect, but I merely shared my experience and even though I exaggerate, literally ALL of the time, those are in fact my experiences and they did happen, so I guess it is my word against yours. Respectfully. To those of you who think I said that the South rules and everyone else drools, I did not say that. I stopped reading the comments after I saw one that started something like, “I did not read this entire piece, because…” I did not read the rest of her piece because I am guessing it did not end with “I was so delighted with the first two paragraphs that I just HAD to run around telling the town to read it too!” I am hard enough on myself, I do not need to subject myself to the hatefulness of others. To my fellow Southerners who said, “You are exactly right! Californians are so stupid! They are not welcome down here!” Sheesh. I did not say THAT either. I mean, come on, guys. That does not help my case. It’s like when I told my Dad “You should watch ‘The Following’. It is SO good!” and the next week they show a ménage a trios and I have to leave a frantic voicemail, “Dad! DO NOT watch ‘The Following’ based upon my recommendation! This is an uncomfortable situation!” Anyway, all it took was for a few people to call me the b-i-t-c-h word and tell me I should be ashamed of myself to cause me to ask, why are we so hateful to each other?

hatefulness1

I suppose technology could be to blame. “They” say it is easier to mouth off to someone when you send the blasting electronically rather than actually saying the words to their face. I know I am pretty brave when I am inside my car. You will never hear a better “telling off” than if you ride with me and someone does something stupid in traffic. The other day, I had my windows down at a stop light and the left turn lane beside me got the arrow. However, there were cars blocking the intersection so the front car could not make her turn. A guy who was a few cars back lays on the horn and I could hear him screaming, “Go!!!! It’s green, you moron!!!!” To use one of the two Chekhov quotes I can remember, “Injustice makes me furious” (The other is “I am a seagull…no, I am an actress” but that does not apply here.) So I start yelling out my window “The intersection is blocked! Know the facts before you start screaming at people, YOU moron!” Way to take your own advice, Evans. Not to mention the fact that about a month earlier, I laid on my horn when the car in front of me did not immediately go on green only to see an ambulance come through the intersection seconds later. Good one, bonehead. Finally the intersection cleared up and the screaming guy drove past me. We mean-mugged each other as he crept by and it was then I thought, “I need to cool it because this guy could pull out a gun and shoot my face right off my head and then my acting career would be over because unless I’m cast as Justin McLeod, there are no parts for faceless people!” (“The Man Without a Face” starring Mel Gibson 1993 reference. Nice one, Cherie.)

hatefulness2

Sticking with the car theme, there is a practice going around that I have heard more than a few people say is genius. You print up business cards that say “Nice parking job, butt-wipe” and put them on the windshield of people you deem a butt-wipe based on their parking abilities. I will agree that a person who straddles two spaces, clearly in order to prevent anyone from parking next to them and potentially dinging their precious car is a butt-wipe. I mean, who do you think you are, the Queen? I do not think the Queen drives a Honda Civic. She drives a horse and carriage. Right? I don’t know much about the Queen. At Fox studios one day, I was the recipient of this incredibly childish and passive-aggressive note. I was running late and the only parking spot I could find was in a “compact car only” spot next to a person whose car was not compact and he crowded me out causing me to crowd out the person on the other side, but I was late, so I just rolled with it. At the end of a very demoralizing day (background work will do that to ya) I saw the note on my windshield as I walked toward my car. Maybe someone saw my Alabama tag and wrote me a “Roll Tide”. Maybe it is windshield litter, which we all know I hate! Maybe it’s…oh, it says “Nice parking job, butt-wipe” I looked around for the person who left it so I could explain—the guy with the big car…crowded out…running late…not a butt-wipe…didn’t mean to…—but of course, the point of such a note is that a person gets to “say” something demeaning to another person but does not have to take responsibility for his words because it is anonymous and it makes him feel superior to put someone in their place when he does not know that the object of his passive-aggression never meant any harm and cried all the way home.

Yesterday at the grocers, I was heading straight for a checkout when a lady came in from the side and cut line. Immediately my blood started boiling. How dare she zoom in front of me without saying excuse me or boo or anything, like I am not even a person worthy of her time! Of course, she quickly noticed me and apologized, asking if she cut and I said “Oh, no, it’s fine,” because I’m not so tough without my car (“Kindergarten Cop”) and thank goodness I am not because what if I had started going off on this woman when all she did was make an honest mistake and don’t we all do that and how would I like it if I got yelled at every time I cut someone off in traffic or wrote a blog that was misunderstood? I would not like it.

Again, “You don’t know her journey” is a silly and pretentious thing to say, but I am secretly glad that it has become part of my friends’ vernacular. Every time they say it in jest, it reiterates the sentiment in my brain. When I approach others from a gracious and understanding place, I always always feel better about the interaction than if I forget the other person is a fallible human being with feelings and hurts and desires, just like me. What if instead of carrying around business cards that say “Nice parking job, butt-wipe” we all carried around cards that say “Hope you have a fabulous day” or “You are pretty and I like your hair”? I totally understand wanting to stick it to someone who acts like a complete jerk. Letting someone get away with jerky actions creates a rage in me that I often cannot control, but I always feel better when I do. Because I really don’t know what is going on in the life of the guy next to me. He could act like a jerk because he is sad or insecure or feeling any other of the vast array of complex human emotions that we all feel at some point. Or he could just be a jerk. Either way, it does no one any good to repay hatefulness with hatefulness. It does not teach anyone a lesson and will not make you feel better in the long run. Or maybe it will make you feel better and YOU’RE the jerk. What do I know? I just write a comedy blog. And speaking of comedy, it is getting a little too heavy around here, so next week is gonna be What Can’t Ya Stand Wednesday—Wet Farts. Or something less gross.

hatefulness3

Media Monday: Breaking up with Breaking Bad……….Bitch

url

It’s inevitable. Break ups are inevitable. Some harder than others. Last night marked the Series Finale of Breaking Bad. {You should know right now this is in no way a spoiler of last night’s finale, so if you’re worried about that, then please dear Reader, read on. Also you should also note that I’m not a dick and only a dick would spoil one of the most highly anticipated finales since LOST.}

url-1

These break ups happen in life. You’re never ready for them, and they seem to sneak up on you when you least expect it. Some of you wanna get dramatic and say that you’re life is over due to the fact that BB is going off the air, but you’ll get over it. This time next week, you’ll be on to the next up and coming series and your love for BB will remain, but you’re abrupt heartache will have surpassed. It’s a feeling many of us who have grown up watching shows have come to know very well, and how could you not? You invite these characters into your living room, week after week, and you laugh with them, learn with them, fall in love with them, and get really, really emotional if they die. I’m pretty sure when Felicity ended after only 4 seasons I cried more than I did when my cat died in 5th grade.

BB is rediculously bad ass. It has pushed the envelope and raised the bar more than any other show that I have seen in the last 10 years. How lucky we are to be viewers of television right now. Ammirite? It’s a wonderful time and Breaking Bad is a show that will only help the future of TV. Either by keeping up the pace, or again, breaking the mold with new inventive and even more outrageous shows yet to come.

imgres

Now, here’s the thing about breaking up with a beloved show……. I’m for it. Think about if this show was on for another 5 years, or even 2 years…..It loses something vital to the world in which it has created. That’s where LOST was extremely smart and way ahead of the game. They deliberately planned 6 seasons, and they didn’t have the slightest clue as to how the show would end. They just knew it would be 6 seasons, no more. Some would argue that the finale of LOST was a cop out, but hey, this article isn’t about LOST , and that’s the 2nd time I’ve referenced it, so imma get outta here with it! White and Pinkman’s time with meth and much, much more has come to a close. But all bad things must come to an end, and it is the quintessential time for an end.

Now my problem with a show like this ending now is the heavy influence of social media. I can guarantee that shows like Cheers and M*A*S*H and even my personal fave of the mid 90s, Quantum Leap didn’t have the kind of viceral and violent reaction that fans can have to their favorite show ending. Back then you were able to make a decision, solely based on you, whether you loved or hated the way a show panned out. It was your experience and yours alone. Then, of course, you could have endless conversations and albeit arguments with friends and family regarding *insert show here* but thusly, that would be the end of it. Nowadays jagoffs thrust their hatred OR love for it into the depths of the interwebs. (And no, that’s not what I”m doing here people, come on, stay with me) and thus taint an otherwise untainted experience. Those same foes who decide it’s their duty to inform you on a show because they want to feel part of the “in” crowd. THey want to exude the fact that they know what’s up and you all need to know about it, and more importantly how they feel about it. It’s just such a……bummer.

It’s hard to not let that sort of in-your-face-media ultimately affect the way you feel about something, however I urge you to refrain from, like I stated in the opening paragraph, being a dick. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are, what I instantly just coined as, a blurse. That is a blessing and a curse. {I mean I could have gone with clessing, but that sounds sorta vulgar and weird so I’m going to stick with ma first made up word, uh-thank-you-very-much). They have a tendency to invoke such strong feelings and comments towards topics, and because these said individuals are safe hangin in their dorm room decorated apartment with books lining the floor because you can’t afford a bookshelf, and eating ramen outta the microwave, not stovetop cooked, cause they definitely have a stovetop, but are lazy you think it’s ok to attack and blunder and generally lash out on individuals because they happen to disagree to how a made up scripted television show ended? Yes. It is just as ridiculous to read as it is to do. This goes for those same sorry sacs, who are positively of the same cut as the above ramen eaters, that like to post a spoiler on their status or feed cause they ultimately want to be “in” it, and show that they are “in” it. All I can say to you is stop trying to make fetch happen, it’s not going to happen!

In brief, I hope you all are able to enjoy the finale of Breaking Bad without interruption and without spoils. Breaking up is certainly hard to do, but ya gotta just let it happen and rejoice that you were, even in a small way, part of something as sensational as this show is/was. Be it if you are just starting out the series, or if you’ve been on board since the beginning, it’s time for Mr. White, Jesse, Sylar, Walt Jr., Holly, Hank, Marie, Mike, and Saul to break things off. It’s definitely not them, it’s me, but I trust Mr. Gilligan has left us in pretty good hands to either cry tears of joy, or tears of devastation. Or both. Bitch.

url-2

Free Advice Friday: Kids Playing Sports

It’s Friday! And that means for the dozens… AAAAND dozens of my fans, it’s Free Advice Friday.  Let’s go!

Dear Jake,

I’m a father of an 8-year-old that I recently got involved in football. I wanted to get him into team sports because I feel they teach kids important lessons that make them into successful adults. However, some of the parents think I’m forcing him to be out there and also think I “cheer too aggressively”. I just want him to win and be happy. What should I do?

Allen M.

Allen, this is an excellent question.  And you couldn’t have brought it to a more qualified single, childless 27-year-old who can barely take care of himself.

First off, an excellent choice having your boy play football. The man’s game. The ultimate team sport. I agree that it’s important to learn lessons playing sports, and there’s so many he can learn playing football that he wouldn’t anywhere else.

But, what do you do if your child isn’t putting the effort into it that he or she should? How do you even know if he is or not? What do you do about those other parents sticking their nose in business it shouldn’t be in?

Don’t worry. I’m here to help.

Little League Sign

At the end of the day, you want the best for your child. What’s better than them being the best at everything they do? You want your child to win and be the best, don’t you?

Of course you do.

I know you want your child to win every game they play, but if you want them to play their hardest, nothing works better than screaming at them at the top of your lungs.

Let me finish…

Children are liars. Children are sneaky. Children spread scabies. That last one has nothing to do with this particular subject matter, but hey… rule of threes.

The point is, kids are not trustworthy. They, by nature, are pathological liars. They tell you that they didn’t eat the doughnut you left on the counter when you didn’t eat it and the chair was moved over next to the counter and they have white powder on their face, so unless they have a horrible drug habit, you know damn well it was them. I WAS SAVING THAT UNTIL THE COFFEE FINISHED BREWING.

Anyway, you can’t ask a child if they were giving all their effort, because they will just simply lie to you. However, if you angrily scream at them and make vague threats about having to maybe walk next to the car on the way home because only winners ride shotgun, you might see what they can really do on the field.

You may get stares from the hippie parents that “would never do that to my child”, but you just have to press on. Instead of breaking apart dried, white animal poop they find on the sidelines, their kid could take notes while yours runs for a 43-yard touchdown on a toss sweep.

Sometimes yelling isn’t enough. Sometimes you have to be psychological. Make sure they know they’re not only playing to win, but they’re playing for your love.

“You not wrapping up on a tackle is the reason your mother and I fight, son!”

Tell me he’s not going to have perfect form in week 2.

Kicking and Screaming

Kids are kids. To them, it’s just a game. It’s just time they get to play outside, have fun with friends, and make new ones. But, you and I know that it’s more than that. It’s not just a game. It’s a lifestyle choice.

It’s all about winning.

You grow into adulthood. That’s what you have to live in. You don’t stay in your childhood forever, so who cares if they have a good one? Prepare them now to have a good life later.

Just look at the 1984 classic The Karate Kid. Remember the bad guy in that movie? What was his name… Daniel Larusso? Yeah, he won the tournament, but he cheated and robbed the beloved protagonist Johnny Lawrence of his rightful first place trophy from the All Valley Karate Championship and stole his girlfriend. But, I guarantee Johnny’s a more successful adult, because fear did not exist in his dojo.

Parents, when your kid grows up to be a successful investment banker or sports agent or corporate raider involved in hostile takeovers, I highly doubt they will remember for one second that their parents screamed at their ballgames, embarrassing them and themselves in front of everyone present. I doubt they will remember at all that their parents molded them into future douchebags by acting like total b-holes at a children’s sporting event.

I’ll bet they remember that first place trophy you’ll still keep above the fireplace and talk about every Thanksgiving. I’ll bet they remember their parents being loving, tender motivators.

I’ll bet they remember being a winner.

So, it’s really all up to you, Allen. If you want your child to become “well-rounded” by learning leadership skills, teamwork, self-discipline, patience, perseverance and the importance of respect, then be uninvolved and unenthusiastic like the rest of the do-nothing parents that let their child learn that “on their own”.

But, if you want your child to be a winner, then keep doing your thing, my friend. Scream and yell, verbally express your disappointment, and show them they can get what they want by disregarding how they behave in private and in public.

Yeah. You may scar them and make them terrible people and they may very well hate you for the rest of their lives, but at the end of the day, they will be a winner.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

If you seek wisdom or have any question you would like Jake to answer, email him at CupOFourtay@gmail.com with the subject “Free Advice Friday”.

What Can’t Ya Stand Wednesday–Southern Ignorance

The challenge on Project Runway Episode 9 “Let’s Do Brunch” was to create a look for “the modern Southern woman”. Honestly, I wish that was the worst of it. Creating a look specifically for a Southern woman, as if the clothes she wears are completely different than those of people anywhere else in the country, is bad enough, but that is not the worst of what I witnessed in that episode or of what I hear in every day life, so here we go.

I was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. For 8 years, I attended one of 82 public schools and for 4 years, one of 21 private schools in Madison County. Every day, I brushed my full set of teeth and got ready for school in my bathroom which was conveniently located inside my house. My mother drove me to school in a car and I walked, with shoes on my feet, into the multi-roomed, multi-storied, building where I learned to read and write and do math. I learned about history and science and literature. I went to museums and the Theatre and sometimes the movin’ picture show. I was even friends with people who were not my race or ethnicity. I did not know everyone in my city of over 160,000. I did not live on a farm. I did not listen solely to country music. Since graduating college, (I got mah-self one-a those fancy ed-ju-mah-cashuns) I have lived in Memphis, Chicago, Huntsville again, and currently, California. I have never in my life gotten more ignorant questions about the South than in the two years that I have lived in Los Angeles.

When a person asks me where I am from, I proudly answer, “I am from Alabama.” Often, the person will repeat “Alabama” back to me with, what I am sure they imagine to be a redneck accent. This is the point at which I decide this person is ignorant and the look I give him or her indicates such. About 1 time out of 10, the person will feel ashamed and I will warm back up, but the other 9 times, the person seems as proud of their hilarious “joke” as I am when I drive up to Manhattan Beach Studios and say, “I’m here for ‘Revenge’…the TV show, not to get payback on anyone hahahahaha.” like I have not heard their little “joke” at least once a week for the past 2+ years. Then this person usually says, “I can tell you’re from Alabama because of your accent.” Oh, CAN YOU?? Because my accent is a Tennessee accent like my Mama’s which is different from an Alabama accent, so excellent work, Henry Higgins. Next you wanna guess which street I grew up on because you’re really on a roll, now buy a pretty flower from the lady and get outta here, would ya?

"Listen, Pickering. An Alabama girl with a Tennessee influence. If I had to guess, I'd say she is from Morning View Drive, North of the Eagle house."

“Listen, Pickering. An Alabama girl with a Tennessee influence. If I had to guess, I’d say she is from Morning View Drive, North of the Eagle house.”

The most common question I am asked is, “Alabama? Moving to LA must have been a culture shock, huh?” Part of me wants to say, “Gah-lee, it shore wuz. I ain’t never been on a hah-way before and I had no idear there wuz cities by an oshun!” Instead, I find myself explaining that I am from one of the largest cities in Alabama and that Huntsville is home to more rocket scientist per capita than any other city in the world and that Chelsea Clinton and Blossom went to Space Camp at our US Space and Rocket Center which is also where they shot the 1986 classic “Space Camp” AND where you could get Dippin’ Dots as early as 1991 when the only other place you could get them nearby was Opryland so suck it. I say all of that as if being from Huntsville makes me better somehow. I mean, it does, because Huntsville is the best place I know of, but she doesn’t need me to defend her just as the rest of the South doesn’t need me to defend her to people who don’t have the sense that God gave a billygoat. Because, sure, the way things go in Huntsville is different from the way things go in LA which is different from the way things go in New York which is different from Chicago. Huntsville is even different than Decatur or Athens or Gurley which are only about 20 miles away. Yes, cultures vary, but I have yet to come across a place in these United States that shocks me. I mean, I have a TV. I watch the news. I know what other places are like without having gone there and ultimately, we’re all on planet Earth. We all eat through our mouths and do the “other thing” out of the “other end” (I’m talking about a #2) (out of a b-u-t-t) I fail to see the VAST difference in it all. When I expressed this sentiment to one “gentleman” recently, he responded with, “Yeah, I guess there are stupid people everywhere.” Instead of yelling at him, “So your assumption was that Alabama is full of nothing but stupid people?!” I just gestured toward him and said, “Case in point.” He didn’t get it.

You are putting that taco WHERE? Man, Californians eat strangely.

You are putting that taco WHERE? Man, Californians eat strangely.

The worst thing anyone has said to me about the South goes like this: I showed my i.d. to a cashier at Trader Joe’s and he says, “Alabama? They hang black people there, don’t they?” EXCUSE ME?? You cannot say that to a person! I mean, how am I supposed to respond to that? “Well, yeah, but we always burn a cross in their front yard to warn ‘em first”? There is no denying our country’s history with racism, especially in the South. Segregation and opposition to the Civil Rights Movement was abominable and will forever be a stain on the South’s history. Race relations are certainly not perfect, but I have witnessed racism and bigotry everywhere from NYC to Chicago to Memphis to LA. Never in the Northwest or Northeast though. They’re cool. In fact, I have witnessed racism more here in Southern California, especially against Latinos, than in the Southern United States. Maybe that is because, due to my job, I am forced to interact with people I wouldn’t normally interact with, where as back home, I chose to surround myself with people who were not racist and not bigoted and had no tolerance for either. Of course, the fact that racism happens everywhere does NOT excuse it, but perhaps work to fix the problem in your own neighborhood instead of doing nothing but pointing fingers at other neighborhoods. And you cannot assume things about an entire region of people based upon how a small ignorant group acts, or worse, based upon how an ignorant group acted 50 and 60 years ago.

Which brings me to: there is an assumption about the South that we are stuck in time somewhere between ”The Andy Griffith Show” and “Fried Green Tomatoes”. I often work on the TV show “Hart of Dixie” which takes place in present day Bluebell, Alabama not a real place. The wardrobe notes for this show went, “This scene takes place at Christmas, but bring summer dresses, sleeveless, and short sleeves because it never gets cold in Alabama.” Okay. Well, that should keep my family warm in the middle of March when a snow storm knocks out power lines and they have no heat for 3 days in 30 degree weather thank you. When I get to set, the hair people, before giving me a 50’s updo, ask me, “How do people in Alabama wear their hair?” I want to say, “Gosh, depends on which hairdresser they go to. See, we only have the 2 beauticians and one barber in the whole state, so if you go to Judy you get the look that I’m sportin’, but Pam? Now, Pam only does bangs so it just depends on who comes through town on haircuttin’ day. Now, ol Floyd just give the men a trim and send ‘em on their way with a tin of Dapper Dan.”

Southern3

One day on “Hart of Dixie”, the whole town was putting on a Gilbert & Sullivan revue. I have always wondered about TV shows when the whole town is involved in a production or concert of some sort, who comes to see it? If the whole town is performing, do they bus in all the residents from the next town over to be the audience or what? Anyway, I was all done up in my Victorian garb when I walked past a girl in a pirate outfit. She looked at me and said, “Is that really how people dress in Alabama?” I told her, “Just the rich people dress like this. The poor people dress like pirates.” Ignorant.

Back to the “Modern Southern Lady” Project Runway, where one of the designers with straight up Ronald McDonald red hair asked Ken, who is from Birmingham, Alabama how Southern girls wear their hair. Ken goes, “Like normal girls.” The Ronald McDonald head said he thought we all wore our hair like they did in “Steel Magnolias”. For crying out loud. None of the designers, however, were as bad as Helen. Helen begins the challenge by saying with disdain, “I do not design for the modern Southern woman.” She decides to make a dress for a girl who is going to a cotillion because, “That’s, like, a thing, right Ken? In the South? Not just something I’ve seen in, like, movies?” Ken just rolled his eyes. The result is a neck to ankle sleeveless sack in the most offensive sunshine yellow you can think of, entirely covered by a white flower patterned lace, because “What Southern Belle wouldn’t want a sunflower yellow dress?” The answer is all of them over the age of 8, Helen. She later tells Tim Gunn (the epitome of manners and grace) that her inspiration was “like, fresh, outdoors at a dinner party, glass of champagne, or whatever they drink in the South…” Tim interrupts, telling her that he’s sure they have champagne in the South and he was right, Helen. Our champagne is REAL fancy too. Uncle Reedus makes it in the warshtub instead of the toirlet like he does just reg’lar wine. Seriously, that girl is dumber than a box of wet hair.

"And with $1,000, Cherie is today's big Jeopardy winner!"

“And with $1,000, Cherie is today’s big Jeopardy winner!”

I am not trying to disparage Project Runway. I love the show. I love Tim Gunn. I love Heidi Klum. I have a GIANT crush on season 12 designer Justin LeBlanc. (Hey, Justin, I read Highlights Magazine as a child so I know the entire alphabet in sign language) I just think it is a little silly to think that the South is so wildly different from any other place in America. Especially in this day and age when a little Podunk, ain’t never been nowhere nor seen nothin’ Southern girl can move all the way from Aleeebama ou’chere to Cali-FOR-ni-ay. Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, the South is not one giant trailer park with nary a large urban area to be found. Alabama has Birmingham and Huntsville (256!), Tennessee has Memphis and Nashville, Georgia has Atlanta and beautiful Savannah, Mississippi has…well, let’s leave Mississippi out of this. Of course Alabama also has many teeny tiny towns with one stop light and no street signs, but I am willing to bet that just about every single state in America has the same. Yes, there are things that (I hope) will always be quintessentially Southern. Sweet tea, porch swings, lightening bugs, College Football National Championships, butter. And there are stereotypes that will probably never go away, such as Southern people are charming, drive trucks, and cook with butter. But those stereotypes do not hold true across the board anymore than ALL people from LA are vegan, flaky, and maniac drivers or everyone from New Jersey is orange. I think we Southerners, we Americans, we Humans are all the same in that we are all different. So, you can try to design a look for the modern Southern woman, Project Runway, but you’re gonna need some luck. There are 4 modern Southern women in my family, and not one of us has even close to the same style. But I can tell you this, none of us would wear that picnic tablecloth dress y’all picked as the winner. As Ken so eloquently put it, “Livin’ in the South, no one will wear this dress. It looks like the dress that Harriet Tubman wore after she received her freedom.”  Like I said, I love Heidi, but Ken was right. This Southern girl would rather have a dress she can pair with motorcycle boots and leather jacket. But, hey, that’s just me.