~Monday, August 15, 2011

A Lady Doesn't

There are certain social structures in the South. For instance:  A Lady doesn't drink out of a bottle. That was pounded into me by my mother back when the bottles were Coca-Cola and root beer. She'd grab it out of my hand, pour its contents into a glass and hand it back to me saying, "A Lady doesn't drink out of a bottle."

When I was 18, my father gave me the first of many diamond earrings for Christmas. "A Lady doesn't buy her own jewelry," he instructed.

There's another one about how a Lady doesn't stand while she smokes. I don't know much about that one, but I've heard of it. Truthfully, I think it should be amended to  A Lady doesn't smoke.

And then there's my favorite one: A Lady doesn't pour her own drink.

This has less to do with a Lady's behavior than it does a man's. I learned it at my first kegger at the university. I stood in the back of the line for the keg. Some guy approached me, grabbed my red Dixie cup, pumped the keg and filled my plastic cup, blew off the foam and handed it back to me.

"A Lady doesn't pour her own drink," he smiled.

And that was that. I've never poured my own drink. I hand my bottles to the closest guy to open for me (and then promptly dump into a glass, mom). I'd hand my wine glass to the guy standing by the bottle and I push my pint glass towards the guy sitting by the pitcher. And they always refill me, no questions asked. Valdosta would monitor my glass and refill it on his own. When I'm out with South Carolina Bestie and her boyfriend, he pours my drink. I'm not going to lie; it's a nice little perk to being a Lady.

The other weekend at the lake house, Schmoozer was standing in the kitchen making himself a Red Bull and vodka. I was seated in the other room with a book in my lap.

"Make me one too?" I called.

"No," he said simply.

What? What is this behavior?

"A Lady doesn't make her own drink!" I gently reminded him. "It's a Southern thing."

"I'm not from the South!" he called back. "And you're not a Lady!"

I put my book down and padded into the kitchen and stood by him as he poured.

"You're seriously not going to put down another cup and do the exact same thing you're doing now?"


"You don't understand. Guys always pour the drinks. Even when I'm stinky and sweaty in my kickball team bar playing flip cup, boys always fill my cup." Even when Hot Douchebag told me he didn't like me as a person, he stilled poured my beer.

"No! You women preach gender equality and then you want things like doors opened for you and your drinks poured. If you want equality, you do it yourself! This is why you don't date!" He was laughing, but he was serious.

It's not equality. It's manners.

"But I've never had a Red Bull and vodka and I don't know what it's supposed to taste like."

"Here," He pushed the bottle and can towards me. "You'll figure it out."

And then I made myself the strongest, nastiest drink I've ever had and it knocked me into drunken oblivion for the rest of the night. Joke's on him though because he had to deal with my drunken Lady ass. He really would have been better off pouring me a proper drink with the proper amount of alcohol in it.

However, when it was time for drunken sandwiches, Swayze and Government Mule—who had been fetching me my drinks—got one and Schmoozer didn't. Because Ladies may not pour their own drinks, but they do make awesome sandwiches.


Last weekend I was out with South Carolina Bestie, her boyfriend and his friend. We were enjoying a really nice dinner in honor of the boyfriend's 30th birthday and big promotion. Boyfriend ordered an appetizer and several bottles of wine for the table, and when the bill came, he paid for them.

We teetered out of the restaurant and walked a block to the next location. It was Friday night in Midtown: the sidewalks were brimming with people spilling out of the bars. The boyfriend's friend turned around and located me maneuvering across the crosswalk. He then slowed his pace until I passed him. I knew what he was doing—it's a safer position for me to be in front of him than behind him. Just like how Ladies walk on the inside of sidewalks and men walk on the outside.

This is the Southern man. Silent, strong and protective.

At the bar I asked where the two boys had grown up. Sure enough, it was the South. And when I bought the first round of drinks to show a sign of appreciation to the boyfriend for buying all those bottles of wine, he asked for a three-dollar beer. The boyfriend's friend noted I bought the first round, and then bought my second round.

"Tell them about Schmoozer!" called South Carolina. She had received a long e-mail that week from me detailing all the ways in which Schmoozer had behaved lately that did not make him a gentleman. It ended with me being so annoyed that I canceled happy hour with him.

I recounted the non-drink. "When we were at your beach house, I made your drinks all weekend," noted the boyfriend.

"I know!"

"It's manners," said his friend.


Another boy showed up to celebrate with the boyfriend. When I discovered he was from out of state and staying in a hotel, I bought him a round of three-dollar beer as well. It's Southern hospitality for our guests. As I slid the pint glass towards him, he looked at me. "It's supposed to be the other way around. I'm supposed to buy your drink,"  he said in all sincerity.

I whirled around and shot South Carolina a pointed look. She laughed. He had no idea about the previous conversation; he arrived after it transpired.


Saturday night I was out with Schmoozer's best friend and we headed to a party at Harvey's house. We stopped at the grocery store to buy courtesy beer to leave at the hostess' house. We rang up separately. As we exited the store, the BF reached his hand out. "Here, let me carry your beer for you."

"Where did you grow up?"

"West Virginia."

I rest my case.


Bathwater said...

I don't think you have to grow up in the South to have manors! But little boys punch the girls they like because the don't know how to express themselves and guys who like a girl but don't want to admit it MIGHT show reverse favoritism? Think about it!

J said...

WTF is he talking about? I think it just comes down to being a nice person. Just like friends offer to make or pour drinks for one another, because it's the considerate thing to do, men should offer to do this for women. It has nothing to do with gender. And if you happen to be a lady who happens to be making a sandwich, you make one for your friend, too. This is generally how non-assholes operate, Southern or not!

J said...

And to clarify, I didn't mean to imply that you were an asshole for not making him a sandwich, but in fact, that you are a thoughtful person who does those sorts of things for your friends. Except when they are being jerks who do not deserve sandwiches, which is an appropriate retaliation!

Cimorne said...

I understand how boys making your drinks is nice, but I don't really get why it is such a huge offense that you would cancel happy hour. I grew up in California. The way it works here is that whoever is making a drink for themselves makes drinks for anyone who asks. If I'm make a Tattoo and Wild Cherry Pepsi, I ask if anyone wants one. Even then, if a friend didn't make me a drink, I doubt I would be that upset. Mildly irritated, perhaps, but not enough to cancel plans and complain. Explain it to me, please. (Not trying to be a jerk; I really am trying to understand)

franzi said...

i'm with cimorne, please explain more what exactly makes the whole drink thing so important. it's nice to have a drink poured for you, and to have someone buy it for you, or to have someone open the bottle for you (god knows i cannot open a champagne bottle for the life of me. it scares the shit out of me - mainly because i am convinced that eventually one of the bottles will explode IN MY HANDS and kill me).
i digress.
what i was getting at is: why cancel happy hour over a red bull something?

Anonymous said...

oh no wonder I have to do everything myself. Vancouver, Canada. NOT the south.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, sounds like ge's trying to 'Game' you. He might be trying to muscle his way out of the 'friend Zone' and so is now using 'negs' and 'DHV' on you. And it appears to be working.

If none of these make any sense to you, search for blogs by Roissy, Heartiste and Roosh.

Roosh is less brutal, so might be a better start for a lady like you.

I can bet you that Schmoozer is definitely negging you. Totally!

Lilly said...

I get it. But then again, I grew up in Texas.

He's just being a jerk and I wouldn't have fixed him a sammich either. ;)

Anonymous said...

In Japan nobody pours their own drinks! It is especially the role of the woman to pour the drinks of men at the table, but pouring drinks for yourself is not done. You have to keep an eye on the drinks of others around year and keep topping them up if they get low (topping up someone else's nearly full drink is a subtle way of making them realize your drink is low!)

LMW said...

I'm from the North and have only ever had one man pour a drink for me. At the time I was offended because I thought he thought I couldn't pour my own drink... but now i realize that he was just being polite.

I miss manners.

Sarah said...

I apologize for any confusion; I'll have to re-examine my writing. I did not cancel happy hour with Schmoozer because he didn't pour my drink. It was because of something unrelated but still because he was being, in my opinion, ungentlemanly. I had had enough of it for one week.

And I do pour drinks for my lady friends! Ladies share the love with each other!

Anonymous - The Japan tidbit is so interesting!

Je m'appelle Danielle said...

I think a class for learning manners should be mandatory in school nowadays. People are so rude, and the whole gender equality means men can be non chivalrous and jerk faces is not what its about.

Je m'appelle Danielle said...

Oh and BTW why weren't these rules (and more) in Gone with the Wind? I expected to learn some southern lady mojo or something in those 4 hours. Didn't learn shit.

klynne said...

My rule is, If I need a drink, I will get up to get my drink, and ask if anyone needs anything. If they say "Yes" I will ask what they want and bring it back to them. The men seem to do it in turn, it is just making sure the whole group has what it needs. Maybe the men and women in Michigan behave like a herd or pack? :)

Vegas Argot said...

I guess I'm a true west coaster, because if I waited for *anyone* to pour my drink for me, I would've died of dehydration at a single digit age.

Anonymous said...

You can't beat southern hospitality, although I will say my farmboy/redneck friends come in pretty close when it comes to manners and treating a girl like a lady (most of the time). Shame on Schmoozer for bad manners, even up here in corn country we know better.

Breeza said...

Boys on the West Coast sure could learn a thing or two. Whenever I'm out and a guy buys me a drink, I immediately ask where they're from. And 100% of the time, it's not here. I miss the manners of men in the midwest and south.

Syd said...

Hmm. I'm from NY, and I would say it's pretty much on us ladies when we need another drink. Though I feel like men that are 40+ are probably the most polite/gentlemanly when it comes to manners: holding doors, getting drinks, making sure we get into cabs safely, etc. And I would say it's been about the same here in London. The young guys don't seem to give a shit, but anytime I see a man give up a seat for a pregnant or elderly woman, he is typically in his 40s at the youngest.

jo said...

i'm not sure if it's southern (though i'm sure that helps) but i'm leaning towards it just being good manners and being gentlemanly. i can't believe schmoozer made such a big show of not pouring you a drink. loved how you didn't make him a sandwich haha!

Scrumps said...

Can you introduce to me a nice Southern boy?! :) I can promise I'll repay you in kind. Manners FTW!

Anonymous said...

It is just good manners to pour a lady her drinks. Heck I know that and I'm geographically super northern!

treacle said...

There's a pretty even split amongst my friends when it comes to drinks but the boys always buy/pour first.

And... the boys always hold the doors open, ask to take a heavy bag/box and gently steer me away from trouble if they see it coming.

Just depends on perspective I suppose.

freckledk said...

The pouring thing I've not heard of, but I'm a Yankee. I do, however, make note when a man doesn't hold the door for me, wait until I've entered my apartment before driving off, allows me on/off the elevator first, etc. These are things that I also do for others, regardless of gender, but I definitely do notice when a male fails to do so.

heisschic said...

now... what would your opinion be of a "lady" who hailed from say, cleveland, OH when visiting the south? i wouldn't think twice about pouring my own drink*, and I prefer drinking from a bottle.

if you were tailgating up here- in a sundress (as I'm told ya'll don't wear jeans to football games?) requiring that your drinks be non-bottled and poured for you- you would definitely get an eye-roll, at minimum.

*regardless of how you feel about pouring your own drink, anyone (male or female) refusing to make double of something is just douchey.


Sarah said...

NOOOOOOOOO, we definitely don't wear blue jeans to a football game!

MissLizSarab said...

I don't get it...the bar tender pours my drinks ;)

Aritza, Goddess .. said...

Yeah, I'm from way up north and pour my own drinks. Although I'm gonna try this concept from now on.. Teach these northern boys some manners.

I know that in Chinese culture you always pour tea for others.. Not for yourself.

Paige Jennifer said...

And just this past Sat night I bitched a friend how the men in Philadelphia don't hold doors or walk through when I do, as if hitching their wagon to the person in front of me.

"I've never noticed it," she said.

"Right, because this is the new normal."

Your post is now reason #732 why I need to move to Atlanta. Leslie's #1. You make the top ten.


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