Monday, June 27, 2011

Girls Raised in the South = G.R.I.T.S.

Maybe you've heard of grits the food (delicious!) but do you know about the GRITS acronym? Girls Raised in the South. That's me.

I'm from the south; born in North Carolina and now living on the coast of South Carolina. My rich and random life's journey has taken me all around the world. I've lived in many places and seen many things. Now I'm back to my roots. I'm southern born and southern bred. I'm one of the true GRITS, baby.

One of my life adventures found me and my thick southern accent <bad grammar on purpose> living in New York City and working in midtown Manhattan. I loved it. The Pakistani street vendor had a crush on me and my bagel was ready every morning when I arrived at Grand Central Station off of the 8:05 train - the Hudson River Express. (Wait, maybe it wasn't a crush... maybe he felt sorry for me, or protective of me? Maybe the sound of my voice made him laugh? Who knows. At least I got my bagel).

When I placed my order in a restaurant, a hush would fall over the crowd. Sometimes I heard giggles, snickers. I always got special attention; not many folks sounded like me up there.

Locals either thought my southern accent was charming (in a cartoonish way) or ridiculous.

Regardless of the subcategory they put me in, my accent placed me squarely in the dull category. Dull as in slow, not all there, not on the ball, not quick-minded. I won't go so far as to say I was considered dumb but, well, people had a big reaction to the sound of my dulcet tones.

Upon first meetings, (after recovering from the accent), the person would often slow their speech to match the pace of mine. As if my drawl made me hear slow! And think slow! It was all I could do not to bust out laughing. The condescension. No kidding, some people would talk to me as if I was an 8-year-old. But that was okay. I had a big job and used their low expectations to my advantage.

Did I mention how much I loved it up north? If used wisely, being underestimated can be a powerful tool.

Yep, that's how GRITS roll. Dumb like a fox.



  1. Fun post. Hope your colonoscopy went okay!

  2. I have always used others' low expectations of me to my advantage. I too had the Manhattan-Southern drawl experience when I lived there back in the late 70's. I also have a decidedly air-headed persona and my blond hair doesn't do anything to soften this. When people think you are stupid, they let down their guard around you and their jaws start a-flappin' (as we Southerners like to say)and it is amazing what you can learn! I'll keep my intellect to myself and watch the rest of the world make fools of themselves!!

  3. That's funny. My best friend for years was born in NC and everytime her hubby and my hubby and I would go on vacation with lots of their southern friends people would tell her they couldn't understand me, because I talked to fast. lol, the problem I had is I wanted to finish some of their sentences for them because they really really talked slow. I can see why people move slower though in the south, it's hot. Moving slower makes good sense. That aside, it has nothing to do with one's abilities. Grits...argh, can't see why anyone eats them, that or sweet tea. But, guess that's cause I'm from up north. lol

    Thanks for invite to your new page over on FB, hope to see you, welcome mats always out....come on down ya all.


  4. It's difficult (OK, impossible) to detect an accent in a blog but I think you're right – a lot of people equate a southern accent with a hillbilly mindset – a Deliverance kind of mindset ;) More than anything though I think people think of individuals from the south as having a southern hospitality.

  5. Langely,
    I was born and raised in Texas. When I moved here to Missouri, first day a check-out girl asks "OMG, are you from Alabama?" According to her, and other locals Alabamaites are the only people allowed to have an accent. I've also experienced the "awww, you must be slow" looks when I speak. I just smile, cause you know southern ladies are all about hospitality and grace! (and huntin' and fishin' and well .. you get it ;)


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