There is no question that I act like a lady, mostly. Alright, sometimes.
I would have been a totally awesome Southern Belle. I’m certainly prissy enough. I don’t like to get dirty. I enjoy sweating when I work out but MUST shower immediately or I get grossed out. I’m borderline goody-goody (less these days than in the past, though!). I’m a people-pleaser. I’m NICE. I’m pleasant. I have good manners. I love tiaras, for goodness sakes. I could go on, but really…need I?
Anyway, as I grow older I’m starting to think that maybe the “lady” thing is all a ruse. Just maybe, what looks like “ladylike” is really “crafty, cunning, and sneaky”. Maybe I’m only 50% ladylike, but quick enough on my feet to fool everyone into thinking I’m a purebred. I have a story*. (of course)
My sister Julesie and I, though we get along fabulously now (thank goodness! I count her as one of my biggest blessings), really couldn’t stand each other–to be completely frank–most of the time while growing up together. Sure, we had our moments of getting along fine, but we had a lot of typical sibling issues going on. With almost five years between us (4 years, 11 months, to be more exact!), we annoyed each other on an almost-constant basis. As the younger sister, she was constantly–the horror!–trying to play with me and my friends (but I saw it as her being a total pain in the butt) and as the older sister, I was a bossy be-yotch much of the time**.
Occasionally we were forced to be together. Like when we were doing chores. We spent many, many hours weeding under a magnolia tree in our front yard in Knoxville Tennessee, but that’s a story for another day.
Another chore we had to do together was clean up dog poop. (You were wondering when that was coming into the story, weren’t you?) Since we had three dachshunds, there was never a shortage. One of us had to hold the bag, the other one scooped the poop. (I’m still trying to figure out why we had to do that together.)
On this particular day, we just couldn’t get it together. We were arguing over who was going to hold the bag; the sis with the pooper scooper almost always accidentally touched the sis with the bag, and neither one of us wanted to be on the receiving end of that.
To be completely honest, I don’t even remember who did what that day. I want to say that I was holding the bag and she was holding the pooper scooper, but I could be wrong; it doesn’t matter in the end anyway.
As I remember it, we were arguing. Surprise.
As I remember it, there was pooper scooper-to-hand contact.
As I remember it, I called my little sister (who was probably only 9 or 10) a B—h, under my breath***.
As I remember it, it was just loud enough for her to hear, and she said, “I’m telling mom!”
As I remember it, I said, “Not before I do!”
Yes, that’s right. Read it again:
As I remember it, I said, “Not before I do!”
Pause the story. Do you see what just happened? I acted quite un-ladylike and then decided to TELL ON MYSELF to preserve my lady-like reputation. Just checking to make sure you’re with me.
I ran into the house and found my mom in the kitchen. I might possibly have even been crying from the horror of my own behavior. My mom asked what was wrong, and I choked out,
“I…called…Julesie…a…bad name. I…called…her…a…b—h.”
And then, miracle of miracles, I was absolved of my sins. My mom said, “Oh, okay…well, just don’t do it again.“
As I remember, my sister stood in the doorway, chin on the ground, watching this unbelievable scene unfold in front of her very eyes. Her older sister slid out of that dilemma like a greased pig, and as the recipient of that awful name, she was not happy about it.
I, on the other hand, was thrilled in a very unladylike sort of way. It was the quickest I had thought on my feet ever, up to that point in my life. I never made that sort of behavior a habit, though (like anyone) I have made mistakes in my life where I have worked a situation to my advantage and to save face. But it seems like that incident was some sort of watershed moment in my life. It’s certainly memorable. But why? Because I got out of trouble? Because I got away with being exactly the thing I called my sister? Because I learned that if you express the right kind of remorse, you can get away with certain things in life? Doesn’t that make me SO NOT a lady? Can a lady still be a jerk on occasion?
All deep questions. They make my tiara hurt. Discuss.
*There are always two sides to every story. I completely expect that my sister may pop up in comments to make corrections and additions!
**Julesie and I are seeing identical issues played out between my boys; it’s quite interesting to see it from this perspective!
***In order to understand the seriousness of this crime in our childhood home, you have to know that we were not ever–EVER–even allowed to say “shut up!” OR “fart” OR “crap”. So what I said was practically death penalty-worthy. Just sayin’.