2007-09-05 / Editorial

Dixie Divas

TATTLE-TELL FRIENDS

It's true that you can tell a lot about a person from their friends. Especially when the person has friends who tell a lot.

That would be me.

Very few guys I date are ever allowed to meet my family or

friends. It is

my belief that I am perfectly capable of running them off by myself without any help. However, should such help be necessary, I introduce him first to my friends. Should that fail to scare him off, I call in the A-team: My family.

"She has absolutely no maternal instinct. None." My sister, Louise, will be emphatic, leaning close and looking him unflinchingly in the eye.

Sometimes that works very well.

Then there are the things from my past that are summoned up and reported dutifully by my faithful girlfriends, those who have known me since I had freckles and pigtails.

"Did she tell you about the time that her underwear fell off in Martinsville, Virginia? At a NASCAR race? In the infield? In front of everyone?" Claudette will ask, enjoying payback for the stories I've written of her and failing to mention it was only my slip.

Karen, the only girlfriend who ever lived with me, knows too well where skeletons are buried. She will gleefully begin with the story of the boyfriend who dropped by unexpectedly late one morning while we were both still lounging in pajamas with uncombed hair in the days before that was sexy and tousled. I flew up the stairs and hid in the closet, leaving Karen to contend with him.

She did, though, finally coax me out of the closet and into a beautiful red silk dressing gown I had just bought. I put my hair up in a towel as though I had just washed it, threw on lipstick and mascara and regally descended the stairs of that little duplex as though I was Scarlett arriving for the ball.

Then, she will easily segue into the numerous times when, in my wild and impetuous youth, I did not hesitate to go to Winn-Dixie in my pajamas at midnight and cruise the aisles for snacks for our middle-of-thenight television viewings.

"It was her," Debbie will report, "who insisted that I should allow myself to be arrested by the Secret Service at the White House and imprisoned if necessary. I resisted her insistence, though."

I will then feel the need to point out how Debbie was attempting, all those years ago, to carry a concealed weapon - a stun gun - into the White House when I rightfully insisted that she should tell them before they found it in her purse during the mandatory check.

"Yes, but after they whisked me away for questioning and confiscated the only means I had of self-protection, you were no friend at all."

Within earshot of the agents, I had been indignant. "That's a violation of civil liberties. Go back in there and STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS!"

She stomped off and didn't talk to me for the rest of the day.

Now, if all that fails to run him off, I call in the Super Hero. Mama. She then tells how chubby I was at 12, sassed her at 13 and never went to my high school proms.

"And have you seen how messy her car is? I don't know that you would want to eat the cooking of someone who keeps her car in such a shape."

Occasionally, there are times that I don't want to run the guy off. It's not always my choice, though.

A woman of 90, who had suffered through the deaths of all those she loved, once commiserated over how it hurts to be the last one standing. "What I miss most," she said, "are the ones who knew me when I was young."

At the time, that saddened me. But, now, I can definitely see an upside to that.

Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should) .

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