Lady…Or Not?

My recent post about dog poo combined with my mom’s comment on yesterday’s post in which “she always said I’m a lady”, got me thinking.

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’.



  • Melissa

    Holy cow, did you grow up in my house…I thought I was the only one that couldn't say fart…

    As for the lady thing, you have me. I grew up with an older sister who would have never thought of telling on herself…she just turned it around to be my fault…lol!!

    Don't they say a girl has a right to change her mind….how about manipulate a situation. I think we all do it.

    And Melisa, with one S…you are so a lady….trust me on this one!!

  • Anonymous

    from Dawn: So what happened? I thought you weren't allowed to say SHUT UP! How many times did you yell SHUT UP into my ear today? hehe

    Love ya! And Oh…once you hit your 40s, ladylikeness (is that a word) flies out the window. Waaaayyy out the window!

  • melissa

    i used to call my sister every name in the book. but i am not a lady. i only pretend to be one.
    love you!!

  • Heather

    I thought you were very ladylike in the time that I spent with you 🙂

    That being said, I think that it's okay every now and again to let the horns show through the tiara. It IS what makes us woman, afterall, in my opinion.


  • Wineplz

    From a household that also could not say "crap", "fart", "shuttup", or "stupid", I seriously think that if I had uttered such a word, a piano, safe, or anvil would drop from the sky and kill me. Or at least I would be praying for it to happen as it would be preferable to the death awaiting me from my mother.

  • seashore subjects

    I'm thinking that act makes you a lady and a southern belle – molded directly from Scarlett O'Hara. (She was always my favorite "lady" character – except for that whole hopelessly in love with a wimpy guy thing.)

  • Tara R.

    I am shocked! Shocked!

    (sounds like my brother and me doing chores.. seem to remember it involved doxy poop too. Maybe it's the dogs and not us after all?)

  • Michelle

    From one of those houses and .. raising one of those houses 🙂

    Nicely done to get out of it, but ummm true lady, no. Doesn't work that way. But there are SO few ladies now. If any. I say you're close enough in my book!

    Any chocolate left 😉

  • Mr. Man

    When you said you were going to go tell on yourself, I thought some horrific version of the Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck "Rabbit Season! Duck Season!" routine a bout to play out. I thought for sure poo was going to end up in someone's hair.

  • House of Jules

    You got the details right except you didn't quite call me a bitch under your breath. Nope, it was very much OUT LOUD. What I want to know is why didn't the bag holder just wear rubber gloves? Problem solved! Sheesh.

  • Tom

    This is the difference between sisters and brothers. The one time I ever let loose a pejorative interjection at my older brothers, I got swiftly pounded into a fine pulp. No need to involve mom at all. And that is how I learned.

  • Jason

    wow, that's one I'm gonna have to watch out for(my boys are 5 years apart as well).

    We are a non shut up house as well, though I have to admit, I've used it quite a bit this past month or so…

  • WeaselMomma

    A. As a mom, I know exactly why you got away with it. Mom was enjoying the quiet of the house and not ready to disturb it. I do this myself sometimes. The weasels love/hate it, depending on what end of the incident they are on.

    B. You should have acted similarly when that be yotch gave you and your dog a hard time the other day.

  • surprised mom

    Can I say "Yay" for the ladies of the world! Of course you're one.
    I grew up in a household with all females, one mom, and five sisters. To the outside world we were ladies, in the house, well, let's say the world b***h could have been overused.