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January 9, 2010

bless your heart ya'll...

Ahhh..."bless your heart." I love the South. I love being a Southerner. We so enjoy playing around with our language, creating cliches, catchphrases, and oddball comments that stick for whatever reason. The phrase, "bless your heart," when spoken directly to the person (as in this case 'cause of the use of the word "you"), it is a sincere sign of affection. A verbal hug, if you will. It is most often said from one female to another, usually after one of the gals has opened her heart to reveal what a tough time she's been having lately (her church family isn't getting along, for example, or maybe her husband is being a man...yes, you read that right, but that's a whole other post). We Southerners are known for our hospitality and thanks to the movie, "Steel Magnolias," someone finally figured out that all the women down here aren't in constant competition with each other but rather, are genuinely and for the most part, loyal friends. That bein' said, there are other ways to use the whole "bless your heart" phrase and I admit, some of them aren't so friendly.

When someone says, "bless her/his heart," it can mean any number of things, most of them not terribly flattering to the "her/his" in question. Here are a few scenarios you may come across in which the meaning of the phrase may be a bit blurry, particularly to folks that aren't from these parts:

(a) Sympathetic with a smile - while most of you are probably thinking, "Well, sympathy is always a nice thing to show to another person," some of you (who know where I'm goin' with this) realize it's not necessarily a positive type of sympathy. You see, when someone says "bless her heart" in a sympathetic tone with a smile, she is usually insinuating that the person we're blessing isn't all together with the program. Well, Malin, what do you mean by that? Well, I'll ya' - I mean that this poor soul is clueless. Ditzy. Slow. Bless her heart.

(b) Sympathetic shock - Okay, this sympathy is not all that bad, it really is truly meant, however, it's more along the lines of, "Oh-my-gosh-thank-you-Lord-that-hasn't-happened-to-me/my-family/my-children," etc. This blessing of hearts is often heard in loud whispers, said with wide eyes, and anticipated by any gossip-monger within twenty miles, 'cause there's always a really juicy story (albeit sometimes sad) on the other side of the "bless her heart."

(c) Sarcastic - What? Didn't you know that sarcasm was birthed and bred in the south? Why my goodness yes! Where you been all these years?! The sarcastic "bless her heart" is said in frustration with the latest heart-bleeding, violin-playin', "ain't-nothin'-goin'-right-and-nothin-ever-will" kinda' gal. You know the type - the kind that no matter what's goin' on, she's gonna be complainin' about SOMETHING and her life is always worse off than anyone else's. In reality, she's got all she needs and probably more than enough, yet she's never satisfied. Funny...now that I think about it, I've heard more "bless HIS hearts" used for this purpose. Hhhmmm....

I hope I've given you some things to think about, concerning blessings, Southerners, and the like. I decided on a whim to carve out this corner of the Internet for myself. I've got another blog that I don't get to update as much as I'd like (thefabulousfreemanfour.blogspot.com) that revolves around my family. This one's just for me. And for you...bless your heart.

2 comments:

Krystle @snarkykisses said...

Bwahahaha!! But your accents are wayyyyyyyyy better than any! I'm from Wisconsin, graduated from a town with the one stop light, 14 bars, 9 churches, 5 gas stations, 4 squad cars, a high school where we would drive our tractors or snowmobiles to school, a town where 99.9999% of the people are related in some way, one way or another...we hang out at the creamery or farmers union, get jobs at the local grocery store, get talked about or be the talk of the town at least a few times in your life, because Jim is married to Susie but Susie was seen with Jims sisters husband, a then Jim and Susie get a divorce and Jim and his sister can't believe their spouses left them, for each other. And Stan owes $88,000 on his house but he was in the paper for foreclosure and he got a DWI the other night on his way home. Then Freddie died and his obituary is 18 miles long because they have to list nearly the whole town as relatives. A town where it's not uncommon for 3rd cousins with the same great great great grandma to get married and have kids... The wife didn't even have to change her name, her maiden name was the same as her new married name.

Yes, the population is 2,000-3,000 people and we are the Cheesecurd capital of Wisconsin.

Bless her heart, ain't she pretty?

I was talkin' bout my new tractor out back.

Malin (aka., MomtheBomb) said...

Miss SnarkyKisses! Boy do I love you and your humor! BLESS BLESS BLESS your heart (said with the utmost sincerity) for stopping by and blessing US (all 3 of us) with your amusing insights into redneck/countrified small town Wisconsin. By the way, I had to laugh at the lopsided ratio of bars:churches in your town...we don't even HAVE that ratio in our town...we're a DRY COUNTY. Yup - ya want a nip? Gotta go illegal to do it in our parts!
This is what I want to know: what is ya'll's Christmas parade like and how about those decorations? I'll have to post about ours - I'm sure you'll recognize bits and pieces of your own small town experience within my words.