A southern belle is defined as "a beautiful and charming woman from the southern United States," according to the dictionary, but there is so much more to it. Being a southern belle isn't about where you're from, or the amount of money your family has. It's about knowing proper etiquette and manners, having the will to get what you want, retaining a sense of class in any situation, and sweet tea. Here's a cute page on "How to Be a Southern Belle".
In the South (and yes, that is capital S, South), manners and etiquette are an extremely important part of life. Most southern belles are raised with these rules ingrained in their personality and they are second nature. If you're looking for an in depth study at southern etiquette, try The Southern Institute of Etiquette and Protocol. Here's a crash course on some must-have manners.
- ALWAYS say "please" and "thank you"
- Older men and women are "Sir" and "Ma'am"; Always say "yes/no SIR" or "yes/no Ma'am"
- Thank you notes should be used for pretty much everything, handwritten, and done so promptly
- Never ask how much something costs, or how much someone earns at their job
- A lady never walks and smokes
- The evening meal is "supper"; "dinner" is the afternoon meal
- Never begin eating until everyone is served
- A lady walks on the inside, while walking down a sidewalk
- A lady does not stand when greeting a man, only another lady
- Never use crude or vulgar language (This is the one I've always had a hard time with)
- Have a garden, and keep it well maintained
- Always offer house guests something to eat or drink (sweet tea)
A big trend for the past few years has been the Southern Belle T-Shirts. Get them here: Southern Belle Brand
You Might Be a Southern Belle if....
Social Graces, Southern Style - Etiquette with Miss Janice
While I do consider myself a Southern Belle, a lot has changed since the Old South. Try watching Steele Magnolias. That might explain it better than I can, but for now I'll try my best. Southern manners were instilled in me by my family from a young age, but as I've grown up, met new people, and the world has changed (yes, even the south has changed), the rules have also changed. There is no stone tablet for a southern belle today. So, we learn from our mistakes. And I make A LOT of mistakes. :)
As with all of my pages, the more information I find, the more the page with grow! So keep checking back for new websites and tips :)