Synopses & Reviews
Who knows what lurks in the hearts of the women of Dixie? A Southern Belle Primer
tells us all. In this rollicking guide to survival in a society that has not
gone with the wind, the mystique of the Southern belle is exposed. Maryln Schwartzs cult classic and perennial bestseller returns with a new look to steer the next generation of belles through the enduring world of Southern propriety and protocol.
Being a belle is not a part-time job—its a cradle-to-grave commitment—and A Southern Belle Primer covers it all. With anecdotes, observations, lists, and delightful illustrations, the Primer delves into family trees, big hair, the Twelve Patterns of the Silver Zodiac (everyone knows girls who choose certain silver patterns are fast), the fashion calendar (the do-or-die seasonal etiquette of patent leather, gloves, and stockings), honorary belles, wannabe belles, fallen belles, and even why Paris Hilton will never be a Kappa Kappa Gamma.
The Primer also reveals shocking real-life stories from contemporary Southern belle history: the truth behind the Garden Club wars in Natchez, Mississippi, the Chattanooga woman shunned by society for a faux pas in her chicken salad recipe, and the disastrous white-shoe-in-September affair during the Texas visit of Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.
What The Official Preppy Handbook did for the madras-and-penny-loafer set A Southern Belle Primer does for the indestructible ladies from below the Mason-Dixon Line, in an uproarious guide to navigating a society that continues to fascinate people the world over.
The Southern belle lives on, in a world of proprieties and protocols that would shame the Royal Family (and have). An uproarious guide to the manners, mores, and mystique of the legendary ladies of the South. What The Official Preppy Handbook did for the madras-and-penny-loafer set, A Southern Belle Primer does for the indestructible ladies from below the Mason-Dixon line.
A real Southern belle is born, not made. Her instinctive knowledge of propriety is whispered to her in her cradle, and honed to a razor's edge at cotillions, sorority rush meetings, and Junior League socials. That's why neither outsiders (Paris) nor fallen daughters of the South (Britney) stand a chance of fathoming the finer points of Dixie dos and don'ts-unless they're armed with A Southern Belle Primer.
The Primer examines the Southern belle's wonderfully baroque traditions, as well as her priorities and secret terms, using lively lists, illustrations, and portraits of a past that goes back to the War of Northern Aggression. Only here will readers find:
The Southern belle flatware zodiac: Your fate's not in the stars; it's in your silver. (Pick the rebellious Acorn pattern at your peril: next thing you know, you'll be attending Dartmouth and drinking beer straight from the can.)
The belle's spectrum of praise: Highest flattery (lovely, precious), mild approval (cute), strong condemnation (sweet), bitter contempt (nice).
Signs you're at a belle wedding: Cultlike matching of bridesmaids' ensembles (same hairstyles done by the same hairdresser; dresses and shoes exactly match the punch); an eighty-member wedding party; a seven-layered wedding cake with mini-pastry staircases.
For all its tongue-in-cheek humor, Maryln Schwartz's guide is a sincere tribute to the iron-willed ladies upholding the vanishing traditions of the South.
For all its tongue-in-cheek humor, Schwartz's guide is a sincere tribute to the iron-willed ladies upholding the vanishing traditions of the South.
About the Author
Maryln Schwartz was a feature writer and columnist for the Dallas Morning News. Her work has appeared in more than two hundred newspapers, and she has won numerous awards for her articles. A native of Mobile, Alabama, Ms. Schwartz lives in Dallas