Saturday, September 27, 2014

Oh My for Dummies

The South is a particularly polite place, especially the part where I live.

There is a double-speak here that could baffle an outsider.

 I once (once.) had an almost fight (the closest I've ever been) which involved me throwing a peace sign over my shoulder as I walked away. 

Peace. Right. Everyone knew what my hand was trying to convey.

I can't tell you why everyone is so friendly, so warm and yet icy and reserved in exactly the right balance, but it is true. It is tangible. Sharp-tongued politeness is a ninja skill that takes years to master, but I will give you this quick crash course (Oh My for Dummies).

Imagine you are in polite company and your cat (or any cat, or dog, or house pig or small child) drops a dead bird at your feet (or a dead lizard, or a live hamster, or a dirty diaper etc)  you cannot freak out.

We don't say "OH MY GAWWWD WHAT THE F**CKITY F***!!!"

Instead, we say, "Oh my." 
Much horror condensed into two words that gleam like a sharp shiny sword.

Ever wonder what to do with someone who drones on and on about themselves or their grandchildren or their ideas or themselves in general and you want to bang your head because every cue you are giving them seems to give them the green light to keep talking and they are already KILLING you?

At the next pause in their ramble, say, "Good for you." (Then grab your keys, purse, dog leash or whatever and run for freedom). I bet you it works.

Those three words together do NOT mean good for you.

 They mean, "I could care less, now let me go."

A polite person who hears something juicy would not dream of giving advice.

For example,  a naive soul confides to a neighbor that that they are pregnant with triplets but their husband has been gone for 11 months. 

The polite (warmly icy) neighbor would say "Bless your heart."

 It sounds nice, right?

 It's also quite dismissive and implies "ohhhh you are soooo f****d, and you're going to need divine intervention. See ya....." 

Poetic, really.