Culture Writing

Southern Gentlemen

Michel Prince, the author of Chrysalis, talks about her northern and southern experiences and about her lovely husband. She tells us about the different dialects and it’s meanings and how the southern and northern people differ in culture.

Southern Gentlemen

Ever since Rhett Butler the Southern gentleman, there has been a draw in romance.  They are strong yet sensitive.  There’s just something in the way they were raised with a no nonsense approach to life and respect for women.  They have crazy home remedies, like spicy food and have phrases that make you go, huh?

I married a Southern gentleman and I love sneaking words of wisdom from him into my books.  Because Southerners like to use metaphors and similes to explain everyday life, I guess they’re the modern folklorist.

“I love you like a play cousin.”  This simple saying states that you have become a part of the family.

“I’d kill a stick or put a brick in the hospital for you.”  You’ll always be protected because if anyone even makes you uncomfortable I’ll beat their butt.

“Ain’t shit slick to a can of oil.”  You can lie all you want.  I know it’s a lie.

“Same thing make you laugh, make you cry.” Be careful what you wish for.

There’s a book that could be written with all the phrases that I hear rolling off the tongue of my husband.

Now to the food.  Southerners don’t just coat food in hot sauce and call it a day.  No.  They cook things slow like everything down in the south.  Slow and low.  Seasonings hand rubbed in the meat.  Not just one or two, expect at least twelve spices minimum for any decent Southern dish. They have their cumin, smoked paprika, garlic salt or powder, salt in general, I’d tell you more, but a Southern cook never really tells you what’s in there.  But you’ll need to know how to cut up every meat and know how to use every part of that animal.  Hogs especially.  Another great Southern phrase is “we eat everything from the rooter to the tooter.”  Don’t you just love the South?

Now for the men of the south.  The biggest surprise I ever got was ten years into marriage when I found out my husband had asked my father for my hand in marriage.  Being from the North and not one to think that my father had any right to say who or when I’d marry I had never even considered that.  Being older and a little more romantic I think it’s cool as heck that my husband took the time and had the respect to do that.  Always respecting not only you as person, but your whole family no matter how crazy they are.

A Southern man will take care of you in a way that a man from the North can’t seem to understand.  There is a loyalty that runs as deep as the South itself.  For a Northern girl it’s almost scary to not have the normal barrier that we have up here.  They’re not going to understand the passive flirting.  You will need to literally take them and shake them and say “Hey.  I like you.”  Or maybe that’s just my husband.  But of the men I’ve come across in the South this seems to be the case.

In the North we pride ourselves on our acceptance and non prejudice approach to people of color.  We’re full of crap.  In the South they will tell you they don’t like you because you’re black, Asian, Hispanic etc to your face, in the North they’ll keep the comments to when they do not have “colored” ears to hear.  So although my husband and I get nasty glares in the South at least when we get smiles we know it’s genuine.

Michel has written an exciting book – a mix of North and South.  Meet Oscar Jeffrey from Chrysalis, who was raised by parents from the South and in the North. Meet Oscar’s father, who will have some of those great Southern sayings for you.

For more on Michel and her book,  visit her and


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