“Do they have to have a return address on them?” she asked the postal worker at the counter.

“Yes,” he replied.

“You mean they won’t be mailed if I don’t put a return address on them?” She was wearing gray knit gaucho pants that clung to her stomach. Her shirt was a pale pink knit and showed her thin frame and big boobs. Her hair was a light brown, stick straight to her chin with an impossibly perfect undercut. She wore flip-flops. Her left hand sparkled.

“I don’t know. Since 9-11 and anthrax, it’s the rules now” he said. Her body language said that there would be no return address on those perfectly off-white envelopes.

“Well how much to mail them?”

“Forty-nine cents.”

“Do you have a forty-nine cent stamp?”

“I have a forty-eight cent stamp and a one cent stamp.”

“Let me see the forty-eight stamp,” she requested and when he opened a three ringed binder and pulled a sheet of stamps covered with eagles, she turned her nose up.

“Can I just have two sheets thirty-seven cents stamps? Do you have the flowers?” The postal worker pulled two sheets of flower printed stamps from behind the counter. She looked at them. “Do you have the other flowers?” The postal worker looked for them and she was happy with them. She bought and took her two sheets of stamps, went out of the room into the room with P.O Boxes, stood at a counter and placed two thirty-seven cents stamps on each of her no-return-address envelopes. She then turned around and slid each one through the mail slot in the wall and then she left the small, antiquated post office.

I knew what she was doing. I’d done it before. She was being prissy and perfect and trying to follow all the rules of invitation sending. She wanted an uncluttered envelope and she defied authority to get it done. She spent 25¢ more per envelope because the flowers were prettier. It’s a shame that the recipients will likely not notice. But, I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And now I see my ridiculousness.

I am a southerner and a woman, which means that there are a great deal of ideals and rules to which I should adhere. According to Southern society, I should be prissy; wearing pearls most days of the week and paying close mind that white is a “before Labor Day” color. I should also know that when I get married there are 12 silver patterns from which to choose and the one you chose says a great deal about your personality. Notice that in talking about Southern culture I said that “when I get married.” Because to a Southern lady, there is no “if.”

I don’t by in to rules and regulations on my life and choices. I’m not so hot on authority in my free spaces. I do, however, hold some Southern standards as absolutes. The white thing, yeah, you won’t catch me in white on the lower half of my body post Labor Day. And no, while I don’t care that you have white on, on the inside I’m noticing that your mother didn’t drill that into your head. And when I throw a bridal or baby shower, there will be silver service, there just will be.

There are a great many Southern rules I ditch. For one thing, I’m not the most ladylike person. I’ll take my shoes off at any given chance in the presence of anyone and at anytime. I prefer the bare feet. A true Southern woman, a debutant per se, would not so much do this. Whatever.

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