Welcome to the South: The Land of White Lies

“Every lie is two lies — the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it.” ~Robert Brault

If you want to do something to make my mama mad, just go ahead and lie to her. My mama values honesty and integrity. She believes that you should tell the truth and do what you say you are going to do. Nothing wrong with that! She is right.

And that is how I was raised. I think that is why I hate politics so much. But I suppose that is a different post.

The thing about telling lies is, that you think you have covered up the truth. However, by lying, you have not made the truth any less true, a little more obscure, maybe, but still true. The truth is still out there, following you around. And it has a way of eventually finding you. And biting you on the behind.

I was raised in the South. The land of sweet tea and “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” The land of small towns where everybody knows your business and most girls have two first names like “Mary Beth” or “Anna Grace.” The land where “Hey, y’all!” and  “Aww! Don’t you look pretty today!” (whether true or not) are common greetings.

Sometimes I think the South is the Land of White Lies. The land where telling half truths or slathering the truth in some sort of weird non-compliment is the norm—always stated in a sing-song-y tone of voice and punctuated with a smile, of course.

We are the masters of obscuring the truth. You know, ‘cause we wouldn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, now, would we?

Funny Courtesy Hello Ecard: Just have to remember to say 'Bless Her Heart.' All is forgiven then.

(image credit: someecards)

Let me submit these to you:

What she said: Bless her heart. What she meant: Lord have mercy, she is a train wreck!

What she said: Well, now THAT is a hairdo! What she meant: You should get your money back, honey, ‘cause you are lookin’ a sight!

What she said: Well, now, look at YOU! What she meant: Really? You chose to wear your pajama pants out in public?

What she said: What a sweet baby! What she meant: That is the scariest lookin’ child I have ever seen!

What she said: No, honey, that doesn’t make your butt look big—it makes  your waist look really small! What she meant: Wow, your butt is really big. You should burn that outfit NOW.

Truth be told, my mama never took to this practice. She just didn’t have the time for any fake-y behavior or for folks who engaged in such behavior. And I don’t subscribe to it myself, not as a general practice. But I would be lying if I said I never used the “Bless her heart” line.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a Southern Girl! I appreciate the ability to say difficult things with a smile and as much sweetness as I can muster. Some of us can speak the truth in love without lying or being unkind.

Some Southerners are just plain mean in all their syrup-y so-called sweetness and someone, let’s say a non-Southerner, after being told off by some sweet ole Southern Belle, won’t even know what hit ‘em! They walk away all confused and about ten minutes later it hits them—“Wait a minute! She just said my butt looked big…to my face!” 

All Southerners are not that way, of course. But we are human. And in our humanity, we all lie at times. I am guilty too—even in all my inbred belief in honesty and integrity, I am imperfect.

Yes, I lied to my parents when I was a teenager—many times. (Sorry, Mama!) Yes, I taught my kids to believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy. Yes, I have told someone they look great when maybe they did not. (Not any of you reading this.)  And yes, those are lies.

As much as I believe in honesty, I also believe in mercy and second chances. I have been forgiven so much…and continue to be forgiven every time I lie or screw up in some other way, as I am often wont to do. And I am sure I will tell someone at some point in the future, “Yes, that IS a great outfit!” Or maybe I just won’t say anything at all. Bless my heart.


This is my offering for Two Shoes Tuesday. Each week, Josie gives two word prompts to choose from and you must include one or both of them  in an original essay, poem or story. You can use them as a theme or the words themselves. This week’s words were white and lies.

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Filed under Humor, Two Shoes Tuesday

20 responses to “Welcome to the South: The Land of White Lies

  1. So true! I was raised in the deep South and you are right on target 🙂

  2. “Honey, does this make my butt look big?”
    “No, babe – your butt looks big in everything.”
    Famous last conversations – we call a lie in this case diplomacy 🙂

  3. Jim

    It was totally tongue-in-cheek? Shucks, I was eating it up!
    Mrs. Jim is from the South (Louisiana) and not much has rubbed off since she has been here in Texas (45 years?). And it didn’t rub onto me either though.

    Our grown daughter says “Yes, Sir, No, Ma’am” much more often than Mrs. Jim though and Karen is a pure Texan. I lost my battle for her saying “sir” only to the President (I’m from Nebraska).

    I go easy on praises for blogs too, especially for poem construction. But I think hard to see if there is something good to say all the time. (BTW, an excellent post. We needed this.)

  4. Love this post!!! I am a southerner by way of northern parents. So I wasn’t raised having to say ma’am and I’ve never said “Bless your heart.” These were funny. For some reason I read them in Paula Dean’s voice. I definitely say “Ya’ll” and “Awww” and “Lord have mercy”.

  5. Kate

    Well said – think we all need to remember that if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all.

    Kate x
    Kate at Home

  6. Joell, this was wonderful fun! So very true, and yes – we all do it! I’m pretty sure the next time I let one of these slip out I am going to think of you and this post! Such a great contribution to Two Shoes Tuesday, thank you!

    • Thank you, Josie! Have to be honest here and say that, initially I was finding these particular two words a challenge. This post started out as something *completely* different. Very heavy and serious. I decided I hated it and scrapped the whole thing and started over! LOL. Does that ever happen to you?? I liked the end result a lot better. Thanks for offering such a great creative writing challenge!! 🙂

  7. I can really relate to this. I am first generation Northerner, all of my raising was done by Southerners. Part of my childhood was spent in the South. Every word you said was true for me. I laughed and knew it was so very true. You made my day. What a great post. Thank you for this. Bless your heart…and I mean it!

  8. zoe

    Im with Joseph …I think its probably more important to know when NOT to say something as what to say at certain times.

    • I definitely agree…sometimes you need to take each situation on a case by case basis. And I also think it depends on what kind of relationship you have with a person, how well you know them. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment, Zoe!

  9. I usually just won’t leave a comment if I don’t like something, better that than leaving something negative. Yes I like to tell the truth also, but I also don’t like to hurt peoples feelings. I’d rather just say that looks great! Then what I really think, at least they’ll feel happy. : )

  10. Yep, I use Bless her heart too and I’m not from the south. I should be though. I love all things southern. Looks like the both of were doing the same kind of fibbing from time to time.

    Great post.

    Have a fabulous day. 🙂

I always love hearing from you! :-)

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