Darlin’, don’t get your tinsel in a tangle!
The Christmas holidays are wonderful but they can also be the most stressful. Trying to keep up with the demands of work and life is hard enough but at this time of year we have to add on top of that the organization and purchasing of holiday gifts as well as the tricky task of scheduling the umpteen thousand holiday events and parties and family gatherings that are customary. And of course there is also the decorating and the cooking and the baking and the endless clean up of the kitchen. I’m worn slap out just thinking about it. Plus the holidays bring heavy hearts as we all tend to miss the loved ones we have lost even more than usual.
So it’s no surprise that folks are vulnerable to throwing a hissy fit during this time of year and I gotta tell ya…last weekend I witnessed a humdinger of a hissy fit. I took the three original actresses from the Southern Women Channel, Delaine, Sheila and Kat out to dinner as a Christmas gift to thank them for the endless amount of time and effort they dedicate to the Southern Women Channel. They have been with me since I made my very first video and have been incredibly supportive and gracious with their talent so I decided to take them out to a fancy dinner at a restaurant in Los Angeles, called The Ivy. I chose it because I knew it would be decorated elegantly for the holidays and we were excited about the night because we’d not been together in a few weeks cause we’d all been running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to get all of our Christmas doings done.
Sheila was the first to arrive and was perched at a table in the bar near the big Christmas tree. Kat and I arrived at the same time and the three of us made a big fuss about hugging each other and then we began laughing hysterically because in a highly unusual occurrence we were all dressed in black. As Southern women we usually wear bright colors and tend to stand out like sore thumbs in LA, but at this bizarre moment we were all wearing black and we got a kick out of how ridiculously “unsouthern” we looked.
As we were cackling about our funeral attire, a man who looked to be in his 40s tapped me on the shoulder and yelled, “You are the rudest person I have ever encountered! Do you have any idea how rude you are? You need to know that you are the absolute rudest person on earth!” Well y’all he hollered so loudly that the hostess stopped working and turned to stare and the folks nearby in the dining room put their forks down and stared. I looked over at Sheila and Kat and they were also staring at me…wide-eyed and confused. Everyone was waiting for my reaction.
At this moment I knew I was about to be saved by my Southern raising. Of course I was wearing black leather pants and a black sweater and black heels so I’m sure this man thought I was a typical LA bobble head narcissist. He had no clue he was dealing with a Southern woman. I took a deep breath, smiled and remembered my Mama’s mantra, “Kill ‘em with kindness.” Here’s how the conversation went…
ME:(calmly) Excuse me, sir? I’m confused. Did I do something wrong?
MAN: (yelling) I have been trying to take a picture with my parents in front of the tree and you were so busy laughing with your friends that you kept walking right into the shot you rude b*%ch!
Now a Southern gentleman would never speak to a woman like this in public but this is the typical kind of madness I endure living in LA. I took another deep breath, smiled and continued…
ME: Well sir, I just want to thank you so much for pointing out how incredibly rude I have been to you and your family because I pride myself on being a well mannered person. I am so sorry.
MAN: (confused by my response and thick drawl) Well…ummm…you should be sorry. How rude! Self absorbed women like you disgust me.
Now my Irish, red-headed inner monologue is screaming, “Buddy if you don’t stop hollering at me I’m gonna slap your mouth to the back of your head and you’ll have to lift your hair to talk!” But I bit my tongue. Obviously this family photo with the Christmas tree at The Ivy was very important to this man. Perhaps one of his parents is ill…or perhaps he is going through a divorce… maybe he just lost his job…maybe he is exhausted from all the holiday stress…maybe he’s irritated at how high the prices are at this restaurant? What I knew for certain was that this feller was filled with anger and directing all of it at me. I smiled and continued…
ME: Sir, I understand you are very upset with me and all I can say is I am so very sorry. I’m here for a Christmas party with my friends and we were just excited to see each other. I honestly didn’t see y’all. I had no idea I was messing up your photo.
MAN: If you weren’t so self-absorbed you would have noticed us.
ME: Would you like for me to take some photos of you and your family in front of the tree?
MAN: (Thrown) Uh…well…uh…
ME: Give me your phone and I’ll take a bunch of pictures for y’all.
MAN: Uh…well…no …that’s okay.
ME: Are you sure? I’d be more than happy to.
MAN: (Back peddling) No…it’s fine. I mean…we finally got one good picture. We’re okay.
ME: Are you sure?
ME: Well please let me buy you and your family a drink. What would y’all like?
MAN: (diffused and desperate to get away from me) No…no…umm…our table’s ready. Thank you but no…we’re good.
ME: Well y’all have a Merry Christmas and let me know if you change your mind about the drink or the picture.
This man ran off to his table faster than a chicken being chased by Colonel Sanders. The hostess as well as some other patrons nodded at me and grinned…impressed that I was able to extinguish that fire with southern charm. I sat down with Kat and Sheila and we clinked our glasses of champagne as I toasted, “We may be dressed like LA girls but thank God we’re Southern to the bone.” And wouldn’t ya know…Delaine showed up moments later…also dressed in black. We fell out laughing…we looked like we were in some kind of rock band. But ultimately it doesn’t matter how you’re dressed or where you live…if you were raised in the South it’s forever imprinted in your DNA. During this hectic time of year, try not to get your tinsel in a tangle…keep calm and remain Southern. Kill ‘em with kindness.