I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville wife and mother with a passion for family travel, (mostly) healthy cooking, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries with you, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark.
April 11, 2006
>I was at a consignment sale last week at the local Crappy Private School when I overheard a conversation between one of the volunteer moms and her preteen daughter.
“Mama, I tried on my new gym shorts and they don’t fit right.”
“Well, what size are they?”
“You need mediums. Go on back to Mrs. Thompson’s room and change your pair for mediums.”
“But she said you can’t exchange them once you take them out of the package.”
“You tell Mrs. Thompson your mama is standing right here in the school gym telling you to take your shorts back and get mediums. You tell her if she has a problem with that, she can come talk to your mama!”
At this point, another volunteer mom chimed in. “That’s right, honey! You tell that teacher your mama pays good money for you to go here and your teacher can just take them shorts back and get you another pair.”
Glumly, the girl turned to go give Mrs. Thompson what-for on her mother’s behalf.
Ugh. I thought to myself. Rednecks with attitude.
I have great fondness for country people in general and count both friends and family members among them. A good redneck puts family first, works hard to provide for her family, and will help a stranger in need any way she can.
But give a redneck woman a little money and a house in a suburban subdivision and it’s 50/50 she’ll become a Redneck With Attitude. RWAs generally don’t outnumber the NNNs (nice, normal neighbors), but they do tend to take over the crappy private schools, jazz fingers-style dance studios, and homeowners’ association boards. And since they paid good money for that tuition/dance recital/ brick-front house, they’re going to headbutt anyone who tries to spoil it for them.
For years, my stepdaughters took classes at an RWA-approved dance studio. The annual recital was a two-day extravaganza at one of the biggest performance halls in town. Dressed like mini-NBA dancers, hundreds of girls (and a few boys) ranging in age from 3 to 18 took turns shaking their booties to Destiny’s Child and giving their best Britney Spears (pre-Kevin) impressions while a boisterious audience of RWAs cheered in response.
Honestly, the first year I went to the recital, I was, shall we say, stunned at what I saw. But since the girls had been going to this dance studio from the time they were out of diapers, there wasn’t much I could do about it.
Except to insist on attending the annual Choosing-of-the-costumes RWA meeting the next year.
When I arrived, catalogues already were being passed among the moms featuring dance costumes that would’ve looked entirely appropriate at a Playboy Mansion party. We were told to choose our favorites, then vote from the ones we’d selected. Easy, right? Not where RWAs are concerned.
“I think this off-the-shoulder thing going on here is real cute,” one mom said loudly, pointing to a skintight minidress being worn by a pouting prepubescent model.
“No, no,” another mom countered. “The song they’re hoofing it to is about a milkshake. They should be wearing this waitress costume on page 47.” The waitress costume, by the way, featured a pleather, slit-up-to-here skirt and white fishnets.
The moms argued back and forth, each costume more garish and slutty than the one before. Vaguely nauseated, I frantically paged through the books that came my way, searching for something, anything that Paris Hilton wouldn’t be caught dead in. Finally, I found it. A schoolgirl costume with a newsboy cap and a cute vest. I cleared my throat and stood up.
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” I said in a deep voice. That shut them up.
I began what must’ve been the most heartfelt speech of my life. My stepdaughters’ virtue was at stake, dammit. I went on for a good 15 minutes about the many wonders of the schoolgirl costume. The thigh highs (Trendy! Seen recently in Vogue!). The skirt pockets (good for storing that red, red lipstick!). The many zippers on the vest (Shiny! Standoutish!). The white blouse (No! It can not be unbuttoned to show off a bustier, lady! Now! Where were we?).
Finally, I could say no more. Exhausted and nearly brought to tears by the sheer beauty of the masterpiece I had depicted, I awaited the final vote. “What are you picking?” I asked a slightly sympathetic-looking RWA seated beside me.
“I don’t know. I really liked the one with the string bikini top,” she replied.
It was time for a decision.
“Schoolgirl costume,” the dance teacher shouted. Five hands went up.
“Bikini top.” 15 hands went up. My girls would be wearing bikini tops and dancing to “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.” Okay, okay, it wasn’t quite that bad? But it felt like it. I put my head in my hands as the RWAs talked excitedly around me.
Eventually, other activities replaced the girls’ dance lessons. And unfortunately, other RWAs replaced the ones I spent time with at the studio. You really can’t live in a southern suburb without at least a few RWAs around to irritate the shit out of you.
But you can resist.
You know that woman at the consignment sale?
I totally gave her an eye roll. And you could just tell she was so, like, pissed.