Tag Archives: Steel Magnolias

Lovely Louisiana: Drunk, Armed, & Angry

CLASS PICTURELast weekend, I went to visit a friend in middle-of-nowhere Louisiana.  I hadn’t seen this childhood pal in 15 years, so our reunion was teary and heartfelt.  As we walked towards each other, it felt like the space-time continuum folded.  We will always have the bond of our childhood and I love her still, but if we met today, it is truly unlikely we would make friends if only for the context of our adult lives.  I consider myself modestly well-traveled, but I have never seen some of the crazy shit I’ve seen in Louisiana anywhere else in the world.   STEEL MAGNOLIASNow I can’t speak for Louisiana as an entire state.  I visited a tiny pocket of the state known for its Steel Magnolias.  I am speaking about a narrow experience and a fraction of time, so please don’t think the following conversation is meant to drape the whole state with the same Confederate flag.  Each parish has its own personality, and these are just a few of the flavorful offerings of the one I visited.


There are drive-thru liquor stores.  No shit.  Drive up to the window and getcha a frozen drink.  Why isn’t it an open container violation you ask?  Because the drive-thru liquor store attendant didn’t put a straw in it, silly.  Gotta love that Louisiana legal logic.


These bitches are armed.  For reals.  A handgun in the purse.  Another gun in the desk drawer.  A gun in the nightstand.  A few more guns scattered about for good measure.  And don’t forget the arsenal in the gun safe at Daddy’s house.  “That’s where we keep the expensive guns,” they said starry-eyed.  I asked these southern women why they keep all these guns and what it boiled down to essentially is rape fear.  These mothers and professionals truly believe that a (black!) man is going to enter their home and then enter them.  Rape happens for sure and more often than reported.  You know what happens more often?  A criminal breaks in when you aren’t home and steals all your guns and then uses them to perpetrate other crimes.  Know what else happens?  Kids stumble up on guns and shoot themselves or others.ARMED WOMEN

Shocker #3 

In a town that is 60% black and 40% white, I found it shocking that there was virtually no racial integration.  There is still a “black” part of town and a “white” part of town.  I asked the women if they frequented any black-owned businesses or socialized with any black people.  The answer was no.  Confused, I asked why?  According to them there aren’t a significant number of black middle class in their town.  Apparently, bars cater specifically to white or black people by playing either country or rap.  How progressive.  The segregation looked at lot like apartheid.  It was truly nauseating.  That may sound like some white liberal bullshit, but I mean I literally felt physically sick amidst the palpable racial tension.  I almost vomited when I heard the N-word causally dropped in conversation.  What is this Paula Deen shit?  It is shocking, disturbing, and frankly unbelievable that some parts of the country are stuck in a post-Civil war time-warp mentality.  It is difficult not to sound judgmental, so I’m just not going to bother.  The racism is gross and there is no excuse for it.     JIM CROW SEGREGATION

3 things you should never say when someone dies

I’ve experienced significant loss and am close to others who have experienced major loss, and I still stutter for the right words to speak amidst a tragedy.  When searching for the right words to say, remember these are not them…

What are you going to do now?

I’m going to grieve, bitch.

At least her suffering is over.  

But my suffering has only begun.

What can I do to help?

I know this is the most obvious and seemingly kind offering in a crisis, but the truly helpful don’t ask, they just do.  Not all of us operate on that level of selflessness (myself included), but remember if you do offer help be prepared for the person to take you up on it.  If they do, YOU MUST FOLLOW THROUGH.


Local Beauty: LaBoe Salon

As some of you know, I’ve been stuck on the buckle of the Bible belt for much of the summer on account of some personal tragedy.  It hasn’t been easy or fun, but one special lady certainly brought a little sunshine to some very cloudy days. The very talented Joyce Bunch owns a reputable salon in Morristown, Tennessee called LaBoe.  Picture Dolly Parton from Steel Magnolias and you are almost there.  Kind-hearted with a gentle touch, Joyce breaks out some cutting edge treatments in this little town.  For example, have you ever had a cold saline jet peel?  Very enjoyable. Now most of you might count your lucky stars that Morristown, Tennessee isn’t on the travel itinerary for this year.  However, you too can enjoy a little LaBoe goodness.  She produces a top-notch and reasonably priced beauty line.  Check out www.laboesalon.com for an excellent array of potent products.  Free from fragrance and artificial color, Joyce keeps it real and focuses on results-oriented skincare.  I’d put her glycolic face cream up against any prestige brand.  The LaBoe skincare line comes in generously sized containers that make you feel like you are getting two for one.  

If you live in east Tennessee and you aren’t at the Cracker Barrel right now (don’t get mad, I heart okra too) you must visit Joyce Bunch for a little derma-TLC.  For those geographically far-flung, get on these products.  Your friends will be dying to know your skincare secret. 



So many of you will be rush, rush, rushing out to see the new Julia Roberts movie Eat, Pray, Love, opening mañana.  The book evokes derisive, polarizing, debate for a variety of legitimate reasons.  Regardless of personal opinion, never have so many approached me as when I read this book on vacation a few years ago.  Eat, Pray, Love lives in the realm of white female privilege.  If you can get past that, the kundalini discussion is pretty interesting.  So yeah, in honor of Mz. Roberts, please enjoy a retrospective of her earlier guilty pleasures.

Satisfaction, a 1988 cult classic staring Justine Bateman as the lead singer of Mystery, and Liam Neeson as the curmudgeony barkeep.  Julia Roberts embarrasses herself with her rhythm-less, pouty portrayal of Daryle, the slutty bass player in a nearly all-girl band.  This marks the beginning of a string of roles where Julia plays the lovable, ditzy skank.  The soundtrack, while hard to find, contains some memorable moments – consider tracking it down.

Also right outta ’88, let’s enjoy a slice with the gang from Mystic Pizza.  Strong performances by Lili Taylor and Annabeth Gish challenged Julia to step up her acting a notch in her portrayal of Daisy ArujoJulia captures Daisy’s yearning to abandon her towny-waitress life by using her significant wiles to leverage her ivy league boyfriend as a ticket to the good life (remember, this was the 80’s).  Don’t even attempt to watch this without your favorite pizza handy.

Steel Magnolias marked a shift in the public perception of Julia Roberts.  Abandoning slutty to play Shelby, Julia proved she had acting chops and gravitas.  Julia’s humility allowed her to learn from those around her, and she obviously absorbed a great deal from the talented cast that surrounded her in Steel Magnolias.  It is still the gold standard for conjuring laughter through tears.

Turning towards slightly darker fare, Sleeping With the Enemy is a well-paced, (if slightly cheesy) thriller about an abusive husband and his long-suffering wife who escapes to reinvent herself.  Divided into essentially three parts, this movie delivers a little of everything: great interiors, a makeover montage, and a well-thought-out plan executed with a little luck and a lot of preparation.1997’s My Best Friend’s Wedding still holds up as the best of those misogynistic wedding-themed movies.  Julia brings true star power to this role, filing up the screen with her toothy mopish grin.  She creates fizzy chemistry with Cameron Diaz and Rupert Everett, proving she can magnanimously share the laughs.  My Best Friend’s Wedding marks the last film Julia made before she lodged that giant self-righteous rod up her ass.