“If you’re pleased, then I’m pleased,” sounds like a warm, fuzzy response doesn’t it? But hold on, southern women have the ability to elevate passive/aggressive to an art form.
Don’t be fooled. This innocent sounding phrase ranks right up there with “Bless your heart.” A “Wow” or “Okay” response marks its user as a rank amateur in southern speak.
As a sixth generation Texan I can claim to be somewhat of an expert in deciphering southern speak, but it took me a while to get there.
As a teen, in the land before time, no one who considered herself cool would be caught dead without at least three crinoline petticoats swishing under a poodle skirt.
When I asked my mother if she agreed an extra crinoline added the tour de force to my ensemble, she responded:”If you’re pleased, then I’m pleased.” She picked her battles and chose to ignore my struggle to keep my balance while supporting four crinolines. She refrained from asking my plan for survival should I become airborne.
My next foray into the fashion scene was an attempt to copy the Audrey Hepburn pixie haircut. An article in one of the magazines said she cut her hair herself with manicure scissors. It was beautiful.
Mine, not so much. I looked like a reject from a head lice cure. My hope of receiving a modicum of support, faded, as the response was, “If you’re pleased, then I’m pleased.”
I was a late bloomer. I didn’t figure out the passive/aggressive non-answer until the peroxide-gone-bad streak down the center of my hair.
This tidbit of knowledge re-emerged in the workplace. Co-workers and managers hear what they want to hear. Besides, one appears to be a diplomatic team player when refraining from what you really want to say.
The beauty of this comment is one could assume they are receiving support or a compliment, especially if a smile accompanies the delivery.
There is a caveat here. If there is a slight nod of the head you may assume, you’ve been snookered by southern speak.
Categories: Biased, Unbalanced and Politically Incorrect
I am a lifelong Southerner, short story author, and essayist. Home is Dallas, Texas.
My essays have appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Writing.