Who knows why Southerners do the things we do? We're not even orthodox daters. Everybody else is out for dinner and a movie, while our idea of a perfect date night is pitching woo at a North Carolina pig pickin' or making goo-goo eyes at a square dance in the middle of a Texas cow pasture.
In all fairness, there's at least a little method to our madness. Job one when Southerners are dating: Get out of Mama's reach, earshot, and peripheral vision. And so we choose places she's not likely to be—like, for instance, a tractor pull. Mama despises those. Also, if Bubba's on a budget, a Southern girl will occasionally cut him some slack and allow for a cheap date, like a dip in the nearest swimming hole.
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What's the most Extreme Southern date you've ever been on? That's the question we lobbed at our Facebook Brain Trust. (Maybe we should call them the FBBT so they sound all official?) They shared fond memories of festivals and barbecues, fishing trips and river adventures. But don't let us spoil it for you. Here, in their own words, are the FBBT's most Southern dates. Tell us about yours!
The Way to a Man's Heart . . .
"My most Southern dates? A barbecue joint. Catfishing. Watermelon on her daddy's front porch. Pig-pickin'. Bluegrass festival. Chitlin' Strut in Sally, South Carolina. Roth-Tiller Races at the Black-eyed Pea Festival in Emerson, Arkansas. A revival. I could go on."
"A field party with a big bonfire encircled by tailgates."
"All-you-can-eat "chitlin" (chitterling) bar. And that's all I'm gonna say about that."
"The mud races. Oh, my!!"
"On a first date—and last date—a young man took me to a wrestling match."
"Truck pull or demolition derby race."
"Lake Purdy to see the submarine races. LOL" [Editor's Note: Teenagers waiting for submarine action on this lovely lake would have plenty of time on their hands. What they did with it, we can't say.]
The Great Outdoors
"I think this qualifies as a date—with my husband. On our 30th anniversary, we took a bucket of chicken and some champagne to a friend's farm and went wild pig hunting. Didn't see the first pig!"
"Swimming in the icy cold, beautiful water of the Wakulla River in Florida."
"I once went swimming on a date. I was unaware that we would be climbing onto an old railroad bridge and jumping waaaaay down into the river."
"I've been fishing on a date."
"We went to the side of Highway 1 in Louisiana to catch mudbugs for a crawfish boil."
"I've been jug fishing on a date."
"I went duck hunting for the first AND last time with my high school boyfriend and his buddies. I had to wear a pair of his little brother's waders, which had a hole in them. It was miserable, and I was a frozen popsicle when we got home that evening."
Social & Cultural Dates
"I have been squired to both the Peanut Festival and the Rattlesnake Rodeo."
"Pickin's in a cow pasture with a piano on a trailer and a stump for a stool. Everyone brought their instruments and improvised. Great food, fun, and family! We had these pick-up sessions at all the gatherings at my grandmothere's house when I was growing up, too. ALWAYS bluegrass."
"Frat house dance at the University of Arkansas. It was held in a back alley, complete with—I kid you not—dumpsters and trash cans!"
"One night, our dinner-date plans changed suddenly because NBC was airing an old Elvis concert—sat on the sofa watching "the King" all night instead."
As long as we're talkin' romance, we might as well take the next step—Southern weddings:
Of COURSE Sissy wants her sorority sisters in the wedding, and Mama wants all the girl cousins, so let's just settle on an even 20 bridesmaids and be done with it.