I see more as I get older that the definition of a Southern lady is less a woman with good manners and more one who can say anything to your face and have you thinking she’s a sweet person when you walk away. I came to this conclusion after affecting an old South accent and a smile with patients at my workplace (Haaai, hun! Ah will get those papers awout to you in just a mihnit). People immediately relax after I start talking.
Today one patient in particular began haranguing me about her relative’s pain and its reaction to narcotics. I looked up from the computer and firmly explained the dangers of taking more medicine than prescribed. Her reaction: “Why didn’t anyone explain it to me like that in the first place?” Seriously.*
They had. Multiple times. It wasn’t me, so the only thing I can think of that caused her reaction was the accent. Later on, I mentioned something about it to a couple of the doctors I work with and started presenting with the accent. Hilarity ensued.
Fortunately or not, emotion and accent aren’t conveyed through text messages, Facebook or Twitter unless you’re emulating Faulkner and/or an emoticon-happy 12-year-old. The only way to be a lady (or a gentleman) in these media is to be nice. The electronic record you create here does not go away, so if you’re rude to someone through their page or indirectly, it sticks. Instead of being a lady, you’re just being rude.
The Golden Rule applies to social media interactions. Use it and live it, folks.
*Side note: Y’all, taking medications as prescribed is important for your health. Also, read the labels.