Blog Post, Column

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity and it’s a Southern woman’s cross to bear

The excerpt below is from a column about mom-shaming that appeared on It’s a Southern Thing this week. Click here to redirect to the full column now, or click the link at the end of the excerpt.

Just hearing the words “relative humidity” can make women in the South begin to wilt, then scurry into the house to let the air vent blow up her skirt. Men, on the other hand, don’t really notice and if they do, they can always hide their flyaways under a baseball cap.

Yet, even while swooning in a humid cloud that covers every inch of us like Scarlet O’Hara’s curtain dress, we Southern women bear our cross with pride. It’s a point of honor that “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Sure, you may live in Death Valley and walk to work when it’s 114 degrees outside but it’s a dry heat.

It’s not the same at all, y’all. You could do five straight songs of outdoor speed Zumba in 114 degrees of dry heat and look ready for the red carpet. Try it on a humid August day in Alabama and you will most certainly be dead by the end of it, or at least laid out on the lawn looking for all the world like a recently beached blob fish, sucking air and flopping toward the neighbor’s sprinkler.

Humidity is an all-consuming force. Walking outdoors in summer feels like being slapped silly by the sticky-warm tongue of Clifford the Big Red Dog … then turned around and slapped on the flip side. No body part, covered or uncovered, is safe. Thankfully, women in the South don’t sweat, we “glow,” although many of us glow like a couple of truckers in a jalapeno-eating contest.

Throughout history, humidity has been the cause of most of our female trials and the reason our foremothers wore bonnets and didn’t stand too close to one another. And the reason someone invented seersucker and dotted Swiss and antiperspirants and those little battery-powered fans that spray water in your face.

It is also why someone invented Aqua Net, a magical spray that created a force-field around your hair to prevent it from frizzing. Or moving. Or looking remotely like hair. Click here to redirect to the full column.

tacky wiki
A photo of a woman, who is NOT this author, obviously suffering from humidity-induced lunacy. (Public Domain)

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