2015-10-08 / Editorial Page

Dear Hearts and Gentle People


Keep your eyes open and watch what the teenagers are wearing these days. Actually, anybody younger than 40 has caught on to the same fad. It’s all “the bomb” today and I dare say I bet you have a few items in your own homes that you have had initialed.

Monogramming. We are person­alizing every thing! Baby’s cloth­ing, t-shirts, book-bags, shower curtains, key rings, cakes, and so much more.

A Southern woman will mono­gram anything she gets her well- manicured hands on: earrings, bedding, a baby’s underpants, and men’s shirts. We seem to have an innate drive to name, possess, clas­sify, and distinguish.

Whatever the purchase, if it will stand still long enough, you can bet there is a Southern woman out there who has tried to monogram it. I personally have owned mono­grammed purses, towels, chair backs, hair bows, shoes, you name it.

We could really use a twelve- step program for this; it’s time. A girlfriend of mine dated a boy in college and asked him if she could use his handkerchief to wipe some­thing off her dress. She was abso­lutely astounded when he couldn’t produce a nice white square with his initials on it. She said she knew right then that she could never mar­ry a Yankee.

What classy Southern woman hasn’t presented a newborn with a sterling-silver cup or teething spoon with an etched monogram? Why, we serve hors d’oeuvres on monogrammed trays as if they were served at the Last Supper.

Just for your information and should you be planning a birth­day party, engagement party, baby shower or the like allow me to tell you some of the things that are ac­ceptable for a lady to monogram: l Her dog’s collar l Her child’s hair bow l Her bedding, your bedding, the dog’s bedding. l The backs of chairs l The middle of her shower cur­tain l Hand towels or bath towels for anyone of any age and for every occasion—including the Fourth of July l Every piece of silver she inher­its, buys, or steals l Makeup boxes and jewelry (for any part of the body that is tradi­tionally pierced in our culture) l Her luggage l Her pocketbook l Assorted clothing items, in­cluding lingerie and the lingerie bag in which the monogrammed silks reside l Desk accessories l Bookmarks l Her husband’s garment bag, belt buckle, or other male accesso­ries, if he’ll let her l Her wedding cake lNapkins, tablecloths—the whole world of linen possibilities l Stationery l Paper plates and napkins for a highly organized yet seemingly spontaneous picnic l Shower wraps, bathrobes, etc. l A matching ring, pendant, and earrings—the whole obnoxious set l Baby books, photo albums l Tombstones

I have to tell you this, dear hearts, because it has brought us much laughter over the years:

When hubby and I married, forty- seven years ago, I packed my go­ing away bag and I assumed hubby packed his. We got to our honey­moon hotel and I was unpacking all our clothes. Every thing was pretty standard, and then I spotted a pair of hubby’s red silk pajamas. To my knowledge (just guessing) he had never worn them in his life and he insisted he’d never seen them before. He’s a boxer shorts kind of guy and that’s his sleep­wear. I teased him about them and then I happened to notice inside the waistband, written with a Sharp­ie marker in huge letters, ALEX MCGEE. I could tell immediately it was his mother’s handwriting. I started laughing and couldn’t stop; so did hubby.

Okay, here is this fellow, twenty years old, on his honeymoon and his mother has written his name in his pajamas in bold print like he was going to boy scout camp and I was going to steal them or some­thing.

I wonder if, given this current monogramming mania, if she would have had them monogrammed. He had no idea from whence the jam­mies came and he has never had them on. I did wear them, however, when I was pregnant.

I’ve wondered about this urge Southern women have to label things. Is it really an indication of a possessive streak that would em­barrass a two-year-old?

With so many pushy women these days, I have thought in years past about having hubby’s arm tattooed with the letters “G.A.M/Married” on it when he went out of town on business trips but finally figured out that he’d remember who he was soon enough if I packed his red silk pajamas.

So far, so good.

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