How a Southern woman gets her answer

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, February 11, 2016

Live in the South long enough, and you will hear the phrase that is, and always has been, more effective than any device to extract information from its hapless victim – usually a man. There are no weapons involved, no impending threat of violence, simply a woman, or girl, frustrated that five, perhaps ten, seconds have passed without a requested reply obtained. And then the countdown begins.

She stands, hands on hips, after asking anything from, “Did you call your Mama,” to “Did you pick up the air filter from the hardware store?”


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Once more: “Donnie, did you pick up that air filter from the hardware store?”




And Donnie immediately confesses he forgot.

I have seen a three year old, golden haired, female toddler do the same thing to her father in the candy aisle when, vainly hoping to ignore her pleas for M & Ms in order to finish the rest of his errands, the man was stopped in his tracks.

“Daddy? Can I have this? Daddy? Daddy can I have this?” then the jutted chin and the demand…


“No, you can’t have it,” exclaimed Daddy, pronouncing ‘can’t’  like ‘cain’t.’

(For some reason, that always makes me laugh)

“Why? Why cain’t I have it?” She persisted, followed after him, exasperated. With no further answer forthcoming, one could only admire her commitment to her cause, standing rooted, stamping her foot, and triumphant in that her second bark of, “SAY!” made him whirl around and return to her, if only to grab her hand and pull her, wailing, towards the cash register.

It’s not completely exclusive to males, however. Follow a gaggle of teenage girls around long enough and you’ll hear it used from time to time: “Did Tyler ask you to the prom? Did he? Say!” or the far more mundane, “Ya’ll, did you see these jeans? Say.”

It doesn’t matter if the reply is what she wanted to hear, the point is to receive some sort of reply. Some sort of acknowledgement. And for some reason, it doesn’t work when used by a man. Never has. When a man comes home late and feels an immediate drop in temperature, along with an icy gaze from his wife and is told only the stony, “Nothing,” when he asks what’s wrong, he can follow her around the house for the next 36 hours bleating, “Say, say!!” without a dent made in the silence.

One political candidate recently proclaimed that, “When I’m president, I’m going to bring back water boarding and a helluva lot worse!”

That oughta send a shiver up the spine of any potential terrorist.

‘Cause honey, Gitmo will feel like Club Med after 15 minutes with a peeved Southern woman.