Sunday, May 14

I love the South, part three


-Guys wearing polo shirts and Palmetto flag Croakies
-Girls wearing polo shirts and Palmetto flag Croakies
-A case of inhospitable waitstaff

Yeah--I've been bad about updating. I know. Sincerest apologies. But to my defense I've been busy and on the road pretty much constantly during the past week and a half. When you drive with your parents from Upstate South Carolina to Chicago and back, the last thing you want to do is blog about it. The Ohio post doesn't really count--that was the first day. The best way to describe it is as this: You know how there are those little things that your parents do that you really hate? Well, guess what. Even after you move away for a year and your sister gets engaged, they're still doing them.

Anyways so my sister's wedding was last weekend in Chicago, and this past week has included time at my parents' house in Anderson, post-wedding festivities in Greenville, and visits with friends in Clemson and Charleston. In addition to the gluttony of family stuff, during this time I've also remembered a) why I love the South and b) why I hate the South. It was nice to see old friends, of course, but it wasn't so nice to receive so many goddamn funny looks everywhere I went. It didn't help things that these days (in addition to still being Chinese), I've started wearing tighter pants (he's gay!) and growing my hair out (he does drugs!) Mulleted, tight-pantsed Asians are actually something of a norm around the Bay Area, but in the South, I might as well be from another planet. Hell, they'd probably welcome me even more if I was. "Take me! Take me!" they'd probably say. My first night in Charleston, I hadn't felt so out of place since the last time I was in Charleston. Still it wasn't all bad--100% the guys and 99.9% of the girls were in polo shirts and khakis and sandals, but the drinks were cheap--God, they were cheap. $13 for a round of four bourbon and gingers PLUS tip?? Insanity.

Still, I was ready to leave the next morning. But given E's promise of a free fried seafood dinner, I decided to give ole Chucktown one more chance. And it was better. At the two bars we frequented that night, we found at least eight people who dared not to dress like their parents. But it was brief respite. For lunch the next day, E, my college roommate, and I went to a soul food restaurant a couple blocks from his apartment downtown. Outside the restaurant a couple touristy-looking people in brightly colored clothing were milling about (just as they do just about everywhere in Charleston). E and I, figuring they were lost, went on inside. A big mistake, apparently, because as soon as we walked in, the hostess hurried toward us with a look of intense displeasure.

"Didn't you see the line outside?" she said. "You know there's a wait outside, don't you?"

Um, yes? As is the popular custom, miss, we walked into your fine establishment, not to cut in front of those confused old people (your target clientele, I know), but to let you know we were there and would like to put our names onto the list.

But apparently she thought differently. "Can't you homersexuals read?" she then yelled angrily, red horns sprouting from head. "Sign says 'No faggots allowed'! That means NO FAGGOTS!"

OK, OK--I embellished the last part a bit. Her horns were yellow.

Suffice it to say, E and I went elsewhere.


Anonymous said...

So are you back? Let's get together properly, then; none of these penny-ante too-brief lunches in uncomfortable shoes, okay?

Things with my other favorite Asian from South Carolina are really good, thanks; I'll tell you all about it in PERSON.

James said...

Not back until the 17th. Despite the fact the South is often (correctly) stereotyped as ass-backwards, we do have internet capabilities.

If you're not doing anything, my band's playing a house party on the 20th in Berkeley. Two bands, BYOB, 6-10pm. Email (or call) for details if you want 'em.

Trevor said...

James, you mispronounced it in your post. It's "Chalsssston", and you have to turn up your nostrils at the thought of minorities and poor white folks insisting on the hard "r" sound when you obviously know better because you were born into it, you'll die with it, and inbetween you'll remind everyone to what degree they are not.

Just thought I'd point out your faux pas...;-p

Benny said...

So glad to hear from you!!

Jimsness, women have intuitions about these things. Even devil women. It's not just the pants. And I'm sure it's got nothing to do with the mullet. Nothing whatever. Heh.

I hear ya on the cheaper-drink front. In retrospect, I feel like I was practically ripping off the bartenders in Indianapolis compared to my first 8 dollar Jack and Coke here in sunny Tampa. A tenner, with the tip included. All so I could have the pleasure of some scantily-clad barmaid wondering how to handle me (flirt? bookish-polite? ladies-night-out?) in order to actually SECURE the tip. She went with telling me the price in the most apologetic tone she could muster. We both saw the ridiculousness in the situation and she ended up with two extra dollars.

On my budget, and in my sorry-I'm-attached situation, you see why I only drink once or twice a month.

Harry the Hire said...

Four JD and cokes, at the right bar here in Szczecin, would cost you around $US6 - with a biiiiiig tip.

you should have drunk spritzers to keep 'em guessing. Not that they seemed to think they needed to guess.

James said...

You're totally right, Trev. "Chalsssstun" it is. You sure seem to know you're Southern dialects. You aren't wearing seersucker this precise moment are you?

B, your "scantily-clad barmaid" sounds hot. I'll make a note of it next time I visit Tampa, which, as it is, is never.

Light, that's cheap! In SF, $6 will get you one R&C including tip--if you're lucky.

Robb said...

Shouldn't it be "Chaaaahhhlston"? Wouldn't a bunch of s's make you sound like some kind of snake or something?

Trevor said...

Damn, my existence as a giant snake has been exxxxxxxxxposssssssssssssed!

This ssssssssssssssucks assssssssssssssssssssss!

James said...

You've hit it right on the nail, Robb.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, you crack me up (mostly because I know this is all true)My favorite Chaaa-ston fad is the SHORT shorts on these frat boys! I wish I had known you were going to be in town i'd love to get together!keep it up-Maranda

James said...

Maranda--we'll have to do that. Although I don't know when's the next time I'll be down in Charleston. Or more likely, the next time I'll be able to stomach it.

I did like Rival (sp?) on King Street though. And Fig wasn't bad, either.

angel said...

Is that a pic from the Carolina Cup?

James said...

Yep. How'd you guess? Was it the plastic badges?