Southern Thesaurus — Entry #9 (It’s been a while!)
Bless Your Heart
Wowza, this one is com-pli-cated! I’ve been holding onto this one for a while (yes, I have a Southern Thesaurus “bank!”) so that I could be sure to understand it thoroughly. I think I sorta figured it out!
I have learned that this saying means MANY DIFFERENT THINGS. Here’s my best attempt at breaking it down (native Southerners, feel free to set this sister straight!)…
1. Heartfelt empathy – Situation: I miss my flight to New York. I’m crying in the airport like a big fat baby. Lady in line behind me – “Oh sweetie, bless your heart.” = “Oh sweetie, I am so very sorry that you are going through this. Been there and it’s awful.”
2. Pity – Situation: I drive too confidently close to my garage door. So close that I hit it. Oops! (This IS hypothetical, but could honestly happen tomorrow.) Neighbor under her breath – “Oh boy, bless her heart.” = “Poor schmuck. I’m shocked it’s taken her this long to take a chunk out of that garage door!”
3. Kudos – Situation: I work a 12-hour day, when it’s supposed to just 7.5, due to pure dedication and love for making this world a better place. (Again, hypothetical!) Family member: “Wow, that’s dedication. Bless your heart!” = “Wow, that’s dedication. Good for you!”
4. An attempt to make a nasty comment sound more polite (or, um, Southern?) – Situation: I see a person walking in the pouring rain on the side of the road being splashed repeatedly by puddles. The forecast said 90% chance of rain. Um, duh. I say (to myself, of course!): “Um, good going. No need for a jacket or umbrella – dumbo. Ever heard of looking out the window? Hmph, bless your heart!” = “Um, good going. No need for a jacket or umbrella – dumbo. Ever heard of looking out the window? [I’m not a bad person.]”
And there ya have it. A loaded Southern phrase – without a doubt! I’m overly cautious to use it, just yet. Baby [Southern] steps!
Please enjoy a little Miranda Lambert sassiness. Lyrics including “bless your heart” are below!
Miranda Lambert – Only Prettier
Well I’ve been saved by the grace of Southern charm
I got a mouth like a sailor and yours is more like a Hallmark card
And if you wanna pick a fight
Well I’m gonna have to say goodnight
I don’t have to be hateful, I can just say bless your heart
Southern friends – Do you use bless your heart? If so, in which way do you use it most? Did I miss any other meanings? Do tell!!!
Southern Thesaurus suggestions? Ones that you love? Hate?
Lemme know so I can blog about ’em!
p.s. It’s been rainy on and off for days…Scott and I are in serious need of some beach time. Bring on the SUN!
p.s.s. Fall beer tasting party at our house this Saturday – sooooo excited!!!
Beach Count: 61
Pool Count: 18
High Temperature: 83°