I interact with a lot of smart Southern girls here in Birmingham and on the road. It's just that this particular group has a place in my heart because they were among my first friends when I moved to the Deep South. As a native Floridian, moving to Columbia, Southern Carolina for college may have been a geographical northern hop, but culturally it was the reverse.
My first fall Saturday at USC I wondered why all the girls were up so early, putting on makeup and pearls with their sundresses. Unfamiliar and uninterested in anything SEC, I promptly climbed back into my single twin bed and plotted my certain transfer to a school far away.
In a halfhearted attempt to try, I joined Freshman Council -- oh yes, the freshman arm of student government. In between rolling my eyes during discussions of t-shirt colors I met Stephanie (standing at the center of the photo). She introduced me to Marjan (far left). And we met Manisha, a year older (third from left). Emilie (second on the left) came along a year later.