Southern Sin: True Stories of the Sultry South and Women Behaving Badly; Edited by Lee Gutkind & Beth Ann Fennelly
Sex, Drugs and Alcohol in the Bible Belt!
I’m a Southern girl, so I knew the essays in this book would have to be about good church going folks for an hour on Sunday and drinking, drugs and sex the rest of the time. I wasn’t disappointed!
Let me say from the beginning that there are only three stories in this anthology that have anything to do with lesbians, and one of them is the Introduction by Dorothy Allison. In her introduction, Allison talks about the “worthless sinner”, a phrase we Southern Baptists heard frequently during our formative years. So, who exactly is a “worthless sinner”? I’m afraid to tell you it’s all of us. If you’ve ever stolen a nickel, had teenage sex on the living room couch, had a drink, smoked a joint, called someone names—well, you get the idea. There’s a whole lotta sinning going on in these short stories, which are true accounts from the authors that wrote them.
One of the lesbian stories is “Mad Love: The Ballad of Fred & Allie”. The story takes place in 1890 where Frederica “Fred” Ward and Alice Mitchell attend an all girl’s high school in Memphis, TN. The girls were inseparable, and Alice fell deeply in love with Fred. The girls visited between each other’s homes and Alice gave Fred an “engagement ring”. They planned to marry even though such a marriage was impossible in 1891. They were smart enough to know that the only way they could get married is if one of them passed as a man. You will have to read the story to see what unfolds once their plan is put in motion.
The other story is more about two women experimenting with a lesbian relationship. While the stories are mostly about heterosexual sex, there are some other ones that have little to do with sex but are great reads. There’s one about one of the few women who ran moonshine back in the day, one about a woman experiencing vaginal atrophy after menopause that will break your heart and one about a woman whose calves are used in porn movies—not her body, just her calves!
You can purchase the book from Amazon if your interest is piqued.