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Sparkle Plenty Bombs
by Beth Boswell Jacks

Here's advice for men about holiday gift buying.
Trust me. There are a few inappropriate gifts out there,
and you fellows need to get the scoop.


My pals who see me every day in bluejeans and sneakers will attest to the fact that I'm certainly not one to advise when it comes to proper stuff--especially fashion or topics like that. I don't know much, but I do know a little about unimportant things. And since Christmas is right around the corner and men will be putting out big bucks to thrill their sweeties on Christmas morning, I felt I should share what I know so the guys won't make serious mistakes.

I can tell you, for example, that the southern girl who's had a proper upbringing knows a well dressed belle never wears diamonds in the daytime. An engagement ring is okay, but the rest of the glitter is appropriately left for formal events held after the sun goes down.

The reason I bring this up is because I ran into an acquaintance yesterday morning, and honey, she was garlanded and ornamented fit to kill. At the grocery store yet.

As we were discussing whether real ambrosia has nuts or not, the girl was flashing those diamonds in my face. She had sparks on her ears. Sparks on her neck. Sparks on her fingers. Sparks on her wrists. She looked like the Fourth of July.

Remember that baby doll back forty years ago we called Sparkle Plenty? Uh huh.

Anyway, the most dazzling sparkle was reserved for her diamond encrusted watch. Diamond encrusted watch? What's with this? Back in the early '60s, Mrs. Moses and Mrs. Peacock (my eighth grade home ec. teachers) insisted, as I've already said, diamonds are NOT to be worn in the daytime. But here's the clincher--watches are NOT to be worn to formal events in the evening. So when, pray tell, is one supposed to wear a diamond encrusted watch?

Never, dear readers.

I'm sure jewelry store folks will say that's a bunch of baloney, but I'm just telling you what I was taught by Mrs. Peacock and Mrs. Moses, who proudly led us junior high gals out of the wilderness of fashion ignorance. And since I've never had that many diamonds to speak of, I like that "Save-Em-For-The-Ball" rule. I don't go to that many balls either, so I suppose I'm snug as a bug wrapped in my excellent fashion sense.

Which brings me to Shoewels (rhymes with jewels) which is most definitely a bit of fashion I should warn men to avoid. Am I the last person in the whole wide world to find out about Shoewels? I hope not. And don't go telling me Shoewels have been around for twenty years. I'm doing my best to stay young and funky, and frankly, being hip at my age is not that easy.

I saw some Shoewels this past summer in Colorado. They spilled from baskets on a shop counter and filled me with as much pain as a bucket of clip-on earrings. The sign on the counter said, "Letís Get Funky." Okay, I thought, give me a three step program and I'm all for it.

I wasn't all for it though when I discovered that in order to get funky I had to wear those Shoewels on my ankles and toes. Shoppers can get them beaded or braided or bejeweled (surely diamonds are only available for evening wear), and they encircle the ankle as they snake down around your second toe. Buy six pairs to mix and match, and they'll throw in a seventh pair free. Imagine that? A different pair of Shoewels for each day of the week.

May brave souls wear Shoewels with shoes? Of course, the boutique cutie told me. The bead closest to the toe fits above the edge of most pumps. Doesn't take any time to get used to the pressure of tiny little hard things digging into your flesh or bands of gold cutting off the blood supply to your tootsies.

Naaa. I don't think so. My sculptor pal, Floyd Shaman, is carving funky "Mesquite-toes" key chains from a bunch of mesquite wood. I think those will suit me better. But I want my "Mesquite-toes" key chain without diamonds. I rarely drive at night.


      COMMENT from: Ann Smith-Vaniz Crigler
      Dahling! Where was I when Mrs. Moses and Mrs. Peacock were talking about
      when to wear diamonds? You are something else! I'm with you. Shoes hurt
      enough without any shoewels! I love your stuff!

NEW! Read Beth's review of "Somebody is going to die if Lilly Beth doesn't catch that bouquet ~ The official Southern ladies' guide to hosting the perfect wedding" by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays [Hyperion/NYC]. CLICK HERE


A resident of the Mississippi Delta, Beth Boswell Jacks holds a B.A. in English from Millsaps College and a master's degree in Special Education from The University of Mississippi. Jacks is the author of 3 books and serves as editor of USADEEPSOUTH.com.

Jacks stays happily engaged (in addition to her other writing) with a weekly personal essay/humor newspaper column titled Snippets, which she describes as an attempt to "joogle a bit of Southern wit and wisdom in a few snappy paragraphs."

Reach Beth Jacks at bethjacks@hotmail.com.

Read more of Beth's columns: SNIPPETS -- and click here to learn more about her SNIPPETS books.

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