I don’t mind telling you I wish the fairer sex were more appreciated. And I’ll admit that I don’t care for swimsuit magazines in the check-out aisles of Winn Dixie.

I’m supposed to be eating complimentary hotel-breakfast, but I’m in line behind a girl’s softball team.

The dining room is nothing but long-hair, red ribbons, glitter makeup, and striped softball socks.

“They’re here for softball camp,” says one mother. “And they’re having TOO much fun.”

They are breathtaking, these girls.

One girl is nearly six-two. Her mother is braiding her hair while she eats eggs and plays with her phone.

“Hold still,” her mother says.

“Gah, Mom,” the girl points out.

I had a friend who played softball. I won’t use her real name—she knows who she is.

Most of her life, boys poked fun at her because she was taller than they were.

She was one hell of an athlete. A catcher. To watch her handle a second-base steal attempt was poetry.

Her right arm was a shotgun. Her bat was the Eighth Wonder of the World.

The boys called her Fat Ass. She cried for two decades.

I wish she wouldn’t have. Because she is one of the prettiest girls I ever met.

Today, she’s married to a high-school football coach. Sometimes she helps him on the field. She and her husband have three daughters.

They are the all-American family. They go to Disney World twice per year.

They are happy.

Well, I don’t mind telling you that I like women. Real women. Every single one.

I like the shy, the outspoken, the well-behaved. I like the kind who can cuss the hair off your neck.

I like those who admire what they see in a mirror. And I have a softspot for the sort who don’t think much of themselves.

I like those who make poundcakes by feel. And those who cheer during Iron Bowls.

I like the kind who buy dresses. And I’m crazy about the sort who wear hunting boots—like the woman who shares my name.

I like white hair, veiny hands, smile-lines, crow’s feet, and blemishes. I wish wrinkles would make a comeback.

I like Miss Mary—who won’t check her own mail without lipstick and pearls.

And Miss Flossie—who tans dark brown, has memorized half of Deuteronomy, and mows her own lawn on a John Deere.

I like Tiffany, who tells stories funny enough to make bladders rupture. And Holly, who raises pasture horses.

Mrs. Bevilacqua, who thinks tenth-grade English should be worth enjoying. And Barbara, God’s favorite principal.

Darlene, who raises an orphaned Mexican-immigrant child. Kayla: paralyzed from the waist down—who coaches her daughter’s soccer team.

Haylen, hospital chaplain who helped six people check-in to Heaven last week.

And my wife, who makes pimento cheese rich enough to be used in Wallstreet transactions.

I don’t mind telling you I wish the fairer sex were more appreciated. And I’ll admit that I don’t care for swimsuit magazines in the check-out aisles of Winn Dixie.

I wish the word “fat” wasn’t in the English dictionary. I wish self-confidence was trendier than skinny jeans.

But above all, I wish ordinary girls knew that there is no such thing as an ordinary girl.

Good luck with softball camp, girls.

49 comments

  1. Steve Baccus - May 11, 2017 1:04 pm

    You knocked that what out of the park, Sean (pun intended). Well done, sir, well done!

    Reply
  2. Tom Godbold - May 11, 2017 1:13 pm

    Sean’s writing just drops Southern culture. And that’s a good thing.

    Reply
    • Tom Godbold - May 11, 2017 1:15 pm

      Change drops to drips.

      Reply
  3. Candy Clark - May 11, 2017 1:14 pm

    Simply wonderful! God Bless You, from a not so ordinary woman!

    Reply
  4. Bobbie - May 11, 2017 1:22 pm

    I wish there were more males that thought like you.
    Thank you, Sean!

    Reply
    • Gerald - July 6, 2017 12:46 pm

      Bobbie, there are some that do, rest assured (says a guy that has been married to the same lady for 53 years and didn’t have a girl born in his family for three generations but now has his beautiful wife, two beautiful granddaughters (and three grandsons), and a beautiful daughter-in-law.

      Reply
  5. Mary Lou Bradford - May 11, 2017 1:34 pm

    Awesome follow up to your delightful “talk” in Dothan last evening.

    Reply
  6. Eddie - May 11, 2017 1:36 pm

    Sean you were in Dothan last night at the Episcopal Church, we were in the very back, I shook your hand, someone else got your attention then you turned and my wife asked you to take a selfie, you sat beside her she snapped the photo. You made her night! We were married August 2015, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October of 2015, 2016 was pure hell, 12 hospitalizations, over 5000 miles driven back and forth to UAB. But she is a fighter, undergoing maintenance chemo now, we go back to UAB tomorrow for another round. What you do touches lives, it has touched ours, again Thank You!

    Reply
  7. Judy Miller - May 11, 2017 1:38 pm

    It’s okay to be a tall girl nowadays. Back in the 50’s, when I was a 5’11”, skinny Senior in High School, it wasn’t too cool. But, I never got bullied about it. We didn’t do that back then, in our small town school, 500 kids from K-12. Now, I’m old, but still tall and it is very cool.

    Reply
    • Gerald - July 6, 2017 12:51 pm

      Sounds like you went to my high school, K-12, same number of students, same era, Florida panhandle, N. Walton co.

      Reply
  8. Juanita Ruth One - May 11, 2017 1:42 pm

    Thanks so very much, Sean, for your appreciation of the wonderful wide variety within the female spectrum!

    Reply
  9. Gail Roberts - May 11, 2017 1:55 pm

    This is good. Make pound cake by feel…

    Reply
  10. Matt - May 11, 2017 2:11 pm

    Amen to that Sean. “Ordinary’ women are so very Extraordinary!

    Reply
  11. Andrea - May 11, 2017 2:15 pm

    I have recently, past few months, been exposed to your writing. I am in love! It makes me smile, cry, and yearn for time to appreciate all the things that make the south the south..the people. Thank you!

    Reply
  12. Martha - May 11, 2017 2:38 pm

    Geez, you get me everything time!!

    Reply
  13. Lilli Ann Snow - May 11, 2017 3:03 pm

    Sean,
    Happy Mother’s Day to your Mama…who lives on through you and is a blessing to all of us girls…of every age, stage, size, make, and model.

    Thank you, Sean’s Mom.
    You have blessed this world in ways you never foresaw…

    No.

    I believe you knew your boy long before you saw his precious red-headed face.

    I know you loved him that long.

    Reply
  14. Ellyn - May 11, 2017 3:09 pm

    Will you share your wife’s pimento cheese recipe? I’m a transplanted southerner living in the northwest and this might make my year.
    Enjoy reading your post each morning. Thank you.

    Reply
  15. Connie - May 11, 2017 3:19 pm

    Luv this one….you are a gem Sean!!

    Reply
  16. Diane Enloe - May 11, 2017 3:24 pm

    You are just amazing……and thus 73 yr old love you and your writing!

    Reply
  17. Linda Allen - May 11, 2017 3:43 pm

    You da man! Everyday there’s this gift waiting in my inbox…Love your essays so much! Thank you.

    Reply
  18. Leigh Brown - May 11, 2017 4:07 pm

    I love how you describe all of the differences as the beauty. Much of the women’s ‘movement’ these days seems to revel in homogeneity, which is not and never has been anyone’s strength. Can’t wait to share this with all of the ladies i know-young and old.

    Your gifts are so strong. Thank you for not hiding that light under a bushel basket.

    Reply
  19. Lucy Hay Vick - May 11, 2017 4:19 pm

    Preach it!

    Reply
  20. Tom Grigsby - May 11, 2017 4:20 pm

    This one is spot on, Sean.

    Reply
  21. Sam Hunneman - May 11, 2017 4:48 pm

    What a wonderful tribute to feminism! Your momma would be so proud. I know I am.

    Reply
  22. Susan Victoria - May 11, 2017 4:50 pm

    Thanks Sean! That was my Mothers Day gift!!!

    Reply
  23. Bob McGhee - May 11, 2017 5:25 pm

    I heartily agree, Sean, and suspect many men would. Hope they tell someone special every day.

    Reply
  24. Karen McPhail - May 11, 2017 6:01 pm

    Your mama raised you right! Only wish there were more men like you in this world!

    Reply
  25. Gena Everitt - May 11, 2017 6:08 pm

    You are a dear man. The kind this world certainly needs. Hope there are many more like you out there!

    Reply
  26. beki - May 11, 2017 6:29 pm

    Oh that more men not only thought this but actually said it out loud. Although I suspect there probably are more who do feel this way then we women think. Thank you for making me smile!

    Reply
  27. Patricia Besczezynski - May 11, 2017 8:41 pm

    Thank you! You a man who truly loves women. I wish there were of your kind. I am very fortunate, my husband is of your kind.

    Reply
  28. Marilyn - May 12, 2017 2:56 am

    Thank you Sean…. Roll Tide!

    Reply
  29. CHERYL MOFFITT - May 12, 2017 6:17 am

    Mr. Sean, you are a gift. Thank You,
    Cheryl

    Reply
  30. Michael Bishop - May 12, 2017 1:23 pm

    I’m going to print this one out and give it to my wife, daughter, and mother-in-law for Mother’s Day. (Not by itself, but as a lovely lagniappe.) Thanks.

    Reply
    • Janis - July 6, 2017 3:31 pm

      Awww…I love lagniappe gestures!

      Reply
  31. Wendy Boston - May 15, 2017 5:02 pm

    ❤️

    Reply
  32. John - June 27, 2017 1:51 am

    What a wonderful tribute to women everywhere. God bless you.

    Reply
  33. Deanna J - July 6, 2017 12:36 pm

    Southern girls are best!

    Reply
  34. Sylvia Williams - July 6, 2017 1:29 pm

    Your voice for the South has multiplied to a voice for women everywhere! Skinny jeans, hate them! I may be small but not even I can wear damn skinny jeans. I swear those jeans should be called skin & bone jeans. Forget skinny jeans if you are muscular or curvy. What happened to curvy women anyway? Women are not suppose to look like stick people, you draw in first grade but today they do. Beleive me none of us desire to have a Kardashian backside but skin and bones, no thank you. Southern girls like cornbread too much!

    Reply
  35. Dale Entrekin - July 6, 2017 2:07 pm

    As the father of three softball players, can I just shout a big AMEN! You continue to ground us in what’s important in the world. Thank you.

    We are almost sold out for your speaking engagement in Pike Road. Everyone can’t wait to hear you in person.

    Reply
  36. G.mitchell - July 6, 2017 3:14 pm

    Every mama should raise a Sean. I believe I have and am truly blessed, as was Sean’s mama.

    Reply
    • Juanita Ruth One - July 6, 2017 4:51 pm

      I agree! The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. And it is the mothers who can teach their sons to value the females in their world.

      Reply
  37. Mary Beth - July 6, 2017 3:36 pm

    Every time I read your posts, my feelings are touched. I love a man that can, not only appreciate women, but wants to tell you about it & make you appreciate or love them more! You could be the prince on a white horse for the whole female gender!
    Bless you for your insights each & every day. They are heart stirring.

    Reply
  38. Annette Bailey - July 6, 2017 4:47 pm

    I helped coach a softball team while I was interning to be a PE teacher. The head coach was a woman and could take a man coach and make him feel two inches high in a heartbeat when he tried to browbeat a young girl when she failed to make a bunt. Then, she would look like Grace Kelly when standing beside her basketball players during a game. She had grace, style, and a backbone when needed. You make all women, young and old, who read this post, feel like a million dollars. Thanks again for making me appreciate what you say…all the time, sir.

    Reply
  39. Amy - July 6, 2017 10:41 pm

    Thank you for this! It made me cry, but happy tears. I needed to hear that today.

    Reply
  40. Brenda Gruenewald - July 7, 2017 1:50 am

    Love, love.

    Reply
  41. Cato Younger - July 7, 2017 6:17 am

    Amen. EVERY woman is beautiful in her own way.

    Reply
  42. Ben smith - July 7, 2017 12:14 pm

    Awesome. All lady’s and girls are different and also Beautiful in there own way. May God Bless them all Thinks as my wife would say he loves them all. Thanks for you times and story’s you write.
    I know it takes to do. But you wouldn’t know how many people who you help every day of our lifes.Thinks God Bless you.

    Reply
  43. Julie - July 7, 2017 9:03 pm

    I loved your article, but I have one little quibble. I don’t wish “fat” was gone from our vocabulary. I am taking “fat” back. When I say I’m “fat”, I’m not insulting myself. It is a matter of simple fact, just like when I say that I am 53 years old, or that I have pierced ears, or killer hazel eyes. I’m taking “fat” back from the shamers. It’s a good word. But it’s a simple descriptor, and shouldn’t be an insult.

    Reply
  44. Laura Jane - July 8, 2017 4:54 am

    SEAN,
    It is an indescribable feeling to read the words of a man who has been filled with the Holy Spirit
    The whole world is needing His touch.

    Reply

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