Reading Matters

Rest in peace, Florence King

Florence King
Florence King The New York Times

Did you see the obituary of the out-spoken Southern columnist and writer Florence King in the New York Times last week? Florence King dies at 80

Forty years ago, King arrived in Charlotte to promote her latest book, “Southern Ladies and Gentlemen,” and now-former Observer reporter Lew Powell was dispatched to cover the story.

He referred to her arrival as “The Florence King Literary Road Show,” and reported that she “swept into Charlotte for a round of autograph parties, interviews and further ruminations on the mind of the South.”

One of those ruminations included her opinion of women on barstools. As she told Powell:

“I was waiting for an appointment in New York and went in this place for a drink. It had a 75-cent special for women who sat at the bar. When I told the maitre d’ that I wanted a table, that I didn’t sit at bars unescorted, his mouth fell open and the women at the bar turned around and gaped. That’s causing a sensation, Southern-style... But I just can’t get over the idea that a woman on a barstool looks like a hussy. The way that women and barstools are made, it’s not the most inspiring view.”