Friday, May 27, 2011

Everything you wanted to know about Southerners but thought we were too dumb to actually answer


This may come as a total surprise to you, but not everyone born in the South is stupid.  Shocking, I know.  As someone born and raised in what I affectionately call the Armpit of America, it has been a constant battle to prove to folks born outside of the land of tobacco and cotton that I am not as dumb as a box of hair.  It doesn't help that my former governor thinks the Appalachian Trail is in Argentina and that our teenage beauty pageant contestants can't speak coherently when asked a simple question.  (Don't fret, Miss Teenage South Carolina, I always call myself a US American.)  There was actually a time in my life when I tried to hide the fact that I was a small town Southern girl, thinking that it somehow lowered me down a rung on the great step ladder of life.  Not any more, though, because for all of you people who aren't related  to someone called by their first and middle names (i.e. Mary Jo, Bobby Lee, Sue Ellen, Jim Bob),  I'm here to dispel the myths around what it's like to be a True Southerner.

First of all, it has to be said that we are a very proud group of people.  Do you have a license plate with your state flag on it adorning the front of your car? I do.  As a matter of fact, there is quite a market for items with the Palmetto State's flag on it.  You can find it on everything from shot glasses to sun glasses, flip flops to bikini tops.  Visit any Cracker Barrel in the South, and you'll find another genius merchandising idea: G.R.I.T.S. - the acronym for Girls Raised In The South.  Don't forget the Seasoned G.R.I.T.S. - Grandmothers Raised In The South.  And, you can't spit without hitting a bumper sticker with phrases like, "American by birth, Southern by the grace of God".  Do you think people in South Dakota give a fist pump while shouting, "WOOHOO! The upper midwest is gonna rise again"?  Doubtful.

Here are a few more truths about us sweet-tea-drinking Southerners that may surprise you...

1. Our men wear shirts.  I promise!  Please realize that when news happens, the reporters and camera crew scan the crowd to see if anyone is shirtless.  Finding no one, they "accidentally" spill coffee on the one guy with bad teeth and a baseball cap.  Presto!  You've got your bare-chested redneck guy camera ready.  Don't believe everything you see on "COPS" or "The Real Police Women of Broward County".

2. We don't all carry guns and have banjo music playing in the background.  Now, don't get me wrong.  There is a heavy NRA presence in the South, but for many of us, a collection of Nerf guns is about as strong-armed as it gets.  Oh, and while I do enjoy bluegrass music occasionally, I rarely sport denim overalls, I have all my teeth,  and I would only make you squeal like a pig if you asked me nicely.

3. Some Southerners can actually drive in the snow.  This is such a controversial topic that I nearly skipped over it.  Here's the thing - NO ONE can drive on ice, except those "Ice Road Truckers" guys, and I'm still not convinced that's real.  The next time there is a big snowstorm up north, notice how many accidents you see on news footage...just as many as in the South!  I truly believe that Nanook of the North drives just fine when the ice and snow is piled to the side of the road, but seeing as how we are sorely lacking snow removal equipment where the palm trees grow, it's going to be squirrel-y until the sun comes out.  Stupid drivers can come from Minnesota or Georgia, regardless of the weather.  What do Southerners do on the rare snow day?  We aren't all out driving.  We stay home to make chili and corn bread while drinking all the milk we hoarded the day before.

4. Some of us eat food that isn't greasy, fried, from a swamp, or road kill.  I have NEVER eaten Cooter Stew (that's turtle stew if you're not from 'round these parts), and frog legs will not ever pass over my lips.  I haven't cooked fried chicken (or fried anything for that matter) in my entire life.  I rarely eat grits, and I do not condone putting Sundrop in your baby's bottle.  I understand that filet mignon should not be ordered "well done" with ketchup on the side, and I do not consider fried pork rinds the breakfast of champions.

5. We are not all racists.  I like to believe - no, I must believe - that we have moved forward, and to quote Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that".

I love the South, one of the few places where you call your father "Daddy" until you both have gray hair.  Yes, we talk funny, but here even insults are accepted graciously as long as a "bless her heart" punctuates the sentence.   We "glow" under the blazing summer sun, eat Duke's mayonnaise on our white bread and 'mater sandwiches, and clothe our little girls in monogrammed dresses.  Nothin' could be finer than to be in Carolina...y'all come back now, ya hear?

26 comments:

  1. Well done, except for the snow part.... After moving to Colorado, my midwest friends all became accustomed to my daily announcement "Hey yall, only twirled the jeep around once today, whoo hoo!".

    Thank for the laugh, and I am hording my one and only jar of Duke's until I can return again, or my birthday rolls around.

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  2. There goes the fantasy. I pictured you out in your back acreage with a rifle shooting squirrels for supper.
    And up through the ground came a bubblin crude…

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  3. I am a new fan here and on FB!
    Love your blog's title!! :)

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  4. Thanks so much for reading!! My misery loves company! :-)

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  5. Just found your blog via John Fugelsang. Excellent, excellent. I wasn't born in the South, but my husband and I live here now and our daughter is Southern by birth. I must remember to show her this when she'd old enough to read.

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  6. From one Carolina girl to another, I am 'bout as grateful as I can be, to see all that written down in black and white! A most excellent piece, girl! When you can write like that, I doubt anyone's ever "blessed your heart"........and there's not even any need to "marry rich"! Loved it!

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  7. Perfect rendition of living in SC. Thanks for the great read!

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  8. My very liberal Mississippi neighbor was driving another little old lady to the polls. Passenger made a comment about planning to vote for someone who had endorsed David Dukes. My neighbor said something to the effect of "How can you do that? He's reprehensible." The very Southern reply was "I know, but his grandmother was such a lovely lady."

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  9. I'm a Northern transplant to the South. My two favorite things about living here? Being called "hun and sweetie" by everyone from the lady in line in front of me to the girl taking my order at Sonic, and hearing the immortal phrase "bless her heart." It must be all the sweet tea.

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  10. Just found your blog. Great post! I'm from CA but live in MN now. I get all the Fargo movie jokes. Really, not everyone sounds like that. And, not all Californians are hippies. I do like to make fun of the ones that are though.

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  11. I knew you couldn't stay away. I just knew it. :-)

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  12. True story: I just subscribed to your blog and my Captcha word was "zoodole". Really.

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  13. My name is Bobbie Jo. I was named after my daddy and my aunt. I was born in Alabama and raised in Tennessee. I have traveled around and one thing that I know is that a man loves a girl with a Southern accent, especially when she bats her eyelashes :-)

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    1. Amen to that....worked for an international company and handled calls from all parts of the US and Europe. Men from the north would call frazzled and upset and I would have them purring like kittens before the call was over. Even had one tell me once that he really didn't have a complaint that day, he just wanted to be called darlin'.

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  14. I was embarrassed for while too about being a small town southern girl. Especially when the pride of the city is a monument to a Boll Weevil. Oh yeah, cause it's in the Guinness book of world records. really. #facepalm

    I love Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon. It reminded me of some of the things I'm proud of having down in the south, like a strong sense of community, a general friendly courtesy, and unabashed patriotism.

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  15. I am a very proud Texas girl (woman). I call my daddy - Daddy and bless peoples hearts everyday! I have actually been asked if we still ride our horses to work and my reply "Only those of us that work on a farm or ranch" personally I work in a medical office and I drive my car to work. I do own a gun and I fry chicken, steak, potatoes and anything else that might sound good fried. We love our sweet tea and even better, sweet sun tea! I love living in the south (all my life) and I am very proud of it too!

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  16. LOVE THIS! I grew up in L.A. (Lower Alabama aka Pensacola, FL aka The Redneck Riviera) and moved to the Philadelphia area about 5 years ago. Wow. You say, "Thanks, sugar" to guy up here, he thinks you want to make out! Hillarious...and frequently awkward!

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  17. As a Northerner I truly believed all these things until you proved me wrong. I still do believe you love ameeracuh more than I do though. So funny! All of this. And I do have a U.S. flag bikini so there.

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  18. Loved this! Down here we have Gopher stew (or had, until they became protected!), though I never ate it (or frog legs, eww)

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  19. Hilarious. I am from the Great Northwest (Oregon), but have some very good friends in the south. One that lives in a small town in Alabama.....we chat a lot on Facebook, and she always feel the need to explain to me that not everyone is a hillbilly where she lives. LOL.....granted, I have picked on her a little....but it's all on good fun. The one and only thing that gave me pause with her, is her need to explain the one picture of her with a Black man....she made sure I knew that he was just her friend, and that she has never "been with a Black man". I never even questioned the picture....in never occurred to me. The thinking differences are definitely there.

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  20. I'm a northern transplant to the south. I will say necks are red on both sides of the mason dixon line. I agree with most of what you've said but I have to object to the driving part. But then, not all northerners can drive in the snow either. Fortunately, it doesn't snow often in TN so I think we will stay. (My only real complaint - no one around here uses a turn signal and quit cruising in the left lane - it is for passing.)

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  21. First, gritz is good! (please re-read that with a good southern accent)

    Second, love this post.I have been in the north longer than I lived in the south but when you grow up in the south it sticks.

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  22. My Southerner accent was never heavier than when I lived in NYC. I feel sorry for people who aren't born in the South and have never apologized for that fact. I love that we still pull over and wait when a funeral procession passes and not only did I call my father Daddy but I still call my 90 year old mother Mommy. I do fry chicken once a year for our big family reunion and as a adult I grew to love grits. I like walking through the family church yard and listening to the stories of the great greats! I love that unlike the Northeast "yes" hasn't been reduced to "yea" and that only transplants wear wife-beaters!

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  23. My Southern accent was never heavier than when I lived in NYC. I feel sorry for people that weren't born in the South and have never apologized for being a Southerner. I always called my father Daddy and still call my 90 year old mother Mommy. I only fry chicken once a year for the big family reunion that is held in the church yard where afterwards we walk around and hear the stories about all the great greats! I love that we still say "yes" and not "yea" and that only transplants usually wear "wife beaters". Thank goodness I grew up and finally learned to love grits. I love that once a year when I eat a Brownstone Front Cake or a Caramel cake that the burnt sugar icing still makes my teeth hurt and reminds me of my grandmother standing in the kitchen. Thank you for sharing! I love being a Carolina girl; North Carolina that is! :)

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