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Things I Don't Understand About the South

By Edited Dec 20, 2013 7 21
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The Dirty South

Okay, I admit it...I'm a Yankee. My roots are northern, all the way back to the early days of America when my staunch protestant ancestors landed in New York and worked their way across the northern US to Indiana. However, I've been lucky enough to have spent a considerable time in the south. I have some family by marriage and a few friends living there and that part of the country offers so much to see and do.

There is a lot to love about the south. I mean, where do I begin? The people are some of the friendliest, most open people I've ever been privileged to meet. And the food? Please...sweet tea? Banana pudding? Fried chicken? And then there is Paula Deen, a woman I absolutely adore. But honestly, there are some things I just don't get about the south; nay, about southerners in general. And the one thing that puzzles me most is... 

Honest Abe

Southerners Are Still Fighting The War

I can't tell you how many southerners I've heard discuss the Civil War like it just happened last weekend. And the times I've heard "Well, if we'd a-won, ever'thang'd be diffurnt" (or something like that; I'm not sure what the heck they're saying all the time, if I'm being completely honest). And frankly, it makes me want to scream. Get over it people...WE WON!!! YES, WE, THE UNION, WON THE WHOLE DAMN THING! Just let it go. Oh, and in the process we got rid of slavery. You're welcome.

Coke, the Real Thing

The Use of The Word Coke as a Generic Soft Drink Choice

The first time I visited my brother-in-law in Georgia (he married a bona fide Georgia Peach), my sister-in-law asked me if I'd like a Coke. I said sure, as it gets REALLY hot down there in the summer and my throat? Parched. She brought me a glass of ice and a can of RC Cola. Now, I have nothing against a good cold Royal Crown from time to time. But I kind of wanted Coke. A Cola. When I asked where the Coke was, bro-in-law said "Oh, down here they call all pop "Coke"." And they call all soda "pop". But that's a different rant for a different article. So if you're in the south and ask for a Coke, be careful. You may get Pepsi, RC, even a Sprite or Mountain Dew. You'll get something fizzy in a glass; it just won't be "the Real Thing", possibly.

Boiled Peanuts(102589)

Boiled Peanuts

The humble peanut has been a staple of the southern states for years. George Washington Carver is a name all elementary school students are very familiar with, because what's cooler than a guy who spent his whole life thinking of different things to do with peanuts? But George, if you are the one who thought "Hmmm...this peanut...this salty, crunchy peanut...would be SO MUCH TASTIER if I just boil it until it's a soggy, disgusting sponge and then suck the wet meat out of the shell!" Great idea (she says, sarcastically). REALLY great idea! Oh, and then if that isn't bad enough, EVERY SINGLE RESTAURANT will put them on the table as an "appetizer". Um, correct me if I'm wrong but I thought food needed to be APPETIZING to be called an APPETIZER. But I digress.


Debutante Balls

This is one vestige of southern culture that I really don't get. When a "belle" reaches a certain age, she is to be "brought out" to society to prove how cultured and ladylike she has become. There are classes involved, more money is spent on a deb's "coming out" dress than is usually spent on her wedding gown! The party runs into the thousands of dollars, and if you don't get the proper escort? Social ruin ensues and a wicked case of the vapors arrives! Listen, call me old-fashioned but I prefer the days when "coming out" meant you finally worked up the courage to tell your parents you were gay. But like I said, I'm old school.

Southern Plantation

To Sum It Up...

Like I said, I do love the south, and I hope everyone realizes my tongue is firmly implanted in my cheek. Southerners are charming, funny, polite and extremely gregarious. They are also weird, but then I know plenty of weird Yankees, and have, on occasion, been accused of BEING one. And let's not forget, lastly, that the cotton industry, nestled firmly in the bosom of the south, is responsible for that horrible commercial with Aaron Neville singing about the touch and the feel of cotton in his creepy falsetto. Though that's probably not really the fault of the south, so never mind. I'll include that in my article on things I don't get about the advertising industry.

Y'all come back now, y'hear??



Jun 16, 2012 9:15pm
Cultural differences can be baffling. I often find Americans in general puzzling and yet many of the siblings of my ancestors went to live there, instead of Australia, so essentially we are related. Probably if I went to the south I would be tarred and feathered. An Interesting read.
Jun 17, 2012 6:43am
I wrote it as a bit of a joke; my sister-in-law Brenda (from Georgia) and I were having a mock debate one day about whether the North or the South is the superior part of the country. But I agree, it's interesting how just simple geography can make such a difference in culture. I lived in southern California for two years and it's a completely different world!

Thanks for reading!
Jul 3, 2012 12:16am
Hello Angie: Yes, there is certainly different values and symbols that occur in different culture--take Texas for example and California or Utah and Kansas and so forth. As you can see, your article stirred a lot of imagination and thought. Lots of praise from me and keep up the good work.
Jul 3, 2012 12:26am
Thanks so much for reading!
Jul 14, 2012 8:24am
This really was a very well written article. As a fellow proud Yankee who has considerable ties to the South, I agree! Thank you Angie.
Jul 14, 2012 4:38pm
And thank you for reading Jay! :)
Jul 14, 2012 4:46pm
At first I took offense to your article but now I understand where you are coming from. I am a sixth generation Georgian and I had family who fought in the American Revolution and Civil War and I am very proud to tell people that I belong to the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and the UDC (United Daughters of the Confederacy). Some people say that being apart of these organizations is racist and I disagree since I am very proud that my family was a part of history and my 6 yr old son participates in DAR celebrations across the south.
Jul 14, 2012 5:02pm
That is absolutely one of the things that I love about the south; Southerners really do know their heritage and lineage in a way that Northerners don't, and I have so much respect for that. I really do love the south very much and I actually wrote the article as a reply to my Peach sis-in-law who asked me to explain to her what i found puzzling about Southerners!

Thanks for reading Fyreflower! :)
Jul 14, 2012 10:16pm
Very interesting article.
I grew up in Germany were we have many culture differences and and about 250 dialects - though Germany is just about size f Texas.

Jul 15, 2012 6:31am
Thanks for reading Ascentive! :)
Jul 15, 2012 7:27pm
Great article. I'm a NYer in Texas and have arguments with friends who still insist upon calling The Civil War, "The War of Northern Aggression." Too funny!
Jul 15, 2012 8:27pm
I know. My sister-in-law's dad can go on for hours about it! I love it.

Thanks for reading hilloyd! :)
Jul 17, 2012 8:18pm
Great article, I live in Sydney and will be travelling the US alone in September, New Orleans, nashville and memphis will be on my hit list. this article makes me really excited to get there already, good stuff.
Jul 18, 2012 5:37am
Thanks so much for reading Tom! While in Memphis, don't forget to visit the redneck Mecca of Graceland. Elvis' home is something everyone should see at least once in their lives! ;)
Jul 19, 2012 8:51am
Fun article. As a Daughter of the South, I can assure you of two things 1.) boiled peanuts are disgusting, and I don't believe anyone actually eats the nasty things 2.)....we don't get you either ;-).
Jul 19, 2012 9:02am
LOL Love it! And glad it's not just me with the boiled peanuts thing! :)

Thanks for reading!
Jul 21, 2012 8:36am
As a Northern who often spends time visiting friends in the South, I laughed and found myself shaking my head in agreement with you as I was reading. Great article!
Jul 22, 2012 5:57am
Thanks so much for reading phate! :)
Jul 22, 2012 7:23pm
Thanks so much for reading GoldEagles!
Sep 19, 2012 5:33pm
I loved reading this! As a Massachusetts girl who's lived in Texas over a decade, I can identify with so much of what's in the article.
Sep 19, 2012 5:37pm
Thanks so much for reading! :)
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