Sunday, August 31, 2014

How to Know If You’re a Southerner – Or Not

You’ve all read the lists – the references to sweet tea, and ending all your words with a vowel, and whether you ask for soda, pop, or Coke when ordering Sprite.  Those are all telling, but, I suggest, the real test is far more subtle.

My own homage to Dixie – how to know if your’re a southerner; or more importantly (from a southerner’s point of view), how to tell if you’re not.  You know you’re a southerner if

1. You’re related to somebody famous.  To be southern, you absolutely must have someone – preferably someone from the Civil War or before, but really, anyone will do in a pinch – who is famous in your family tree.  Because, of course, if you’re southern (at least if you’re white and southern)

2. You will have and know your family tree by heart because

3. It is all, always and only, about the past.

4. You will know how to insult someone in a way that they won’t realize they’ve been insulted until they’ve gotten home (if they ever figure it out) at least ten different ways.

5. You are really angry, but just too damned well-bred to ever show it, so that

6. The only way to really know when you’re angry is by virtue of the fact that the angrier you are, the less intelligible you become, as in your accent just gets thicker and thicker, as if your words were being choked out of you, which then means

7. A quiet person can be from anywhere, but a silent person is always a southerner, a very angry, very scary, southerner, but a southerner nonetheless.

8. Because remembering is so important in the south, you have an encyclopedic memory of everything and everyone and you always, if you went to college, majored or minored (whether declared or not) in history, which means

9. If you were smart, you married a northerner so you could win every argument, a fact your parents warned the unsuspecting northerner of in advance, because, after all,

10. Fair is fair.  And southerners are nothing if not fair.

The end


  1. how very true!!!

  2. Have you noticed that a southerner always adds "bless his/her heart" after repeating a criticism or a juicy bit of gossip?

    A southerner who often doesn't claim to be one, ;-)

    1. Marilyn, around this part of Virginia, 'bless her heart' is definitely on, but with a smile of shared recognition about what's going on - cracks me up every time. How do y'all do it?

  3. Bless your heart, dear, you have just offended the majority of your congregation and community. I find it strange that so many from the north despise the south and our southern ways ... why are you still here?
    Must be something of value here after all...keep looking and you might find it.

    1. She would certainly be welcomed in Texas! Last I heard, we were still part of the south.

      Smart, spiritual, and talented.

    2. Sorry love - intended a little gentle humor and meant no offense and remember - I am from West Virginia - neither northern nor southern, blamed on each by the other, just a motherless child of a state - and with more than our share of jokes with us as the punch line - so am I part of the many 'from the north'? - guilty politically (if the Civil War was the political decider of our status), not guilty geographically (south of the Mason-Dixon line), and family, probably a little bit of both, since my father is from northern West Virginia, but my mother from southern West Virginia, and trust me, when she's angry, there's an accent coming out stronger and stronger. And she's got a couple of famous folk in the family tree - come to think of it, Ma, is that you? Seriously, I am sorry if this caused offense where it was only intended to provoke a smile of recognition. My bad, as the kids say. Peace out, Beth P. S. - thanks, Marilyn, for the shout out.

  4. I have finially read it- and I laughed and laughed at how true it was and how I fit into everyone of the catergories- expcept the bless her heart-- I have never been talented with that- so I just stay silent-

    be thankful I post this reply (tounge in cheek)