This column originated on It’s a Southern Thing, one of the companies I write for. I post a portion of the column here and then give a link at the end to the full original column, or you can go straight to the original by clicking here now. There’s lots of other stuff to see on It’s a Southern Thing, too.
Have you ever felt like a stranger in a familiar land? Like when you’re Southern – born and bred – but you don’t have a single monogrammed item in your house and you don’t use three syllables to say a one-syllable word?
I know that feeling. I write about Southern culture for a living. I write funny lists about funny things we Southerners say and do – and yet, those things don’t always apply to me. I’m more Suzanne Sugarbaker than Annie Get Your Gun.
The subject of what makes a true Southerner came up a few weeks ago when I wrote a column listing the reasons Southern women would always survive a horror movie. It included things like we know how to use chainsaws and our cars would never refuse to start because our daddies taught us to maintain them. Some commenters said they don’t fit those stereotypes. Quite a few others pointed out that I neglected to mention Southern women own guns and know how to use them. There were two reasons for that: 1. Mention of guns these days often leads to political discussion, which I try to avoid because it is stressful and therefore hazardous to my health, and 2. I was born in Georgia and raised in Alabama and I don’t own a gun or know how to use one.
So I don’t fit the stereotype in my own list. I also drink unsweetened tea – even while listing sweet tea as a Southern necessity in my stories. So I decided to come clean: I don’t fit every Southern stereotype. In fact, if we were listing stereotypes, I might only fit 50 percent of them. That doesn’t make me any less Southern.
So in honor of all those like me, here’s a list that makes it OK to not drive an F-150 or have a Dale Earnhardt Jr. poster in your living room. Don’t hide in the shadows; we’re all proud Southerners, even if we put the apostrophe in the wrong place in “y’all.” Click here to see the list on It’s a Southern Thing.