On Being Southern

by Elizabeth on May 25, 2011 · 9 comments

in i am random, i love a good list

Every once and while I get one of those emails that say “you know you’re from Alabama if…” or “you know you’re Southern when…”.  I’ve always appreciated those lists because so many of them tend to be true.

In the movie Sweet Home Alabama, Reese Witherspoon’s character, Melanie, says “you need a passport to come down here”.  While that may not be true, living in the South, especially the Deep South, really is a whole other world.  We talk different, we move slower, and we still occasionally call it The War of Northern Aggression

I thought I would share a few of my favorite “you know” bits with y’all so we can all enjoy the little idiosyncrasies that make the South so special.

You know you’re from the South when you measure distance in time, not miles.

You know you’re a Southern woman if you can appropriately use the phrase “bless her heart” to mean both pity and insult, usually at the same time.

You know you’re from the Alabama when grocery stores have buggies not carts.

You know you’re in the Deep South when you order a Coke and the waitress asks you what kind.

You know you’re from the South when you can correctly use “fix” as a verb.  As in, “I’m fixing to go to the store.”

You know you’re from Alabama when you know that the four seasons are really Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer, and Christmas.

You know you’re from the South if you say “yes ma’am” or “no sir” to anyone 5 years older than you.

You know you’re a Southern lady if you never, ever leave the house wearing white shoes, pants, or dresses before Easter or after Labor Day.

You know you’re from the South if you always call your father “Daddy” no matter how old you are.

You know you’re in the Deep South when you pass a store offering bait, movie rentals, and tanning.

If you live in the South, what are your favorites?  If not, what’s special/humorous about where you live?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 amber May 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm

i LOVE it.

and, of course, there is always "no ma'am"… or maybe that's just us. 😉


2 Cate @ Liberal Simplicity May 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I always feel funny calling myself Southern. There are debates about whether or not Kentucky is Southern or Midwestern (I say Southern, Jason says Midwestern…but it often depends on where you are). However, my mom's entire family is from Louisiana, and therefore words and phrases like "y'all", "bless her heart" (variation: "poor little heart"), and "Chiiiild, Ah said!" have entered my vocabulary. There is also always, always a pitcher of sweet tea in our fridge. Preferably with mint. And I always tell people how far away places are by time.

On the other hand, I grew up in Baltimore, and my dad is from Pennsylvania, so I'm not totally Southern. 🙂 I pronounce "horror" like "har-ar" instead of "whore-or," and think Old Bay is the greatest thing ever.


3 falsedandelions May 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm

My step-mother is from California and she thought that Piggly Wiggly was just a store they made up for Forest Gump.


4 Elizabeth May 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Cate, I think Kentucky is Southern. I have trouble claiming MO, MD, and parts of VA as Southern, but I'm always considered Kentucky part of the South.

Oh, and I heard another southern idiom today with the verb "carry". Example: I carried her to school. Meaning, I took her to school. Not sure if that's just Alabama, or all over. I have never said that though.


5 Molly September 30, 2011 at 8:15 am

NOVA is not Southern. Central and Souther VA are.
Bless your pea-pickin heart…


6 Cate @ Liberal Simplicity May 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I agree about Maryland…DEFINITELY not Southern! Same with parts of VA.

I have never heard that before. That is so funny.


7 Kelly June 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I am now in Ohio and before I moved closer to work – I passed two beer thrus and two tractor crossing signs on the way to work. The one had a “crawdaddy’s” in the back that sells bait and for the longest time advertised special pumpkin bread for sale on their sign. I was never brave enough to try it.

When I moved to AL for grad school — the new words I learned were to “Mash” something and “Gumbands” for rubber bands.

I say Y’all proudly still and use Ma’am and Sir still all the time.


8 Mary June 10, 2011 at 11:23 am

The rule for determining if your state is Southern is pretty simple. Did it secede from the Union during the War Between the States?

That leaves the following: Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Texas.

Florida and Texas do not count anymore under most definitions. I’ve never met an Alabamian who counted either.


9 Mary June 10, 2011 at 11:24 am

*an Alabamian who counted either Texas or Florida.


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