On Kansas Being in the South
No one believes me when I say Kansas is in the South. Especially Kansans and people from the neighboring states. So I explain and say, “When you’ve been raised in New England, everything south of Connecticut is The South (New Jersey and Delaware don’t really enter our minds. Sorry guys). Also, everything west of New York is The West.” Then they look at me with a look of “You’re an idiot” mixed with condescension and amazement and never listen to anything I say again (which has let me get away with an incredible amount of things, but that’s not important).
But it’s true. Kansas is in The South, and it’s not just me being a Yankee. There are definite, objective things here that prove I’m right. I’m distinguishing between The South and The Deep South, but here is how to tell you have crossed the border into The South, as learned by a New Englander in Kansas*:
Country Music. If you can walk into a public place and hear country music being played over the speaker system and not see people freaking out about it, you’re in The South.
Pet Names. When waitresses, clerks, and other strangers who are forced to talk to you because of their job descriptions, and even ones who aren’t required to talk to you, call you names like “sweetheart” and “honey,” you’re in The South.
Camo. When you can go somewhere public and see a single person wearing camouflage who isn’t in the military or on their way out hunting, let alone a dozen on a dozen separate occasions in a single day, you’re in The South. Especially if it’s a woman wearing a camo spaghetti-strap tank top, with or without different-colored camo shorts, or a camo dress. I didn’t even know camo dresses existed. The camo pattern on the dress was made up of hearts, if you were wondering.
Accents. When half the people have country/southern accents, you’re in The South. I don’t care if the other half says, “That shouldn’t happen here.” It happens, which means it’s The South.
Weather. When people think it’s normal to have four seasons of equal length, or if they think it’s normal to have the kind of Spring they talk about in fairytales, you’re in The South. Speaking of which:
Parkas and Real Snow Boots. When people think it’s overkill to own either of these items, let alone both, you’re in The South.
Sweet Iced Tea. Or even just sweet tea. Where this exists, it’s The South.
Biscuits And Gravy. If you can easily find a restaurant that serves this, you’re in The South.
Anything Chicken-Fried. If everyone knows what this is, and you can find it in a store or restaurant or cafeteria, you’re in The South.
Fish Fries. When no one knows what these are, and they laugh and look at you either like an ignorant child or someone with nine horns when you use this term, you’re in The South.
Lingo. When crayfish are “crawdads,” soda is “pop” or “coke,” and bags are “sacks,” and the people who don’t use these terms don’t blink when they hear them, you’re in The South.
*Disclaimer: I don’t actually have anything against The South, The Deep South, or The West except the fact that I would die if I went. Not because of the people there, but because of me. I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long. I probably wouldn’t have if my friends from down/out here hadn’t taken it upon themselves to save me by countrifying me, so I guess props to them for the fact that I haven’t gotten myself shot by some guy with a 12-guage for my idiocy. But I’m still getting a drink from the bubbler during the ads while I’m rooting for the Patriots. And I will never admit that some country music is acceptable. Ever.