I thought at first that it would go away. Once the novelty wore off, people would stop. But I was wrong, just like I was wrong about “Call Me Maybe” (seriously, WHAT is appealing about that song? Nothing. Sorry I hate fun). I thought that the fad would die out. But no. It is here to stay. I am talking, of course, about how everyone here thinks they’re Southern.
For a lot of Dukies, Durham is their first encounter with the South, so they basically think that they are rogue, nouveau-Southern warriors living out “Deliverance.” Not true. Duke is a veritable castle in the heart of the most urban, un-Southern part of North Carolina. Sorry, Dukies: Just because it’s normal here to get shuper shwasted and belt a half-slurred “Wagon Wheel” does not mean you’re living the Southern life. I would know. I am what you might call “Southern as f***.” Or, to use an expression that might actually kill neurons: Southern as biscuits. Blech, I think typing that made me develop diabetes.
Recently, some of my friends have asked me to explain what Southern REALLY means. So as your resident GRITS (Google it you ignorant Northeasterner), I’m here to enlighten you. So here’s a snippet from my book, “What Is Southern: Things Dukies Should Know, Volume One.”
Tip One: The South is not a fraternity.
I figured I’d put this one first because it seems to be Dukies’ biggest misconception about the South. Soon after rush, the Duke uniboy emerges: the stereotypical “Southern” frat-rostitute, going to Carolina Cup and wearing boat shoes like normal shoes and whatnot. Now I’m not saying frats are an exclusively Southern thing, but it is the main thing Duke boys love that they seem to think is Southern. Many Duke frats take pride in their “Southernness,” which they express through blaring Taylor Swift songs and recruiting lots of rich white kids. Which brings me to the second item.
Tip Two: Conservatism.
We Southern folk cordially invite you to our Tea Party. Admission comes with a free Bible and your choice of torch or pitchfork, and a guarantee that we won’t picket YOUR funeral.
Tip Three: The use of “Y’all.”
Dear God. Please—don’t. “Y’all” said with a Midwestern accent is like someone with a Jamaican accent talking about shrimp on the barbie and kangaroos (without the supermega-awesomeness of that combo).
Tip Four: Bojangles’.
Go. Just go. Go and order everything and eat it. You eat it right now.
Tip Five: Subtlety.
If you want to truly act the Southern part, stop being straightforward. Living in the South is legit learning to speak in code. No one ever says what they mean ever. To be Southern, be indecipherable literally 100 percent of the time. This subtlety extends into how we insult people. Southerners are the LORDS of passive aggressive b*iness. Start making cutting comments that sound like compliments, Regina George style. Example: Your friend ordered a Loop burger AND mozzarella sticks AND the calamari. You say, “You must have one fast metabolism!” Meaning: “You’re a fata. Look at your life. Look at your choices.” The goal is to perpetuate a culture where no one trusts anyone and you can never tell if your friends love you or keep you around to mock you. You can also utilize the infamous “bless their heart.” You can pretty much call anyone anything with this one. Even to their face! “Bless your heart you goblin-faced, herpes-harvesting penis-burglar.” Totally acceptable.
Tip Six: Weird hobbies.
These can range from mudding, shooting guns at road signs and chivalry, to mowing lawns, mispronouncing simple words and hearkening back to the good-ole-days.
Hopefully with these six simple tips I’ve made what “Southern” is a little clearer for you. If not, you’ll have to order the whole book, for a low price of $1,197! I never really transitioned back from Confederate currency, so that seems like a reasonable price to me.
Okay, so not to get all deeps**t on you—I don’t think anyone reads my columns for the life lessons that I superimpose on them—but I actually have a point with this one. There is widespread disdain for the South, and stereotypes about Southerners, some of which I just enumerated. Southerners in popular culture are often portrayed as über-conservative religious nuts with thick drawls and IQs below 50. In fact, go ahead and imitate a stupid person for me. They had a Southern accent, right?
I love being Southern. Hell, I love the South. Yet I often feel like that’s a minority viewpoint at Duke. Duke students live in the South for at least four years. But how often do we appreciate the fact that it is the home to an incredibly diverse, unique culture? North Carolina has so much to offer—appreciate it! The South will always be an incredibly important part of my life. I invite y’all to make it a part of yours! And if you don’t, you’re a filthy pirate hooker … bless your heart.
Lillie Reed is a Trinity sophomore. Her installation of the weekly Socialites column runs on alternate Wednesdays. Follow Lillie on Twitter @LillieReed