How to be ‘Southern’ when everyone is telling you you’re not

It’s harder than you’d think

Having grown up in Texas, you’d think I’d be an expert on the art of “being Southern.” However, after scoring a 13/75 on a “How Southern are you?” quiz, I realized I needed to do some serious research into what it really means to be Southern.

On a forum on Southern Living, a kind stranger had developed a list of “Southern things”, and with that my work began.

The full list was way too extensive to tackle, so I chose five of the main points and gave them a try:

Only a Southerner can show or point out to you the general direction of ‘yonder’

To be totally honest, I didn’t realize “yonder” was an actual word. A quick Google search showed “yonder” is indeed an actual word and it means “at or in that place: over there.”

I tried explaining it to my friend and quickly realized neither of us could take this seriously. So it looks like I won’t be adding “yonder” to my vocabulary anytime soon.

Apparently no true Southerner would assume the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn

This would actually explain a lot about how people drive in my town. But, because I’m paranoid enough about having a car accident when I drive normally, I’ll stick to using my turn signal when I’m actually about to make a turn.

A Southerner knows “fixin” can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb

What?! If only I’d known about this magical word during my SATs, my essay examples could have been so much more exciting.

“Aung Sung Suu Kyi demonstrated great courage” pales in comparison to the thrill factor of “Aung Sung Suu Kyi was fixin’ to fight the battle with courage.” Why would anyone use grammar rules when you can write with such freedom? Sadly, conventional English is not ready for the genius of fixin’. One day, we will all be fixin’ to write with fixin’.

Photo: Mandy/Flickr

Only Southerners grow up knowing the difference between ‘right near’ and ‘a right far piece,’ and they know ‘just down the road’ can be one mile or 20

So far, the majority of what I’m gaining from this is that to be Southern, I must be vague. Excellent. I’m sure my friends will love never getting a direct answer again. I will become a woman of mystery and intrigue. And potentially have no friends.

Southerners never refer to one person as ‘y’all’

Finally, something I can do. Using y’all for a single person would be ridiculous anyway.

Feature photo: amanderson2/Flickr

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