Because we live in a military town, there are people here from all different parts of the country, including New England and New York. I have always noticed people’s accents and when I hear one that is not Southern, my ears perk up and if I get the opportunity, I usually find out where the person is from. Just from our church I’ve met several from New York, mostly upstate, one from Maine, one from New Hampshire, at least one from Connecticut, at least a couple from Massachusetts, and one who is from down here, but lived in NH and dreams of one day living in Maine–so I count him as a New Englander at heart. I am also quick to notice any license plates or tags from up that way–just saw one from NH, tonight. (I always want to ask them what town or area of NH they are from.)
I tell you this because tonight I was speaking with one of the women who is from Worcester, MA (pronounced WOOster–with the “oo” as in “look”…or WOOStah, or, if you’re real hardcore, WIStah–however you say it, it is NOT WAR-sester or WAR-chester). I say I am from NH, but I actually grew up in northeastern Massachusetts for the majority of my childhood and went to college out in Amherst, MA, which is in western Massachusetts. The people out there have a friendly animosity towards the eastern part of the state, collectively known as Boston, but that’s a whole other can of worms!
So, this lady was talking about a class she’s taking that has several people from up north taking it, as well. She said they all get together to chat and one guy from Connecticut said how much he missed the talking or liked it or something along those lines. Why? Because of our attitude. It’s kind of a “You don’t like me? So? I don’t care.” attitude. We also will give you our opinion on things, even if it’s not the one you want to hear, and we don’t care if you want to hear it or not, we’re going to tell you what we think if you ask us, so if you don’t want our honest opinion, don’t ask us. Sometimes we Northerners are taken as rude or, as my Southern Man used to say, tactless, but I prefer to think of it as… honest. (Granted, there are rude people, too.) I am from “what you see is what you get” kind of people. If you ask our opinion, we’re going to give it to you, sometimes with a little bit of sarcasm or sardonic humor.
When I lived in Birmingham years ago, I was quick to figure out that the Southern hospitality I had heard about only lasted, for some people anyways, as long as your back was not turned. Not everybody, but I ran into a few, mostly women, who I nicknamed “Southern Belles”. I may not have the classic definition for them that other Southerners have; I describe them as the ones who were all done up and really sweet to my face, but were nasty and gossiped about me as soon as I was gone. We have people like that up North, too, but we have different names for them, not all of which are rated G. On a totally unrelated note, if you click on the picture below, you will learn about loons. The bird kind. (It goes with the title and I think they’re cool and miss them.)
Earlier, I had just had a similar conversation about the “I don’t really care” attitude with one of my younger co-workers. I attributed it to age, but it seems to ring true in the case of where one grew up, as well. So, if you run into an older Northerner, be prepared for pure tactless honesty if you have a conversation with them. 😉 One thing I have to say (and did, in that conversation) is this: not caring about what people who want drama or are superficial think–or what anyone thinks, really–is very…liberating. You can’t please everyone, so don’t even bother trying to. Just do what is right and, if you don’t have the guts, tactlessness, or upbringing to speak your mind in a truthful manner, regardless of what people may say or think…we’ll just say you are…reserved.