We were talking last night at dinner about the subtle cultural differences between the South and the Midwest that can lead a girl to accidentally getting involved with married men. An important, vital, crucial difference, and one some people (whose names I will not mention though they may be writing this post) were a little slow on the uptake about is the early introduction of one’s Christianity.
Now, in the rural Midwest, as in the South, Christianity is the default religion. In the Midwest, when I was growing up, even if you didn’t go to church, it was still assumed some church would be available to you for churchy things like weddings, baptisms, and funerals, as needed. Unless you were specifically NOT a Christian and traveled hours to go to some non-Christian house of worship, there was a kind of default Christianity assumed about you.
So, saying you are a Christian right off the bat was weird unless you were conveying some other bit of unspoken information. What else would you be? (Pity the poor atheists.) In the Midwest, that unspoken bit of information is usually “I am a recovering drug addict/alcoholic so, if we’re going to hang out, it needs to not be at a bar/shooting gallery.”
But in the South?
“Hi, My Name is _________ and I’m a Christian” means “So, I’m not going to leave my wife.” or “Don’t worry, my wife and I have an arrangement that she is unaware of that makes this cool.”
You can see how coming from a place where the early introduction of “I’m a Christian” means “Let’s not go to the bar” and moving to a place where the early introduction of “I’m a Christian” means “Let’s not go to my place” can lead to confusion.
I was trying to think of other weird cultural things you don’t really pick up on unless you’ve lived both places. Not the obvious “pop” v. “soda” v. “Coke” stuff, but the true cultural differences.
Like “barbecue” as a food v. a verb. Lord almighty, do no say you’re going to barbecue up some burgers down here or you will be run out of town. You might as well just wear a sign that says “Damn Yankee.”
But I also feel like there’s a big difference between how people approach private property. In the Midwest, if you catch people walking across your field, you’re very likely pissed and threatening to call the police or maybe aiming a gun at them. In the South, this only happens if those people are about to stumble on some illicit activity of yours.
Oh, like this. Say your dog runs into the neighbor’s cow pasture. In the Midwest, even if you go into the pasture after the dog, at the very same time, you should send someone over to the owner’s house to let them know you’re chasing your dog. Better would be if you went to the house yourself and were like “Um, my dog’s in your pasture. Do you mind if I go get him?”
Here, you’d not bother your neighbor with that. You’d just go get your dog.