August 4, 2011 Opinion

Written by:

Lauren Patrick is a native Southerner and the editor of Pretty She’s a member of the Atlanta Blogger Network and Atlanta Food Blogger Society. #LovetheSouth #GoDawgs Follow Lauren on Twitter

My Yankee best friend sent me a funny editorial called Screw New York. If y’all don’t want to read this Manhattan diatribe it’s all good; although even this Southern gal has to admit that it made did make me chuckle.

Essentially the writer conveys his sadist resentment towards the masochistic city in this love-hate relationship. He hates New York for being overpriced on everything including food, cocktails, rent, and existence in general but endures the torture because he’s sucked into the lifestyle.

That’s not so much the case in the South. So I started thinking, as a counterpoint to this writer’s work, about the Pretty Southern examination of our culture. Instead of “Screw New York” I present to y’all “Love the South”.

Love the South for making it easy to live below the Mason Dixon line. Folks come for a visit and are enchanted by our lifestyle. They’re always talking about how people aren’t as nice in other parts of the world. When they leave the South, their heart will twinge from feeling the lack o’ lovin’. They’ll return to their big city, be it New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or wherever and think “Why did I come back?” Eventually they’ll get sucked back into the tunnel of expensive loneliness, drowning their sorrows at the bottom of overpriced martinis. Lo and behold, in a few months, they’ll have to come back South for another sweet fix.

Love the South for its simple things. The gas is cheaper, accents are softer, and strangers are friendly. We’ve got value meals available on every corner where a 22 oz. sweet tea is only $1. You can rent an apartment for a few hundred bucks a month, and even less if you’ve got roommates. Despite a down economy, y’all can buy a house or property for less money in the South than any other place in the U.S. Why? We’ve got land y’all! Drive out of Atlanta a few hours, north to the mountains or south to the coastal plains, and build yourself a five bedroom house for a monthly mortgage that’s less than a 600-sq. ft. Manhattan apartment.

Love the South because of the seasons. Sure it’s hotter than Hades outside, but come September we’ll start to feel that fall crispness which will linger on through November. In the winter, though it’s bitter cold, we still get that blessed day or two of 70 degrees and sunshine. Y’all don’t get that up North.

Love the South for giving us wonderful food with no expectations of being “skinny”. Most of the time, people will think something is wrong with you if you’re too thin instead of idolizing your frail frame. We’ve got to make sure no soul is going hungry.

Love the South because it’s got the best cooks in the world. Be it the local Chick-Fil-A, the gentleman frying your bacon at Waffle House, in your grandma’s kitchen, or one of the many gourmet Southern gems, there’s lots of good eating to be done in our region. Homemade pie, bacon for dessert, homegrown tomatoes and wonderful restaurants are served up for either cheap or free.

Love the South because there’s at least a dozen places in a square mile offering inexpensive libations. The last time I was in Boston I got charged $6.50 for a Bud Light. That’s more than the cost of a six-pack at my local liquor store. I love it when I take my friends out in Atlanta because they’re fun to get trashed. In their buzzed state they proceed to rave about the South’s greatness because drinks are so cheap!

Love the South for attracting the nicest gay people in the world. There’s my neighbor Gail and her partner Sherrie who own the house up the street…and they’re some of the sweetest Southern ladies I’ve ever met. We’ve got Pride Week, Elton John has a condo here, and God love every gay man who has ever paid me a compliment. Truly it’s an ego boost to have such nice gay people down South. After all, Atlanta is the city too busy to hate.

Love the South for not being pretentious. No one will judge you for going to the grocery store in pajama bottoms and flip flops. I once walked through a Harris Teeter in Charlotte, N.C., drunk after a wedding without any shoes on. No one said a thing, though in my haze I do remember one produce guy smiling at me. Try doing the same thing in New York or L.A. and see what happens.

Love the South for being a shining example of life’s elegance. Gorgeous antebellum mansions, gentleman in bow-ties, pretty dresses on even finer ladies, all sans snobbery. We’ve got the most beautiful weddings marking the beginning of even greater love stories. Though, the greatest love story of all, is that of the South herself.

Love the South for welcoming us all. Even if you’re a Damn Yankee we’ll only poke fun a tiny bit. Everyone who visits Virginia all the way down to New Orleans is a friend of the South. We love newcomers because we get to share our stories, food, and fun. PrettySouthern is dedicated to spreading that love.

Love the South because of her grace. The unmerited thankfulness that runs throughout our region. No matter how troubled your soul, there’s a place in the South where you can seek solace. For me, it’s right here in my Atlanta home.

What do y’all love most about the South? Please comment below and have a lovely day.

12 Responses to “Love the South”

  1. Christy Davis

    Beautifully written! I love my southern roots and wouldn’t want it any other way!! I love the old southern accents, I like to call Antebellum accents (you know the accent in Gone with the Wind); it’s like a sweet melody. Only older folks here in the certain parts of the south have it. A part of me wishes I spoke (I do have a southern accent) with a voice sounding like a sweet southern melody.

    • Lauren

      Thanks Christy! I love the phrase “Antebellum accents”. Surely you can craft your already sweet voice to sound like one of these melodic accents :)

  2. Beckie

    There IS a difference between a Lima Bean and a Butterbean! We know those things in the South.

  3. martie 13

    As someone who was born in NYC, raised in Chicago and went to high school and college in the South. I feel most at home in the our red states, and I’m a left wing liberal LOL. NYC isn’t for me, living in Washington, DC for 2 years after undergrad wasn’t my cup of tea either, yes it’s technically the South, but you have to drive a few hours to Central VA to get a great feeling of Southern Hospitality. I realized I loved the South and appreciated it fully when I left and everyday after that I was counting down until I returned. From Texas to Florida, I truly love what the South has to offer. There’s so much potential for growth and it’s such a beautiful place, with beautiful people. Though our history isn’t the greatest, I want to teach my children all of the hardships and triumphs the South has faced. I can’t wait to call it my home again.

  4. Laksh

    Love this piece, Lauren!

    I am Southern too – well, South Indian! It’s a joke between my husband and I, actually.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Dwk

    Ugh. The South – Narrow minded people, judgmental, fake charm, bible-toting crooks, more venom than sugah, with people duller than a sack of rocks…..but bless your deluded heart. The reality is……the place blows!
    A West coaster (not a Yankee, so don’t try to place me in your idiotic Civil War mentality)



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