I’ve been in Nashville for a little over 2 months now. I’m going to graciously share some things that I have learned or observed about Southern subculture in the short time that I have lived here.
- Pickup trucks can never be too big. There’s a lot more trucks on the road here in Nashville than where I’m from, and it seems like they just keep getting bigger and bigger. Since when is a pickup truck a primary vehicle for a family of four? I thought they were for hauling supplies, not people.
- Honky-tonks are for tourists. Down on Broadway in downtown Nashville is all the famous honky-tonk clubs, and I’ve yet to go to one. I’ve been told the locals tend to stay away from Broadway on the weekends, because it’s filled with tons of tourists who are trying to soak up Nashville’s country music party scene for all it’s worth.
- Iced tea comes sweet by default. While we drink both sweet and unsweet tea in Illinois, it’s about 50/50. Down here, sweet tea is not only the preferred beverage, it’s almost like a way of life (See no. 7 for more on Southerners and beverages). And if you would like to order unsweet tea anywhere, you must specify.
- Southerners are more friendly, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with the person/people next to you. I’ve encountered this a few times now, how willing complete strangers are to sit and talk with each other at a bar or restaurant or store or just about anywhere else. As an introvert this scares me, but people here just love to chat.
- Wear more sundresses. Whenever I go out, I see significantly more people wearing dresses than what I’m used to. Personally, I love dresses but never had much occasion to wear them. Not only do I get to wear them more, but this also gives me a good excuse to go shopping.
- “Y’all” is much easier to say than “you guys.” The Southern plural second person y’all fits into conversation a little more comfortably than my phrase of choice, you guys. But even though it’s easier, I am refusing to adopt it. I’m willing to assimilate a teensy bit into Southern culture, but y’all is where I will draw the line.
- Southerners love Sonic. Sonic was kind of popular in my hometown, but only because they had outdoor seating where teenagers could hang out. Southerners stop by Sonic almost daily to get a slush or limeade or whatever else. My theory is that Southerners as a subculture enjoy fancy drinks more, so Sonic is like beverage heaven for them.
- If you see a large building and are unsure what it is…chances are it’s a church. There are tons of churches here, almost every other corner. And they’re ALL huge. It’s not necessarily the size that surprises me, it’s the sheer number of them. Are there really this many people here to fill up all these giant churches? Apparently so.