Rod Dreher

When we knew we were moving back to the Northeastern part of the U.S., we anticipated some culture shock. True, we spent the first five years of our marriage in New York City, and we loved it, but it took some time to adjust to the ways of the locals. As Southerners, Julie and I had to learn that when we were at a dinner party, and people started to argue, it didn’t mean they hated each other, or even that they had committed a social error (unless you are a Southerner by culture and training, you may not appreciate how much anxiety that sort of thing causes). Dallas, with its warmer courtesies, was native turf to us. Even though a Philadelphia friend who is not native to this city told us that people here are different from those in New York and New Jersey, we didn’t know what that meant, really.
Well, we’ve been here all of 28 hours, and have had lots of interaction with the locals in shops, on the street, and so forth, and we ended up laughing at ourselves today over how thrown we are by how … nice everybody is. I mean, they’re really friendly and easygoing, but, um, they don’t have Southern accents. Which is to say, they’re Yankees. Who knew? 😉
Seriously, I’d love for readers who live in this part of the country — the Mid-Atlantic region — and thereabouts to share their views on the cultural mores and particulars of this region. What strikes you as good about the way people are here? What strikes you as hard to take? Feel free too to be critical of Southerners, as long as you’re not abusive. I can imagine there’s a lot about life in Texas, or the South, that would be hard for people raised outside to get used to. Julie and I noticed once when we were visiting my hometown after having lived a few years in NYC that we had very little patience with small-talking, effusively polite waitresses. And we laughed at ourselves over that one, because we knew that we were turning into, yes, Yankees.

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