I recently wrote A Shiksa’s Guide: 12 Steps to Landing your Jewish Crush after joking with some Jewish friends about why they liked hanging out with me. Some of the items came straight from their lips. I thought it would make a clever list, so submitted it to The Internet.
The Internet didn’t like it. The Internet thought I was fetishizing a culture and stereotyping. After a brief moment of horror, I realized I shouldn’t be so concerned. The lists Gen-Y publish daily are all stereotypes. Writing in general encompasses stereotypes. The purpose in satirical writing is to, in fact, highlight the stereotypes and glitches in society without being hurtful. The reader then finds similarities to herself, laughs, and doesn’t feel so alone in this giant world. It’s the same reason we watch SNL and National Lampoon Family Vacation. The entertainment is full of stereotypes… for comedy. I don’t recall ever feeling personally victimized by Hollywood’s ill attempts to recreate a Southern accent, or the fact that every Southerner is portrayed as a slow, overweight, naive, gun-toting NASCAR fan. I’m none of those things, but I’ll be damned if I don’t have neighbors and family members who aren’t. You see, some comedy stems from hate and can be cruel and ignorant, but the rest comes from personal observation and self-deprecation. The latter isn’t a bad place. And you know what? It’s okay to laugh.
Since finding other cultures attractive can be seen as debasing to some readers, I’ve decided to smooth things over and focus on my people. Below is a quick list of how I assume ladies landed crushes with men in my own culture: The Conservative, Christian South. Hope y’all enjoy.
1. Possess the necessary genetic qualities: big hair and tanned skin.
Southern boys love luscious hair and tan skin. Why? Big, curled, hair-sprayed hair takes time to complete, and Southerners prefer ladies who put forth the effort. This perfectly waved ‘do looks best with a strapless sundress and sunburned body. Nothing makes a Southern boy rev his Chevy engine like an overly-tanned girl fresh off the pontoon. Mm mm… skin cancer. If your Irish roots show through as strongly as mine, you’re out of luck. I would suggest calling a voodoo woman to put a tanning spell on you, but I wouldn’t want to offend anyone who practices voodoo. Spray tan it is.
2. Dress well. You’ve got some competition.
Let’s cut to the chase: Southern women are flashy. They know what’s going on in the department store fashion world, and they’re accustomed to getting what they want from Daddy (or “Diddy”). If you’re going to make yourself stand out around these ladies and be the apple of your Southern crush’s eye, search for the loudest sundress you can find. There is no other look to consider when the warm months roll around. Now that I think of it, Southerners like their women in sundresses at all times. Just throw a Northface fleece over that sucker in the winter. You can take it off inside, and it’s hot in the bar anyway.
3. Share an interest in the music genres of country, Southern Rock, and/or thug rap.
Unfortunately I’ve met Southern men who are not interested in music. It always blows my mind. When they are, they stick to their roots with songs they can relate to. You’ve got the traditional boys who listen only to country and talk radio, the somewhat edgier dudes who dig classic and modern Southern Rock, and the few who sprinkle in Atlanta rappers for the sole purpose of hearing the bass on their new truck’s system. If you’re in for the long run with your new Southern playmate, fire up Spotify and blast the Lady Antebellum, Drive by Truckers, and Ludacris stations. Rock on, sweet thang.
4. Study all Christian religions.
In the South, you identify your family with your church, ie. “Oh, the Smiths! We don’t know them that well. You see, they go to the Methodist Church.” If you’re woo’ing a Southern man, understand the difference in Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian. Then understand Episcopalian, Catholic, and Lutheran (the more… “liberal” of the churches). Many nuances in the doctrines drive what your crush might think about social issues and family dynamics, so pay close attention if you want to be wifed.
5. Join the GOP.
Unless you’re in North Carolina or Florida, your man is in a Red State. He’s going to be an old-school conservative who won’t budge over any fiscal or social topic, or one of those new, hip, moderate conservatives. From my experience, Southern men are slightly threatened by a woman who wants to argue about this, so tread lightly. Politics are a topic they prefer to discuss in the men’s only room at the Country Club.
6. When identifying your church, it’s best to stick with Baptist or Methodist.
These two churches rule the South, and there’s typically a bit of a rivalry. Baptists tend to lean toward fire and brimstone sermons, while Methodists prefer inspirational stories about living a better life. Depending on the city, one always gets out of Sunday service before the other. This causes a race to the best brunch restaurants. If your crush is a member of the later releasing sermon, consider crushing on a different Southern man. Otherwise your grits will be cold.
7. Say yes to cigarettes, but no to weed and tattoos.
Weed and tattoos are for liberally minded Northerners, West Coasters, and Europeans. Tobacco, however, is a major cash crop. Southerners know it kills them, but so does the tanning bed. Many southern men smoke, but only a few ladies can pull it off. If you must, remember it should be done only while sipping a cold beer or dark liquor drink.
8. Eat healthy.
When I say eat healthy, I mean… Cook as healthy as possible for your new love bird. Conservative Southern men are attracted to femininity and the nurturing type, so you can’t let your body completely go by piling on the fried foods every night. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to eat plenty, and don’t be afraid to add a little salt. We’re in the business of food down here, literally. Your meat and veggies are coming straight from Southern farmlands. Embrace it. Food is how we show our love.
9. Let him take care of you, girlfriend.
I wish I could say to get yourself some goals to make moolah for yourself here, but I’m a jaded Southern lady who has yet to find a Southern man looking for that. When you’re dating a conservative man, he wants you to be sweet, sassy, and maternal. These guys want to take care of you, and you have to let them do that. Let go of the reigns a bit and offer put a bandaid on his most recent injury. As silly as it seems, they love that shit.
10. Have friends from the same region.
Southerners are proud of their town, county, area code, State, everything involving geography. It’s similar to Northerners identifying themselves as Italian, German, Russian, Korean, etc. even when they are four or five generations away from their original immigrant family. Our states were populated differently, so we find our roots in the land our families owned. As a girl from a small town living in a city, I find immediate similarities with folks who grew up in a two-hour radius of my hometown. Stereotypes or not, we have an instant connection. If you’re macking on a Southern boy, make some Southern friends. He’ll feel instantly more comfortable, and we’re generally fairly nice people to hang with.
11. Learn Southern Colloquialisms.
Just as it is important to understand the nature of Yiddish before getting offended by a translation, a lady should take the time to learn the passive-aggressive quality of Southern colloquialisms. You don’t need to add a twang in your tone or mispronounce everything like your new Southern boyfriend, but heaven forbid don’t say “bless her heart” at an inopportune time. It can be incredibly misunderstood. We’re happy to explain it if you give us plenty of time.
12. Eat everything.
Fried chicken? Check. Fried gator tail? Double check.
Welcome to the family.