Sunday, February 05, 2012


Look, it's not just me: people here in Cold State are really friendly.  Which is great, because, for example, we know all our neighbors, and it's really easy to chat with random people at the library, and so on.

But in the South, You Do Not Ask Personal Questions.

So I'm always disconcerted when relative strangers tell me all about their personal lives: my pediatrician's surrogacy journey, my neighbor's unwed-mother-granddaughter, my other neighbor's daughter's hysterectomy... I can't think of any others right now, but they're not limited to reproduction.  There is a small part of my Southern soul that is just appalled that these people are telling me these things, as if they'd just run down the street naked.

(It's not just me.  All the other Southerners here are similarly rendered deeply, profoundly uncomfortable.)


  1. Same thing for Ashkenazim of Eastern European descent. The Yekke in me cringes at random displays of emotion and intrusive questions.

  2. I am a northerner who lived in the south for several years, and this astound me: nobody in my northern world would have ever asked the sorts of questions I routinely got in Appalachia:
    - Where did I go to church?
    - Did I have kids? Why not?
    - How much did I pay for that item?
    - Were those real diamonds?
    Maybe people were just nosier in my neighborhood, but I honestly assumed I had to move north to get people to stop minding my business.


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