As someone who moved to Boston this year from North Carolina, I am now a self-declared expert on the differences between the South and the North. I can now pinpoint specific differences between the two cultures not typically visible to the average New England eye. Here’s a handful of them:
1. Boston has aggressively bad drivers.
Look, your bad drivers are not like our bad drivers. I would describe bad drivers in North Carolina as passively bad. We’ll forget to put on turn signals, let too many people cut in front of us and not notice that the light has turned green, but drivers up North are actively, aggressively bad. I straight up think y’all want to die, or are looking to be convicted for voluntary manslaughter. Northern drivers (specifically Massachusetts drivers; you guys are called “Massholes” for a reason) will run you down no matter when or where you’re crossing and seem to love the sweet sound of their own car horn.
2. There’s a severe lack of sweet tea.
I’m referring to a drink you guys may not have heard of called “sweet tea.” Back home, sweet tea is when you dissolve sugar in water, tint it brown then call it “tea.” When I lived in North Carolina, I would tell everyone I met that I thought it was disgusting and not real tea, but I always accepted it as part of the culture. I’m used to seeing a big canister of tea marked “sweet” next to the “unsweetened” tea. But in Boston, there’s just one giant canister marked “iced tea.” What does this even mean?
3. The North is way more progressive.
This is especially potent since election season is upon us, and absentee ballots can be found in many a Boston University mailroom. As I sat at my desk filling out my absentee ballot, I learned that one of the candidates I could vote for posted on white supremacist forums that he was a “racialist,” not a “racist.” Thankfully, this whack job was only running for Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor, but even so. You guys have Elizabeth Warren and a $10-an-hour minimum wage. I have a state ranked 49th in teacher pay and a governor that says he admires Donald Trump. You guys don’t realize how good you have it.
4. Y’all are rude, but truthful.
I mostly think the whole Southern hospitality thing is crap, but there are some cases where it still applies. Up North, however, people are more up front with you. If you hate someone, you’ll be straight up about it to their face. Whereas in the South, we’ll fake niceness to you until you slowly realize that we actually despise you. To me, the supposed rudeness of Northerners actually reads as honesty.
5. Southern food definitely has an edge over dining hall food.
I walked into Marciano Commons today and almost started laughing when I saw that they were serving Carolina Pork BBQ with mango salsa. Never have two things belonged together less. BBQ belongs with cornbread or something unhealthy and delicious, not some random mango salsa from another galaxy. My other dining hall shock was Lobster Night. My honest opinion: lobster is disgusting. You’re not supposed to eat things with their faces still on them. I don’t think I’ve ever wished for classic Southern fried chicken more in my entire life.