Seaton: Helpful Tips For Southern Living

I never thought I’d see the day when folks from the West Coast started getting the good sense  to flee that nightmarish part of the country for my beloved American South. And yet it keeps happening. It seemed to really take off during the pandemic when parts of my region embraced liberty while places like California prevented folks from eating outside unless the restaurant of their choosing had pricey outdoor air filters.

Personally, I’m not terribly thrilled at the influx of migrants to Tennessee and the surrounding states from places like California. One of the joys of country life is the lack of people. However, if you’re going to come here, I feel it incumbent upon me to provide you with some tips so some of you might learn the ropes and properly assimilate.

You’re welcome.

Before we get started, Florida isn’t part of the South. We got together in a meeting after the “Florida Man” stuff got out of hand and mutually agreed Florida was better off doing its own thing.

  • “Sir” and “Ma’am” are regularly used, especially when we’re addressing people in the service industry. Your refusal or negligence regarding these terms is a dead giveaway you’re not from around here.

  • One thing we don’t expect you to adopt is the term “y’all.” It really only sounds right when Southerners say it.

  • Cultivate attitudes of minding your manners and your business. It goes a long way.

  • Church invitations are like dinner invitations. Don’t take them personally. If it really bothers you, smile, politely decline, and say you’ve got other plans. You might want to take them up on the offer even if you aren’t religious so you’ve got an excuse to partake in the lunches served in the Fellowship Hall after the service. Some of the South’s best food can be found here.

  • The term “Bless your heart” conveys deep empathy and is a dreadful, fight-provoking insult. The tone of the person uttering it determines which. Trust me—you’ll know.

  • We really would prefer it if you kept your opinions about how things were better “back there” to yourself. You came here for a reason. Enjoy what you’ve got.

  • This area’s not nearly as obsessed with the Civil War, the Confederate Battle Flag or monuments as you’d think. We discovered hobbies while y’all were looking elsewhere. We just prefer if you leave everything nice and clean and we don’t like it when people break shit for no reason.

  • Read the room when attempting to discuss sports with the locals. As an example, asking someone in East Tennessee if they’re planning to watch the football game this week means you’re asking about how the Vols will fare on Saturday. As far as the NFL is concerned, not everyone in Tennessee cares for the Titans.

  • The only electric car exempt from ridicule around these parts is a Tesla and even that’s pushing it. Gas is cheap enough around here for you to purchase and use a proper car. At least it used to be before the idiots in DC fucked everything up.

  • Southerners are generally the welcoming sort. We’ll try hard to overlook how you sound or where you came from. Y’know. Unlike how y’all do us every time we travel.

  • If you’re the sort that insists on being called they/them or ze/zir, we’ll oblige you because we don’t want to insult you. We may not speak to you after that much, but still.

  • A note on food: we deep fry everything. Roll with it.

  • “We’re having BBQ” and “We’re having a BBQ” are two different methods of articulating gaining access to a certain type of smoky, savory meat. That meat doesn’t involve burgers or hot dogs. Grilling those is a “Cook-Out.”

  • A surefire way to break the ice with locals and get on their good side is to ask for their favorite place to eat no one knows about. Even if it’s the hottest spot in town, we’ve all got our picks and we’ll be more than happy to share.

  • If you’re invited fishing, bring beer. Preferably a case. It’s not always about what you catch. Unless someone mentions telephone fishing. In that case, say you’ve got other plans and invite them to church next week.

Hope these help if you’re considering a move, already moved or moving soon. We’ll be seeing you and make sure you let us know when you arrive so we can fix you a plate.

To everyone else: Happy Friday! We’ll see you back next week, y’hear?

17 thoughts on “Seaton: Helpful Tips For Southern Living

  1. Pete

    We like pie. All kinds of pie. Pies you’ve never heard of like buttermilk pie. You haven’t learned to bake one properly, so when you come over for BBQ buy one at a reputable bakery like Buttermilk Sky.

  2. Charlie O

    You may know Tennessee, but nearly everything you said does not apply to Mississippi and Alabama. Having parents from Mississippi and family in both states, I can tell you that they are obsessed with the Confederacy and the flags of traitors. They despise anyone they consider a “yankee” and are generally too stupid to be allowed to vote. (I iive in the Pennsyltucky part of PA).

  3. Richard Parker

    Don’t ask to see a Hominy plant. The ridicule will never end. The story will be passed from generation to generation.

  4. Clean Up Tennessee

    Tennessee? Seriously? I’m back in this Godforsaken state for work for another month-long project and…seriously?

    The roads are falling apart everywhere, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol refuses to patrol the interstates here…what gives? I’ve never seen cars engulfed in flames before, but I’ve seen vehicles turned into bonfires multiple times along Tennessee’s highways…which are like the Wild West, with people driving insanely with no police presence to speak of. Again, what gives?

    Hospitality? What hospitality? How do you get the vaunted Southern hospitality when service is so BAD in Tennessee? Is there even anything resembling a work ethic amongst the native-born population in this state? You go into an average chain restaurant, and you wait for staff to seat you–not because the place is packed, but because they have far too few staff to have anyone manning the front desk! Thank God for Mexican restaurants run by Hispanics, I’d starve otherwise…

    Thankfully I’m going home to Alaska next month–we have our problems, but we at least maintain our highways at home. I think the heat is frying all of your brains down South–try that in a state where winter actually comes, and where we can’t salt the roads because moose love to lick it off of the surface, not because you can’t or won’t pay to maintain and patrol your roads…

    1. CLS

      Oh dear. Oh me.

      *clears throat*

      Someone wants to play. Okay.


      Here’s what you get when an entitled asshat acts like an entitled asshat , gets treated terribly because of their bullshit attitude then complains when their miserable mindset didn’t get them world class service!

      From everyone in the Volunteer State from me to you:

      I’m headed to Alaska next month and I’m very happy knowing my attitude to locals will be far more congenial than the shitty attitude you showed us.

      Bless your heart.

  5. AnonJr

    In the mid 90s, when Ft. Devans Massachusetts was being shut down, my stepfather was transferred to Ft. Bragg NC. (I refuse to call it Ft. Liberty)

    It was the summer between my 8th and 9th grade years, and it was an interesting transition. Most were very welcoming and hospitable. I did have one redneck asshat regularly tell me “Yankee go home” and “The South will rise again.” At least it stopped after the first year.


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