View Full Version : A bit of a rant - new friends...
03-21-2008, 10:44 AM
So I'm spending a semester in Australia and having an amazing time. I've made several good friends, including a couple of American guys with whom I'm going to travel for "holiday." I was hanging out with one of them tonight and met a girl who is in one of my classes. All three of us hit it off really well and were having a good time, but of course we were all on the internet (I mean, "working on homework...") so we brought up maps of our hometowns to show each other. I'm from Iowa. The satellite image is from probably June, so all of the fields are full of crops and therefore the whole place is green. The image quality is horrible, so the smaller roads (and lets face it, 4 lanes is as much as we get) don't show up on satellite, and I didn't have it up on hybrid. Therefore, my new friends concluded I must be from the middle of nowhere/a hick-town/the boonies. Alright, alright. He's from Long Island and she's from somewhere in one of the local beach communities, so yes, compared to them, I'm from the middle of nowhere. So OK, I'll take a couple of hits on being from a small town. BUT I'm proud of my small town. Its a good place to grow up. So after a couple of hits, having jokes at my expense starts to sting some. (Now like I said, these are nice people, and they weren't trying to hurt my feelings; I tend to automatically hide such things so I'm 100% sure they didn't even realize it was bothering me)
Later, we were discussing music. I don't go in for being a "fan" of any band/singer/whatever, and I rarely can put a name or singer to a song. Also, I like country music and got made fun of for that by my classmates in middle school so for years I've just shrugged and said, "yeah, whatever" when asked what kind of music I like. My friends at home now like country too (some country, some of it is complete crap! and we also like other things!) so this was the first time I made up my mind to be honest when asked what kind of music I like. Rock and country, and some other random stuff. They skipped right over "rock and other stuff" and went straight for: "You like country? You need to leave now."
A joke of course, but one that I could have done without. They finally concluded by informing me that its OK that I like country, since I'm from Iowa, but I should do so quietly where nobody else can hear.
Now I realize that the fact that I'm upset now is mostly my fault for not stepping up and saying, "hey, you're over the line some, my hometown is a great place exactly because it isn't a big city, and I have the right to like whatever music I like - its not like I'm forcing you to listen to it." I'm just afraid that now I've opened myself up for another three months of sniping at the small-town girl who likes country music...
Any thoughts on the best way to make it known that they need to back off some, without either getting defensive or just sounding whiny?
Oh yes, and a knitting related topic: I mentioned that I knit (which my American friends all know, but the girl I met tonight and her friend, who joined us, were unaware of) and the Australians both exclamed, "You knit? People still do that? Like, this century!?"
Fortunately Mike jumped in and said, "yeah, its really popular in the states, tons of people do it!"
But this explains why I haven't found a LYS.
03-21-2008, 01:42 PM
I'm not sure I understand why you are so upset. Are you upset about the stereotype associated with small-town living?
I grew up in a tiny, tiny town. We had one traffic light. I didn't drive on a four-lane road until I was 16. My town is known for its annual Chitlin Jamboree. If you don't know what chitlins are, they are pig intestines. People cook them and eat them...even having a contest. You can smell them cooking all over town. :ick:
That said, I can totally identify with what you are saying, but I will tell you that I've never been offended when someone made fun of me. Sure, I'm from Hicktown, U.S.A., and sure, I like country music. But who cares? To each his own.
Please don't let this issue drive a wedge between new-found friends.
Laugh when they tease you. Truly laugh...not just on the outside. I'm sure you had a great time growing up. You probably had advantages that they did not have. Did you ever ride a go-cart down an unpaved, dirt road? I sure did, and I had a GREAT time! They are teasing you because they don't understand it.
And, as far as your knitting goes, who cares??? I think we worry way too much about what people think. Again, to each his own.
Now, go on holiday and have a GREAT time!!!
03-21-2008, 02:21 PM
Wow! You are in Australia!! That is awesome!! :)
I agree with Nathalie - have a good time, don't let it bother you. And, just to let you know I sympathize, I'm writing to you from Eclectic, Alabama - doesn't get much more small-town than that! Oh, and my favorite question from outsiders is if we have running water and indoor toilets!
Jan in CA
03-21-2008, 02:25 PM
There's always something that people tend to tease about no matter you're from. I'm from southern California so you think because I'm form a popular, largely populated area that I don't get teased? Not so.. We get teased and questioned just like you. "Yes, my boobs are real, no, I don't have fake nails, no I'm not tan all over, no my hair is natural, etc, etc..
Certain places have stereotypes, small towns, living in Arkansas, etc. I'd suggest just answering the questions and letting it go. They may be curious about it as much as teasing you. Maybe you can find something simple to tease them about. ;) Enjoy your time there!
03-21-2008, 02:27 PM
I agree just enjoy yourself in Australia!! :woot:
I'm from WV...when you drive through my hometown if you blink you miss us...very small...no stop lights...no 4 lanes...really nothing for about 30 or 40 minutes away...just small town grocery store...so I'm use to hearing the jokes or is your mom and dad related? Love that one...have heard the running water one a time or two...or shocked cause we have tv...I'm also asked to repeat words cause they find them amusing...just let it roll off your back and once they see it is nothing to you...and your proud of where you come from...they will prolly stop on their own...:happydance:
03-22-2008, 08:47 AM
lol, don't worry its not that big a deal - just after 4 hours of (literally the words of Emily) "Seeing how many Iowa jokes I can make tonight," my patience with people who are simply ignorant about an area of the world they've never visited gets to be about nil. I can make fun of where I'm from, in fact when people ask about Iowa I usually tell them the story about my class trip to Washington DC, where we were asked what was in Iowa. Surprised to be asked, my classmates and I informed the group leader, "Corn." When asked what else was in Iowa (several times) we proceded with "Soybeans, hogs, some cattle, watermelons," and then ran out of major agricultural products, at which point we were shocked to learn that they wanted to know more, like perhaps something non-agricultural.
What bothers me is that they don't stop to consider the fact that my hometown is NOT THAT SMALL! Sure, we're surrounded by cornfields instead of running border-to-border with the next city over, but the town is a respectable size at 35,000 residents last I checked. If you're going to make jokes about the size of a town, I lived in Thorne Bay, Alaska over the summer, where the population is 1000, the biggest city on the island has a pop. of 2000, and across the straights is Meyers Chuck, a booming metropolis with a permanent resident population of 7. Because of Meyers Chuck, I am currently in the lead of the competition I've had going with one of my friends from home, to see who can find the smallest town.
Anyway, its not that they were making fun of my town, its that they just kept going, and going, and going... and not a nice banter about how everyone's towns have their own quirks, it was just snipe the Iowan night.
Oh, and the "are your mom and dad related?" question: I'm fifth generation in my town on both sides of the family (except my one grandma was actually born in a tiny town nearby, but basically the same place) and almost my entire family out to second cousins lives within the state. So I'm happy to point out that I can't date any of the guys who were born in my hometown because I'm probably related to them.
03-22-2008, 09:18 AM
:hug:I really wouldn't worry too much about it!
You are a girl from Iowa living in Australia!!! How cool is that?!?! I wish I was in your shoes.
But I can totally understand what you are saying! Right after high school I joined a traveling retreat ministry team that is based in Washington state. Everyone but myself was from the Pacific Northwest. When people heard I was for VA they were blown away. They kept asking me to say certain things to hear my accent (which by the way I really don't sound very southern both my parents are from Ohio). I honestly think it took a week or so for some people to decide I wasn't some hillbilly from the sticks. I dealt with a lot of good natured ribbing. Once everyone really got to know me the teasing stopped.
I agree with the other posters if it really bothers you say something and if it doesn't find something little to tease them about.
03-22-2008, 09:42 AM
I'm from Iowa and proud of it!
I always tell people how gas with more ethanol is cheaper in Iowa and nobody believes me. Um, it's made with corn. Corn is grown in Iowa. Have you ever knit with soy? It's so soft and comfy! Soy beans are a huge product of Iowa too. We're getting my son ready to start school next year. Oh how I wish I still lived in Iowa.
And I hate it too when everyone asks what city you're near when you tell them where you're from. It's like your town is nothing unless it has a larger town to identify with. Most small towns are not just bedroom communities to a larger town. They have plenty of people who make a living in that small town and don't have anything to do with the larger city. Okay, I'm rambling. I just want to tell you that I've been there and know what you mean.
Oh, my tummy is anxious to go visit this summer and buy some sweet corn off the street corner out of the back of the farmer's pick-up truck!
03-22-2008, 11:08 AM
I lived in Iowa for 2 years, and it was probably the best 2 years of my life! I loved that place, and I loved the people.
My father is one of those joke-a-minute people. Usually I just laugh it off, but sometimes what he says stings. I think they are just having fun and trying to find some common ground.
03-22-2008, 12:22 PM
Well hon, I like country music and I'm not from a 'hick' town. I'm not from a big city either. I would kill to live in Iowa right now. To me, Iowa seems like it would be a nice, quiet, calm place to live where people aren't out to get you when you drive down the street, and I am dying for someplace like that. Buy me a farm house with 5 acres and I'll be set for life!!
And as for the country music remarks, umm, HELLO!! Aren't like 99% of Country music singers a hell of a lot hotter than regular ole' rock musicians?? I thought so! ;) I never used to like that kind of music but within the last 5 years or so I have slowly gone over to the 'other' side and I love it. I even got my DH to enjoy it and now he's buying country music CD's!
I'm not sure how to get them to back off with their teasing as I'm not great with comebacks that are nice. I tend to just blurt things out and that gets me in trouble. :teehee: Even though I feel a lot better after I say them. ;)
Sorry I'm not a big help. Try to enjoy Australia as much as you can and if these people really upset you find other friends. Life is way too short to hang around people who make fun of you all the time. It's fine to have a little fun, but they should have the common sense to end it after one or two jokes. Good luck. :hug:
03-23-2008, 09:22 AM
Thanks everyone for your replies. I was hanging out with Mike today and we were discussing the deep subjects of religion and human nature, and then switched over to playing cards. I had my iPod and as we were playing cards and not talking much I was listening to music in one ear and he made a comment about "Oh no, its not country, is it!?" It wasn't, so I had him listen to the song (deemed "alright") and then asked him to please lay off a bit on making fun of the music I like, as I'm not forcing him to listen to it and I used to get made fun of for listening to it. I was careful to say it nicely and not insinuate that I felt he was being mean about it, just that I wished he wouldn't, and he was totally cool with it, he said "Oh here we were just talking about people being jerks like that and now here I am being a jerk!"
I got double points because tonight a whole bunch of us went out for dinner after church and while waiting for the bus, all of the NEW YORKER girls were singing country songs. Take that, city boy!
Then, to top off the night, my New Yorker friends were debating when the standard season for various vegetables to be ripe is, meaning that they were very impressed with my knowledge.
Oh, and for all of you from Iowa and other small towns, when I was in Alaska last summer, the island's doctor stopped by on his way to visit some friends (he had met my coworker so stopped to say hi to her). He asked me where I was from and I told him my hometown and where I go to school. He very cheerfully informed me he went to the school in the same town (turned out to be the same school) and that he had friends in a couple of the blink-and-you-miss-them towns in between there and my hometown!
Oh, and Kelly H. - my dad used to commute 45 minutes each way from where we live TO a smaller town, where he was in management at a factory. On the other hand, I remember being asked once where I live and answering with the name of my hometown, and that it was in eastern Iowa. the lady asked me if that was a suburb of Chicago or Dez Moin-es. I told her it was a suburb of the cornfields.
03-23-2008, 06:05 PM
I'm glad it all got sorted out. Don't mind these remarks. When i was on a trip to Germany (in high school), we went to our hosts' school to tell about Israel. People actually were shocked to discover we don't use camels as a means of transportation and that it's not all desert! Part of them was really surprised to find out that Israelis are mostly Jews :hair:. And when Israelis hear about Russia, they are amazed to discover that in Moscow we had 4 different sorts of public transport. They always imagined bears and eternal winter. What can you do? Most of the people care about their own place and rarely get any interest of something beyond. Lucky, in these days of the internet, you can always google images and information.
Keep having a great time in Australia, I bet it's not all kangaroos ;)
03-23-2008, 06:29 PM
Don't let it bug you so much.
I'm from a small town, too. The biggest thing going each summer was the Fireman's Parade and the annual DelMarVa Poultry Festival or if you went all the way to Harrington, DE there was the Harrington Fair (the Delaware State Fair).
Just tell 'em that "You were country, when country wasn't cool." Think Barbara Mandrell sang that.
BTW, Dustinac - my brother who lives in NJ IS related to his wife. They are cousins somewhere waaaaaaaaaaaay back in our family tree, :teehee:
03-23-2008, 06:39 PM
:rofl: oh It's not uncommon in my town to find someone who goes way back related wise and are now married...someway everyone is related by a Cole or a Skaggs...when we have the Cole and Skaggs reunion it's basically a town reunion...so far dh hasn't found any Cole/Skaggs on his side...:teehee:
03-23-2008, 11:20 PM
Don't feel so bad. When I studied in Japan, all people knew about chicago was Al Capone, Michael Jordan and pizza. To hell with them and the joking... if its bothering you to the point where you may not want to go on holiday with them, then tell them the small town jokes are insulting and you've had enough tyvm, lets find something else to discuss?
YOU ARE IN AUSTRALIA! Enjoy it. :woohoo:
03-26-2008, 04:56 PM
People in Australia, the sheep capital of the world didn't know about knitting and the fact that it was still done????:thud:
I don't know why people like to make fun of stuff like music and hometowns. Must make them feel better... You just have fun and ignore them, you know what you're about!
03-27-2008, 01:37 AM
I can totally relate. I'm from Ironton, MO (not quite the end of the world but you can see it from there). There are no stoplights in Ironton! I'm in the big city now, but I love small towns and would totally move back to Ironton if I could find a job making what I do in St. Louis. You should be proud of your town. You probably had a more wholesome upbringing than the ones making fun of you. I'm sure they are kidding, though. I tease some of my friends who still live in small towns--including my brothers who are still in Ironton. I don't mean anything by it and I'm certainly not judging them. There is nothing wrong with country music, either! It's the most wholesome music out there (besides religious music). My daughter & her friends at her "big city" school love rap and country music. Hold your head up and BRAG on your hometown and SING your music! If you google it you'll find that several big celebrities knit, including Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz. It's not a "hick" thing to do.
03-27-2008, 09:42 AM
Iowa in June is gorgeous. I don't think I've seen many places prettier than Iowa in June. :) I also remember some t-shirts that the U of I had when I was there and I keep kicking myself for not buying one. From left to right there were labeled cartoon-like drawings of corn, cows, the hospital, the river, the pentacrest, cows and corn. I loved that t-shirt.
Let them tease and gripe. They don't know what they're missing!
03-27-2008, 09:47 AM
I lived in Alaska for 4 years when I was a kid. Guess what I was asked when we moved back to Michigan? "Did I live in an igloo?" :roll: and "Did I ever seal meat?" :ick:
Someone once asked me what it was like to live in a foreign country. Yeah, she wasn't very bright.:teehee:
We always make fun of what we don't understand. What I've found is that if you act like you have something to be embarassed about, the teasing continues. If you act like you are proud of the very things they want to mock, well...it dies off pretty quickly.
Never, ever be ashamed of who you are.
If you ask me, people who make jokes about other people, well, are lacking a bit in their own self-esteem. Keep that in mind and you'll be less likely to get ticked off at them. ;)
I don't necessarily like country, but there's always Keith Urban to change my mind :inlove: