December 01, 2003

A PSA for Our Yankee Friends

I am back, fed and rested after a wonderful turkey day experience. Went to see Master and Commander on Friday, and enjoyed it very much. The movie part, at least. Actually, I should clarify. I enjoyed the MOVIE part of the movie, not the four hundred and seventy three mini-movies that the wags in Hollywood jokingly call "previews." When you are given everything but the money shot during a preview, it doesn't whet the appetite so much as spoil it. And they wonder why we've lost the art of patience in this country--we can't even wait until a movie is released to see the whole damn thing. Grr.

Oh, and can I offer a little etiquette advice to those of you out there we like to refer to as "yankees?" And I don't mean the baseball team, nor do I mean the generalized "Yank" term that brits use to refer to all Americans. I mean yankees as defined by southerners, which is to say, anyone who wasn't born south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Dear Yankee in the Movie Line: if you're annoyed because you're forced to stand in a movie theatre lobby because it's the DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING and things are a LITTLE BIT CROWDED and you have some DUMBASS SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT, could you at least have the courtesy NOT to remark that lines in a movie theatre are why "the South never rose again?" 'Cause, see, we don't like you to begin with, not really. That saccharine sweetness you hear in our tone? It's what we like to call "killing with kindness." The minute your tiny little pea head is turned we engage in knowing eyerolls and sotto voce expressions of "Yankee," which is code for, "Well, what did you expect, manners? Breeding? Common courtesy? The ability to breathe when the mouth is closed?"

Also, while it gives me satisfaction to know that you will spend the rest of your life being a short, fat, greasy, balding little boil on the ass of humanity, whereas I will return to my comfortable middle class lifestyle unencumbered by a stupid accent, piggy little close-set eyes or an attitude that apparently originated on the ninth level of hell, it would have given me immeasurably more satisfaction to have broken my foot off in your wide, flat ass, you pustulent little rodent. And the fact that Hublet, normally the mildest of mild-mannered people, would have gladly held you while I did so should give you an idea of how annoying you really are. But since I am a delicate flower of southern womanhood, I am far too polite to point any of that out to you. However, if you had any observational skills at all, my body language and facial expression would have made all of that abundantly clear. And you would have felt fear, little man. Cold, creeping tentacles of fear wrapping themselves around that dessicated husk you call a heart.

Not that I am in any way bitter. And I'm certain that any readers of mine hailing from parts north would be the very picture of politeness, if they were in a similar situation. RIGHT?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at December 1, 2003 01:40 PM

Welcome back. It's nice to see the hiatus improved your disposition! ;-)

Posted by: LittleA at December 1, 2003 03:13 PM

"And I'm certain that any readers of mine hailing from parts north would be the very picture of politeness, if they were in a similar situation."

But of course. Breeding is everything and a healthy fear of death is the rest. But please... 'Yankee', to those of us who ARE Yankees, is someone from New England whose grandparents a) were also from New England and b) weren't Ethnic. Your "pustulent little rodent" was probably some New Yorker aping his betters.

Posted by: ManFromPorlock at December 1, 2003 03:24 PM

Yep, nothing like a bunch of food and plenty of rest to get me past that recent bout of mellow. Ick! I disgusted myself!

Posted by: BAW at December 1, 2003 03:25 PM

BTW - Above comment was response to LittleA...

MfP - Why, however did you guess from whence this fellow hailed? We southerners paint "yankee" with a much broader brush--if they wore blue during the War of Northern Agression (or as my esteemed history professor called it, "The Woah")then they're yankees, period. There are variations on the term, such as "damn yankee" or "goddam yankee," depending on the severity of the transgressions involved.

Posted by: BAW at December 1, 2003 03:29 PM

You are unaware of Northernmanship, probably. We do it when visiting the South.

It's like carrying a thermos of hot coffee when in Britain, and remarking how quaint everything is. It puts the natives one down.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at December 1, 2003 05:17 PM

So what do you call those of us who live on the Left Coast? My Brit friends call me a Yank, and my husband's Southern relatives all mutter about California being the land of fruits and nuts.

Karen (who doesn't at the moment have the ability to breathe when her mouth is closed, courtesy of a virus. I hab a code.)

Posted by: Karen at December 1, 2003 05:57 PM

Ask anyone around the world, who is a Yankee? and he'll say "An American." Ask a Southerner, and he'll say "A Northerner." Ask a Northerner, and he'll say "Someone from New England." Ask someone from New England, and he'll say "Someone from Maine." Ask someone from Maine, and he'll say "Stop asking such damfool questions."

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at December 1, 2003 07:25 PM

Karen -

Californians are just referred to thus:

"Oh. She's from (knowing look and nod) California."

This response will be used to explain any behavior of yours that seems odd.

Posted by: BAW at December 1, 2003 07:39 PM

I thought they were called yankees because the term asshat had not been coined yet.

Posted by: jim at December 2, 2003 12:59 AM

Seems BAW has something against Short, Fat, Greasy, Balding types...any other physical characteristics (genetic or otherwise) worthy of public scorn?

Posted by: Irving at December 2, 2003 02:34 PM

Irving, while being short, or fat, or even greasy (though that one is correctable and kind of gross IMO) are not in and of themselves worthy of universal scorn, when coupled with a personality that derives from hell's pit--yepper, scorn-worthy. Big time. All part of the total scornable package. Scorn, scorn, Scorny McScorny pants.

And really, the greasy part? Short is genetic. Fat could be either genetic or the result of poor personal choice, but either way, those two can get a pass. Greasy, though? You're going to be in a public place. You have access to running water. Just WASH THE HAIR, okay?

In conclusion--general bias against the short and/or fat? Nope.

General bias against the greasy? Yeah.

Big huge bias against irritating tools who incidentally have all three characteristics and who like to loudly insult their host state? Why, hell yeah.

Hope that clears things up.

Posted by: BAW at December 2, 2003 03:49 PM

Having moved North many years ago, I have endured much with all of the flower-of-southern-womanhood aplomb I can summon. Tonight, after reading your post, I will retire with a satisfactory sense of vindication.

In other words, girl, I like your style!

Posted by: Rebecca at December 2, 2003 06:21 PM

Good God, Florence King has an undisclosed twin sister!

Posted by: Michelle Dulak at December 2, 2003 08:54 PM


Thanks for the clarification (though we skipped over balding). I agree with the Greasy stuff also. I also agree with castigating boorish behaviour. So what was the point of mentioning the short, fat, balding characteristics? This sort of scorn-coupling philospohy is rather interesting. Is being short, fat, and balding minimally acceptable, and then boorish behavior tips it over the edge? I mean like, tall, thin, full-haired folks have a scorn-cushion? Boorish behaviour merely puts them on the edge of scorn, but since short, fat, balding folks are already teetering on the edge of scorn...they need be extra careful? Or is it more like short, fat, & balding are boorish multipliers and tall, thin, and full-haired are boorish dividers? Maybe they're additive? A short, balding boor is more scornful than just a short boor? Scorn-coupling, there's a thesis in there somewhere...

I think being an annoyance should be coupled in there somehow too... :)

Posted by: Irving at December 3, 2003 10:11 AM

I had the opportunity to visit with a very interesting old Exxon hand a couple of years back and he related a funny story to me concerning the international concept of yankees.

He was working in Australia, helping to build a refinery, during the 60's. Part of his job was to give engineering students from the local university a tour of the construction site. The college boys had a bad habit of screaming "Yanks Go Home" anytime they saw Americans at the site. So he decided the next time a bus load came out he'd strike pre-emptively. The next bus that came out, he met at the gate and boarded. Several students started in on him with the Yanks Go Home bit. He held up his hand until it was quiet, and then told them, "Boys, I'm not a Yankee. Yankees are from places like New York. I'm from Oklahoma, and in Oklahoma if you call someone a Yankee your fixin' to get your ass whupped. So consider yourselves warned, the next one of you sumbitches calls me a Yankee is gonna take an asswhuppin." He said that not only did that group of students conduct themselves with decorum, but so did any who came afterward.

Posted by: Jim from West Tx at December 4, 2003 02:57 PM