What I Learned While In The South

I spent the last few days in the south visiting my son's college.  It was a whirlwind, extremely action-packed, trip.  I was even asked to be Frat Photographer for a busy weekend of fraternity events.  Who am I to say no to a bunch of Frat Boys decked out in collared shirts and ties?

As background, I've spent very little time in the south so everything there is a novelty to me.  In addition, when I was in college, I went to UC Santa Barbara.  My ex-campus sits on a cliff overlooking the ocean – a completely different type of campus life than my son's.  (As an example, UCSB has no football team, but they do have an exceptional surf team.)  The Greek life at UCSB was almost non-existent when I was a student there.  Fraternity life is, therefore, not something I've been exposed to.

The last few days, along with photographing campus and fraternity life, I was also busy experiencing as much of my surroundings as possible.  Here are some of my random thoughts and observations (some of them were jotted down as I had them):

•  Sitting next to a sick, sneezing, person is inevitable on an all day flight.  And yes, you will come home with a cold as a result.

•  I like collard greens, but do they always have so much salt on them?

•  I do NOT like grits – at all.

•  If you take a few college boys out to dinner you will be astonished at the amount of food consumed.

•  Four boys – TEN baskets of homemade rolls before dinner!

•  I have not outgrown beer pong, but I still don't care for beer bongs.

•  People in the south are SO nice!

•  I think I would have a lot more women friends if I lived in the South vs. The OC.

•  Frat boys are cute, and – very polite … at least, to me.

•  I prefer my tea unsweetened.  I'm sorry.

•  Tailgating at college football games is a lot of fun.

•  Frat houses are disgusting even when they've been "cleaned up" just for your arrival.

•  There aren't a lot of botoxed and plastic people in the south.  People are so real.  So refreshing!

•  When a fraternity buys wine as a special treat, in anticipation of your arrival, you will force yourself to choke it down even though it's being poured from a bag.

•  With enough time, you won't care what the wine tastes like.

•  Your head WILL hurt from drinking bagged wine the next day.

•  Never use a bathroom in a fraternity.  (Not even the woman's bathroom.)

•  Hearing frat boys talk about their love/sex lives will make you giggle and giggle, because – really?

•  My body is not used to fried food and it makes me feel sick.

•  There are some damn smart people in college these days.  I was impressed!

•  Your toes will freeze at night if you wear flip flops to the football game.

•  You will be the only one in the entire, gigantic, football stadium wearing flip-flops.

•  College girls are wearing lots of short dresses/skirts and cowboy boots in the south.

•  College girls are AFTER the frat boys!

•  I could live on biscuits every morning for breakfast.  Yum!

•  Trees, trees, and MORE trees!  Beautiful!

•  I think it's "freezing" when the weather is in the 60's, but everyone there told me it was an amazing, warm, fall day.

•  I like the feeling of "brisk" evenings.  It feels very fall-ish.

•  Trees are beginning to "turn" in the south.  I wish I could come back in a couple weeks and see them at their prettiest.

•  Frat parties?  Are so … frat party-ish.  And yes, I really DID attend one for several hours!

•  For the return flight home I was seated by an ahem-er.  Ahem!  Ahem!  Four and a half hours of ahem-ing!  It was BRUTAL.

•  On the other side of me, a man took his shoes off for the entire flight.  His feet stunk!

•  I hate flying!

•  It never gets easier to say good-bye to your kids. 

•  * Sob! *

© Twenty Four At Heart

19 Responses to “What I Learned While In The South”

  1. Stephen

    I laughed all the way through this post. One of the best parts of the boys being out of college is not having to go visit and be reminded how old and decrepit I am. But there was that one time in Flagstaff, around Halloween, and the boys went to pick up some gals while I was in the shower. I came out to find myself being introduced to Nasty Nurse, Nasty Army Chick, Nasty Doctor Babe, Nasty Cheerleader….etc. Seriously, they must all went to porn costumes are us to pick up their holiday uniforms. Thank God that’s over. 🙂

  2. di

    I don’t think I’ve ever been subjected to the thoughts, words and antics of college boys so can’t comment there, but as a Yankee now living in the South, well…. let me just say it’s culture shock and after 3 year am STILL adjusting to it. But they are friendly I suppose. As for grits? ack.
    DI

  3. WebSavvyMom

    –>I live in the South and I love the hospitality!
    I’m still not a grits fan, I don’t usually order greens, I still like my tea unsweetened. I also wear flip flops to college football games (even in the rain).
    I do love a good bbq sandwich with slaw and hot sauce on top.
    I’m glad you had such a good time and I agree about the beer pong over beer bong.

  4. Jan

    You don’t like grits? Well…I still love you anyway.
    (Which is not to say that I eat them anymore, because I don’t, but still…)
    I miss the South.

  5. Joanne

    I’m a born Southerner, and I pass on grits every time for home fries. I LIVE in flip flops (altho now I am sporting a pair of*( ortho-flops! LOVE collards, there is actually very little salt added, because they are cooked forever in water with vinegar added and smoked or cured bacon (salt) The latest thing here now that every fast food has syrupy sweet tea is half and half tea! The grits and the cornbread soak up the mess that the fried food makes!

  6. Joanne

    me again, *( =89,as in $. I should not comment before coffee

  7. cindy w

    Your son is in Charlotte, right? Did you get to see the city much? I think downtown Charlotte is one of the prettiest downtown areas I’ve seen. It’s up there with Seattle in my favorites.

  8. Pam

    I agree! I took my son to school a few weeks ago. I could not believe the condition of the frat house. He on the other hand, was SO excited to be there! Go figure… I could also still play beer pong, but haven’t drank a beer bong since 1984! I am too old for a beer bong. 🙂

  9. Jenn in Tenn

    I am a born and bred southerner that never liked grits. Until Shrimp and Grits…amen. That was truly a religious experience! As for sweet tea, raised on it, but now prefer unsweet with splenda. My husband, who is a born and bred Californian, has lived here for 18 years and STILL can’t get over the TREES! So glad you loved it here, we’re definitely more real than those OC women and would love you to stay!

  10. Amy_in_Stl

    Collards don’t have any salt added to them. They’re cooked with smoked meat so maybe that’s why you thought they were salty.
    Grits are only good if they’re not the instant kind or if they have lots of cheese. They have to be eaten hot because as they cool they set up and they are glommy then. I make them with corn, green onions and lots of parm.
    The cowboy boot thing is very regional – I lived in South Carolina and people there only wear boots if they’re riding.
    People in The South are as nice to you as you are to them. If you’re snarky or nasty they’re just as sweet as can be to your face still – but as someone who’s seen it before can tell you; it’s a different kind of sweet. It’s a “Well, isn’t that nice.” or “Well, bless your little pea pickin heart.” because they can rise above any yankee nastiness.

  11. Linda

    Hey Girl! So glad you had a good time with Son and enjoyed a bit of the South Eastern Fall. People are real nice here aren’t they? I was at Clemson Univ last weekend and saw lots of short dresses with cowboy boots. Looks good on 20 somethings. Not so much on this 40 something:)

  12. Karen in Texas

    It’s good to hear that you enjoyed your visit so much. As a born and bred Texan, I must say that I’ve never truly enjoyed grits. However greens are a staple. As mentioned above, it is the meat cooked in the greens that make them slightly salty.
    Homemade biscuits are wonderful I agree. I remember many a morning when I was young eating homemade biscuits with sliced fresh garden tomatoes and cream gravy … MMMMMMMmmmm.

  13. missy

    What a fun post and reading all the comments was an education! Thanks everyone. My sister flew for Delta and I attended her graduation in Atlanta in 1979 and sure enough on the breakfast buffet was a chaffing dish of grits. Yuck!

  14. Pseudo

    Frat boys remind me of my favorite line from Modern Family. Teh one with the Jagermeister…. it’s hilarious.
    Glad you got to go and enjoy the South and your son’s college 24 ; -)

  15. Jill

    *sigh* … no I can’t imagine that distance between your kids is easy.
    but a great weekend it sounds like you had!

  16. Louis Vuitton Outlet

    what would be nice to see along with the tickets sold is the allotment each school was supposed to sell. For instance I see that Minnesota sold 3,000 tickets for last year’s Insight Bowl, but how many were they required to sell? Did they meat their allotment or how short were they?

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