Thursday, November 13, 2014

Truly Midwestern Sayings (Decoded)

I've lived in the great Midwest my entire life, and thus I'm not always aware of what constitutes a "truly Midwestern" saying. When I traveled to Berlin, I realized some of our strange American aphorisms, and then even Minnesota/Wisconsin versions. When my family took a vacation to Florida, everyone picked up on our accents and our expressions. I've compiled a list and helped decode their secret meanings.

1. Minnesota Nice: this is just an excessively polite way of saying passive aggressive.

2. "That's different": Your behavior/lifestyle/personality/opinion is totally unacceptable in my view and I will never understand, nor attempt to understand, why you do/think that.

3. "For sure": this seems to be exclusively Wisconsin in my experiences. If you're hardcore, you'll tack on an elongated "oh" in the beginning. Depending on tone, this can be condescending (if someone makes a suggestion that you despise) or eagerly appeasing (agreeing for almost the exclusive desire to agree). See No. 1 for why. (I'm pretty sure that other regions say, "most definitely.")

4. "Just a thought": this is typically said at the end of an opinion/suggestion. It's a polite and slightly passive aggressive way of implying that what you just said is (to you) the right and superior sentiment, but you don't want to come of as pretentious or too forward.

5. "Wouldn't you know"/"Dontcha know": the former is a way of introducing what you're going to say as special, interesting, serendipitous (like if you recently saw a long-lost friend you had been speaking about the other day). The latter is added at the end of a statement, and means to establish agreement.

All in all, most Midwestern sayings are about playing nice. If confused, assume they are trying really hard to keep the peace.

Photo via sarahcarlsonetc Instagram. 

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