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Southern Etiquette 111 Taught by a LA Girl

Hey guys!  My name is Jenn Rokus, and I just started my freshman year! I am super excited for you guys to get to know me and hopefully laugh and relate to the crazy things I have to say.

A little bit about me: I am from Los Angeles, California (I know cue the gasps or “wows”). It is a pretty amazing place to live with plenty of things to do. Being so far from home both physically and culturally has definitely made me notice that people really do things differently here in the “south” and since I have never lived anywhere but Southern California, I thought I’d point out some of these differences in funny meme form.

1.     Holding the door for people

(It should be known that I will make as many Game of Thrones references as possible)

While the idea is definitely incredible and should continue, the issue is since I come from a place where air conditioning is just as important as oxygen, if I were to hold the door open for as long as people do here, I would quite literally be asked to close the door and stop letting the expensive cold air out.  I have 100% received looks for not holding the door “long enough.” It would be really helpful if someone could give me an exact time frame for how long I have to stand there and hold it open… or do I stand there and wait for people that are walking towards it?  What is the distance requirement for holding the door? These are the real questions that need to be answered during freshman orientation.  


2.  Rain

The belief that California has no water is extremely true, so when there is water falling from the sky, I have no idea how to react or what to do.  My mom had to ship me a rain jacket… enough said.  One day when this strange phenomenon was happening I muttered under my breath “I’ve never seen so much water unless it was in the ocean,” and my classmate heard me and laughed for a good three minutes; so I’m glad my misery amused you. You’re welcome.  


3.  Smiling and Saying “Hi”

This is just not a concept in a city.  People do not smile or say hi to other humans when they are walking some place; they have places to go that they cannot take the time to acknowledge other human beings.  I don’t know why that is just the way it is. Don’t question it, but you will get weird looks for talking to yourself on the sidewalk.  My advice to anyone who visits a big city: don’t smile or say hi to people because they will think you are trying to mug them or attempting to sell something or worse… trying to be friendly.  


4.  Niceness

This is an accurate representation of most people asking “How are you?” to others where I am from.  But here they actually want a response. What a concept!


5.  The food

I don’t really know why so many things are fried, or why gravy on biscuits is allowed to be categorized as a breakfast food but there are definitely many differences between “southern food” and what I would call “normal.”  Words like “grits” and “chicken-fried steak” have been used, and I have literally no idea what those are so if someone wanted to culture me in food that would be awesome.  Southern Food 111. Now I would take that class.


6.  Words and Phrases

There just have been some times where someone says a phrase that must be common to them but I sit there and try to ponder what they mean in English.  


Honestly if Wake Forest could invest in a Southern Etiquette class that would be awesome because…

photos courtesy of: https://giphy.com/search/game-of-hodor

Jennifer Rokus

Wake Forest '21

Senior at Wake Forest University. LA girl living in the south. Netflix enthusiast. Avid reader. Lover of boots and pumpkin spice.
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