The April RSM Roundtable – Pt. 1

Recently a collection of RSM contributors gathered online for an introductory chat and to discuss a myriad of issues we plan to explore here on the blog. RSM founder Wayne Franklin acted as moderator.

Here’s the first part of that discussion:

Wayne Franklin

Wayne Franklin: Welcome everyone! I want to thank all of you not only for taking part in this introductory chat but for agreeing to be a part of this little experiment we’re calling Real Southern Men.
I should let you all know that I’ve pre-typed many of my questions. So don’t feel too inferior if you cant post with the same rapidity as I’m displaying tonight.

But a little inferior might be nice for my ego.

Lee Meadows: **snide comment muted**

WF: Over the life of this blog, as we explore the definition of a real Southern man, we’ll be dealing with a good many stereotypes, disproving some, reinforcing others. I think stereotypes are a good place to start…

What stereotypes of Southern men, or Southerners in general, do you personally find the most irritating?

David Reber

David Reber: Starting with the negative are you?

WF: Why not? Let’s deal with it straight-up.

Jerrod Brown: Assumed ignorance based on language or geography.

DR: That we’re slow learners because of our accents.

LM: Southerners, especially men, are dumb. As soon as a “y’all” slips out when I’m traveling on business, I can tell my IQ points just dropped with my audience.

George Heubach: Lack of teeth.

DR: I use my accent to my advantage. I find it helpful during sales presentations.

WF: David, you’re living outside the South. Is it a curiosity for people you deal with?

{Editor’s Note: David Reber currently lives in Olathe, Kansas and works in the Kansas City metro area as a sales executive for Renewal by Andersen.}

DR: It’s often brought up. I get, “Where are you from” after they have heard me speak.

WF: Let’s hope we can disprove both of those – lack of teeth and lack of intelligence – despite any family members who might prove the rule rather than the exception.

Turning the question on its head, to which Southern stereotypes do you most closely hew?

DR: Manners – saying “yes sir,” “no ma’am.”

GH: I concur.

Lee Meadows

LM: Being a gentleman; that’s akin to the manners thing.

DR: We have raised our children to use those phrases and are often complimented on their manners. These are not heard often in Kansas City.

WF: We had a German friend who was very offended that we were teaching our children to say “ma’am” and “sir.” She said that was not to be used with friends and family, only strangers.

GH: I’ve heard some of that up North, too. They took offense to the use of it.

DR: It used to irritate the president of our company until I explained that it was the way I was raised.

LM: I’m 47, and I still find myself saying “Yes ma’am” to any woman I think slightly my senior. It’s a respect thing.

WF: Being gentlemanly and displaying proper respect seems to be a point of pride – in the good sense of the word – for many Southern men.

DR: I am much younger than Mr. Meadows.

WF: That’s “Mr. Meadows, sir.”

Jerrod Brown

 

 

JB: I think an interesting question is, “should a real southern man be so concerned about responding to the stereotypes of outsiders that he changes his language, or should the Real Southern Man be the “bell cow” for setting the agenda of a multi-accent culture?” The RSM does not pigeon-hole others with a particular accent, we should not accept it for us. Accents are the spice of the linguistic heritage of the USA – it’s just that our spice is not understood or accepted.

WF: That’s a good point, Jerrod. I feel like the South is one of the few regions still clinging to any sort of regional identity, but yet we’re often the butt of jokes for doing so.

Billy Ivey: Sorry I’m late, guys. I was brushing my tooth.

WF: At least you’ve clung tightly to the one, Billy.

Join us again next week to read more of our initial RSM Rountable, what we hope will be a regular feature here on the site.

What do you think? What are the stereotypes you most associate with the Southern man? Leave your comments below, on our Facebook page or follow RSM on Twitter.

2 Responses to “The April RSM Roundtable – Pt. 1”

  1. Lol! Too funny.

    I’d have to say that there is no single definition of a “Real Southern Man”, because it varies, even among Southerners. That said, however, what things are consistent in Southern men, no matter whether you analyze one from the Gulf coast, the Appalachian foothills, South Texas, or the northernmost reaches of the South that happen to be just south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Add to that, the complication of finding these same qualities (for better or worse) in a man from New England, California, Washington State. Is being a Southern man really so unique, or is it simply an image that we are expected to become and… uphold as uniquely Southern?

    This is quite the quest…

  2. So true, Robert. We never said it would be easy. However, all of us have had experiences outside the South, in life and work, that demonstrated just how far from home we were. Southerness is one of those things that, to quote Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart regarding pornography, “I know it when I see it.”

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