Things are different below the Mason-Dixon, apparently.
While dating in any city has its own set of complications (what up, Midwest?) nothing is quite as complicated as dating in the South. And I assure you, I'm not biased; this observation is coming from a southern-born, New York City-lived type of girl. I've been places. Upon moving back to my beloved home state, the adult me was shocked! Here are 11 reasons why dating in the South is really, really tough.
1. Everyone is married.
A significant number of guys who approach me are married and many have no problems making you their mistress. That's because cheating, while certainly popular all over the country, is rampant in the south. Tradition has long allowed wives to live in luxury while looking the other way. So if you're like me and want to find a suitable mate, it can make things tricky especially if a guy isn't upfront with you.
2. You'll see him again.
If I had a dollar for every bad date that I've run into later that prompted awkward small talk, I'd probably be able to buy a Super Size combo from McDonald's. The south is small, so everyone you go out with knows each other. It's fantastic.
3. You're related.
Not only does everyone know each other, everyone's a third or fourth cousin. How do I know? Well, friends, I've had a distant relative pursue me. (Talk about horrifying.) When in doubt, call your grandmother. She knows the family tree in and out.
5. They really care about your family background.
While every guy may be interested in your background, Southern men take it to another level entirely. They'll want to know things like how your family celebrates holidays, what type of neighborhood you grew up in, if your parents went to college—all in the first conversation! While at first it seems sweet that they want to know yor background, it's usually just a way to assess you as a suitable match. I find most men want a woman whose background is similar to theirs or better.
6. You may be judged.
When I lived in New York, I didn't think twice about wearing anything designer, but when I moved back south, strangers quickly eyed my pricey shoes and bag and intepreted it as 'who' I was. Keep in mind the image you give off. What is 'standard' in other big cities can easily be deemed 'extravagant' when travel below the Mason-Dixon line.
7. Men don't want you to outearn them.
Most men aren't comfortable with a woman that's the breadwinner. Because salaries and jobs in the South can be static, many people won't see the same upward progression as folks like me who moved to larger cities before settling back home for their career. So if a guy is concerned he won't be able to 'support' you (even if you haven't asked him to), don't be alarmed. Come sit in the corner with me *wink*.
8. 'Shacking up' is still kind of a no-no.
What was once considered a rite of passage and a sign of a successful relationship up north is actually a big no-no down south. Yes, people still move in together before marriage, but it's more acceptable when said couple is engaged. If you're not engaged, mothers and grandmothers alike may likely give you the side-eye.
9. Your date nights will be a little different.
I love dinner, drinks and a movie, but be prepared because southern men would rather take you to a driving range, laser tag or bowling. I've also been asked out on dates that required physical labor (I kid you not). I've painted, gone to vote, cooked dinner at his place, gardened—all in the name of a freakin' date! Why, you ask? Southern men love to see you in action to determine how you'll adapt to certain situations. They know that anyone can sit across a dinner table and charm them, but they want to understand how well you'll do as a wife and mother.
10. Meeting their mom is super-important.
Meeting the family is extremely important to southern men and might come sooner than you've usually done it. I've always taken meeting the mom as a positive sign but keep in mind they may introduce you early as a 'sniff test.' If you pass, he'll keep you around.
11. Cooking helps.
They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and this is never more true than for a man from the South.