You Know You're From Michigan When... Michigan Stereotypes
Every US state is known for a number of stereotypes and my home state, Michigan, is no different. A lot of Michigan stereotypes are oddly similar to stereotypes of those from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Canada. Some of these things are total myths, some are slightly based on fact, and some of these are 100% true.
It's important to know that a stereotype isn't always true. While some things might be true for a number of people in the Great Lakes State, it may be completely off for another person. The same holds true for people from other states. This is why it's important to get to know a person before making snap decisions about them based on where they're from.
You point to a spot on your hand to show someone where you're from
This is definitely a nifty way to show someone where you're from and, embarrassingly enough, I've used this method! This is definitely not a hurtful stereotype and it's kind of a fun way to show some Michigan pride!
You've never met a celebrity
This one doesn't make any sense to me. I don't know about other parts of Michigan, but there are lots of celebrities that have summer homes in our area. Heck! My brother swam in Muhammed Ali's swimming pool!
Notable residents of my town include:
Dennis Farina, actor on Law & Order
Patrick Swayze had a condo here
Louis Farrakhan (I was actually stopped by his security as a kid for inadvertently wandering onto his property)
Kyle Korver of the Chicago Bulls
Richard Daley, former Chicago mayor
Muhammed Ali lives nearby (out in Berrien Springs) and Oprah had a home a few miles outside of town (actually in Indiana, though.) It is also rumored that the guy who wears the "Benny the Bull" mascot costume for the Chicago Bulls lives down the street from us, but I'm not sure how true that is. So, the "you've never met a celebrity" thing isn't true, at least in this area.
- The Michigan Accent & Michiganders' Slang Words
A guide on the Michigan accent and commonly used slang words (and their Michigan-style pronunciation) that Michiganders and other Midwesterners often use.
There are a lot of weather-related stereotypes about Michigan.
- You design your children's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
The weather suddenly gets very cold around Halloween, so this one has a lot of truth in it.
- You can experience all four seasons in one day.
This is sort of true, the weather can change quite rapidly here in Michigan.
- 4th of July celebrations are held indoors because of the cold
Not true except maybe far, far north like the UP. It gets really hot here, summer days can reach into the 80s and 90s particularly in July and August.
- Winter lasts 9 months.
This one does seem to be true. Summer is really nice, but it does take a while to heat up and then it only lasts for a few months and then gets really cold again.
One misconception is that Michigan is like the Arctic Tundra. People have asked me, "How warm does it get in the Summer?" When I tell them that it gets into the 90s some days, they look disappointed. Sometimes I feel like responding, "I'm just kidding... yeah, the warmest is just above freezing, sometimes we only wear one coat."
- Home Improvement stores are packed in the summer
This is true. I used to work at Lowe's and when it got warm out, it was super busy. In fact, I was hired as a seasonal (temporary) employee before I was officially hired in. There were actually a ton of us who were all hired as seasonal if that tells you how busy these stores are in the summer.
Map of the US According to Michiganders
You can spend Canadian money
That used to be true, to a degree. In recent years, people have been getting really picky about taking Canadian money.
However, people never heavily abused the Canadian money thing. If we got Canadian money, we never complained and would spend it just like American money. We only received change, never bills and we could spend it anywhere around here except the banks.
You know how to play (and say) Euchre
That's pronounced like "you + kerr" and I used to know how to play this game. It's a four player card game that uses only the nines, tens, jacks, queens, kings, and aces.
A lot of people do seem to know how to play this game as there are always clubs listed on public access television that meet up and play it. I think this stereotype is also true in Indiana, at least I've heard this stereotype applied to people from Indiana.
An international trip involves choosing The Bridge or The Tunnel.
This stereotype is talking about the drive to Canada through Detroit. If you're taking the trip across the border here (to Windsor, Ontario), you have the choice of taking a bridge or a tunnel. When we cross in Detroit, we usually take the tunnel, however, we usually cross up north on the bridge from Port Huron, Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario.
Everyone, including women, know how to use jumper cables
I had a non-Michigan friend who had to use my jumper cables to jump his car and he put them on wrong, causing the cables to melt. I was actually shocked that this person didn't know how to use jumper cables and remember thinking, "How can you not know how to use jumper cables?"
People use statues of deer to decorate their yard
There are places where people don't do this? This stereotype isn't true of everyone in Michigan, but a lot of people do decorate their yards with deer statues. The same holds true in Indiana. I was almost in a car accident because someone had their deer statue kind of close to the road and I thought it was a deer.
Everyone you know has hit at least two deer
Okay, this is an exaggeration, but there are a lot of deer here. I have never hit a deer, but one thing that sticks out in my mind is that fact that we had to watch THREE videos in driver's ed about deer. Also, I've heard stories about how people keep the deer they hit for meat. Why is this not considered eating road kill?
You drink pop
We do drink pop. One of my friends went out to California and asked for a pop at a movie theater and the girl was really confused and told him they didn't serve popsicles. I don't know if it was just the girl or maybe people out west really don't know what we're talking about. I didn't know people called it soda until I went to an out-of-state middle school... so maybe 12 or 13.
I have heard that some regions of the country, people call it coke no matter what flavor it is. This idea baffles me. How do you ask for a Sprite?
"I would like a Sprite Coke, please"
"I would like a Coke." "What kind would you like?" "I'll have a Sprite."
Michigan has two types of lighthouses: actual lighthouses and orange barrels
Haha, very funny! [sarcasm] I don't know why, but seemingly the roads are ALWAYS under construction. Perhaps it's because we have tar roads here (because of the salt trucks in the winter) and tar roads, well, get potholes all the time!
There is a joke that we kind of have in the family about a specific junction off of Highway 94 (where it meets Highway 65 in Indiana.) The joke is something like, "You'll want to get off before the 65 junction because it's under construction." This is because this particular section of the highway has been under constant construction since I can remember. However, that area gets extremely heavy traffic, so they are probably constantly having to do repairs.
Your town has an equal number of bars and churches
There are a lot of bars and churches in my town. There are quite a few of drinking related Michigan stereotypes and I don't really find these to be true. I'm guessing maybe people think that all Michiganders do is drink.
While it is cold here and going to a bar might be a fun indoor activity, not everyone here drinks. In fact, my family members may just have a drink around the holidays or special occasions. Some of my friends drink and some don't. I think it's the same as anywhere.
What are some stereotypes you've heard about Michigan? Are you from Michigan? If so which of these stereotypes are true for you and which aren't?