- Courtesy of Coren Feldman
- People from the Midwest are sick of hearing people call it “flyover country.”
- Don’t ask Midwesterners if they live on a farm, own a cow, or use a rooster as an alarm clock.
- If you think the Midwest is boring, you’re doing it wrong.
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When I tell people that I’m from Wisconsin, it always gets a reaction.
Whether I’m going about my business in New York City (my home for the last three years) or traveling abroad, anyone who’s not from the Midwest usually has lots of questions about where I grew up. Lots of the same questions.
Oftentimes, their inquiries show just how underrated and underappreciated the Midwest is.
Here are 11 things that Midwesterners like myself are tired of hearing.
“You’re from ‘flyover country.'”
- Skatie Designs/Shutterstock
Some people call any part of the US that’s not the East or West Coast “flyover country.” It’s an elitist term indicating the belief that there’s nothing in the Midwest worth seeing or doing. Midwesterners are tired of hearing it.
“Do you live on a farm?”
Are there farms in the Midwest? Yes. But there are farms in California and New York, too. Stop assuming that everyone from the Midwest lives on one.
“Do you have a pet cow?”
- Eloy Alonso/Reuters
While it’s true that cows are adorable, most Midwesterners do not have cows as pets.
“Do you wake up to the sound of a rooster every morning?”
- Peter K Mueller/Shutterstock
Again with the farm thing. There are, in fact, alarm clocks in the Midwest.
“Do you drive a tractor?”
- Modfos / iStock
It’s not entirely unlikely in some parts of the Midwest to see a tractor driving alongside cars on a road. Again, that doesn’t mean that all of the Midwest is just farmland.
“Where is [insert name of city/state]?”
- Alexander Lukatskiy/Shutterstock
Some “coasties” like to joke about not knowing where Midwestern cities or states are. Some of them genuinely don’t know.
If you didn’t have to memorize a map of all 50 states in grade school, it’s not too late to get acquainted with some of the lower 48. Look at a map and give us a break from having to convince people that our hometown does, in fact, exist.
“It gets really cold there.”
- REUTERS/Pinar Istek
During last year’s polar vortex, some parts of the Midwest were colder than Antarctica. So yes, it gets very cold.
“Illinois” (pronouncing the “S”)
If you pronounce the “S” in “Illinois,” you may not insult anyone, but you will most likely get laughed at.
“Are there [insert minority] in the Midwest?”
The Midwest is more diverse than people think.
I grew up in a vibrant Jewish community in the Midwest with synagogues, schools, community centers, and even a few short-lived kosher restaurants. For some reason, people are always surprised to learn that there are Jews there at all.
It’s not all white people, either. About 10% of people in the Midwest are black, 8% are Hispanic, and 3% are Asian.
“Is everyone in the Midwest friendly?”
Unless you ask annoying questions, yes. And even then, we’ll probably still be nice to you.
Midwestern hospitality is definitely a thing. Strangers will say hello to you on the street even if they don’t know you, which can be unsettling for people from big cities where that’s usually considered unwanted attention.
“There’s nothing to do in the Midwest.”
If you’ve never visited Milwaukee’s lakefront art museum designed by Santiago Calatrava, hiked through the otherworldly Badlands National Park, devoured a slice of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza, or shopped in one of Mall of America’s 520 stores in Minneapolis, you don’t get to say that the Midwest is “boring.”