Monday, January 21, 2013

Nashville vs. Washington

Since moving to Washington, I've noticed some interesting differences so I thought it appropriate to do a post highlighting cultural differences between the South and the North West.

Hoodies vs. Sweatshirts - I've always known long sleeve medium to heavy fabric up or pull over tops with a hood as a "hoodie". In Washington, they almost exclusively call them, sweatshirts. My definition of a sweatshirt was always a top with a t-shirt collar (no hood) as a sweatshirt. It resembles a sweater more than anything in my book. But in Washington, everything is called a sweatshirt. Personally, I don;t like the term as it makes me a shirt that is made for sweating.

Tattoos - In Nashville, Tattoos are still big but really hit their hipster pinnacle in the 90s along with hardcore music and rap/rock. In Washington, tons of people have tattoos and the most interesting fact is that a lot of older people have tattoos (50+) and they look to be pretty new. In Nashville, very few of the 50+ crowd have tattoos unless they got them when they were younger.

Piercings - Like tattoos, piercings in Nashville were a big deal in the 90s but seem to have lost much of their fashionability by the 2000s. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of people with fresh piercings in Nashville, but not to the degree or multitude that they were back in the day. So to my surprise, there are still a lot of people in Washington with a bunch of piercings. It's a bit of a culture shock as I was used to them being pretty much gone or at least not as many.

Dyed hair - This is still pretty much everywhere but again, in Washington you see a lot of older people with dyed hair. It's still pretty strange for me to see a 60 year old woman with purple hair, but in Washington it's semi-common.

Soda vs. Coke - I know it's silly and somewhat ignorant to call all soda-pop, Coke but that's how I grew up. You asked for a Coke and people will ask you what kind of Coke you want. In the South, Coke is just another term for soda. In Washington a Coke is a Coke and the generic term is soda. (which honestly makes more sense) But I have to say the term Coke seems homey and warm to me.

Accents - You very rarely hear a southern accent in Washington which is weird to me as I've been around them all my life and surely have somewhat of one myself. In Washington, you hear a strange hybrid of accents that sometimes seem to be a weird mix of Northern Mid-West (Think Fargo) and Canadian. People pronounce their T's strongly and often change the pronunciation of the letter A into ai or ie.

Clothes - Of course, Washington is much colder than Tennessee in general so you naturally see warmer fashions year round. The funny thing is before I came here I had a generalized idea of what people in Washington wore, probably from movies and such. The funny part... a lot of it is true! You see a lot of brown coats with faux white fur and a ton of people rock "Mountain Hard Wear" brand jackets. I guess it's pretty warm stuff. The most interesting thing I've seen is there is big trend here for ladies to wear jeans with sparkly designs on the butts... It's not a bad thing, it's kind of fun honestly but I haven;t really seen it anywhere else, including my trip back to Nashville in October.

As Davidson County has been places to live by CNN, Sammamish WA has also been named the friendliest city in the US. In a nutshell, I feel like Nashville has more going on right now but Seattle has more of an established well roundedness.

I hope you enjoyed my culture shock post. There's undoubtedly more but these are the things that come to mind right now. Maybe in the future I'll do more posts as I notice the differences between the different sides of the country.

1 comment:

  1. Really good observations. I visit Middle Tennessee every couple of years (wife's family) so I have some observations of my own:
    1) People in Tennessee seem to be wider.
    2) In Tennessee, there's a church on every block like Starbucks. (Why can't they combine the two?)
    3) Washington drivers drive like they've never seen it rain before. And it rains here all the time.
    4) In TN, there are 2 beers: Bud and Bud Lite.
    5) Western WA and Eastern WA hate each other probably more than any two parts of any other state.
    6) You missed the biggest fashion statement of all out here: socks & sandals.