18 Questions All Non-Natives Have For Missourians

18 Questions All Non-Natives Have For Missourians

There's a lot non-natives just don't get.
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Missouri, a mysterious place located in the center of America. It's been more than three years since I moved to the Show Me State, still the questions keep coming. Here are 18 looming questions Missourians must explain immediately.

1. Are you Southern or Midwestern?

Missouri, the mythical land that exists somewhere within the middle section of the United States. Where, precisely? No one seems to know. The state is a confusing combination of Southern and Midwestern cultures that seem to offer a glimpse of what would happen if Alabama and Minnesota had a love child.

2. Why is Missouri called the Show Me State?

Seriously, could someone please show me why?

3. How do you go through so much ranch dressing?

Ranch dressing is a staple throughout the Midwest, but Missourians have a particular fervor for the white condiment. Somehow, natives have mastered the art of smothering every food known to mankind in Hidden Valley. St. Louis even has a specifically ranch dressing themed restaurant with more than 27 varieties of ranch dressing on the menu. But that still doesn’t answer why you do it. Are Missourians born with an innate sense of which foods taste better with ranch dressing?

4. What precisely does the word "Alls" mean?

You can spot a Missourian by their use of the words “Alls” in place of the word "All". But what does it mean? Does the S change the meaning?

5. What is the weather going to be like tomorrow?

Because Missouri seems to go through all four seasons in a day

6. Why is Jeff City your capital?

Unlike most states, Missouri doesn’t have one bustling city. It has two. Both Kansas City and St. Louis are amazing places buzzing with unforgettable architecture, sights and people, yet somehow Jefferson City- in all its bland, monotonous, glory- vanquished both hubs to become the state capital. Does anyone know why?

7. What exactly is a gooey butter cake? Where did they come from?

Gooey butter cake has a cult of followers in Missouri. People swap recipes and drive hours out of their way to get their hands on the dessert. You can find gooey butter flavored doughnuts, cookies, ice cream and more. Still, non-natives are left wondering what precisely makes up these coveted desserts? Are they butter? Are they cakes? Are they anything like cookie butter, in cake form? What makes them a gooey butter cake and not just a butter cake?

8. What’s with the tailgating?

Don’t get me wrong, tailgating exists outside of Missouri, but Missourians seem to take it to a new extreme.

9. Why haven’t you renamed Kansas City yet?

The busiest, most culturally significant parts of Kansas City are located on the Missouri side of the state line, yet the metropolis is still known as Kansas City, or affectionately called KC. Can someone tell me why?

10. What is Saint Louis Bread Co. and why does its branding look exactly like Panera?

Full disclosure: I’ve never actually been into a Saint Louis Bread Co. but from the signs I’ve seen on I-70, the branding looks oddly similar to Panera…

11. Do you pronounce it “Missour-ee” or “Missour-ah”?

Even the natives seem to disagree.

12. Why does Missouri have two baseball teams?

Don’t most states just have one? What’s the point of having two?

13. What is corn hole, and why are Missourian’s so good at it?

I’ve heard of beanbags before, but discovering corn hole was an entirely new experience. Missourians are fiercely competitive about the game and seem to begin practicing at a young age to hone these skills. Non-natives don’t stand a chance once the bean bags come out.

14. Why is everyone so opinionated about the pop vs. soda debate?

15. Are there really secret cheese caves in Missouri?

Rumor has it the government is hiding billions of dollars of cheese in caves in Missouri, following a huge bailout of the dairy industry. At first, the story seems to have the makings of any good conspiracy theory: government involvement, corruption, massive corporate monoliths, a plot that has infiltrated much of daily life, concerns for public health and facts that are nearly impossible to prove. Unbelievable as it may be, sources appear to have confirmed the legend. Still, I can’t help but wonder if it’s really true.

16. What does the word "Fixin'" mean?

17. Can you REALLY openly consume alcohol in public?

But, Really? Are you sure it's okay?

18. What exactly is deep fried ravioli?

And how have I survived 20 years of my life without it?

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Be White Feminists

I am white. I am a feminist. But I try very hard to avoid being a "white feminist."

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Preamble 1: I'm not sure if you're aware, but it's a humid, grey April afternoon and being a woman comes with extra challenges, to which I definitely did not agree but they were probably in some fine print that I skimmed. Bummer. Anyway, feminism! Feminism's place in 2019 is contested but I am coming from a place of having heard many of the sides; given that, it would be lovely if you would hear my side.

Preamble 2: Before I get into this topic, I want to acknowledge the place of privilege from which I come. Look at my fully Irish name, I am white. Believing in social, economic, and political gender equality, I am a feminist. But I try very hard to avoid being a "white feminist". As a student at Texas A&M;, a university that sometimes strays into homogeneity in both thought and demographic, I've been noticing a pattern in many conversations concerning gender equality. The pattern is that of white feminism.

White feminism is a Western-styled picking and choosing of feminism that entails a set of beliefs tolerating the ignorance of issues that mostly impact women of color.

Contrast this philosophy with intersectional feminism, which recognizes multiple identities and experiences within us, while promoting more united gender equality. Without intersectionality, our essence cannot stand against oppression and stand for equality without acknowledgment of the nuances of different historical struggles. As women, we face difficulties, but not all women face the same oppressions and marginalizations – and that cannot be overlooked in narratives.

As far as gendered-based violence goes, the Justice Department estimates that one in five women and one in seventy-one men will experience rape in the US. However, here's where the necessary nuances come in.

Women and men of color are more likely to experience this form of violence than white women or men. Women and men who are LGBTQ+are more likely to experience this form of violence than straight women or men. Lower income women and men are more likely to experience this form of violence than women or men in the highest income brackets.

So, yes, one in five women and one in seventy-one men are rape victims. But quoting that statistic without disambiguating the data can mislead readers or listeners of the ways that different identities amalgamate into this final number. Essentially, disproportional oppressions exist. All people are at risk for gendered violence, specifically rape, in America, but some people are more at risk.

If you need more of an explanation, think of the following analogy. White feminism is to intersectional feminism what #AllLivesMatter is to #BlackLivesMatter. Everyday Feminism contends, "the former's attempt at inclusiveness can actually erase the latter's acknowledgment of a unique issue that disproportionately affects a specific group of people".

If you ever find yourself guilty of white feminism, (I've been there!) know that we are all evolving. As long as you are open to education, we are all on the same side.

Here are three vital steps you can take to make your feminism intersectional!

1. Reflect on yourself. 

Reflect on your long-held beliefs based on your perspective alone could not apply to someone else. Reflect on your privileged experiences and acknowledge them for what they are.

2. Think about others. 

Once you've figured your internal state out from step one, you ought to look at the experiences of others with the same level of validity as your own. Ethically, feminism focuses on equality. Yes, that means stopping sexism, but it also expands to mean stopping complicated systemic oppressions that affect more than just white women. That said, white feminists are not the enemy in the fight for equality, rather, they are underinformed.

3. Don’t be afraid to grow. 

Say you were wrong. There's less shame in it than you think. In fact, I genuinely wish our culture was more forgiving of people who made an honest mistake in their past, but their hearts were/are in the right place.

Allow yourself to move onwards and upwards. We are all works-in-progress. We are all striving for better versions of ourselves. Intention is everything and your intention should be to always learn.

Intersectional feminism is challenging, like all educations. If you're doing it right, it should force you to think and even make you feel a little bit uncomfortable. After all, while feminism is here to help, it is not here for your (or my) comfort.

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