Talk shit about Detroit.
Detroit is more than just the negative headlines you read. People from Michigan are well aware of the city’s decline — you don’t need to remind us. It’s also a city full of spirit, and local residents are doing all sorts of cool things to revitalize the area.
Further discussing the city’s painful past is only kicking the city when it’s already down. Also, stop referencing Journey’s mention of “South Detroit” — South Detroit isn’t a real place.
Claim any other state is the Mitten State.
Don’t get it twisted, Wisconsin. Michigan is the one and only Mitten State, and any Michigander will proudly point to where their hometown is on their left hand when asked where they’re from. Michigan is one of the most recognizable states on a US. map, and we’re called the “High-Five State of America” and “Land of the Hand” for a reason.
Ignore the deliciousness of Michigan craft beer.
If you’re not a big beer drinker then fine, you get a pass, I guess. Just know that we take our beer here seriously and yes, we will be sitting on our throne of judgment judging and mocking you plebes drinking your PBR or Bud Light.
With the abundance of breweries in our state — including Bell’s, Short’s, Founder’s, and a ton of other great ones –it’s hard to not become a bit of a beer snob here. Drinking “national” beers is a sin in this state for sure.
Forget your driving skills, especially in the winter.
If you’re born and bred in Michigan, we don’t understand how you can forget how to drive in the snow every year when the season comes back around. Always be safe, of course, but driving 10-20 miles below the speed limit when there are only a couple inches of snow on the road just makes you look like a rookie Michigander.
If you’re from out of state, don’t worry, we just assume you naturally don’t know how to drive anyway.
Drink any coffee other than Biggby Coffee.
Sorry Starbucks, but we pretty much try to pretend like you don’t exist. Biggby’s expansive menu and array of sweet coffee confections tops anything Starbucks could ever offer. If we’re not supporting a different local coffeeshop (shout out to Water Street and Fourth Coast in Kzoo!), then we’re likely to be found at Biggby.
Be from or talk about anything to do with Ohio.
Understand it’s born into every Michigander to naturally despise our southern neighbor, and supporting any sports team from there is basically denouncing your Michigan allegiance. Ohio is just another curse word to us and yes, you should say you’re sorry after mentioning it.
Throw away your pop or beer cans; also, call pop anything other than pop.
Every time you throw away a pop or beer can, that’s a perfectly good 10 cents that could have gone towards ANOTHER delicious beer or pop. Every good Michigander collects their cans until they can buy another six pack, or at least a tall boy.
If you call pop anything other than pop we’re likely going to stare at you hard for a quick second. It’s not soda, fool, and it certainly isn’t a “Coke.”
Knock any of our sports teams.
If there’s one thing people from Michigan are passionate about it’s our sports teams. The Lions, Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons, Michigan, and Michigan State are all hot-button items the average Michigander loves to chat about. We love our teams to the end, even if some (ahem, Lions) can’t seem to catch a break and always leave us feeling disappointed.
Underestimate the beauty of Michigan; think that Michigan’s only season is winter; comment on how cold it is here.
Yes, Michigan gets cold — in the winter. You don’t need to tell us twice. We know that’s just an unfortunate side effect of living in this part of the country. Regardless of how unpleasant the long winter can be, one of the great things about the Mitten State is its natural beauty during all of the seasons. And yes, we actually do have more than one season; although, most residents joke we have 2 seasons — winter and construction. All of our seasons are beautiful, and we celebrate them each with various festivals, events, and traditions throughout the state.
Instead of traveling to other parts of the country in the summer, most Michigan residents choose to head “up north.” We have five Great Lakes to choose from with award-winning beaches, long-lasting sunsets, and cozy coastal towns. The Upper Peninsula has its own set of unique culture and customs that make you feel like you’re going back in time. With so much at home, why would we need to go anywhere else?
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Koty Neelis is a writer and traveler. Her book "Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost: A Guide For New Travelers" is forthcoming 2014 via TC Books. She contributes to Thought Catalog, Portable.tv, and more. Follow her on Twitter.