Lisa is a student in the MatadorU Travel Writing program.
Respond with “I’m sorry” when we say we’re from Kansas.

Don’t even think about sucking up to us next time you want help on your homemade barbecue sauce or you need a place to rest your head on your miserable drive to the Rockies.

Assume we all grew up on farms.

Or know anything about farming at all. Sure, feeding our nation falls largely on the broad shoulders of our farmers, who work sunrise to sunset, tilling the land and raising livestock, but don’t believe for one second all Kansans can milk a cow.

Those farming ladies and gents are tough. Most of us probably aren’t capable of laboring the land through 100-degree weather in the summer, several feet of snow and ice in the winter, or would even know where to start come harvest time. In reality, over a third of us live in urban areas and are much better acquainted with shopping malls than farm equipment.

But we’ve seen the commercials. America would starve if it weren’t for our farmers. Unless of course you’re into all that high-fructose corn syrup crap. For that you’ll survive just fine in Iowa.

Call Kansas a “flyover” state.

“Flyover” translates to “never go there, it’s a wasteland, your state sucks, it’d be better if it didn’t exist.”

Whether you’re a jet-setter flying from New York to LA on the weekends in your chartered plane, or you’re just too lazy to have ever looked at a map of the US past a few border states, we don’t care that you have no desire to visit our fine state. We know we’ve come in dead last for tourism over the last several years. In fact, we do it on purpose. People with bad attitudes who can’t find the beauty in wide open skies shouldn’t be allowed to experience it.

“One of those square states” is also an unacceptable descriptive phrase. We’re a rectangle with a chunk out of the corner.

More like this: How to piss off a Texan

Besides, if you’ve ever actually “flown into” Kansas for one reason or another, you probably landed at Kansas City airport. We know that as you landed “in the city,” you saw cows. Don’t bring this up. If you do, we’ll only remind you that you actually landed in Missouri.

Which brings me to my next point…

Tell us the only good things about Kansas are actually in Missouri.

Yes, it’s called Kansas City. Yes, a big part of the city is in Missouri.

Our neighboring state is great for a few things, like housing our Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals. But there’s a reason a lot of those athletic millionaires choose to live on our side of the state line. Nothing “good” about Kansas is actually in Missouri, because anyone who has ever laid eyes on a map of the US can see they are separate. The division goes way back to the Civil War and keeping Kansas a “free” state. Much blood was shed and one senator caned over the seriousness of the Kansas-Missouri border. Honor the border.

Make a Wizard of Oz joke.

We get it, it’s hard to come up with a relatable post-1939 pop culture reference, but try harder. We can’t click our heels together three times, our little dog’s name is not Toto, and even if we do have an Auntie Em, we aren’t going to tell you. If a Kansan gives a courtesy chuckle at your lame Dorothy joke, it’s only because their strong Midwestern parents taught them good manners.

If you’re trying to show off your Kansas state smarts, instead try sparking up a conversation about Dwight Eisenhower. Call him “Ike.” Or ask us about Eric Stonestreet. He’s killing it right now in Hollywood and still comes back to see us.

Belittle collegiate sports.

No professional-level sports teams currently play on Kansas soil, except Sporting KC if you’re into that whole “soccer” thing. That doesn’t mean we don’t live and die by the flickers of hope the Chiefs and the Royals give us at the beginning of each of their respective seasons. We consider them our own and that fact should never be challenged.

Now, our collegiate football and basketball teams…they are fully and rightfully ours. Their arenas are built on hallowed ground. Tell us we make too big a deal of a “kids’” game and we’ll tell you to go back to your pro-sports teams who have forgotten how to be aggressive and cry about how underpaid they are.

And never, ever tell us you root for K-State during football season and KU during basketball season. That’s a lukewarm, fair-weather fan. And if you read the Bible, you know “lukewarm” is a dangerous thing to be.

Ask us why we don’t have an accent.

Because we aren’t from the South.

Draw an X over a map of the country and put your finger at the crossing point. That’s Kansas. It’s in the middle. Not the South.

And for the love of all things good and holy, do not tell us we are from the South after we have politely informed you that we are not.

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