Photo: Yooper Shirts

13 Things People From Michigan's Upper Peninsula Always Have to Explain to Out-of-Towners

by Megan Murphy Aug 9, 2016

1. “Yooper” is not just a nickname, it’s a way of life.

If you can climb Front Street at 2 a.m. in the dead of winter to get back home, and only fall once, you’re a Yooper. If you can party on a Tuesday and get up for work at 6 a.m. on Wednesday? You’re a Yooper. Being a Yooper means so many different things, but basically, if you can survive some of the harshest winters in American and still know how to party once summer hits, you’re a Yooper.

2. And we are not Canadian.

As much as non-locals would like to think that people from the U.P. are Canadian, it’s just not accurate. As close as we may look on a map, personality-wise, we’re very different. We might say “eh,” but there’s more to being Canadian than just saying “eh.” Eh?

3. What do you mean you don’t know what a pasty is?

Flaky crust, rutabaga, potatoes, beef, onions — pasties are the best. Choose your dipping sauce wisely, and don’t forget to ask for extra napkins.

4. It is pronounced “sow-na,” not “saw-na.”

Just get it right already, please. Sauna is a funny-looking word to begin with, but when you throw in an incorrect pronunciation, it makes it ten times worse.

5. Let me show you where I’m from, using my hand.

It’s definitely harder to make your hand look like the U.P. vs the L.P., but desperate times call for desperate measures.

6. The Packers vs Lions struggle is real.

What do you do when half of your family is made up of Packers’ fans, and the other half are Lions’ fans? You run and hide, that’s what. Especially if they play each other on Thanksgiving Day.

7. Ice fishing: it’s not just for Alaskans.

When the lakes freeze over, it’s time to break out the shanties and practice your Heikki Lunta dance, because you’re going fishing.

8. Hunting season is considered more of a vacation than summertime.

Everyone marks November 15th on their calendars, whether they hunt or not. People call in sick to work and kids play hooky from school to go out to camp and start looking for whitetail deer. It’s almost a national holiday. And don’t forget the beer. Gotta start early to get da turdy-point buck, eh?

9. No trolls allowed in the U.P.

Yoopers are more than happy to extend an invitation to our Lower Peninsula friends — take a dip in Lake Superior, drive down some back roads and take in the scenery. But please, don’t move here. We don’t think you could handle it.

10. Another pronunciation issue: it’s “Mack-i-gnaw,” not “Mack-i-nack.”

This is how you weed out the real out-of-towners from the not-so-out-of-towners. If they can say Mackinaw correctly, they get a Yooper gold star.

11. Flannel isn’t just for hipsters.

Yoopers wear flannel and drink PBR to stay warm, not because it’s cool. If anyone is an out-of-towner, they more than likely won’t understand the real meaning of flannel.

12. Yeah, we know there’s 906 paraphernalia everywhere.

It’s because representing the 906 is really important to us. Whether you wear your dad’s old high school track t-shirt or a trucker hat with the area code on the front from Yooper Shirts, representing the U.P. is a definite must. Even if it’s simply a car decal or a keychain — as long as it lets the world know where you’re from and that you’re proud of it.

13. No, we don’t date our cousins.

Give us a break! We’re just as knowledgeable about dating as everywhere else. Sure, we might be a little bit more tight-knit than people from other places, but we do have internet, people. We can create a Tinder account just like everybody else, thank you very much.

Discover Matador