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15 Things You'll Never Hear Someone From Pittsburgh Say

Pittsburgh Student Work
by Erin Graney Aug 6, 2015

1. “Where my fancy cuff links at?”

I’ve seen someone buried in a Pens jersey and married in a Steelers jersey. If you are not wearing something that could be construed as pajamas to work, then you are already ahead of 80% of Pittsburgh’s population. Casual Friday? More like casual every day. If comfort is a crime, then we are all guilty.

2. “I’m just having cake.”

Cookie tables are one of Pittsburgh’s greatest, most delicious gifts to this world and a staple in weddings, parties and my dreams. A Pittsburgh cookie isn’t just your average joe chocolate chip. I’m talking ladylocks, thumbprints, nut rolls, butter balls, biscotti, kolache, and everything in between — all homemade by your local grandma, mom, your aunt, your aunt’s friend, your neighbor, your neighbor’s aunt. It’s just not a Pittsburgh party without a cookie table.

3. “I didn’t know anyone there!”

A Pittsburgher can barely snap a gumband without hitting someone they went to high school with, their mom’s dentist, or their neighbor’s distant cousin. The chances you will run into your elementary school clarinet teacher at Kennywood are almost always 100%.

4. “Go Phillies!”

Unlike in Philadelphia, you probably won’t end up in the ICU for wearing another team’s sports jersey, but you will be considered a total jag. Phillies? We hate them. Flyers? Go jump in the river. Ravens? We hope you die in the gutter like Edgar Allen Poe. The Nats? More like the Nots. We’re loyal to our home teams whether they’re winning now or 50 years ago.

5. “Bridges make me nervous.”

While it’s true that most Pittsburghers won’t cross a bridge if they don’t have to, Pittsburgh is the bridge capital of world. We even have more bridges than Venice, Italy. We boast 446 bridges and they are critical to getting around our three rivers and steep hillside. It’s not unusual to cross four lanes of traffic in a 30-second time span on a bridge located under another bridge just to get to another bridge.

6. “Churches don’t have good food.”

Ever wonder why your local Pittsburgh priest is driving around the block in a caddy handing out 24-carat gold rosaries? It’s because the 40 days of Lent bring enough fish business to churches in Pittsburgh to manufacture a hundred pope-mobiles. Between these fish frys, pierogi nights and Church Brew Works, you’ve eaten tons of dinners in churches. Everyone thinks their church makes the best food, but we all know who makes the greatest fish fry — Jesus.

7. “I thought they filmed Batman in Cleveland.”

The last couple years have seen a lot of movie filming in Pittsburgh, and we take great joy pointing this out. The Dark Knight Rises, Jack Reacher, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Adventureland, Silence of the Lambs, and I could continue. Some people call Pittsburgh the Hollywood of the East, but even more people do not. Fun fact: the unemployment rate in Pittsburgh dropped 1% during the filming of The Dark Knight Rises because so many people were hired to work on set.

8. “Go north on 376 and take Exit 11.”

“Yinz want directions? Okay ya wanna head dahntahn. Take a lef at the red light. Ya gotta cross the Mon, there are three bridges, pick one. Nah ya take a right at the Primanti’s and go up mahnt warshington n’at. Easy anuff, I don know what else to tell yah.”

Getting around Pittsburgh is like that island in Pirates of the Caribbean where you can’t get there unless you already know where it is, because everyone gives location-based directions, uses backroads and just doesn’t know what else to tell you.

9. “I took the subway to the Steelers’ game.”

It’s not shaped like a T and it doesn’t look like a T and they don’t serve tea on it, but we call our mass transit train ‘the T’ in Pittsburgh, and it is mostly above ground when it is not under the river. It’s so helpful. It can take you anywhere you want to go as long as those places are the North Side and the South Hills. Oh, or distances Downtown that are actually faster and more convenient to walk because the T is incredibly slow.

10. “What the hell is a pierogi?”

Get aht. We love our pierogies in Pittsburgh, including the pierogi race at Pirates’ games — Go Jalapeno Hannah! Polish fare of all kinds is incredibly popular in Pittsburgh and kielbasi, halushki and pierogi are widely available. My favorite place to eat them is S&D Polish Deli in the Strip District, or Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, or your mom’s house.

11. “I don’t want fries on that.”

In Pittsburgh, you don’t have a choice because we stand behind our belief that salads should only be eaten when they have a ton of fries and cheese on them. That goes for sandwiches too. We’ll take fries on everything and also can you put a pierogi and a dippy egg on it?

12. “I don’t understand what’s so terrible about towels.”

Introduced by beloved Pittsburgh icon Myron Cope in 1975, the Terrible Towel was originally a yellow, gold or black dish towel that fans brought to Steeler’s games. Now, you can buy the trade marked Terrible Towel with penguins on it, or in pink, or stick to the standard gold version. It’s an incredibly useful fan symbol, providing easy cleanup for when you spill your beer all over the child sitting in front of you while doing the wave.

13. “The dog needs to be fed.”

Pittsburghers pass by the whole ‘to be’ part of this construction and will tell you the dog needs fed, the lawn needs mowed and the bed needs made. Other well noted Pittsburgh dialect terms include nebby (nosy) and jagoff (jerk). And we say yinz n’at. Pittsburghese was voted the ugliest accent in America. Clearly no one who participated in that vote has ever been to New Jersey.

14. “I need to pick up some Hunt’s at the grocery store.”

If you’re not a Heinz family then you really need to catch up. Heinz is clearly the best ketchup out there and it’s basically condiment blasphemy to have another brand at your cook out.

15. “I can’t wait to leave Pittsburgh.”

Pittsburghers love their hometown and many people are born, raised, and laid to rest in the steel city. I know more than a few people who live in the same neighborhoods as their parents, on the same block and in the house just across the street. Even when people leave, they usually come back to raise their family in the beautiful and vibrant city they grew up in. The truth is, there is no reason to leave Pittsburgh because Pittsburgh is It-sburgh!

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