Photo: Kseniia Perminova/Shutterstock

How to Become an Ohioan in 20 Easy Steps

by Matt Hershberger May 15, 2015

1. Pick a side.

Welcome to Ohio! You must swear immediately allegiance to either Columbus, Cincinnati, or Cleveland. Learn to hate the others. Cleveland is “basically Michigan” to Cincinnatians. Cincinnatians are “basically the South” to everyone else. Columbus is just the place we meet in the middle for college football games.

2. Move to the suburbs.

Yes, some people live in the cities, but we have mastered urban sprawl in Ohio. Cincinnati is a few minutes away from swallowing Dayton 40 miles to the north.

3. Buy a car.

You want public transportation, move to the east coast. We drive here. Always.

4. Learn to talk football.

We’re better at it than everyone else, and while we don’t insist all of our residents be enthusiastic football fans, it will make your social life significantly easier if you understand the basics. In a pinch, while talking to a Bengals fan, fall back on “Ugh, fuck Andy Dalton.” If talking to a Browns fan, just go with, “Ugh, fuck everything.” You’ll make friends in no time.

5. Learn the names of the astronauts.

These are your heroes and your go-to defense of Ohio when people shit on our state.

6. Disconnect your phone line in Presidential election years.

Just trust us on this.

7. Make friends with someone who has a boat.

No, not a sailboat. A motorboat. Or possibly a jetski. This is what you do in the summertime now.

8. Familiarize yourself with local high schools.

When people ask what high school you went to, they are not interested in your college.

9. Learn to keep an eye out for yellow license plates.

They’re called “party plates,” and we give them to our DUI offenders. Give them a wide berth on the road, especially at night.

10. Accept that snow-skiing is no longer a thing you ever do.

Unless you’re willing to fly out west every year, you don’t ski anymore. I mean, you could go to Perfect North in Indiana, but that place is neither perfect nor north. Water skiing, on the other hand…

11. Learn to be amused by excessive religious imagery.

Maybe it’s the 5 Dollar Footlong Jesus. Maybe it’s the “Hell is Real” sign on 71. If this type of thing bothers you, you’re gonna be bothered a lot. So learn to laugh at it.

12. Drink locally.

There’s enough good beer here for you to never drink from out of state. Also, you’re only going to be drinking beer. Wine and hard liquor are grudgingly accepted, but are frowned upon.

13. Discover the dives.

Ohio specializes in dives and sports bars. Find the sketchiest one in your area and revel in its wonderful, hole-in-the-wall glory.

14. Try uncooked corn.

Yes, there’s a lot of corn in Ohio. There are a lot of ways to prepare it. But it’s surprisingly delicious raw. Try it.

15. Get snobby about your ice cream.

Listeria scare aside, Jeni’s is goddamn amazing, and until they get their shit together, Graeter’s can hold us over.

16. Realize you suddenly have a shit ton of money.

The cost of living here is insanely low. Your coastal friends are going to be living in closets for the rest of their lives while you live on fully appointed estates, even though you make the same amount of money.

17. Join a gym.

With all this driving during the day, you’re not gonna be doing a ton of walking. You need to set up a special time to do your exercise. Learn to love Dadbod.

18. Get into rock.

Our music scene is super solid if you’re into garage bands, bluegrass, and rock. Our hip hop scene is a little low-key, though. So either start listening to rock, or start rapping.

19. Eat that chili.

Yeah, Cincinnati chili isn’t everyone’s thing, but it should be. If you’re hesitant about trying chili with chocolate and cinnamon in it, try it as a dip: a layer of cream cheese, a layer of chili, a layer of shredded cheddar. Bake. Serve hot with chips. You’re welcome.

20. Settle in. You’re not leaving.

Ohioans always come back. Ask LeBron.

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