Photo: James Kirkikis/Shutterstock

How to Piss Off Someone From Pittsburgh

by Claire Litton Cohn Mar 17, 2014

Every now and then, some advertising campaign thinks it’s funny to use Pittsburgh as the butt of a joke: a travel agency who pretends that’s the worst place on earth you could end up, with the kind of nose-wrinkling condescension that says, “Nobody would EVER voluntarily go there.”

For anyone who’s actually lived and loved in da ‘burgh, though…we know the truth.

Assume everybody loves the Steelers.

There are 99 reasons to move to the Steel City, and the Steelers ain’t necessarily one. Pittsburgh has a booming artistic community, several top-notch universities, and a tech industry to rival the Bay Area. Sure, there’s black and gold memorabilia in most shop windows, and you can buy a Terrible Towel in the airport…but assume every Pittsburgher is a sports fan and you deny the rich cultural landscape that makes up the rest of the city.

Assume nobody loves the Steelers.

I mean, come on. It’s the STEELERS.

Laugh at our yinzer accents.

Most places have a regional dialect or accent, no matter what language they speak. Pittsburgh is no exception. Native Pittsburghers and people who have lived here for a long time can have a very particular accent, often scattered with extremely specific slang.

This is most commonly characterized by using “yinz” for the second person plural — like “y’all” down in Georgia — and can include the use of words like “redd up” (short for “ready up,” meaning to tidy) and “gumband” (rubber band). The yinzer accent reflects blue-collar steel worker roots, and it can be a source of fierce pride. Mocking it is for jerks.

Ignore the view of downtown when you’re coming through the Fort Pitt Tunnel.

I never fail to get excited by the skyline when I drive in from the airport, with the impressively castle-y PPG building and all the floating restaurant business down by Station Square. I will make anyone in the car with me shut up and pay proper attention to this impressive sight. If you are not impressed, you can get out of the car. Yes, on the bridge.

Say “the bridge” without specifying which one.

Dude, the city has three rivers and something like 450 bridges. You can’t give me directions to somewhere by telling me to go over a bridge unless you tell me exactly which one. The Hot Metal Bridge is in a very different place from the Liberty Bridge. Also, you know that half of the smaller streets in the back neighbourhoods still don’t have street signs, right? Give very good directions, please.

Make fun of our dinosaurs.

Andrew Carnegie funded some crazy useful archaeological research. That’s why we have dinosaur skeletons everywhere. If you had a life-size T-Rex outside your art museum or inside your airport, you’d be proud of it too. We also have more library branches than almost any other city of comparable size, thanks to Andrew Carnegie’s lust for learning.

Call Pittsburgh part of the Midwest.

Look, son, Ohio is part of the Midwest. They have the flat nasal accents and the somewhat red-state values to prove it. Pittsburgh is part of the Northeastern states and is a lot closer to New York than Nebraska in behavioural patterns, the artistic community, and tech influences. Pittsburghers also really hate it when you say Cleveland and Pittsburgh are basically the same city. I mean, HATE.

Ask why we need to put coleslaw and french fries on a sandwich.

I think the real question is, why doesn’t everybody? If you could do what Primanti Brothers does, and have your entire meal in one conveniently portable bundle, you’d already be doing it right now. Besides, that study that said eating too much salt is bad for you turned out to be based on faulty research. Now pass the “O” fries.

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