CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

November 17, 2013

SOUTHERN STYLE: And the winner is...

By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times

— Well, if we didn’t know it already and hadn’t thought so all along, we can all rest assured that its official now…Southern accents win out as the most attractive in the nation. And it’s about time we were recognized for it, don’t y’all think?

According to a new survey by the dating website Cupid.com, our Southern accents top the list on a survey of 2,000 people polled — 36.5 percent said that Southern accents was the most attractive. In second place was the New York accent, with 16.5 percent of the vote.

The least attractive accents according to Cupid.com were the Midwestern accent, which clocked in at seventh place with 5.5 percent of the vote, and the Mid-Atlantic accent — found from Nebraska to Pennsylvania — was last, at eighth, with a mere four percent. Even the Canadian accent, with seven percent of the vote, beat out those two.

Here is how the survey tallied the votes:

The numbers of Cupid.com’s Survey of Attractive Accents say it, once and for all. Here is how they were ranked. Southern accents, which ranked 36.5 percent overall, were ranked the highest by men, 45 percent of whom voted for the honeyed drawl; 28 percent of women voted in the Southern twang.

Coming in second was the New York accent, a very distant second, that is, at 16.5 percent, ranked with males only 10 percent and 23 percent among women, who liked the New York accent almost as much as they did the Southern patois.

Third place was the Western accent, with 13 percent of the vote, 16 percent by male voters and 10 percent by females. The New England accent garnered 10.5 percent, 8 of that by men, and 13 percent by the ladies. New Jersey and Canada tied for fifth and sixth places with 7 percent, and, as mentioned above, the Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic accents came in 5.5 and 4 percent, respectively.

After all of these years, maybe this makes up a little bit for the ragging we’ve taken from the rest of the country. So does this mean that we now get to correct the verbiage of the other half? I kinda doubt it.

We do slurr our vowels a bit and make light of some hard and fast rules of the King’s English, but don’t those news and weather people have Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic accents? And if so, since we have achieved the higher rank in this poll, will they now be saying, “Today’s weathah is sunny and miiiild, y’all, and tomorrah looks much the same"?

It would be nice to hear our accents done justice for a change, not portrayed like Boss Hogg of Smokey and the Bandit fame, or Lu Lu Roman from Hee Haw, but the more cultured and refined voices of Southerners known the world over. I’m thinking of the polite, velvety tones of Elvis Presley or the soft, perfectly enunciated words of Rosalyn Carter or Billy Graham. I love the strong, decisive sound of the poet Maya Angelou, and perhaps best of all, the comfortingly familiar drawls of the late Andy Griffith, or celebrities like Paula Deen and Fannie Flagg.

Not only did we make the national news with our accents, it seems that we also won the poll on where people are migrating to, and it ain’t just Orlando anymore, Toto!

In Michael Barone’s new book titled, “Shaping Our Nation”, Barone explains the way Americans are shifting their paradigms concerning where they want to live and their desire, “to pursue dreams and escape nightmares.”

Barone says that the “nightmare cities” are mostly familiar ones: Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo and other former manufacturing towns that no longer have enough jobs to support a shrinking population. He names the new dream cities, which tend to be ones in which low taxes and low housing costs are creating population growth and prosperity: Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Nashville, Atlanta and several “mini Atlantas” including Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham and Jacksonville. Barone, a political historian and writer for the American Enterprise Institute and the Washington Examiner, also co-authors the Almanac of American Politics. In “Shaping Our Nation,” he makes reference to people moving to some of the most churched cities of the South.

In that case, if they find out about Cullman, where there is a church on every corner, we can look forward to a real influx of migratory snowbirds and others who have found that the South is a wonderful place to live. Coming from colder climes, they adore our temperate weather. They are attracted to our rustic country landscapes, beautiful beaches and secluded mountain lakes. They are interested in our food, since cooks like Paula Deen and Cajun Chef Justin Wilson made it so popular. They just have to put up with us Southerners while they are here.

Do you know what I really think it is, though, that makes the South suddenly so desirable? It’s certainly not Swamp People or seeing American Picker’s going through all of our barns and sheds…I think it’s our music and our football.

I think that the huge influence of today’s country music and artists like Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson and of course, groups like Alabama, Sugarland and The Band Perry, have made our part of the world seem like a peaceful oasis of sanity and security in a changing world.

Who wouldn’t be drawn to a place where mommas are about the most respected people on earth, cornbread is a food group unto itself, and there’s barbecue on every corner? Not to mention that we are the reigning SEC National Champions? Who wouldn’t want to live here?