Location: Southeastern, United States

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Pseudonyms gone wild.

My family lives - and I graduated high school in - Big University Town. Big University Town is a intellectual part of a wealthy area - the only reason we managed a whole house to live in was because the last resident had a lot of cats - and the people have a permanent edge of professionalism and resources. The hipsters are devout and unapproachable, the hippies beautiful and tan, the activists have short hair and sweaters and excellent analysis. The stereotypical - and in some departments, typical - Big University girl goes to classes in high heels, which she can actually walk in.

I went away to school at Small Town College. Small Town College is in the mountains. The mountains in my state aren't just the last holdout of The-South-Will-Rise-Again people; they're also a magnet for people that believe in aliens and crystals and Revolution in Our Time. The girls who go to my college can't walk in high heels for shit. There are two stereotypical types: the mountain girl, blond, a little lumpen, who came to Small Town College because it was a teaching school, a state school, within the circuit of Southern-Baptist Appalachia. The other type - rare, I know most of them by name - is a clean-faced part-time farmer who wears carharrt overalls on dates, has farm-girl skin and long curly hair and enjoys contra dancing.

I used to believe that I belonged whole-heartedly to Big University Town; I wore neat khaki clothing and had reasonable hair and I was a die-hard proponent of good analysis. I haven't lost the analysis, but damn I want to be a farm girl these days.



Blogger steve said...

My daughter spent her freshman year at Hollins University, which seems to be in the same region as your school. She might have been happier at a school where women wore overalls on dates. Hollins was, and probably still is, dominated by what Sarah calls "pearl girls"--a 21st century version of the Southern Belle. There were also the Baptists--her first roommate told her that if she truly believed in Jesus, she wouldn't need antidepressants. She's back in the Midwest now, at Knox in Galesburg.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

I don't think I could have survived Virginia, in general. My family is Old South, but my branch tends to become agronomists and poor country doctors and marry farmer's daughters and (gasp) Yankees. Virginia is particularly big on manners and money, old money, partially because at the end of the day they're faking their accents.

We have one sorority of pearl girls on campus. I find them absolutely fascinating, in their jackie-kennedy dresses and tasteful jewelry and strange champagne-related social gatherings. I don't think I could survive a whole campus of them, though.

Oh buddy the baptists. Last year I shared a suite bathroom with a fresh convert. Every thursday, she had evening Campus Crusade, where she had to report back on how good a witness she'd been during the week. She'd usually forgotten to save any souls until about lunchtime thursday, and all afternoon she'd be hanging out by the sink washing dishes, waiting for someone to try to brush their teeth so that she could try to lend them the Left Behind series.

I'm glad your daughter's found a better fit; it's all about the right college for the right person. I think I would have flat-out dropped out of the wrong school, and finding the right one was sheer luck.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

You really are a Wilson student at heart, I think. ;-)

9:41 AM  

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