Hello, my name is Shannon Allen and I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio.
No, I did NOT grow up on a farm.
No, I did NOT go cow tipping in High School.
No, I did NOT drive a tractor to school.
No, I did not grow up on a corn field… although I know people who did… and they had the BEST games of capture the flag because hiding in the cornfield was AWESOME.
Living in New York, people have certain “ideas” about what the Midwest is like.
I’m here to tell you all that although I was most definitely BORN to be a city girl, I have a lot of love for where I grew up.
So here are the reasons I love the Midwest (specifically Northeastern Ohio/Cleveland)
1. We are friendly.
Everyone always talks about “Southern Hospitality” and believe me, I have SO many Southern friends who are incredibly hospitable, but Midwesterners are inherently friendly. We can start conversations with ANYONE. I’ve been on a crowded subway wearing a Cleveland Browns shirt and started a conversation with a COMPLETE stranger about growing up in Ohio.
Put a Midwesterner in a room full of people he/she doesn’t know and watch what happens. My roommate is constantly laughing about my crazy ability to make friends everywhere I go. I always thought that was a natural trait in most human beings. Apparently not!
I’ve come to find out that it is most definitely a trait I recognize in Midwesterners. And I love it.
2. They make us women THICK in the Midwest
I know I’ve posted about this before, so it’s not really a secret that I have a BADONK (for all you “white” people, that means a BIG OL ASS) and some thick thighs.
From as early as 12, I was called “Thunder Thighs,” and have never really been able to find that perfect pair of jeans that fits around my HUGE thighs and my skinny waist.
I like my curves, and I like Midwestern thick girls. We grew up eating red meat, potatoes and sweet corn.
Until I moved to Boston, I really never realized that most people don’t eat like Midwesterners. I used to joke that all my friends ate “bird food” when I moved to the East Coast.
I’m the kind of girl who goes on a first date and orders the steak with a side of fries and then gets the chocolate brownie for dessert.
Sorry… that’s how they make em in the Midwest. I posted this picture the other day on Instagram with the caption, “I Head They Make Em Thick in the Midwest”
3. We know how to drink
Just ask anyone who went to Ohio State, Cincinnati, OU, Bowling Green, Kent State, or basically any other Ohio school and talk to them about their college parties.
We like to drink… beer… and lots of it.
We have the BEST drinking games.
The Midwest invented the game cornhole (for you non-Midwesterners, it’s where you throw a bean bag onto a pierce of wood with a hole in it) which is PERFECT for any day drinking/picnic event.
In Cleveland, we have the Great Lakes Brewery, which has the BEST Christmas Ale you will ever taste. Sam Adams Winter Lager has NOTHING on our Christmas Ale. Don’t believe me… just try it and I PROMISE you will be a convert.
4. We LOVE sports and are NOT fair-weather fans.
I will be a Browns fan until I DIE.
I will be an Indians fan until I DIE.
I will be a Cavaliers fan until I DIE.
What LeBron did was unforgivable. Period. NO ONE messes with my city and gets forgiven.
Sports for Midwesterners keep us occupied throughout the year.
And don’t even get me STARTED on college sports.
As a woman in the Midwest, you LEARN the rules of football at an early age. Midwestern girls know how to dress up in a dress and heels on the weekends, but come Sunday, we’re drinking beer with the boys and screaming bloody murder at the refs for making bad calls.
We HATE fair-weather fans. In fact, you can make fun of us ALL you want about how much the Browns/Indians/CAVS suck, and we will defend our teams until the end of time. NOTHING will every make us stop rooting for our teams.
We can often be heard saying, “Next year we’ll be better,” or “We’re in the running for the first-round draft pick,” or “This is a building year.”
We never lose hope. We never give in.
And to go back to the friendliness of Midwestern folk, I once watched a Browns game vs the Raiders in Browns Stadium in the middle of a blizzard. Two Raiders players and one Brown got kicked out of the game because a HUGE fight broke out, and it was no different in the stands. I watched people throw their frozen beer in each other’s faces and threaten each other with fists up. Then, an extremely drunk/happy Browns fan calmly went up to the people fighting, broke up the fight, and bough them each a beer.
Now THAT’S Midwestern hospitality.
Also… beer fixes everything.
5. We have braved ALL types of weather.
Want to complain to me about snow?? Try getting your driver’s license at 16 in the middle of a lake-effect snow storm. I grew up on the edge of what we call “the snow belt” in Northeastern Ohio. Basically it means whenever there’s a snow storm, we get dumped on.
Oh… and how about the tornadoes in the summer?? Yep, we got em. In 2002 a tornado ripped through my housing development and tore down a few houses.
Snow and tornadoes in the same month? Yep. Weather that changes from EXTREMELY hot to FREEZING in 12 hours. Yep.
Basically, the only weather we don’t experience is Hurricane weather.
Oh yeah… and we drive through all of it.
My dad, brother, sister-in-law and I all drove out to my aunt’s house for our Christmas party in the middle of a blizzard emergency.
My friend who lives in New York as a news anchor was right smack dab in the middle of Hurricane Sandy as a news reporter. And she was SUCH a BAD ASS! 🙂
That’s how we do it in the Midwest.
6. Our men can fix anything.
And I’m not just talking about your stereotypical “man’s man.” I’m talking about ALL our men. They know how to fix cars, build furniture, fix computers, shovel snow, hang pictures, change lightbulbs, fix that stupid leak in the sink, you name it.
Oh yeah… and they also hold doors.
7. Our accent is the preferred accent for new anchors and television shows.
Look it up. Boom.
8. Fifty Cent Beer nights.
Need I say more????
9. We tell the best stories.
Have you ever heard a Midwesterner tell a story???
I know, I know. They are usually, long and drawn-out and include WAY too many details (some, which are questionable if true or not). Sometimes you will also get a fully acted-out dramatic story complete with props, movement and hand gestures.
But seriously… we tell the BEST stories. We tell the funniest stories.
We tell the stories that you tell your friends at a party where you’re trying to impress everyone.
My aunts on my dad’s side of the family (there are 5 of them), all grew up in Ohio and I DARE you to find someone who tells a better story than them.
My friends tell me all the time that I have SUCH an interesting like (which, I do he he he,) but half the reason it sounds so interesting is because I KNOW how to tell a good story. And I learned from the best.
And finally… the number 10 reason I love The Midwest/Northeastern Ohio/Cleveland is…
10. No matter how far away we move, and what path we go on in our lives, we will ALWAYS carry around our Midwestern traits.
We will always be friendly.
We will always be THICK 🙂 (At least I know I will!)
We will always outdrink you
We will always cheer for our sports teams (Thank GOD for Browns bars in Manhattan)
Our women will always be pretty tomboys and our men will always be chivalrous.
We can brave any weather with poise and class (NO amount of weather scares us!)
We might lose our accent sometimes… but it will always come back when we get drunk (I’m from Cleeeeeeeeeeveland)
We will always tell the best stories.
Our hearts and our homes will always be in the place we grew up, made our friends, had our first kisses, learned to conquer the world: The Midwest.
Being home for the first time in a year this week reminded me of why I loved where I grew up so much.
I love New York City more than I could ever imagine, but Cleveland will forever be my hometown. Even if I live in New York for 20 more years, I will still always tell people that I’m from Cleveland, Ohio.
My heart, my home, my city.
Love, the girl who will never give up on the Browns (or Indians, or CAVS)
Shannon Rose Allen