Initial Impressions, Part IV...
I recently attended a party in Raleigh, NC. I went solely because it was the birthday party of a friend and because, as you know, I'm trying to find out as much about southern culture as I possibly can in a effort to live here in peace.
I should have stayed home.
Now, granted, the people I hung around with were only an tiny slice of what Raleigh had to offer and I shouldn't generalize, but dammit, if that was a representative portion of what lurks in that part of the state, I'd be afraid to look deeper.
Raleigh itself is a tiny city. Charlotte for that matter is too, but that's only because I hail from New York. It's a small reserve of large office buildings surrounded by wooded suburbs and office parks/shopping centers. There are definitely more trees and wildlife in and around Raleigh than there are in Charlotte, but then again, Raleigh is only half the size of Charlotte. I found the place rather depressing --- it's a one-horse town, and that horse is Triangle Park, the local tech center anchored by the evenrable SAS Institute. I can predict that should there be another tech upheaval, Raleigh will revert to it's natural state: something out of Hee-Haw, complete with Daisy Dukes and runaway hogs. This is definitely John Edwards country since most of the people I met were liberal Yankee transplants and the rest would require a government program in order to chew gum and walk at the same time. Again, I generalize because I only met about 30 or so.
Even in Charlotte, to arrive at a party wearing a "Stars and Bars" T-shirt knowing full well that Diversity would be present, would be considered bad form. Reinforcing the notion of southern women of being closet sex fiends, I can now tell you that this is the first time in my life that I have been molested by ladies and feel the need to scream a string of filthy words at the top of my lungs. If I could file a sexual harrassment suit I would. I'd almost rather be assaulted by a man if given the choice. These women were incurably DESPERATE, all capitalized, too.
You wonder why that should be since most of them are charming before the get drunk, and then you see what appear to be men. They have moustaches, mostly, they wear pants, but that's all that can can identify them as male, unless they have a prison spit-and-pencil tattoo that proves they've served time. I now know how a canteloupe feels when it's being handled by someone determined to discern it freshness.
Unlike Charlotte, there was no karaoke atthis party, but there was a live band. At every party I have ever attended in NC that has a live band at it, the same music gets played: "Play that Funky Music, White Boy", "Freebird", any Allman Brother's tune, and the ubiquitous "Mony, Mony" with it's traditional "get fucked, get laid!" refrain. These tunes are like the National Anthem around here, except that people actually know the words. That's bad enough --- add a bunch of 40-450 year olds to the mix and it gets downright appalling. Add 300 pounds of back bacon to a swinging butt rocking out to these tunes, and it's disgusting.
One major difference between Charlotteans and Raleighans (if that's even a proper word) is that the folks in Charlotte are at least a lot more personable. Again, I generalize, but I haven't seen that many noses in the air since a vagrant let loose with a cheap-bourbon-induced fart in a crowded subway car. What they had to brag about is beyond me, but maybe one day, I'll find out.