It’s hard to pin down exactly what makes a Clevelander unique. There isn’t much of a regional accent (at least not compared to our neighbors in Kentucky or Pennsylvania) and the culture of Cleveland is so unique that it doesn’t easily translate for an outsider. But there are a few behavioral tics that define a true Clevelander as clear as day, if you know how to look for them.
1. They're accustomed to colder climates.
Life in the Forest City prepares you for a certain kind of weather: some of the meanest, nastiest, coldest winters this side of Alaska. That wonderful Great Lake Effect makes us ready for anything, so don't be surprised to find a Clevelander wearing shorts when everyone else is shivering.
2. They don't take kindly to jokes against Cleveland.
It wasn't funny the first time someone called Cleveland "the mistake on the lake," and it won't be funny the 500th time either. Cleveland has been through some hard times over the years that made it the subject of many a cheap barb, and while longtime residents don't mind a goodnatured rib every now and then, frequent insults against the Forest City or its people will rub us the wrong way.
3. A Clevelander is always a superfan.
It takes a certain level of devotion to root for the home team after years of disappointment, but Clevelanders take their devotion to a level most other fans can't match. If you find yourself in a crowded sports bar watching the big game, look for the guy in the Browns jersey - he's the truest fan of all.
4. They can't stand Michigan.
Some rivalries run deep. But here in Cleveland, no passion burns brighter than our dislike for everything to do with the University of Michigan Wolverines. If they're brought up in any kind of positive light while in the presence of a Clevelander, be ready for an epic tirade based on years of bitter rivalry.
5. A Clevelander calls it pop.
Soda; soft drinks; Coke; there's no shortage of regionally-inspired ways to refer to an ice-cold, sugary, fizzy beverage. In Cleveland, though? It's pop or nothing. You'll know you've found a Clevelander far from home when they order a soda and are surprised when they don't get seltzer water.
6. They'll order corned beef whenever possible.
Though it might not be the fanciest thing on any deli's menu, an easy way to spot a Clevelander is to look out for someone who always orders the biggest corned beef sandwich they can.
7. They'll drink local.
Though not quite a beer snob, an average Clevelander is fairly spoiled by the sheer quality of local beers. If at all possible, they'll order a Great Lakes brew, or bring their own.
8. They love to talk about Lake Erie.
This doesn't necessarily apply only to Clevelanders, but the Forest City is undoubtedly the brightest spot on the North Coast. Many of us grew up on the waters of Erie, and fondly look back on hot summer days spent on its shores. Just don't bring up the pollution of the '60s. We're trying to move on from that.
9. They will always love Cleveland.
No matter how long it's been, or how far away you are from the Forest City, it's easy to spot a Clevelander by watching how deeply they still love their city.
Are there any other defining characteristics of a Clevelander that you can always spot? Tell us about them in the comments!