No matter where you live, you’ve certainly encountered your fair share of uncomfortable situations. But we Michiganders are subjected to a whole slew of unique instances that cause us to reel with awkwardness — here are 11 that seem to occur relatively frequently in the Great Lakes State.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Ordering "pop" at an out-of-state restaurant.
If you’ve ever asked a server for a glass of "pop" at a restaurant outside of Michigan, there’s a good chance that you were met with a strange stare. Sure, non-Midwesterners know what "pop" means, but you’ll certainly feel a bit out of place when you realize that you’re in the land of "soda!"
Getting a blank stare when you show someone your "hand map."
Sometimes it's easy to forget that not everyone is familiar with the whole "showing people where you’re from on your hand" thing. There’s nothing more awkward that excitedly pointing to your hand and realizing that the person you’re chatting with has absolutely no idea what you’re doing.
3. Having to explain that the Great Lakes are, like, REALLY big.
Most Michiganders have found themselves in this predicament: you’re speaking to someone who seems to have no concept of just how massive the Great Lakes are, and you’re forced to painfully nod along while they talk about oceans as if they’re the only relevant beaches around. We hate to break it to you, non-Michiganders, but our lakes are called the GREAT Lakes for a reason.
4. Accidentally insulting Ohio in front of an Ohioan.
It’s no secret that many Michiganders hold a bit of a grudge against Ohio. Whether you’re a Spartan faithful or a Wolverine fan for life, everyone can agree that Ohio State is (to put it nicely) kind of the worst. Few things are quite as awkward as that moment when you make an anti-Ohio joke, only to realize that you’re talking to a native Ohioan. Whoops!
5. Getting lost in an out-of-town Meijer because it has a different layout than the one in your hometown.
Yikes. There’s nothing more awkward than wandering around the produce section in a new Meijer because you’re all turned around. After all, this is where the makeup section is at "your" Meijer! It’s always a happy realization when an out-of-town Meijer maintains the same layout as the one you’re used to. Otherwise, you might find yourself circling through electronics over and over.
6. Having to hold your tongue during that famous line in "Don’t Stop Believing."
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: sorry, Journey fans. Despite the lyric about being "born and raised in South Detroit," the truth is that there’s no place in the Motor City officially known as South Detroit. In fact, "South Detroit" would probably put you smack dab in the middle of the Detroit River! This always puts Michiganders in an predicament during karaoke — to sing the line or not?
7. Asking how far away a place is and receiving the answer in miles, not minutes.
Here in Michigan, we have a tendency to describe distance in driving time instead of mileage. "Oh, her house is about 20 minutes away." "It’s two hours from here to Lansing." You know the drill. So there’s always an uncomfortable pause when you ask for directions and receive an answer of "Your hotel is about fifteen miles down the road." Uh, how far is that in Michigan units of measurement?
8. Having to correct someone’s pronunciation of a Michigan destination.
It happens all too often: someone learns you’re from Michigan and proceeds to rave about their recent trip to "Mackinack" Island. It takes all your willpower to hold your tongue — and if you do choose to correct them, there’s no denying the weird tension that results. Sigh. Sometimes it’s better just to let these things go!
9. Putting together an outfit that prepares you for any sort of weather.
No, no. Don’t mind us. We’re just waddling out of the house wrapped in five layers of sweaters, a wind-resistant raincoat, a pair of airy shorts, and sandals. With socks, that is. You know, because Michigan weather can change in an instant. We’ve gotta be prepared, even if our fashion sense suffers!
10. Slipping on ice.
While we do our best to keep the sidewalks salted, it’s nearly impossible to live in Michigan without falling on a patch of ice or two. Of course, when you experience your most embarrassing slipping incident, there’s a good chance that it will happen in front of your romantic interest, boss, or some other person you’re trying to impress. Life is rough.
11. Getting a little choked up during Pure Michigan commercials.
Those stunning clips… Tim Allen’s voice… that swelling orchestral music… I don’t know about you, but I have undeniably caught myself tearing up more than once during a Pure Michigan television or radio ad. It’s no problem if you’re alone, but it’s slightly awkward explaining to your companions that you’re weeping over the beauty of a tourism commercial.
What do you think, fellow Michiganders? Did we leave any awkward Michigan moments off our list? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.