Everyone in the world has experienced a bit of awkwardness from time to time, and there’s no denying that it’s a less-than-comfortable feeling. Here in Detroit, though, there are a few awkward moments that seem specific to our city. To let you know that you’re not alone, we’ve compiled a list of awkward moments that the vast majority of Detroiters have experienced at least once.
1. Watching someone put ketchup on a coney dog.
We know, we know: everyone has their own preferences. But any true Detroiter knows that ketchup and coney dogs just don’t mix! If you’re a Detroit resident, chances are good that you’ve watched a tourist cover a coney dog in ketchup and internally cringed at the sight.
2. Pointing to Detroit on your hand and getting a blank stare.
Most Michiganders are guilty of using their hands as built-in maps, and Detroiters are no exception. This seems totally normal to us, but there’s nothing more awkward than pointing out your hometown on your hand and getting a baffled look from someone who’s never seen this technique before.
3. Having to explain just how close Detroit is to Canada.
No, really: we can see Canada from our houses! Or at least from our office buildings downtown. Those who aren’t from Detroit might not understand that we’re truly just a stone’s throw away, and it can be a little awkward correcting people who don’t quite grasp our proximity to Ontario.
4. Slipping on the icy sidewalk in front of everyone.
This happens throughout the world, but Detroit winters are something else — and there’s no telling when you’re going to come across a patch of unsalted ice. The worst part? No matter how quickly you stand up after your wipeout, there always seems to be a stranger who notices and has to conceal their snicker.
5. Bragging about the Lions, only to watch them lose.
You know the scene: you’re surrounded by friends who aren’t Lions fans, and our boys in blue seem to be performing pretty well in the first half. They just HAVE to win! See, we told you they were a great team! Then the second half rolls around, and the Lions manage to blow a significant lead in the fourth quarter. Maybe we were a little too quick to boast. Awkward.
6. Asking for Vernor’s while out of state.
What?! Are you telling me that people outside of Michigan don’t swear by Vernor’s as a heal-all elixir? Turns out that it’s a lot more difficult to come by our favorite ginger ale once we leave the region, and most Detroiters have had to resort to — gasp — taking real medicine when they’re experiencing an upset stomach while away from home!
7. Being made fun of for your "accent."
Psh, whatever. We don’t have an accent! But every Detroiter has been called out for being a bit nasally from time to time, even though we can’t hear anything strange about the way we speak. Few things are more uncomfortable than being poked fun at for an accent we didn’t even know we had.
8. Explaining that square pizza is a real thing — and it’s delicious.
There’s just something about square pizza that adds an extra element of deliciousness to the cheesy goodness of a classic pie. Believe it or not, though, many non-Detroiters aren’t terribly familiar with the concept of square pizza. Prepare for a few side-eyes when you mention Detroit-style pizza to people who live outside the area.
9. Being unable to avoid grooving to a Motown favorite in public.
Is it even possible to hear a Stevie Wonder song without busting a move? We think not. Detroit has produced some of the most beloved music in the world, and we’re pretty proud of it. So proud, in fact, that we might get caught dancing and singing along to our favorite Motown hits in the middle of the grocery store — only to garner strange looks from other shoppers.
10. Accidentally calling it "pop" outside of Michigan.
We know we’ve mentioned this one before, but it always holds true. Here in Michigan, "pop" is the correct name for our favorite fizzy beverages. Hop in the car from Detroit and venture just a few states over, though, and you’ll get weird looks when you call it anything other than "soda."
11. Overhearing someone badmouthing Detroit… and intervening.
We’re not sure if this is awkward or courageous, but we won’t stop doing it! Every Detroiter has overheard a conversation that seems heavily focused on Detroit’s negative points. We Detroiters are fiercely proud of our city, and that also makes us fiercely defensive. If we overhear a false stereotype of Detroit, don’t be surprised if we invite ourselves into your conversation and set the record straight.
Alright, Detroiters: what did we leave off our list? Have you experienced any awkward moments during your time as a Motor City resident? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.