Let’s be honest: we Michiganders are a unique bunch. While we’ve come to see most of our behaviors as quite normal throughout the years, many of our habits still come across as slightly odd to those who aren’t familiar with the Great Lakes State. Here are nine Michigan habits that might just leave newcomers scratching their heads in confusion.
1. Pointing to our hands instead of using maps
The state of Michigan is conveniently shaped just like a mitten-wearing hand, which means that we’re quick to point at our palms when asked about our origins. It’s not our fault we were born with built-in maps! There’s nothing more bizarre to a non-Michigander than seeing someone point to the center of their palm and exclaim, "That’s my hometown!"
2. Saying "Ope!"
Perhaps you’ve seen viral discussions about this uniquely Midwestern word making the rounds online, but we Michiganders tend to think of ourselves as leaders in the world of "Ope!" After all, it’s the sound we make in so many situations: when we’re trying to make our way past someone in a crowd, when we drop something, when we’re apologizing (think "Ope, sorry!), when we’re just a bit flustered - the list continues!
3. Michigan left turns
For non-Michigan drivers, these so-called "Michigan Left" might present a bit of confusion. After all, it’s a bit odd to see cars seemingly pulling U-turns in the middle of the highway! We promise that it’s actually quite easy and convenient once you grow accustomed to it, but it can certainly throw outsiders for a loop.
4. Getting very defensive about the word "pop"
We’re serious when we say that our favorite fizzy beverages are referred to as "pop" and nothing else. Don’t even try to come at us with that "soda" nonsense! There’s a certain sense of defensiveness that seems built into every Michigander when it comes to this terminology, and we definitely won’t back down.
5. Adding the letter "s" to store names
Looking for some groceries? Head out to "Krogers" or "Meijers!" While there are some historical explanations for our unnecessary letter additions, we’ll admit that this tendency seems to come along with life in Michigan. We should at least get a bit of credit for never saying "Targets" or "Burger Kings!"
6. Having random cravings for Superman ice cream
Ask a Michigander to name their favorite ice cream flavor from childhood, and they’ll likely make a reference to Superman. Of course, Blue Moon was always a close contender, but there was something about the colorful sweetness of Superman that kept every Michigan kid coming back for more. From time to time, we’ll randomly find ourselves caught up in a nostalgic craving for this flavor.
7. Referring to our friends as "trolls" or "Yoopers"
To an outsider, the word "troll" might not sound like a compliment or even a non-derogatory term. But we implore you to trust us when we say that "trolls," a name for Lower Peninsula Michigan residents who live "under" the Mackinac Bridge, is meant as a silly term of endearment. The same goes for "Yoopers," which refers to our Michigan neighbors in the Upper Peninsula.
8. Reaching for Vernors when illness strikes
In most parts of the country, an upset stomach calls for Pepto Bismol or some other traditional medicinal solution. Here in Michigan, though, Vernors is the only acceptable remedy for nausea. After all, we’ve been sipping on this fizzy ginger ale since we were kiddos, and nothing has ever cured our sickness quite so quickly. To non-Michiganders, this can be a tough pill to swallow - no pun intended!
9. Constantly trying to get a euchre tournament started
If you’re hanging out with a group of Michiganders and there’s a solid amount of down time, be prepared for the beginnings of a euchre tournament! If there’s one thing people from Michigan love, it’s playing euchre whenever possible - and we’ve been known to carry decks of cards around with us in case the moment arises. Here in Michigan, euchre isn’t just a game. It’s a way of life.
It’s your turn to share, Michiganders: are there any other odd habits that make your out-of-state friends stare at you in confusion? Share your experiences with us in the comment section below!