You can take the Cheesehead out of Wisconsin, but you can’t take the Wisconsin out of the Cheesehead. There are just some things that we do that are undeniably Wisconsin. We like to think we live beyond some of the stereotypes, but, well, they became stereotypes for a reason and the cheese is just really, really good, ok? There are plenty of idiosyncrasies and oddities that make Wisconsinites who were are, but these are the things that help us spot each other in the wild. They’re the tried-and-true, can’t-hide-it, I-was-born in Wisconsin-isms that we wear like a badge of honor. Here are 13 ways anyone can see you’re a
1. You have a garage fridge.
You can thank me for not including a picture of said fridge stocked full of various dead wildlife, which is usually how they'd look. Once you've opened someone's garage fridge and had cold, dead eyes staring at you, you'll never be the same. Other folks don't understand the freezer full of venison or the fridge of dead fowl, but it's not so odd around these parts. And when it's not hunting or fishing season (yeah right) the fridge holds all your extra beer.
2. You have a closet with major sections devoted to green and gold, red and white, blue and yellow and blaze orange.
All the (very on the nose) weather jokes aside, there are some pretty obvious seasons in Wisconsin that have nothing to do with what may or may not be falling from the sky. We love our Packers, Badgers and Brewers and we dress accordingly. Our closets have dedicated sections for each rooting interest. And then there's the blaze orange.
3. You spend more time planning and prepping for a weekend of hunting than you did for your wedding.
The rest of the country doesn't really understand the significance of deer hunting weekend and they certainly can't wrap their head around the idea of planning deer hunting widows weekends, but to us, that's just a way of life.
4. You ask for the bubbler.
If you can call all tissues Kleenex and all bandages Band-Aids, we can call these guys Bubblers. They were invented here (you're welcome) and Bubbler is their product name.
5. Your grill runs year round.
The tailgating culture runs strong here and we won't settle for stovetop cooked cased meats. We have no problem wrapping ourselves in so many layers that the Stay-Puft marshmallow man would be jealous and stepping outside with mere inches of exposed skin in order to tailgate, grill and generally have a good time before a football game. We'll gear up at home, shovel a path to the grill and enjoy the smoky flavor of some brats and burgers in mid-January, no questions asked.
6. You prefer brandy in your Old Fashioned.
Wisconsin is known for beer, but we also really love brandy. Especially in our old fashioneds - but also in our slushies, Alexander and coffee. Korbel says a third of their total production of brandy comes to the Dairy State. Legends talk of contingents of Badger fans traveling to football bowl games and drinking towns dry of their brandy. There's no consensus on why or how this became the state preference, but its clearly here to stay.
7. You have a standing Friday Fish Fry date.
The fish fry is sacred. Family gatherings happen around them, fights erupt over who has the best and Friday evenings are reserved for heading out to discover new ones. Other parts of the country might have a seasonal Friday fish or seafood tradition, but we've embraced the Friday fish fry year round. Big fancy restaurants, small town dives, supper clubs and even fast food places all serve up some version of this crispy, Wisconsin treat.
8. The way you pronounce "bag."
We Wisconsinites love to live in a fantasy land where we don't have any accents, but we're also really, really wrong. Some of us drown in nasally vowels more than others and even just saying our state name can give us away, but the one word that seems to really give us away is "bag." That a goes way up into our noses and we draw it out so it sounds like there might be a few y's in there, as well. Listen, I'd like to deny it, too, but name is Nicole and I'm from Wisconsin and I'm sure you can all imagine exactly how that sounds in my wonderful Midwestern twang, so there's really no escaping it.
9. You have an unnatural hatred for Gophers, Cubs, Cardinals and Bears.
And that has nothing to do with actual animals. Maybe the quickest way to suss out a Wisconsinite is to show an affinity for any of our hated sports rivals. I have a kind of sneer on my face just thinking about them. As mentioned above, we've got a lot of love and pride for our sports teams and we take our rivalries pretty seriously. We're generally pretty friendly folks until the whistle blows, then all bets are off.
10. When you have a choice, you always choose a brat.
Sure, we love a Polish or Italian on occasion, but brats are the sausage king. There's a reason Miller Park is the only stadium where hot dogs aren't the leading seller. Brats are just better.
11. You have a lot of feelings about "Up North."
No, Illinois folks, Lake Geneva isn't "up north," but we'll pretty much call anywhere north of Appleton that way. We'll take a weekend at a cabin in the Northwoods over most vacations - and not just in summer. If you don't have a cabin or cottage, odds are you know or related to someone who does. "Up North" is more an attitude than an actual location.
12. You could honestly live out of your trunk for at least a week.
"Cooler by the lake" isn't just an ad line and lake effect snow is very, very real. Lots of places use the joke about if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute, it'll change but it's so, so true here. It honestly went from snow to 70 and back to 40 over the course of a week this March. Any good Wisconsinite has extra clothes, gloves and hats in their car, as well as multiple tools for cleaning snow and ice from their windshield, jumper cables and more. It only takes getting stuck by the side of the road once for us to learn our lesson and most of us had the idea of stocking the car pounded in our heads by our parents.
13. You can tap out a polka beat in your sleep.
You learned to polka before you really knew how to walk. You have memories of standing on someone's feet as they twirled you around to the dulcet tones of an accordion. It's not a party until you hear the Chicken Dance. Polka is in your blood.
What other special traits make it easy to spot a Wisconsinite? Let us know in the comments!