Saturday, April 30, 2005

About the Title

When we first moved here a few years ago, I continually found myself exclaiming that a lot of stuff in New England is just so . . . New England. You know: charming town centers (Concord, we're talkin' about you!). Clam shacks (Woodmans, The Clam Box, J.T. Farnham's, etc. etc.). Snow in May (well into April, anyway). Taking the kids skiing on the iciest slopes known to man or beast and calling the weather "brisk." Four dollar a pound lobsters at Market Basket during the height of the season (two apiece! two apiece!). Like scenes from a movie about . . . New England. Especially the ones filmed in Toronto.

Eventually, my exclamations devolved into the shorthand, "That's SFNE!" Translation: "So f%&$*ing New England!" And I mean it as a compliment. I'm fascinated by the fact that this area is one of the few left in America that seems to have maintained its regional character in the best sense--from the accents to the sometimes persnickety need to take part in town politics to the beautiful tree canopy that still lines many town streets (including mine). This, despite the fact that we have our fair share of malls, chain stores, and Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks.

I live in a Cape Cod, for goodness' sake! How SNFE can you get?

My friend Michele talks about my love for the phrase here.

Ironically, another place I used to live, West Texas, also managed to maintain a sense of authentic culture. (Perhaps because it was so isolated that no one bothered to co-opt the place. Unlike, say, Atlanta.) People really wore cowboy hats because the sun is hot--not because it's fashionable (it hasn't been fashionable since the heyday of "Dallas"); restaurants served great barbeque and Mexican food (something I'm still missing); people really greeted you with "Howdy." They worshipped the music of Buddy Holly, native son. (I still do that myself.)

But part of that authentic culture was a weeeee bit on the conservative side. As in: I had to cut my son's hair back over his ears when he entered kindergarten and keep it trimmed all year. Because real boys wear short hair. (Except for the real boys in ZZTop of course.)

My son now proudly wears his mane over his shoulders (blond, such hair!) and only gets it cut to make his neck cooler in the summer. Freedom of expression: SFNE.


Blogger Michele said...

LOL Toronto!

4:02 PM  
Blogger Alison Rose said...

Vancouver, of course, usually stands in for L.A., Washington D.C., or Kansas. So versatile, our neighbors to the north!

4:34 AM  

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