I Like The Way You Do That Right Thurr! Signs You’re From The Midwest

August 28, 2013  |  
1 of 11

The Midwest is a special place. Unlike other regions of the country, like the south or East Coast, there’s a bit more variety in every day living when you talk about an area that spans metropolitan life like in Chicago and rural living in Wisconsin. But yet and still, there are some behaviors that are undeniably Midwestern and if you do any of these, people will surely know that’s where you come from.

You did the chicken head for a few years

Anyone who lived in any Midwest state between 2003 and 2004 surely did this dance at least in public, and no doubt tried to battle dance someone with your chicken head skills at a party.

Source: Shutterstock

You call carbonated beverages pop

Ever traveled outside the Midwest and said you wanted a pop and no one had a clue what you were talking about? You just told on yourself.

Source: Shutterstock

Sneakers are tennis shoes

Perhaps tennis used to be the popping sport in the Midwest because for some reason, rather than calling athletic shoes sneakers like everyone else in the US, we call them tennis shoes.

You were fans of Nelly or Chingy

Look, 2000-2004 was the first time the Midwest sound really had any representation on the rap scene so you had to be a fan of either one of these guys on principle alone. You probably even threw J-Kwon some love when he came out with “Tipsy” in 2004. Long live the chicken head dance beat.

Source: Shutterstock

You actually greet people when you pass them on the street

Southerners may have so-called hospitality, but people in the Midwest just have plain good manners. When we pass a stranger, enter a place of business, or are serving someone we do something rather unique: smile and say hello.

You hustle or step

Detroit has hustles, Chicago has steppers. Depending on which city you were closest too, you had to do one or the other, if not both types of line dancing.

You Jit or Juke

Along the same lines as that last point, people in Detroit Jit; Chicagoans Juke. If you brought up those terms to anyone outside the Midwest, they’d have no clue what you were talking about.

You Listen To Ghetto House Music

Um, how are you going to Jit or Juke without rumpshaker-like uptempo music telling you to bounce and break your back?

Source: Shutterstock

You get pissed when people say you sound country

People on the East Coast just can’t comprehend that anyone below the Mason-Dixon is not southern, and not putting an “r” on the end of every word doesn’t make us country. Unless you’re from Minnesota or Missouri, all Midwesterners generally sound the same — and actually there’s nothing really distinctive about our “accent.” But we’ll be quick to stereotype everyone else and tell you, “if you wanna hear country, go down to x,y,z”


You don’t do public transportation

In the Midwest, taking a bus is a sign you or your family is too broke to afford a car, and it is the absolute last resort when it comes to getting from point A to point B. Subways, trolleys, and all that city transportation stuff didn’t quite stick in our region — aside from Chicago of course.

Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Devin

    I’m from Iowa, and I still live there…

  • Pingback: Midwestern Chili - Make It Like a Man!()

  • So Inaccurate

    I’m from Chicago & this list was very inaccurate. I say pop &
    listen to juke music but that is it. Idk what a tennis shoe is, we call
    them gym shoes. And since when is stepping a “line dance?” A line dance
    would be the cupid shuffle or the wobble. Stepping is just stepping
    plain & simple. Also, if u speak to someone u don’t know in Chicago they are going to think there is something seriously wrong w/ u. We don’t do that. But we do ride public transportation EVERYWHERE!

  • darealest

    Stl native for over 30 yrs…its soda n dalou..stop stereotyping…

  • darealest

    Umm the pop thing came from the south…i came up from mississippi to dalou..st louis…and i said i want a pop..they look at me like i was crazy…stl4life…miss my hometown

  • MacingFacing

    I fyckin love Ghetto House. OH UH OH UH OH!!!

  • hollyw

    Wait, wait… y’all call tennis shoes “sneakers” lol?? o.O

  • Sookiiee

    In Chicago sneakers are called gym shoes and we do smile and talk to everybody

  • Sookiiee

    I’m from Chicago I call sneakers gym shoes lol everybody does

  • Meemo

    If you go back a generation or two most in the midwest originated from the South…that’s why we’re so similar and you all sound country. We say pop, we speak to people, we have accents, and ya’ll come down south for your family reunions b/c this is where you’re from 🙂

    • DRKG

      I was just about to say……………..I came from the midwest and I always say “soda” because I though that “pop” was a southern thing.

  • kb

    From Norcal so I don’t know much about this , but we say tennis shoes and that is not “house” music it is drum ‘n’bass AKA d ‘n’b

  • Cleveland Cutie

    You are definitely on point with this one! CLEVELAND REPRESENT!! Yes we say “pop”, “tennis shoes”, get our line dance on, I love me some Nelly, and public transportation was a last resort!
    I now reside in Washington DC and it was a culture shock to discover I had to take the Metro to work everyday unless I wanted to be stuck in hours of traffic and pay hundreds of dollars a month in parking!!

  • winter baby1204

    I’m from St. Louis we actually do say hurr and thurr not all but most African Americans do. We call the chickenhead “the mono”. We listened to Nelly, Chingy, Jkwon since they are from hurr. We call carbonated beverages soda not pop that’s Chicago. Most midwesterns to me don’t sound the same at all I think St. Louis is the only different accent we do put extra r’s on our words

  • Guest

    Another sign that you’re from the Midwest: you eat White Castle hamburgers. When someone told me about Krystal burgers I said what is that, they showed me a picture of them and said that’s their White Castle down South, I looked and said oh no, they will never be White Castle lol.

  • William Murk Ward

    Them playground mixtapes back in the day. Dj slugo was the guy. Chitown born and raised

  • brwnskinlonghair

    this list just made me love being a NYer even more than before….no shade though

    • Miss_Understood

      Girl…that was nothing BUT shade! lol

  • DaisyDiddles

    In Wisconsin we call drinking fountains “bubblers”. Ive had to rephrase the question “where is the bubbler?” many times…..lol

    • Howard U

      I still call ATMs Tyme machines lmao

      • DaisyDiddles

        Me too, for a long time I thought thats what everyone called them!

  • Andrea

    A lot of these things fit people from the south as well, except for stepping and jit/juke dancing and music, and of course riding public transportation, but in the south for most folks its mandatory to have a car and others choose not to use public transportation.

  • Isatu Mansaray

    Born and raised in Iowa. I had to get used to taking public transportation even though I have a driver’s license. People here in the DC area can’t believe I have one. I said because in the Midwest, we don’t drive like maniacs

  • Shawndrea Rachelle

    Well I’m from Kansas City and I agree with every thing except the one about greeting people on the street. Like seriously, where did that even come from?

  • HoneybLex

    Sure did do the “Chicken Head” and rock me some “Tennis Shoes”…Wisconsin baby!!!

  • A Chicagoan

    tennis shoes are gym shoes, stepping is not a line dance and chicagoans walk and use the bus and the “EL” all the time; there are no financial indicators in either direction in the Chi.#Housesehead

    • love chi

      Real talk…I live in the south loop, work downtown. I walk to work, I have no car…dont need it I have convenience

  • Dominique Cox-Harris

    They for got Eminem and Kayne. They rep, the Midwest hard …. And yes I’m from the D … The Original D not Dallas …. DETROIT and you must watch my feet, watch my feet, watch my feet. Jitten and getting my life. Now I want a ice cold Red Pop. Faygo my n*** they know nothing about it

    • L-Boogie

      LOL! Watch my feet!

  • Cyn82

    Am I the only one that says TYME machine instead of ATM?

    • Madtown

      LOL! Nope I say that all the time.

  • CAMI

    oh and most people from the Midwest families are from the south that’s why we have that accents

  • CAMI

    No, we take the L (Train/Subway) to avoid paying high parking meters downtown. If you work downtown but live far north, south, or west most likely you are taking the train in Chicago.

  • CAMI

    No we call them GYM SHOES LOL

    • DianaDT

      That’s right. I remember having to take my Gym shoes to school for Gym days. Perfectly logical over…”sneakers”..

  • FamuRattler85

    While we’re on the subject, everyone go check out my video “Chicago Blaccent” on YouTube. I’m sure some of you may be able to relate. should be the first video to pop up.

  • CF Sista

    Most of that stuff is so not true with regard to me, and I’m originally from Indiana and moved to Minnesota. Only things that apply to me: Calling soda “pop” and I call sneakers “gym shoes.” Definitely don’t listen to Nelly or Chingy, and never been told I sound country. LOL

  • JB#3

    Definitely a DC native and have always called them tennis shoes

  • CJ MAC

    I’m from AZ, we have a lot of transplants from Midwest now. Especially Chi, Detroit and all over Ohio. Some cool azz dudes.

    • Candace Cane

      Thanks! Yes, I am an Ohio transport. Straight out of Columbus. Go Bucks!

  • Sheena B

    I just moved to St. Louis (suburbs) from Tennessee. I will see how this list holds up. So far the speaking thing does NOT hold true. I say “hello” to people and they look at me like I’m crazy. My husband has said the same. I will definitely keep this list in mind.

  • Anonymous

    Detroit to the T, Omg. This describes Detroit perfectly

  • Raven

    Im from Kansas and was always told I sounded country if I traveled outside the midwest, but now I live in the south, they say I dont sound country. And, no, you’ll never catch me on public tranportation.

  • Yea!!

    STL all day!!!!!!

  • Jermaine

    Judging from this list, Cincinnati apparently isn’t in the Midwest…

    • eecy55

      Considered east or southeast,right?

      • Jermaine

        Right in the middle of the Midwest, South, and East

  • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

    Awwww snap, i played the juke song and started juking the air!!!!! LMAO!!! I usedto be SO scared to juke…. Now, i loose my mind…

  • Beckster

    Detroit peeps don’t greet or say hello to strangers and we call sneakers GYMSHOES.
    Tennis Shoes is a Southern/West Coast thing. The other “signs” -MEH.

  • Whitney

    I remember when I went to college is when I realized pop wasn’t used by everyone! I still live in the midwest and that’s who we are! Especially when someone tries to call us country or say we sound country, we get heated! LOL! From KCMO!

    • CC

      Ha!! Another KC Baby!!! <3

  • CC

    Well, I’m a KC baby and proud of it!!! I agree with this list but the author tries to slide in the silly “chicken-head” remarks. There are chicken-heads EVERYWHERE!!! I had to laugh at the “you sound country” thing only because east coasters think we are country as he!!~~ I moved to GA for 3 & a 1/2 yrs and they all said I sound proper like I’m from Cali…lol!!! I didn’t know we were considered the part of the nation that has manners but I did notice when I moved down south how they don’t greet each other in public and thought I was strange for doing it!!

  • Madtown

    I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin and I love being from the Midwest. There is such a large variety of people. But I am going to add being a fan a Ray Nitti to the list and the bubbler/ Drinking fountain debate.

  • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

    please add you know what the cha cha slide is and how to do it.
    and you remember the Bad boys (Mike Love & the Diz) birthday song.

    • FamuRattler85

      Omg. You are taking me back! I’m about to go IN on YouTube.

      • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

        its gone be a while before u find the right cha-cha slide… coincidentally i was listening to it on Sunday (why, idk) but it took like a half hour before i found it.

  • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

    Buhahaha this list is DEAD on!!! Chi-town stand up! i am about to look up Dj Chip Hol up wait a minute juke mix…. and Yes i do say pop and HATE when folks ask if im from the south… born and raised in Chicago with manners… This made my day. im bot to send this around. Juking. i DARE Miley try and swagger jack that…

  • LaLaLand

    can we east coast people get one too??it’s about damn time that we get one.

    • bvictorian

      It’s coming!

    • CKT76

      True story!

  • Stephanie Penn

    It’s tennis shoes.

    • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

      I say gym shoes…

    • Nia

      I’m from Cali and I used to say tennis shoes all day. I started saying sneaker when I went to college.

  • Tee Elyse

    Born and raised in Naptown!!!! LOL I thought everybody knew what pop was! & I got a cousin who ALWAYS call me country! Oh, and EVERY time I hear Percolater, I go off!!

    • Shellie

      Same here! And I get very irritated whenever I say washing machine or I need to wash some clothes…someone always feel the need to correct me. Okay! I know it’s not “warsh” but it just comes out that way. I hate to even say it around people now. I just say “I need to do some laundry.”

    • Kita

      and THIS is the comment I was waiting to see ROTFL “its time for the percolater, its time for the percolater” lol other than the gym shoe and washin’ machine (we Chicagoans don’t put Rs, Ts and Gs to anything lol) everything else was SPOT ON! my fav article right here l

  • L-Boogie


  • MKE on da MIC

    LOL at “rural” Wisconsin…I am from Milwaukee and the only time I’ve seen farms or cows is on fields trips or the zoo, so I always laugh at the “Dairyland” title

    I definitely think people from St Louis and Chicago have distinctive accents that we consider “country” and sometimes I have a harder time understanding them than my Southern family

    I think it would have been cool to add that the great majority of Blacks in the Midwest are Southern at heart because our grandparents migrated from Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, etc. I don’t know any Black person whose family isn’t originally from these states.

    Also while we are polite in the Midwest, Midwestern white people are also the personification of the term “subtle racism” smh

    • Ms. K Rock

      A-GREE wit ALL of this.

    • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

      ooohhh they sure do… low key racist real talk. they the ones who say ‘i have black friends…’

    • Jermaine

      To be fair, outside of the area between Milwaukee and Chicago, and Madison, what is there?

      • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N


      • DaisyDiddles

        Im up in Wausau, 2.5 hrs north of Madison. Anything north of here is pretty “rural” and lots of farms too until you get to the national forest area….millions of acres

    • Shellie

      Oh yes! You hit the nail on the head right there. They are some of most blanketed racist in the Midwest.

  • FamuRattler85

    I was born and raised in Chicago and I approve this message. I say “gym shoes” instead of “sneakers” or “tennis shoes” though. “Bounce and break yo back” just brought back many memories of my old high school parties.

    • Raven

      Sooo many memories. The Birthday Day line? Ugh.

      • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

        do you know Mike Love took that to Milwaukee?

        • Me+One

          “Mike Love cold as hell” lol…only in the Mil

          • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

            it dont even sound right…its better here in Chicago! lol

        • FamuRattler85

          I feel some type of way about that. Lol

    • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

      shoot middle school 4 me…

    • Tracu

      Yes! They’re gym shoes not sneakers or tennis shoes!!! Lol

      • hollyw

        Um NO, if I can’t say tennis shoes than y’all can’t say gym shoes lol! You wear em more than at the gym or in tennis, anyway pssssh…

    • neexy55

      Gym shoe for this Chicagoan as well!!

    • Understanding 18

      I’m from Detroit which is not far from Chicago and we say gym shoes as well….yep we are definitely from the Midwest.

  • Bits

    Midwest born and raised! Just moved back from the east coast and had to get use to people being nice and striking up friendly conversation again. That whole ‘pop’ thing is only true for the immediate Chicago area and where ever Sweet Brown is from. Outside of those areas Midwesterners will look at you like you’re crazy if you say ‘pop’…and staying true to #10 if you want to hear country talking go to urban Chicago where they drive their cawws (cars) to the pawwty (party) lol! Love chi-town though.

    • fasho

      Lol don’t forget shopping carts are buggys

      • NatashaDecemberBabyThomas

        People call strollers buggys too.

      • Bits

        lol!!! so true!

      • FamuRattler85

        Lol!!!! I thought everyone said that.

      • jjac401

        And saying pocketbook instead of saying purse.

    • TW

      We say pop in Missouri and Kansas. It’s never changed.

      • CC

        Right, they sad soda in the south, hilarious!!!

      • Bits

        The part of Missouri that is closest to Kansas and Oklahoma they might say it out there but not close to st. louis and southern illinois.

        • Diva_Ray

          Right. St. Louisan here and I never hear pop from anyone who lives here.

        • hollyw

          You might need to extend that b/c I’m from IN and errbody I know day pop lol…

    • shuga_b

      Actually people in Michigan and Ohio use “pop” too. I get weird looks all the time, I had to get used to using soda when I moved from my hometown.

      • Bits

        you’re right I understand. Especially in areas closest to chicago like michigan and some parts of Ohio even (northern part) they say pop.

      • Tandy

        Hoosiers say pop too.

    • Ms. K Rock

      Wait, wait, wait…i’m from Ohio and we say “pop” all day.

      • hollyw


    • Lois

      I think they got the pop thing confused. We don’t say pop. We say soda, and others look at us like what’s that ? O a pop ? I made the mistake of going in a Mississippi gas station asking for a soda ! They were like whuddd ?

      • neecy55

        Chicago uses pop, when I was a kid In Michigan we also said pop

    • K

      We say pop in Kansas City

    • Cleveland Cutie

      We say pop in Cleveland.

  • NatashaDecemberBabyThomas

    Proud Chicagoan right here, and yes people tell me I sound country it’s because my family is from the south, both my mom and dad side.

    • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

      Girl YES!

    • Shellie

      Right! I’m a Hoosier and I thought everyone said pop and tennis shoes. Goes to show we’re alright…it’s everyone else that needs to catch up…lol. And they forgot that you can ask someone in any store where something is located and they’ll show you even if they don’t work there. And we call it bar-b-que…not cook out I could go on and on. We also can have all of seasons in one day. Start out with the air during the day and the heat during the night.

      • NatashaDecemberBabyThomas

        I still say tennis shoes too girl, so does my daughter when we go shoe shopping.

      • SB

        Hoosier too…Houdee Whoooooooooooooo!!!!

    • Sookiiee

      Ikr from Chicago I hate when country people call me country lol and on the northside where I’m from we take the train a lot

    • darealest

      Wr dont say pop in st louis..its soda…

  • am

    Yep Midwest is the best!

    • Young Rebal

      What They Know about DJ JR DIONTE or DJ Wax Master….lemme see yo foot work, lemme see yo foot work!!….bang bang bang……… ski ski ski ….Im sitting in my quebical lmao @ this list…..Midwest Stand UP…….straight rep’n for the 773 and the 414….if you dont know what or where that is GOOGLE it…..ha…. outta towners…
      the home of the Bulls and the Bucks and if you dont do basket ball try The Bears and the Packers oldest rivalry in NFL history!!!!

      • Midwest Mad Man!!!

        Milwaukee therl bread, born and raised home of the Harley baby, most of my closest homies are from the CHI aka the windy City, them house music mix tapes were a hot commodity back then, we still rocking White Sox Hats, Brewer Brims and bumping Twista, what can I say We represent…

  • cryssi

    Whoot whoot to the Midwest!!!! Love my ghetto house music, aka Godzilla beats lol


    • MKE on da MIC

      LOL my uncles always called Detroit the capital of “Gators & Haters”

      • cryssi

        Omg, now our men do love those atrocious gators….but the haters lol, those are everywhere.