The first time I made eyes with a bearded, flannel-clad guy sporting oversized glasses and leisurely strumming his guitar in Sevier Park, I thought, “Wow, he looks really cool. And like an Urban Outfitters model who happens to have the musical ability and troubled yet resolved past of Johnny Cash. I’m into it.” By the end of my four years at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee (where Brad Paisley is worshiped as its premiere alumnus), however, I rolled my eyes and wisely commented, “‘Wonderwall’ has already been written” to my equally over-the-Ryan-Adams-tortured-soul-guy girl friend.
Nashville has been getting a lot of attention lately (a beautiful combo of Connie Britton and an ideal cost of living) and truly is a wonderful place to meet kind people, eat fantastic barbecue, and enjoy famous songwriters for free at bars. Despite the hipsters-clad-in-denim phenomena, Nashville remains an authentic city and a kind of refuge for artists. The Prom Queen of the Moment, Nashville is currently on the search for what kind of city it wants to be besides just "music city." The women of Nashville are an especially interesting group, dripping with sweet Southern charm while progressively supporting the advances of the city. And trying their best to avoid falling in love with a musician. Here are things only these gals can truly understand:
1. You always avoid the guy with the guitar at parties.
Because why would he ask you questions about your life when he can sing to you about his ex-girlfriend?
2. Trips to Sonic and Target are where real friendships are born.
The easiest way to make a new girl friend: drive with them to Sonic, order fruity slushies, and go to Target exclusively for buying things you don’t need. And if she doesn’t support you purchasing your third green army jacket, who needs 'em.
3. CMA Fest is for tourists to wear cowboy hats that have nothing to do with farming.
Also rhinestones. Those belong in Dollywood. Actually CMA Fest would be far better suited to a place where Dolly Parton is Queen on a theme park where no one drives.
4. The scariest place in Nashville is the “Tunnel of Judgment,” aka the open garage doors of Barista Parlor.
Your only armor in this hipster’s paradise is denim and disdain for anyone who thinks paying $6 for a small cup of coffee is insane. Maybe bring a Polaroid camera just in case things get rough.
5. Avoiding awkward and overly personal religious conversations is an art.
When people ask what church you go to, calmly reply, “It’s very progressive and non-denominational and the pastor is 23,” and they quickly lose interest.
6. Feeling possessive over biscuits is a perfectly natural feeling.
Because you'll never be happier than when you’re stuffing your face at Loveless Cafe on a Saturday morning.
7. The “cool girls” shop at thrift stores and wear mom jeans even Tina Fey would be shocked by.
That doesn’t mean you can’t do a killer smoky eye and wear your nicest dress when you go out. And no, you’re not a terrible person for worrying about getting diseases from those $2 jorts from Goodwill.
8. Santa’s Pub is the exact representation of what heaven should look like.
Good karaoke, cheap beer, and a man who looks like a badass Santa. If that’s not what heaven looks like, I’m not interested.
9. You refer to Steeple Chase as “Steeple Waste.”
Also known as the place where girls buy big hats and short dresses to find the boy in a lime green polo who will invite them to the next Swan Ball.
10. The obsession with Jeni’s ice cream is the worst because you fully participate.
Everyone will tell you that Jeni’s ice cream is the best thing you’ll ever eat and it gets really annoying. But then you try it and they’re right and you’re even more annoyed.
11. You avoid Belle Meade women because they throw you off your game.
Yes, you have your career all planned out and are hitting the pavement. But then you’re walking in Percy Warner Park (fitness goals) and see that breezy, beautiful Belle Meade mom with her adorable kids and Kate Spade watch. Suddenly “strong, independent career woman” looks more like “out of shape, lonely spinster” and you lose focus. This complex is why the Beyoncé documentary exists.
12. You may not be able to afford toilet paper for the apartment, but somehow you always make it to Happy Hour at Holland House.
And the Pharmacy is just around the corner? Why yes, I will waddle there for a six pound burger afterwards, thanks for the suggestion.
13. The Belcourt is the best “first date” or “second date” or really “any date” spot that guys rarely ever utilize.
And if they are smart enough to take you there, you unfairly compare them to Jimmy Stewart and proceed to drown your sorrows in cookie dough egg rolls at Jackson’s.
14. Getting asked to be a bridesmaid is exactly what rom coms make it out to be.
Well … without the cute love interest sweeping you off your feet at the end of the movie.
15. Drinking coffee while journaling near a white wall is porn for girls on Instagram.
Complete with comments like “Monday afternoon vibes” and “Taking a break from the chaos at my fave chill spot. #2blessed2bestressed.” We get it, we get it, you don’t have a job.
16. Bridal showers are the emotional swimsuit portion of a beauty pageant.
“So you’re not dating anyone?” “Oh I thought you were working there full time…” "You look so different from high school!"
17. You talk about Taylor Swift like she’s your crazy older sister who your mom says just needs to “find a good man and settle down.”
No, she doesn’t officially live in Nashville or write country music anymore. She left home, but hopefully one day she’ll come back for the holidays? Please? At least Christmas?
18. You talk about Jack White like he’s your cool older brother who your dad says just needs to “find a real job and stop picking fights.”
Whenever you do run into him at the Brentwood Starbucks, he pretends to act like he doesn’t know you just to “play it cool.” Come on, Jack, I knew you when you were dressing up in costumes.
19. You talk about Paula Deen like she’s your inappropriate grandmother.
Yes, you criticize her in your heart, but it's hard to see reason when faced with fried chicken.
20. Sometimes it seems like Nashville only has two kinds of guys: frat stars and hipsters.
One will try and get you drunk, while the other won’t pay for your coffee. At least you have a good answer when your grandma asks you why you don’t have a boyfriend.
21. Yes, we know the show Nashville is a soap opera and doesn’t represent the real city accurately. But we watch it anyway.
Leave us alone. We’re very busy eating wildberry lavender ice cream from Jeni’s and dreaming of what life could be like with a cute songwriter who happens to make a lot of money.
Images: ABC; Giphy