I will admit to being partially biased on this topic, as my roots are about as deep-fried and Southern-grown as they can be.
I grew up in both Tennessee and Alabama, and was raised by the epitome of a true Southern gentleman; I’m talking shotgun, Bible-on-the-nightstand kind of Southern man.
That being said, I have lived in what I believe to be the greatest city in the world, New York City, for five-and-a-half years, and I have traveled to almost every state in the US during my time here.
I have spent a significant amount of time dating, meeting, working and socializing with men from all over the country, and can now say the results are officially in: There’s nothing better than a good Southern man.
As a self-proclaimed feminist, some people are surprised I value the traditional traits of a Southern man. While I do think there are some stereotypes about the traditional male-female gender roles still true in the South, my experience with true Southern men has been nothing but empowering and encouraging.
These days, in a respectable and valiant attempt to place men and women on the same playing field, chivalry seems to be viewed as demeaning or sexist. It’s as if considerate gestures made by men say, "You can’t do this on your own."
With this mindset, we are at risk of losing basic respect for one another and the idea that women are special and to be treated as such is quickly headed for the door.
That being said, the fact that Southern gentlemen are still being raised right and taught how to treat women is more refreshing than a big glass of iced tea on a hot summer day.
Sure, there are some bad apples in the South, just like you’d find anywhere else. There are also exceptions outside of the South, and men who posses these great qualities who were raised north of the Mason Dixon line.
But, I’m a firm believer that true Southern gentlemen are an exceptional breed, and here’s why:
They Have Great Manners
Their mommas just raised ‘em right. They will open your doors, pull out your chair at the table, give you their coats when it’s cold and write personalized thank you notes to your parents after being invited over for the holidays.
They will ask you questions and genuinely listen to your answers. They’re also great chameleons; they have been trained from an early age to adapt to any environment and act appropriately in any setting.
While they can certainly kick it casually in a dive bar with the guys, they can also dress up and be the perfect dates to weddings or formal events.
They Will Make You Feel Safe
I’m the most independent and self-sufficient girl in the world, and it's essential my partner values that about me. But, when it comes to my man, I want him to be strong -- not just physically, but emotionally, as well.
Southern guys are strong in every sense of the word, and they take pride in providing that strength in a relationship. To women who haven’t experienced this, it may seem like an outdated or sexist idea, but in reality, it’s the opposite.
Southern men will respect your ambitions and support your dreams, while simultaneously looking out for your overall health and happiness. There is a gentle strength they posses that has nothing to do with outright aggression, and I promise it’ll make you feel loved and cared for on the deepest level.
Is there anything more attractive than a southern drawl? Think Ryan Gosling in "The Notebook," or Matthew McConaughey in anything ever. Just about everything they say, whether it’s reading the dictionary or confessing their love for you, is 100 percent swoon-worthy.
They Respect Women
It all goes back to their relationships with their mommas. Southern men typically love and admire their mothers immensely, and have grown up surrounded by other equally strong and admirable women (grandmas, sisters, aunts, etc.), which tends to translate directly to the way they treat their girlfriends and wives.
They are taught from an early age that women are to be treated with the utmost respect and that chivalry is not only alive and well, it is expected and necessary.
A Southern gentleman knows you can take care of yourself and you don’t NEED him to survive, but that doesn’t mean he won’t make it a point to make considerate gestures and make you feel loved.
They Wear Boots
Need I say more? Cowboy boots are a Southern staple, and Southern men have mastered the art of making them work with just about any ensemble.
Whether they’re paired with dressed-down jeans and a t-shirt, or a dressed up with a suit, you cant go wrong with a classic cowboy boot.
They Are Masculine
There’s something fundamentally attractive about a man who acts like, well, a man. This may seem obvious, but let me tell you from experience with men from other parts of the country, it isn’t.
Southern men are the opposite of wimps in every sense of the word. You will never have to worry about a southern man wanting to join you for pedicures, taking longer than you to get ready in the morning or wearing the same size pants as you.
They Value Family
Southern men are raised in a culture that puts family first. They are fiercely loyal and protective of their loved ones and will always prioritize them over anything else. They value tradition and are taught the importance of a strong family bond from an early age.
That's hot, y'all.