by Nicole Crews


Mother: “Why’d you come home so early from your date last night?”

Me: “None of your business.”

Mother: “Nicole, your romantic life isn’t a business. It’s a phenomenon.”

Most people who know me are keenly aware that I’m no stranger to dating. I’ve been assessing the terrain of the modern, post-apocalyptic field of romance for years now and, like most combat-fueled love and war zones, it’s filled with booby traps, ambushes, unfathomable horrors and, on rare occasions, glimpses of stark beauty and humanity.

The Southern landscape in particular is home to a number of opposing species worthy of mention. From the Mason-Dixon to the great dangling appendage of Florida to the akimbo elbow of West Texas all the way to North Carolina’s bony-fingered Outer Banks — the ranks of Southern critters are vast and varied. So whether you’re in it for capture, catch-and-release or down for the kill, here’s a short list to get you started.

1. Hickster (scientific name Ut Videtur Non Est) Not to be confused with the County Mounty (Scientific Name: Beardo Weirdo): The Hickster poses from afar in hipster garb comprised of dark and skinny denim, fitted plaid flannel and a year round plume of wool atop his head and some form of ironic facial hair. Upon closer examination however you will find that the Hickster is just a redneck whose girlfriend dressed him. The Hickster is found in all Southern regions. (The County Mounty shares the same characteristics but is found only in mountainous regions where long hair, beards and girlfriends with jobs are tantamount to survival.)

2. Elmer Glue Gantry (scientific name Biblio Beltus): The EGG emits a cadenced, proselytizing song of seduction and can often be spotted in a dark suit and Save-the-Children tie, occasionally flashing a signet ring. Despite his friendly demeanor and stick-to-itiveness, the EGG often has a nasty personality and a mate in another Southern state. Also found in all Southern regions.

3. Bassboat Profundo (scientific name Sum Es Fishy): The Bassboat Profundo is the philosopher of the Southern male kingdom. He is often accompanied by a deep voice and a penchant for Bojangle’s chicken. He finds solace in lake and river habitats, but is just as comfortable on a Silver Eagle tour bus. Also found in all Southern regions, but specific to North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee.

4. Grady-White Boy (scientific name Gulfus Exstreamus): Found throughout North America but bred in North Carolina waterways, the Grady-White boy has a distinctive bill — known as a visor — wears Wanchese Wing Tips (white rubber booties), has a coat the color of Tang and emits the odor of salt. Gulfus Exstreamus is strangely drawn to the colors purple and yellow and Carolina blue.

5. Straight Wedge (scientific name Iceburgus for Veinus): Akin to the Hickster in appearance, the Straight Wedge is the real Southern hipster deal. His habitat is a skinny-jean pool. His only vice is Raleigh Denim and his diet is comprised primarily of raw foods and IPAs. The Straight Wedge is found in urban environments throughout the South.

6. Cowboy Junkie (scientific name Rhinestoneus Cowbeus) Though distinct sub-species are found regionally (note the Avett Brotherus and the Darius Ruckerus), the Cowboy Junkie relies on song for mating, has a tendency to migrate primarily to Texas and Tennessee — though the lesser of this species roosts in Branson, Mo. Not to be confused with real cowboys, the Junkie makes a nest of tight Ed Hardy tees, leather necklaces, True Religion jeans and locks of Carrie Underwood’s hair.

7. Easy Rider (scientific name Transplantus Bicycle Pantus): Originally from the Northeast, the Easy Rider migrated south decades ago (its ancestor is the Carpet Buggerus) and is generally seen atop a two-wheeled apparatus sporting bright colors with a pointy plume atop its head. The sub-species of the Easy Rider is known scientifically as the Harley Barflea and has a black, shiny coat with orange detailing. His call is VERY noisy.

8. Rough Trader Joe (scientific name Trashius Blancus): These scavenger males are known for their physical prowess, sometimes vulgar plumage and ability to live by their wits. Outlaws of the Southern kingdom, Rough Trader Joes attract a variety of females but have a tendency to date up, because they can.

9. Traveling Woodberry (scientific name Tailus Blazerus): These migratory types tend to flit from female to female throughout their long, reproductive lives. Prep school-reference reliants who use the brass buttons on their Brooks Brothers blazers to garner attention, the Traveling Woodberry is found primarily in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

10. Brown Sugar Daddy (scientific name Barrius Whiteus) These smooth cooers use their treacle talk to woo the opposite sex and lure them to their nests. Their Southern charm is rivaled only by the opulence of their plumage and environment. Found mainly in the larger urban centers of the South (especially the greater Atlanta and Beltway areas), these Daddys are excellent providers for at least the first three dates.

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