The Struggles of Being Southern in the Fall

Sunshine and palm trees are great, but we still have our share of challenges.

Hannah Hayes
South in the Fall
Cheryl Zibisky

Don’t get us wrong. It’s a privilege and an honor to live full time in a region where the rest of the country mainly visits at the cost of vacation days and retirement savings. But when the leaves begin to change color and coffee orders turn from iced to hot elsewhere, we remain cloaked in humidity and feeling left out in regards to cardigan and pumpkin-spice latte jokes. Attempt to enjoy America’s autumnal wonders too soon down here, and you will turn into a perspiring mess in your boots and buffalo-plaid jacket. Although our neighbors to the North might roll their eyes, here are our other seasonal complaints.

To Sandal or Not to Sandal

There comes a certain time of year where monarch butterflies leave for Mexico, Geese fly to warmer climates, and Southerners across the region collectively stand at their thresholds about to embark on their day and second guess their choice to wear sandals. It still feels like summer, but the J. Crew catalog in the mailbox says otherwise. While there is no enforced custom saying open-toed shoes are inappropriate this time of year, there comes a kind of societal pressure to wear boots before temperatures drop causing unfortunate combinations like riding boots with summer sundresses. It also creates the reverse, like tan sandals with a tweed skirt.

Chilling on the Chili

All your magazine covers feature apple pies and stews; your Facebook feed fills with pumpkin-related recipe videos; half the grocery store produce department seems dedicated to the winter squash. Yet, just the thought of turning on the oven causes you to pull out your imaginary handheld fan. A bowl full of piping hot butternut soup just doesn’t produce that satisfying sensation when it raises your internal temperature to match the heat index.

Pine Straw

It is everywhere, and raking it in this humidity just increases the likelihood of heat exhaustion.

Travel Troubles

Heading somewhere? Do you want to sweat and awkwardly juggle your jacket with your duffle bag on the jetway or brace yourself for a brisk breeze and violently shiver as you exit? Whether you’re a Southerner heading upward a few states or a heat-seeking Northerner, prepare to strip off/pile on layers depending on how ill-suited your outfit increasingly becomes whilst in transit.

PPP

Also known as Pumpkin Patch Pressure as editor Katherine Owen has coined, this acronym refers to the self-induced anxiety over enjoying all fall-related activities before said season quickly vanishes without so much as a day’s warning. Some year’s it lasts a couple months, other’s just a couple weeks. Regardless, you can’t take any day of multi-colored leaves and light jackets for granted.