March 3, 2010

Growing up my younger brother and I endlessly taunted our mother for the way she pronounced certain words. For example, instead of saying him, as in “I’m going to call him”, she would say “I’m going to call eem.” She said it so often, that we were convinced that Eem was her long lost brother or illegitimate child from a previous relationship.

She also had, and still has, the strangest way of pronouncing the days of the week. Instead of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc… she says Mondee, Tuesdee, Wednesdee and so forth. If she had been another mother, she may have had her feelings hurt by our constant taunting, but since she’s the best mother on the Earth, completely selfless and ever-caring of her children, she laughed along with us as we hypothesized about her Mondee night visits with her son, Eem.

But eventually I had to leave the nest, and my mother’s ever-entertaining accent for college. Thank God I met my Homo Honey and discovered…Baltimorons.

It was in the first few weeks of my freshman year and I was hanging out in the hallway of the girl’s dorm, performing my best Elvis impersonation. I was in middle of gyrating my hips to “All Shook Up” when I turned and laid eyes on Homo Honey dressed like she just walked off the set of “Saturday Night Fever”. My eyes perused her entire outfit; the polyester head band and matching shirt, bell bottom burgundy pants and six inch wood platform shoes with clear plastic straps. I stood there in awe for several seconds before I could speak. “Cool shoes.” I said, “Where did you get them?”  With her quick wit  she said “I made them in shop class.” We linstantly fell in love and spent most of our freshman year hanging out in her dorm room making fun of our classmates.

We’d sit in her room, leafing through the Meatbook (see Catch Phrase Thieves for more information) making fun of the Cro-Magnon girl with the big forehead, or all the girls with teased hair so big the top of it was cut off from their senior picture. We’d cackle for hours, drinking Diet Coke and consuming apples. But all that came to a halting stop whenever her roommate came home.

Her name was Mary Ellen and she was truly the culmination of everything bad that could be expressed in a college roommate.  First of all, we hated her name. It’s not that we hated everyone named Mary Ellen, we just hated her so, in turn, hated her name. We donned her “Hairy Mellon” and refer to her as such, over ten years later. Mellon was on the soccer team which meant that she was short, with disproportionally developed legs and shoulders wide enough to show an IMAX movie. She’d barge into her dorm room, interrupting whatever Homo Honey and I were doing, throw her sweaty soccer uniform on the floor and plop herself down on her bed and munch on Funions til the smell permeated the entire floor. But there was one thing that made Mellon totally and completely insufferable: she was a Baltimoron.

Baltimorons are those people from the city of Baltimore and surrounding areas that share three common characteristics.

First and the most significant is their accent. For those of you not familiar with Baltimorese, either rent the musical Hairspray and listen to John Travolta’s accent or click on the video below.

It’s maddening, right? Their accent sounds as if you’ve taken a completely normal person, stripped him of any and all dignity and then struck him upside the head several times with a two by four. And the accent is totally indigenous to Maryland. There are some, very small similarities between it and dialects from western Philadelphia and rural Virginia, but it most definitely has an idiocy all its own. I remember in college not being able to concentrate on a lecture, if the professor was from Baltimore. All the “huns” and long, drawn out “oooohhh” sounds. It was enough to make me want to slice my wrists with a protractor.

Secondly…somehow, although being in close proximity to several major metropolitan areas up and down the eastern seaboard, Baltimorons are generally about five to ten years behind the fashion trends. When I was in college from 1993-1997, my fellow local classmates were still wearing Skids, MC Hammer pants and Hyper color t-shirts. Homo Honey and I actually had an acquaintance that we labeled “Hammer Time” because it seemed that she had a never-ending supply of oversized pants that cinched at the ankles. We’d see her in the cafeteria or walking on campus and turn to one another and shout “Hammer Time”. And it’s not that they dressed that way because there was a lack of clothing stores. Not two miles from our college was this great mall which, totally off topic, had the best Japanese station in the food court. The mall had all the usual stores that could dress any girl or guy in fashions of the time. Maybe Baltimorons try to save their money and they only go shopping once a decade. I wonder if Stacey and Clinton from “What Not to Wear” would be willing to take on an entire city.

Thirdly, and perhaps the most bizarre, is that Baltimorons are completely Baltimore-centric. It’s as if the sun rises and sets at the whim of Cal Ripken and the Inner Harbor is the center of the universe. I always found it funny when talking to Baltimorons about taking a trip to Washington, DC, which is only one hour away and easily accessible by public transportation. They would crinkle their nose and say “Ooohhh, nooohhh. I dooohhhn’t ever go to DC, hun. It’s too far.” Most  Baltimorons that I met had only been to DC a handful of times in their whole lives.


So, even though I had to suffer through four long years of bad accents and even worse accents, Baltimorons taught me one thing…that my mom’s accent is nothing to laugh at.

My advice to Baltimorons:

Take a speech class; buy some new clothes and branch out to the world beyond stone crabs, the Ocean City, Maryland boardwalk and Camden Yards. There’s a brave new world out there…experience it!

My advice to everyone else:

You need to treat Baltimorons like animals at the zoo. Look at them from afar, enjoy them in their natural environment and then leave and let them wallow in their own shit.


5 Responses to “Baltimorons”

  1. mom Says:

    Still laughing. Should I work on my accent or leave it alone?

  2. Jarred Says:

    I’m so glad you finally tackled Baltimorons. The sound of their accent has always infuriated me, like nails on a chalkboard (which is kind of stupid, because the sound of nails on a chalkboard doesn’t really bother me).

    • Michael Says:

      Thanks, Jarred.
      I may and alienated a few friends from college, but I thought the truth needed to be told.

  3. […] that all straight women are classified by in the lives of any gay man. Subsequently, in “Baltimorons” and “Holiday Cards” I gave a few morsels of why my HH is basically the most amazing friend […]

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