The Long Island accent was just named least sexy in the United States, and so what?
A place with this much good pizza and the incomparable Big Duck need to take a backseat to no one — although, I suppose, that depends on what is happening in the backseat.
Why such hostility toward Long Island diction and enunciation?
“Debbie to Registuh Faw, please,” says the announcement at a local megastore. “Debbie to Registuh Faw.”
Is that enough to say bye-bye love?
Out-of-towners are so refined that they can’t imagine romance with someone who exclaims, “oh-my-gawd” or “how-ya-doon?”
Let’s look at some other losers on the list prepared by Big 7 Travel.
Right under Long Island is New Jersey, which, frankly, makes sense.
My wife, Wink, is from New Jersey. After 56 years of marriage, I still can’t be entirely sure of everything she says.
Wink insists my hearing is kaput. I don’t have the heart to tell her I hear perfectly but can’t always figure what she’s talking about — and I’m from Brooklyn.
Ranking under New Jersey is Minnesota.
Remember the murder mystery film, “Fargo?”
Fargo is in North Dakota but most of the story unfolds next door in Minnesota. Everybody said “yah” and “hon” so often you might have felt homicidal urges, yourself.
Some of the other losers are Alaska (because Big 7 says people there speak like Minnesotans), Pittsburgh (just all-around awful) and ... Cincinnati.
Cincinnati? This is a place stuck in southern Ohio and across the river from Kentucky. I say show Cincinnati a little love.
Under any circumstances, it is dismaying to think that you would be out of luck, relationship-wise, just because of the way you — well — tawk.
Sometimes though, you can find redemption as a sort of curiosity piece.
Let’s say, for instance, you’re at a nighttime picnic in Laramie, Wyoming, and the only one in the crowd who happens to hail from 69th Street and Sixth Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. You never know what will happen.
This was long ago when, despite a calamitous record at Brooklyn Technical High School — the fabulous Tech! — I found myself a freshman at the University of Denver.
I was there not to study math or physics as one might have expected of a Tech attendee (I didn’t graduate) but hotel and restaurant management. Why Denver? Why hotels and restaurants? Another story for another time.
Soon after arrival, I accepted an invitation from a few fellows who were driving one Friday afternoon to Laramie. Having rarely been west of Hoboken, I was dizzy with the idea of going to — wow — Wyoming.
The picnic — a “woodsie,” the local kids called it — was in the mountains. There was a campfire, blankets and, somehow, exactly the correct number of Wyoming girls who, in memory at least, appeared magically, as if forest sprites.
When I was identified as a bona fide Brooklyn guy, the reaction was immediate.
“Oooh,” said the Wyoming girls. “Say ‘dog’.”
“Dawg,” I replied.
“Butter,” they giggled.
“Buttah,” I insisted.
On and on it went.
As night drew full, however, there was a sudden, and inevitable, pairing off and, before long, not only the campfire was throwing off heat.
Except in the case of a girl named Alice and me. We only talked — and talked. I told her how amazing it was to be in Wyoming — as if on another planet. She said New York must really be something.
“I hope you know we were just fooling about your accent,” Alice said.
“Oh, sure,” I said. “Made me feel like a celebrity.”
“You are,” she said. “You’re from — Brooklyn.”
At the end of the night, we wished each other luck and said it had been a pleasure spending a few hours under the stars. No heartfelt parting words. No promises or plans. No more to the story.
Still, I remember the woodsie all these years later, and the icy mountain air and the kindhearted girl named Alice who thought a Brooklyn accent was just about the neatest thing ever.
Turns out, superficial stuff doesn’t count for much, does it — speech habits, looks, anything else? Openness, acceptance, sincerity — those are the winners.
But can I say one last thing about the Big 7 survey?
You know what accent rates No. 1?
As in, “Howdy?” “Bless your heart?” “Y’all?” “Sure ’nuff?”
“Ya gotta be kiddin’.