My friend, K, lives with a bunch of my friends in DC. She's from the Pacific Northwest and had never been south of Richmond before this trip. I don't think she was fully aware of what she was getting herself into.
I grew up in Norhtern Virginia, but I spent all of my childhood family vacations visiting family members. My mom's family is from East North Carolina, she grew up specifically in Kinston (it's off 41, close to Goldsboro, yeah...). My dad was born in Memphis and grew up between there and Phoenix. We're Southern. I have been to pig pickings. I can drop "y'all" without noticing. I am fine walking around in jorts without shoes on. There is a part of me that is instinctually Southern. I can't shake it. I used to hate it, but I know my family's history, and there's a lot to be embarassed about, but I understand it, and I can't change it, so I accept it and love it anyway.
I've also written about Fat People here before. And I enjoy making fun of people as much as everyone else, or maybe more than most, but I am unphased by the South. I have seen Confederate flags worn and displayed unironically, proudly. I know that there are still people that refer to the Civil War as the War Between the States, and that those people don't think that race had anything to do with it, it was, to them, a Big Government infringing upon states' rights. My personal opinons aside, I get it.
People are fat, and sometimes people wear shirts with Tweety Bird on them, or relatively offensive racial or sexist slurs, or something five sizes too small - that's a typical Southern beach town. All of that aside, they just don't care. No one can accuse them of being uptight, they're happy with who they are and they own it.