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Old 07-17-2010, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,135 posts, read 14,021,511 times
Reputation: 7050

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I am a 26-year old professional, gay male from Connecticut, considering a move to the deep south, and Mississippi is among one of the places I'm researching. I have lived in the northeast (NYC and CT) my entire life and I am sick and tired of the rat race, money-chasing, pretentious culture up here. If I see one more speeding BMW with a yuppie wearing sunglasses on his way to the beach to get his stupid tan, I am going to leave!

Anyway, I did plenty of thinking and came up with several reasons as to why MS may or may not be a good place for me. My hope is that some of you would be able to confirm whether my assumptions are accurate or not. See below.


Reasons why MS would be good for me?
  • I am a very laid back, quiet person who has a minimal social life and prefers to spend most of my time alone. A few friends are good, though.
  • I prefer to take my time and not rush with things; I'm not the type of person who is always busy and has plans every day of the week; very relaxed.
  • I can't stand cities and heavily urban areas with traffic, noise and commotion; quiet, semi-rural living appeals to me much more.
  • I don't care about nightlife, bars or partying. I am generally a homebody, but sometimes like to go for a hike or bike ride.
  • I hate winter and hate wearing jackets. My favorite type of weather is 90's, humid, bright and sunny, maybe some haze.
  • I have always voted Republican and can't stand Obama. Worst president ever.
  • My dream is to make a decent living and have a decent house in a quiet area with a nice yard.
Reasons why MS would be bad for me?
  • As a homosexual, I may have trouble being accepted by potential friends. However, I keep my sexual orientation to myself and only tell a select few friends; I generally look, talk and act like a straight man. But, maybe people will wonder why I'm 26 years old and still single.
  • Although I believe in God, I do not practice religion or go to church, ever. My fear is that people will not accept me if they know that I don't bother joining a congregation or going to church.
  • According to my research, it seems that although the cost of living in MS is significantly less than CT, my salary would take a major hit, actually putting me in a financially worse situation than living and working here in CT. The only exception would be the Greenville area, in which I would be financially better off.
  • I would stick out like a sore thumb, being one of the few people without a southern accent; people would see me as a "yankee." Also, the southern accent irritates me. Perhaps this is something I would get used to, though.
  • I am a very health conscious person who regularly exercises and refuses to consume alcohol or soda. I don't eat beef or pork, and am extremely picky when it comes to eating foods. I try to stay away from fatty, greasy or high sodium foods as much as possible. My fear is that MS is a major fast food state with minimal healthy eating options or restaurants, and that others may think I'm ridiculous for refusing to eat their unhealthy, fatty southern food.
So are my thoughts accurate? Based on the above, please let me know whether you think I would be better off in MS or not. Feel free to bring up other points I may have overlooked.

Thanks!
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:29 PM
 
1,100 posts, read 2,592,214 times
Reputation: 1037
Based on your description, I would recommend the following:

- Coastal towns: Ocean Springs, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Waveland
- Natchez

These are all low key, charming, and places where someone from anywhere could easily blend into.

Natchez has more antebellum homes than any town in America and is perched 200 foot above the Mississippi River. The downtown is very laid back, historic, and quiet actually - and surrounding countryside beautiful (hills, ravines, forests). Depending on your type of employment, this is not an area that is strong economically. Your best chance employment wise is if you have some kind of specialty, such as teaching or in the medical field. Socially it's considered a quiet, mini-New Orleans, i.e. not a traditional socially conservative religious town.

The Coast has the reputation of being socially diverse, egalitarian, and libertarian. Like Natchez, the Coast culture is somewhat of a cousin to New Orleans culture, just quieter and more laid back. There are people from all over the country. The major employers range from military, to casinos and tourism, to shipbuilding and fishing, to NASA. This is a much more populated area than Natchez, but traffic is very minimal. And the main population center is the two cities of Gulfport and Biloxi. The towns I listed above are quiet, picturesque, and sit on the outskirts in either direction from Biloxi-Gulfport.

Weather-wise, all of Mississippi fits your description more or less with winter high temperatures typically in the 50s and almost 60 on the Coast.
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:32 PM
 
1,350 posts, read 3,607,960 times
Reputation: 1259
I grew up in Pa, don't go to church, know several gay professionals(they do not "keep their orientation to themselves nor do they make a big deal out of it.), and if you settle in a larger town(with rural surrounds) you will not stand out because there are tons of ex-pats here.

I, too, am a healthy eater---whole grains, some organic, veggies, yogurt--I find what I need with a few exceptions. I do not like nor do I eat southern food. There isn't the wide selection you might find in CT but there is generally availability.

I would say your issues or concerns are going to be a factor more or less depending on where you choose. The coast, college towns, Tupelo area, Jackson and Memphis suburbs should be fine. Other areas may be as well and other posters can chime in here. Why does your profession only afford Greenville as a possibility? (I know zero about Greenville, sorry.) The accent part--you will not notice it after a while.
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,135 posts, read 14,021,511 times
Reputation: 7050
Quote:
Originally Posted by brickpatio View Post
Based on your description, I would recommend the following:

- Coastal towns: Ocean Springs, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Waveland
- Natchez

These are all low key, charming, and places where someone from anywhere could easily blend into.

Natchez has more antebellum homes than any town in America and is perched 200 foot above the Mississippi River. The downtown is very laid back, historic, and quiet actually - and surrounding countryside beautiful (hills, ravines, forests). Depending on your type of employment, this is not an area that is strong economically. Your best chance employment wise is if you have some kind of specialty, such as teaching or in the medical field. Socially it's considered a quiet, mini-New Orleans, i.e. not a traditional socially conservative religious town.

The Coast has the reputation of being socially diverse, egalitarian, and libertarian. Like Natchez, the Coast culture is somewhat of a cousin to New Orleans culture, just quieter and more laid back. There are people from all over the country. The major employers range from military, to casinos and tourism, to shipbuilding and fishing, to NASA. This is a much more populated area than Natchez, but traffic is very minimal. And the main population center is the two cities of Gulfport and Biloxi. The towns I listed above are quiet, picturesque, and sit on the outskirts in either direction from Biloxi-Gulfport.

Weather-wise, all of Mississippi fits your description more or less with winter high temperatures typically in the 50s and almost 60 on the Coast.
Thank you very much. I will look into those places. One concern I forgot to mention is that I want to be in a place with low crime and higher income levels. I will do more research though.
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,135 posts, read 14,021,511 times
Reputation: 7050
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tama View Post
I grew up in Pa, don't go to church, know several gay professionals(they do not "keep their orientation to themselves nor do they make a big deal out of it.), and if you settle in a larger town(with rural surrounds) you will not stand out because there are tons of ex-pats here.

I, too, am a healthy eater---whole grains, some organic, veggies, yogurt--I find what I need with a few exceptions. I do not like nor do I eat southern food. There isn't the wide selection you might find in CT but there is generally availability.

I would say your issues or concerns are going to be a factor more or less depending on where you choose. The coast, college towns, Tupelo area, Jackson and Memphis suburbs should be fine. Other areas may be as well and other posters can chime in here. Why does your profession only afford Greenville as a possibility? (I know zero about Greenville, sorry.) The accent part--you will not notice it after a while.
Well, I have a master's degree in accounting, with diverse experience from the hedge fund, insurance and utility industries. I am a tax accountant, to be exact. So, I'm sure I could find a job pretty much anywhere. Maybe? I don't have to stay in tax, either. I have a general business degree as well.
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Old 07-17-2010, 05:11 PM
 
1,100 posts, read 2,592,214 times
Reputation: 1037
All the places I listed are very low crime and mostly, except Ocean Spprings, fit the semi-rural description. But if you want "high income", that doesn't really match too well with semi-rural. For truly high-income, low crime, I would recommend Madison or the the Reservoir area in Rankin County. These are affluent areas on the outskirts of Jackson, with people from all over the country. Ocean Springs fits this pretty well too. Frankly, Ocean Springs, especially the old town, is almost idealic with the huge trees arching over the streets and the charming community beach just blocks for the downtown section. Other options could be Oxford (gorgeous college town with nice semi-rural countryside around it) or Tupelo (prosperous small city). Or as the other poster listed, DeSoto County transitions from intense suburbs along the Memphis line to charming small-town Hernando, now with new subdivisions popping up etc, to full-on rural just south of there.
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Old 07-17-2010, 05:39 PM
 
2,319 posts, read 4,074,827 times
Reputation: 2068
I grew up in MS, went to school in MS, grad school in Memphis, and moved to PA. We're back in the south now. My parents still live in MS so we go visit quite often. So, that's where I'm coming from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post

Reasons why MS would be good for me?
  • I am a very laid back, quiet person who has a minimal social life and prefers to spend most of my time alone. A few friends are good, though.
  • I prefer to take my time and not rush with things; I'm not the type of person who is always busy and has plans every day of the week; very relaxed.
  • I can't stand cities and heavily urban areas with traffic, noise and commotion; quiet, semi-rural living appeals to me much more.
  • I don't care about nightlife, bars or partying. I am generally a homebody, but sometimes like to go for a hike or bike ride.
  • I hate winter and hate wearing jackets. My favorite type of weather is 90's, humid, bright and sunny, maybe some haze.
  • I have always voted Republican and can't stand Obama. Worst president ever.
  • My dream is to make a decent living and have a decent house in a quiet area with a nice yard.
Reasons why MS would be bad for me?
  • As a homosexual, I may have trouble being accepted by potential friends. However, I keep my sexual orientation to myself and only tell a select few friends; I generally look, talk and act like a straight man. But, maybe people will wonder why I'm 26 years old and still single.
  • Although I believe in God, I do not practice religion or go to church, ever. My fear is that people will not accept me if they know that I don't bother joining a congregation or going to church.
  • According to my research, it seems that although the cost of living in MS is significantly less than CT, my salary would take a major hit, actually putting me in a financially worse situation than living and working here in CT. The only exception would be the Greenville area, in which I would be financially better off.
  • I would stick out like a sore thumb, being one of the few people without a southern accent; people would see me as a "yankee." Also, the southern accent irritates me. Perhaps this is something I would get used to, though.
  • I am a very health conscious person who regularly exercises and refuses to consume alcohol or soda. I don't eat beef or pork, and am extremely picky when it comes to eating foods. I try to stay away from fatty, greasy or high sodium foods as much as possible. My fear is that MS is a major fast food state with minimal healthy eating options or restaurants, and that others may think I'm ridiculous for refusing to eat their unhealthy, fatty southern food.
So are my thoughts accurate? Based on the above, please let me know whether you think I would be better off in MS or not. Feel free to bring up other points I may have overlooked.

Thanks!
Based on all this, any Southern or Mid-Atlantic state would work for you. I will hit your negatives though -
  • Homosexuality is pretty taboo still. I'm sure you heard about the Constance McMillen prom situation in North MS. If you didn't hear about it, google it. There's plenty of info. I have two friends in Starkville who are gay and WAY in the closet. It's so taboo for hometown folks. It will probably be easier for you since you're from out of state.
  • Religion is a pretty big deal in the rural south. My husband and I are Skeptics, at best, and we are very closed mouthed about it with our neighbors and some family members. Just best not to go there, we say. Same with politics, btw.
  • The problem with cost of living / money in MS is the scarcity of jobs. From my understanding (in the Starkville area), it is very slowly improving. It would be best to secure a job prior to moving.
  • As long as you don't live in a very rural area, which you won't if you want to work as something other than a farmer, your accent won't be a problem. However, the southern accent can be overwhelming if you aren't used to it. at first, you're going to go batty, but I think it will get better. You won't "hear" it as much over time.
  • No alcohol, healthy food, etc. is just fine. You may, however, have a difficult time finding the kinds of foods you want. In North MS, to my knowledge, there is no major health food store; you'll have to find a small one. I know that Columbus has a good one, but it's not cheap. In the Starkville & Columbus area, I don't know of any vegetarian or vegan restaurants. Some people might think it's strange to be "healthy" and not eat fried food, but just do our thing.

Also, you said that you want to be in a place with low crime, high income. This, I believe, you can find in most larger towns (Columbus, Tupelo, Starkville, Natchez, Biloxi, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Madison, etc.).

All that said, the rural part, as defined by rural people, is the problem. Living outside Hartford, Starkville or Hattiesburg would be rural to you! I'm not trying to be mean, but you live in a major US city. I don't think you need to worry about that in MS - or most of the south, for that matter (maybe Atlanta, New Orleans, & Memphis during rush hour).

Are you thinking of other Southern / Mid-Atlantic states also? I ask because I think there are other states with better economies that might fit your lifestyle and your preferences a little better. Just saying.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,135 posts, read 14,021,511 times
Reputation: 7050
Quote:
Originally Posted by peppermint View Post
I grew up in MS, went to school in MS, grad school in Memphis, and moved to PA. We're back in the south now. My parents still live in MS so we go visit quite often. So, that's where I'm coming from.




Based on all this, any Southern or Mid-Atlantic state would work for you. I will hit your negatives though -
  • Homosexuality is pretty taboo still. I'm sure you heard about the Constance McMillen prom situation in North MS. If you didn't hear about it, google it. There's plenty of info. I have two friends in Starkville who are gay and WAY in the closet. It's so taboo for hometown folks. It will probably be easier for you since you're from out of state.
  • Religion is a pretty big deal in the rural south. My husband and I are Skeptics, at best, and we are very closed mouthed about it with our neighbors and some family members. Just best not to go there, we say. Same with politics, btw.
  • The problem with cost of living / money in MS is the scarcity of jobs. From my understanding (in the Starkville area), it is very slowly improving. It would be best to secure a job prior to moving.
  • As long as you don't live in a very rural area, which you won't if you want to work as something other than a farmer, your accent won't be a problem. However, the southern accent can be overwhelming if you aren't used to it. at first, you're going to go batty, but I think it will get better. You won't "hear" it as much over time.
  • No alcohol, healthy food, etc. is just fine. You may, however, have a difficult time finding the kinds of foods you want. In North MS, to my knowledge, there is no major health food store; you'll have to find a small one. I know that Columbus has a good one, but it's not cheap. In the Starkville & Columbus area, I don't know of any vegetarian or vegan restaurants. Some people might think it's strange to be "healthy" and not eat fried food, but just do our thing.
Also, you said that you want to be in a place with low crime, high income. This, I believe, you can find in most larger towns (Columbus, Tupelo, Starkville, Natchez, Biloxi, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Madison, etc.).

All that said, the rural part, as defined by rural people, is the problem. Living outside Hartford, Starkville or Hattiesburg would be rural to you! I'm not trying to be mean, but you live in a major US city. I don't think you need to worry about that in MS - or most of the south, for that matter (maybe Atlanta, New Orleans, & Memphis during rush hour).

Are you thinking of other Southern / Mid-Atlantic states also? I ask because I think there are other states with better economies that might fit your lifestyle and your preferences a little better. Just saying.
Very good advice..thanks!

Well, I visited and spent some time in NC last summer and I had mixed feelings. It didn't seem too backwards, but half of the people had southern accents, which was weird for me...just not used to it. Despite what people told me though, I thought that NC was quite southern. But, maybe that's just because I'm from CT. I was also considering Alabama, which seems almost similar to MS.

That's funny that you say Hartford, CT is a major U.S. city. It really isn't, lol. It's rather small, with a population of only 124,000 or so. Compared to MS cities though, I'm sure it's quite large. But, I'm comparing it with NYC and Boston in my mind.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:57 PM
 
2,319 posts, read 4,074,827 times
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hahaha! There's a little rule you'll learn - if the state seceded from the Union, you'll find a Southern accent except in southern Florida. If NC was "quite southern" and was odd or surprising to you in any way, MS will blow your mind. I'm really thinking that MS is not going to be the fit you want. I doubt that AL will be either, unless you're thinking about Birmingham or Huntsville/Madison/Decatur. I'm not sure where you were in NC, but in general, in my experience, it's a much more progressive state (less backwards, in your words) than MS or AL. There are cities in NC, like Asheville and Raleigh/Durham, that might be a better fit. Also, Greenville, SC; Chattanooga & Knoxville, TN; Charlottesville & Winchester, VA. Chattanooga & Knoxville, from personal experience, are very progressive and yet natural and ruralness (I made that word up) are available. Very socially progressive. Love them!

Well, Hartford has a metro population of just under 2 million. You won't come anywhere close to that in MS. Jackson is the largest city with a metro population of just over 625,000. The largest city in AL is Birmingham with a metro population at just over 1.2 million. (Chattanooga has a metro population of around 500,000 - btw ).

If you are seriously considering a move, you need to plan a long visit. It's going to be a major change for you. You may not care anything about social or cultural things, but right now you have access to them in Hartford. You're a couple hours from several major US / International cities right now. Airports and public transit are available; all night stores (other than Wal-Mart); wonderful medical facilities of all fields; lots of opportunities to meet your potential life partner; access to health food stores and "natural" products. Please don't misunderstand, I'm not anti-MS. I just know that it's a huge change from CT. You'll definitely want to spend some time here in the South before you take the leap. It would also really help to meet some deep south Southerners and really get to know them. I know you're trying.

I wish you the very best of luck. I am an adventure-seeker and love to move around myself. I like to experience things and like to live in & travel to all sorts of different places. If you have a good attitude (and a willingness to pack up if you don't like it), you should be just fine anywhere. Good luck!
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Old 07-17-2010, 08:53 PM
 
106 posts, read 340,892 times
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In all honesty I don't think Mississippi is what your looking for. I know that your looking for something different with a slower pace of life. Mississippi will bring the slower pace of life but at the same time you might have a cultural shock and really not enjoy living here. Mississippi is so different even from alabama and georgia in terms of landscape and culture. Have you thought about New Orleans? I think that would fit you well.
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