Monday, February 3, 2014

But My Pea Coat Just Cain't Cover Up My Redneck

I spend way too much time at The Shelter in Mount Pleasant, but for good reason. The bartenders are both affable and mischievous, the beer is cheap, and the locale harnesses in that typical Shem Creek atmosphere so many locals love. After the ice storm last week that is so uncharacteristic of the Charleston area, other Charlestonians and I were able to break our quarantine and finally venture out to practice our greatest talent: drinking.

While ponied up to our usual position at the bar, my friends and I beheld one of Mount Pleasant's trademark species: the broneck. To understand a broneck, if you are unfamiliar with the term, you must first understand Mount Pleasant, or, as some call it, Mount Plastic. Mt. P is the Charleston area's most affluent community with the exception of the Rhett Butleresque downtown that is south of Broad Street. Needless to say, there is nothing redneck or country about Mount Pleasant. The community is rife with salty dogs, hoity-toities, corporate heroes kicking back, and Peter Pan fellows clinging desperately to their Greek life memories and Natty Light. But a true redneck environment? Jimbo Fick would not approve of Mt. P.

So a broneck is a young male who has come from a privileged upbringing like so many native Mount Pleasantians have yet puts on a facade that they emerged from a more David Allan Coe-style environment. You often find them with unkempt, shaggier hair that holds up a new camouflage hat. As the specimens last night had to combat the cold weather, bronecks will have a camo jacket on as well. Work boots or cowboy boots are a must.

The broneck phenomena has exploded nationwide, and part of it can be attributed to the popularity in contemporary country, such as Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Florida-Georgia Line. The formula for a country hit nowadays is simple: mix in a jacked up pickup truck, a dirt road, a cold beer, a girl with painted-on jeans, and the CD of a country legend who sounds nothing like the song in question. It's too irresistible for the frat boy raised in the gated community who yearns to go country.

As someone who actually grew up around some farm land, huntin' dogs, a creek, and a shady Li'l Cricket that my mama said I wasn't allowed to go to, I definitely do the image of a backwoods Southerner a disservice. There have been many a time I toned down my accent, overdressed for bar drinkin', and only wore camo for paintball. I supposed I've been like Bill Gulledge in that regard; I often put on an appearance that I didn't come from the outer edges of Spartanburg.

So I guess, in a sense, I'm like the bronecks. They came from the ivory towers of Mt. P but want you to think they're straight out of the shotgun shack. I can see the allure. I pretend my family didn't trade two Beagles for a goat once. Why do we seek out images that don't paint an actual picture of our upbringing? I don't have the answer. But I suppose Jimbo would have some wisdom about how we should be what we want to be.

So enjoy that Natty Light, bo.

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