On north vs south and east vs west.

Dear Coquette,

I live in New York City and I’ve been offered a full-tuition scholarship to Vanderbilt University. I am afraid that if I take this opportunity and attend Vanderbilt, I will not like it. I am a liberal and I believe most Southerners are conservatives. I just don’t want to move there and have a horrible four years of college. What should I do?

Slow your roll, city mouse. Just because they make all the country music in Nashville, it doesn’t mean you’re moving to the country. Nashville is very much a city, one of the most fun and friendly I’ve ever visited, and it’s filled with all kinds of folks. A lot of them are liberal. More of them are conservative. So what? That’s no reason to have a small-minded attitude about Southerners.

Besides, the college experience pretty much guarantees you’ll be surrounded by liberals. As long as you don’t drag down a shitty attitude from New York, you’re not gonna have a horrible four years in Tennessee.

Congratulations on the scholarship to one of the best universities in the country. Now go to Vanderbilt and broaden yourself, because it sounds like you need it.

Dear Coquette,

Do you think that interreligious marriages can work? My partner and I are loosely Catholic and Hindu, respectively, but both sets of parents are far more devout in their beliefs.

Wacky in-laws and a Catholic-Hindu marriage? I smell sitcom.

Don’t worry, though. Interreligious marriages can definitely work, especially in a contemporary American culture where most of us are just “loosely” religious. Devout parents might make special occasions a bit uncomfortable, but that’s a small price to pay when you consider how ridiculously taboo this kind of thing used to be for previous generations.

Out of respect for your family traditions, be prepared to compromise when it comes to the holidays. Diwali and Christmas should get equal time. So should Holi and Easter. I’m not saying you’re obligated to celebrate any of them, just that if you do, you should participate equally in the traditions from both sides of the family. It’s only fair, and besides, family traditions are important.

That’s the larger point, really. If you’re thinking about a marriage with kids, you’ll be establishing an entirely new hybrid set of family traditions for your children that are as much about culture as they are about religion. You get to cherry-pick the best from both worlds and leave the rest behind. That’s a pretty cool thing to be able to do.


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