Smile Politely

10 ways to lose your C-U virginity, part 6: Talk politics with a townie

Check out the last installment of the C-U virginity series here.

As a C-U newbie, I get carte blanche to look into things that are none of my business under the guise of “naivety” or “discovery”.



noun ˈtau̇-nē

: a person who lives in a town or city

: a person who lives in a town that has a college or university but does not work at or attend the school. 

I never heard the term “townie” before coming to Champaign, and immediately made a connection to “carnie,” a toothless, smelly person who travels from town to town looking up your skirt from under a Ferris wheel.

Townies, at least here in Champaign may smell; they may even look up your skirt—given the chance—but they’re prone to stay in one place. More than likely, they’ve migrated from different parts of the Midwest to find us, and to stay put.

Lemme explain…

Here’s what the 2000 Red vs. Blue / Bush vs. Gore debacle looked like.

…and here’s what Illinois looked like at about the same time. 

Gives a whole new meaning to the term “Circle the Wagons!” doesn’t it? 

After a year and a half amid the Midwest’s corn-fed rather than the Northwest’s grass-fed (think about it), I’m convinced that “hick” is as inaccurate a stereotype as “hipster.” However, there is a comfort level in surrounding yourself with like–minded people rather than with people who despise your lifestyle. So, as social creatures, we gather, huddle together to gain collective warmth against the cruel, cold taunting of the differing masses.

From all appearances, this is what has happened and continues to happen here in our little town. The Champaign County Democrats’ website seems to confirm as much. Their home page talked about their annual picnic last Sunday in Meadowbrook Park, but this nugget came from their “About Us,” section:

The Democratic Party of Champaign County, Illinois works for positive and progressive change at the local, regional, state, and national levels. Working within one of the few “blue” states between the coasts, the party enjoys strong support of the local electorate. Once the minority party in the county, Democrats now maintain majorities on the Urbana City Council and the Champaign County Board.

OK, that tracks: “Positive”, “Progressive”, “Working”, “Enjoys…”.

In the interest of equal time, this is from the “Platform” page of Champaign County Republican Party page. They, too, had a picnic at Frasca Field in Urbana, ALSO on Sunday. They didn’t have an “About Us,” section.

Here in the Land of Lincoln, home of the nation’s first Republican President, the Champaign County Republican Party (CCRP) stands today for the same core values based on freedom and democracy that Lincoln first proposed.

Champaign County can boast having some of the richest farmland in the world, outstanding higher educational opportunities, including one of the premiere research universities in the country, top-tier health care facilities, and a diverse range of cultural and economic opportunities. The CCRP seeks to improve the lives of all Champaign County residents. 

This, too, tracks: “Core values”, “Boasts”, “Premier”, “Richest”, and “Top-tier…”

Also in the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that in essence, I am a socialist.

I won’t bore SP readers with the why, or where I went to school, or a list of what the hell’s wrong with me. Suffice to say that I have seen enough to know that I have seen too much, that I come from a patriotic family whose patriarch fought for an American equity that no longer exists, and that the “townies” I’ve met here in CU—at least thus far—care about people and the common good.

In order to lose your C-U virginity via one of our many townies, I suggest you try and start a conversation outside of Radio Maria with something like this: 

“Boy! That stupid Kenyan sure wimped out on that Syria bullshit, huh? I say NUKE ‘em!”

That should get a response. If it doesn’t, go down the street to the folks enjoying a beverage outside The Blind Pig or The Esquire, and lay this on them:

“They say those who can’t —teach. What we need around here are more charter schools! That’ll sort out the gays!”

Still nothing?


Use the crosswalk, step over to bacaro, and try out this little gem on the patio:

“Who in their right mind would want another Clinton in the White House? What if she has her period!?”

Whatever you do, don’t try this little experiment alone, or at night, or while sober. You’re liable to wake up in the back of someone’s truck, with your underwear on your head, or at the very least, the subject of public ridicule.

We may have “townies” in C-U, and they may even try and look up your skirt, but all in all, they’re good people and they stay put for a reason.

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