The Definition of a Metro Redneck

Metro Redneck Billy Howell, aka Poor William. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Metro Redneck Billy Howell, aka Poor William. Photo by The Delta Bohemian


(Clarksdale, Mississippi)

Metro redneck is not necessarily an oxymoron—words that don’t go together, but it might raise the ire of those with latent tendencies and or an aversion to anything not clothed in camouflage and smelling of cordite—gunpowder.

According to one definition found in the Urban Dictionary, a metrosexual is a “normally straight male who possesses qualities of a gay male without being attracted to men. A metro often appreciates the finer things in life and enjoys making himself look good; be it through styling his hair or wearing fashionable clothes.”

Poor William is constantly heckled by many of those dear to him for his use of gel in spiking his hair, which thankfully he still possesses, though his head becomes hoarier with every season change.

How does one define redneck?

Though not an easy task, the etymology—origin—of the word redneck draws its inference from how white agricultural workers’ necks used to burn because of long hours spent in the fields.

According to the Cultural Dictionary, a redneck is often thought of as a rural white Southerner who is conservative politically, racist, and somewhat of a religious fundamentalist.

Poor William objects to the racist and even fundamentalist’s portrayal of all rural conservative white Southerners who are considered to be rednecks. While many are both of the latter, some are not, and surely none are acquaintances of Poor William—other than those whom he uses for character development in his novel to come.

The use of the word redneck, according to Poor William, is safe to use even in “redneck quarters,” simply because most rednecks think somebody else is a redneck. There are many shades of “red,” and we always presume someone else’s hue is a bit deeper than ours.

We even refer to ourselves as rednecks, but do so with the understanding that present company is obligated to refute our claims or at least is obliged to add a disclaimer stating that we are “sophisticated rednecks,” which is nigh on an oxymoron.

Poor William’s ex-wife, not from “these here parts,” thought she married a Southern gentleman, but swore she woke up a day later married to a redneck. I don’t know what happened to that fellow she married, but I feel sure he was a fine man.

So, how can a man be a metro redneck?

The metro redneck may be the sole heir of the term Renaissance man—homo universalis (Latin for man of the world)—one who is well-educated or who excels in a wide variety of areas.

Every redneck believes he knows all there is to know about damn near everything, is well educated in the “ways of the world,” but he might object to the use of the Latin word “homo,” signifying just a hint of insecurity and a lack of knowledge about the etymology of the four-letter word.

The metro redneck’s life is one big oxymoron. He hunts by day and wears starched, patterned, all-cotton shirts by night. He eats finger food—all of it–at cocktail parties. He likes fishing and reading, beer and wine—from the bottle, beef and fish, likes bikini-clad vegetarians, enjoys four-wheeling and foie gras, particularly if he killed the fatted goose providing the liver.

He never shies from battle, except with his wife and momma, and is not opposed to hanging impressionistic art and expensive old-country hunt prints in his house, along with pictures of “dogs playing poker.”

Nor does the metro redneck shy away from spooning outside as well as in the best suite at the Peabody Hotel. He is truly a Renaissance man.

Poor William, his bride, best-friend John and a way-cool chick who is married to one of his brother’s best friends all canoed a muddy slew near Leland, MS, prior to a beautiful cocktail party held in the hamlet known as Tribbett.

It was a metro weekend in the Mississippi Delta. Canoeing, snake bashing, beer drinking, outdoor eliminating, followed by drinks on the veranda poured by a most excellent bartender, accompanied by cloth cocktail napkins.

The next day held a high-church service followed by armadillo hunting, shooting photos of alligators and four-wheeling. Beer, scotch, and a fine Spanish wine were consumed before days end–not a bad day for a metro redneck.


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