Ask Amy: Turned Off by His Accent, Dontcha Know
A charming midwesterner with one fatal flaw
Dear Amy: I recently met a wonderful man through an online dating site. He lives in northern Michigan. I live in Minnesota. He is sweet, honest, good, kind and unspoiled, and we had a very nice, fun time during the weekend he came to my town to visit.
He thinks a long-distance relationship could work between us, and I believe he could be right.
Early on, before we spoke on the phone, he warned me that he has a certain kind of “northern Michigan/Canadian” accent. I responded, “Oh, you don’t sound like the people in the movie ‘Fargo,’ do you?” Amy, he does! And it really is a discordant note to my ears.
I came from a rural area in Wisconsin, and the first thing I worked on when I went off to college was the sloppy diction, etc., that I grew up with. Now, no one would guess where I was born.
Can I ask him if he’d be willing to work on his accent? Or do I just have to take it or leave it? My friends are divided, and I am torn.
– Mystified in Minneapolis
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Dear Mystified: As someone whose own accent arguably resides within the “Fargo” spectrum, I fail to see what is so awful about this, although you obviously find this (or maybe any other than your own “no one would guess where I was born” accent) grating.
But when everyone in North America starts to sound like a news anchor, we will have lost something important, not to mention charming.
Because your friend brought this up before you two spoke, you have to assume that his accent has been a factor in other encounters and relationships, leading one to assume that he might already be working on it.
The nice thing about the initial stages of getting to know someone is that you can raise these obvious issues and use your discussion as a way to further your understanding of the person. But please remember that the content of a person’s character will always be more important than his pronunciation.
In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
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