Y’all have the sexiest accent.
Turns out, a Texan’s southern drawl turns more people on than any other American dialect, according to travel company Big 7’s new survey of 1.5 million social-media followers, which ranked the 50 most and least attractive accents in the U.S.
The report describes the “typical” Texan’s twang as a southern accent “with a twist,” featuring strong “r’s” and plenty of “howdys.”
In fact, this finding is arguably backed by a recent YouGov survey that named southern coastal accents as most attractive (according to almost one in five, or 18%, of respondents), closely followed by Texans, which were dubbed most attractive by 12% of respondents. And a 2018 survey from language-learning app Babbel found that Europeans think “Deep South” accents are the sexiest American dialects, as did a dating survey from Cupid.com last year.
That’s some good news for southerners, whose dialect has sometimes been characterized as sounding less educated than their Yankee countrymen. A 2018 report found that political candidates with southern accents are viewed as less honest, less intelligent and less competent than candidates with neutral accents. And a 2012 University of Chicago study asked 10-year-olds from Chicago and Tennessee to listen to northern and southern accents, and to flag which people sounded “nicer,” “smarter” and “in charge.” Both groups of kids said the northerners were “smarter” and “in charge,” while the southerners were “nicer.”
So what’s up with that southern charm? It’s a familiar accent that is easy to place thanks to popular movies (like “Gone with the Wind,” “Forrest Gump,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “The Notebook” and “The Help,” to name a few). Plus, an economic upswing in southern cities such as Atlanta, Nashville and Charlotte has drawn more young professionals to those locales, helping to spread the dialect and also to make it more appealing. As one Alabama native told Babbel, “When I was in California, I felt very self-conscious and insecure about sounding southern … [but] after graduating, I noticed that people were disappointed when they learned where I was from and that I didn’t have an accent. That, and improving my relationship with all the quirks of the South has let me embrace it a little more, because having a slight twang isn’t something to be ashamed of.”
Overall, four of the top 10 accents on the Big 7 are linked to northeastern states, two are from the South and two are from midwestern states, with California and Hawaii each making the elite list.
The Big 7 named Boston accents as the second sexiest in the U.S., writing, “And yes, just like Mahhhhk Wahlberg, locals really do say ‘pahk yuh cahr in hahvuhd yahd.’” (Translation: “Park your car in Harvard Yard.”) And New York City residents took the third spot, most likely thanks to many movies popularizing the “fast and hypernasal” dialect with its long vowels and short “a’s.” (Remember Marisa Tomei’s memorable accent in her Oscar-winning “My Cousin Vinny” role?)
But not all New York accents are music to the ears, however. The Big Apple’s adjacent Long Island accent (pronounced “Lawn Guyland” in the parlance of many residents of Nassau and Suffolk counties) was voted the least sexy accent in the country, with neighboring New Jersey taking the second-to-last spot with its missing “r’s” and its cups of “cawfee.” And as much as people loved “Fargo,” the film couldn’t get folks to feel the same about Minnesota’s “yahs” and “hons,” as that accent rounded out the bottom three.