Question Kari

by Kari Koehler

Dear Kari, what is a townie?

Many a night has been spent pondering the exact definition of townie. Upon asking a group of friends at a bar one night, I received about four distinct types of townie.

“Small-town townie”

This is a townie in the vaguest of terms. The definition of townie in this case is anyone who has lived in town. I would be considered a townie in this case because I actually lived within the city limits of my hometown, and not on a farm in a rural area. This breed of townie tends to be loud, a little brash and think they know everything. Because living in the town really puts you a step above those farm kids who can run complex machinery.


This is a townie that is the same age as the college students but does not attend said college. Because of his or her youthful looks and knowledge of pop culture, he or she is an elusive species who blends in quite well at most small-town bars. Sometimes they’re that kid from high school who everyone thought was going to make it out of the small town, and then he or she crashes and burns. Sometimes he or she is taking time off to earn money for school, and sometimes he or she is going to community college and living at home – hey, it saves on rent and now that Matthew McConaughey is, shouldn’t everyone? Upon asking a couple people what they thought about “camo-townies” I got responses ranging from “ew!” to “weird” to “just like everyone else.” Did I not say they were elusive? Every town has its creepy townies, just like every bad sitcom has its annoying best friend.

“Stuck-around townie”

These kids are students who attended high school and college in the same town. This type of townie comes in all shapes, sizes and majors. These townies know their way around quite well, because it’s their stomping grounds. Why they chose to stay around is definitely a “Final Jeopardy” question – or is that answer? Much like the “small-town townie,” the stuck-around townie can have a-know-it-all quality to him or her, but compared to the rest of the student body he or she actually does know it all. Don’t you hate people like that?

“Old-man/woman townie”

This townie is probably the scariest and funniest of townies. Sometimes they go to college, sometimes not. What’s important is they never leave. They spend their entire lives in their hometown and are known for giving directions that involve animals, the look of a tree and a certain-colored mailbox. They think they’re giving great directions, while everyone else thinks they’re crazy old coots. In my hometown, the old-man townies drive to the only gas station on either a lawn mower or a golf cart. Then they sit around and drink coffee and hoot and holler about kids these days. For mostly farmers, they sure never farmed much. As far as the old-woman townie, I’m always reminded of the cat lady from “The Simpsons,” which is horrible, and most old-woman townies are probably much nicer and don’t throw cats at random children while shouting gibberish.