If you've never been to a smalland I mean really small townyou can't fathom what life is like there. You may assume it's like city life, but smaller, with livestock and cowboy hats. But there's so much more to it than that.
Keep your teeth to yourself!
See how you like it!
I mean, small-town folks are seriously quirky. They have a whole other set of rules, their own language, ethical codes and rights of passage. For instancein some small towns it is not only completely appropriate, but also a sign of manhood, to castrate sheep with your teeth. When people do this in the city, we commit them to the psych ward, sign a petition to end sheep cruelty and wonder where the hell he got the poor thing.

Try pushing me over
Just try it. Punk.
And contrary to popular belief, cow-tipping isn't really a thing. Cows are solid four-footed steak-filled tanks. Unless you startle them so thoroughly that they are doing a jig while you are shoving them with the arm span and strength of The Mighty Hercules, they're not going anywhere. You'll probably sprain your wrists trying, and it will serve you right.

I peed my pants
Don't look at me!
There is no such thing as "minding your own business" in a small town. Everybody knows everyone's everything. And I mean every dirty little detailwho cheated on whom, who wandered into which house drunk last night, who peed the bed at a sleepover in third grade. And you'll never really live it down. You can be 65 years old and everyone will still call you "pissy" but they won't really know why. In the city, this level of information is called stalking and can result in restraining orders.

Even small-town greetings are quite complicated. Small-town friendlies don't just wave hello. You don't want to make the embarrassing mistake of offering the wrong wordless greeting. You'll look like a schmuck. It goes like this:
  • Raise one finger lazily for an "I don't really know you that well, but let's not be rude" wave
  • Raise two fingers for a "Hey there, I remember you" wave
  • Full-hand, fingers together and a grin for a "Yeah, we're buddies" wave
  • Full-on enthusiastic wavin' around your whole hand-wave when female bffs see each other. Guys don't wave like this. To anyone. Ever.
  • A hat tip is appropriate for someone you respect
  • The hat can come all the way off if:
    • You really, really respect them
    • She's really hot and you're not using it to cover up a bald spot
Things you should know
It's important to understand the players in a small town. Typically there's some quiet aloof guy everyone wonders about—does he have a criminal history? Did his wife die? Is he mentally ill? There's the lady who gets into everyone's business—who not only knows what everyone did, but she's pretty sure she knows why they did it. There's the hot, rebellious teenage girl, the goofy hick with big ears and a loyal dog in there somewhere. But don't be afraid to mix that shit up and throw your readers for a loop. What about a quiet woman and a gossipy man? What about goofy dog with one floppy ear and a hot nerd chick who is dying to be a physicist?

If you can't visit a small town, talk to someone from a small town, or watch Footloose, It's a Wonderful Life or The Village. Or you can search Google for "small town life" and then watch Footloose anyway for fun. (I mean the one from the 80s.) The world is full of people who want to give you information. Like me. I'm helpfulso helpful, in fact, I've included some other random bits of information below. Enjoy!

You know if you live in a small town if:
  • You don't need to use your blinker when you're driving because everyone knows where you're going. 
  • If you dial a wrong number, you probably still chat for 20 minutes. 
  • The post office doesn't require street addresses for incoming mail. 
  • There's one convenience store and it may have a name, but everyone just calls it the owner's name.
  • You get super excited when someone new moves in because now there's someone you can legally date.
  • People randomly drive through town on their tractors or lawnmowers.
Blog off!

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