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Jenny McCarthy on the North and the South (sides)

Jenny McCarthy's Naked Truth

Jenny McCarthy's Naked Truth

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Updated: July 21, 2012 6:27AM

People who are not from Chicago have a real hard time understanding the rivalry between the two sides of the city. I’m not talking about the kind of rivalry that causes physical harm. I’m talking about the kind of rivalry that makes you flip someone the bird at a White Sox vs. Cubs game.

I’m a born-and-raised South Side gal, and as a little girl, my perception of the South Side was that we had a lot of heart in our neighborhood. Now looking back, I realize that’s how us poor folks made ourselves feel better.

The neighborhoods were broken down into ethnicities. I grew up at 57th and Pulaski in the Polish neighborhood. Fortunately I was half Polish — otherwise, my Irish side would have been really embarrassed to live there.

Around 65th and Pulaski up to 75th lived most of my Italian friends. You couldn’t help noticing all the gold Italian horn necklaces and parachute pants as you drove through the neighborhood.

Then around 75th and higher, the Irish dominated the ’hood. With a name like McCarthy, I wished so badly to be around them. I proudly wore my green South Side Irish jacket in this part of the neighborhood, high-fiving other burnt-faced, freckled comrades.

Around 99th and Pulaski, we just considered everybody rich. It was kind of hard to connect to them, but we still felt a bond because they were South Side folks. We had a sense of camaraderie. We were hardworking, blue-collar folks who dreamed of making it to the suburbs someday.

My perception of the North Side back then was that its residents were stuck up. (Don’t get mad, North Siders. I was 11.) I had heard rumors in my adolescence that North Siders thought South Siders were stupid and lower class. To me back then, being smart wasn’t cool. Being tough was way cooler, and I had no doubt a South Sider could knock the crap out of a North Sider with one punch.

As I grew up, I spent time on the North Side attending parties. I always felt a little out of place, but part of me began to appreciate the diversity in the neighborhoods and the ability North Siders had to talk out arguments instead of throwing beer bottles. 

When I moved to Los Angeles, something absolutely insane happened. I was driving in Hollywood one day when I saw someone walking down the street in a Cubs T-shirt. I slammed on my brakes and screamed, “Go, Cubbies,” and then sat in silence with my mouth hanging open.

I was a die-hard, South Side White Sox fan. How did I utter those words? Then I realized that this magical thing happens when you move away from Chicago. It’s appreciation for both sides, North and South.

Who woulda thunk it? Not me.
No way.

So who really is the better side now that I have this outside perspective? I want to say both sides are great, but I can’t because South Siders rock. Go, White Sox. Hahahaha!

Jenny McCarthy donated her
$1,000 fee for writing this column to Generation Rescue.

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