As many of this blog's postings can attest, there is clearly a clichéd, toolish/douchey side of DC, in which the majority of the population thinks one must sacrifice style for the workplace and defines themselves solely on political beliefs. But as I juxtapose those observations with experiences like the one I was having at Trim (which hereby shall be known as THE BEST HAIR SALON IN DC) and stuff like this and this, I've realized there is a subsection of this city that is not classic "DC" at all. Dare I say, a part of DC is even cool. *gasp!*
Truthiness time: I've suspected this for a while now, although I've tried to keep in on the DL. After all, my e-reputation requires me to do so. Also, I mean, how else besides extreme bipolar disorder (um, which, contrary to how it may seem, I don't suffer from...) could explain why I could absolutely detest this city one day and love it the next, all the while having never been indifferent about it. That is, at any given moment in time if someone were to ask me how I like living here, I'd either answer with a resolute (and eloquent), "It sucks major ass," or with the short but affirmative, "I adore it!" Not once would I simply shrug and say, "Eh." In DC, it really is the best of times and the worst of times.
Looking back, I've been able to be rather indifferent about every other city I've lived in: Chicago, "It's OK;" Boston, "It's fine;" New York, "It's pretty good;" Moscow, "It's, um, well, it is what it is." Washington, DC, however, elicits an almost visceral reaction -- good or bad -- after nearly every event -- mundane and monumental -- that takes place in my presence. Moreover, this is the only city about which I've felt compelled to write about each and every day in blog format. So what the hell is it about this place that I find so simultaneously cringe-worthy, yet so goddamn enjoyable?
For the former, the answer is easy. I cringe because some truly exceptionally messed up sh*t goes down here 24 hours per day, seven days per week. I largely chalk that up to the influence of the government. And Georgetown. And pleated khaki pants. But what about the alternate world I have come to know and be a part of in DC? The world in which people aren't stiflingly politically correct all the time; the world in which people aren't socially inept; the world in which wearing Crocs with socks is not a respected practice; the world in which tight pants and sweatervests are welcomed; the world in which the proverbial stick stuck up this city's metaphorical collective ass has been removed. Objectively, every other city I've lived in has had a larger population that subscribed to the tenets of this latter world, this more laid-back, cooler world, so wouldn't it make sense that I would be less ambivalent, say, about New York City than DC?
You'd think. But upon closer inspection, it all begins to make sense. After my conversation with THE BEST STYLIST EVER (whose name I will provide only to those who wish to know), I realized that this is because finding that alternate world in DC takes work. Lots of work. This means, once you find your friends, your haunts, your niche, your scene, you feel like your constant efforts have been justly rewarded. In other cities, for instance, in Manhattan, any given social preference already has a built-in scene. There were few times when I would roll to the Lower East Side and not have an excellent night; the setting and crowd were already there. Living in New York City is like moving into a brand new condo, where everything works properly and is shiny and beautiful.
DC, on the other hand, is a single-family fixer-upper. It's desolate, broken, gnarly, but the structure is there; you have a vision. This beautiful vision, however, takes time to complete. As you make your repairs, the project becomes personal, leading you to appreciate it more than you would that pre-built luxury condo, as wonderfully gleaming as it may be.
Well, I've put in my time and fixed some sh*t. My new stylist at THE BEST SALON IN DC postulated that it takes around 13 months to fully realize all of what alternate DC has to offer, and as I near that point (I've been here exactly a year now today), I'm apt to agree with her. I've made my investment over the last 12 months and after persevering through the drudgery that is the majority of DC, I have found a place for myself in this
So on this 152nd post, I want to let it be known that, while I still abhor an overwhelming slice of this city for its countless douchetastic tendencies, there's a part of me that loves this place. Like, truly loves it. I've put in the time and work to rear a lovely life here, and for that I'm grateful. Plus, it also doesn't hurt that DC provided me with one of the best haircuts of my life on Friday. It's too bad my grainy, low resolution technology cannot capture it in all of its lovely honey-colored, skillfully layered glory.
I ♥ big hair, even if the humidity does not allow it to meet its full potential.
And lest you think I totally lost my edge while gallivanting around DC with my new bangs being "happy" or whatever, allow me to assure you that I still really do hate the hell out of this bitch of city at times. As does my friend Conor, who skillfully outlined yet another reason why DC hates freedom...and ping-pong. Click here to read all about the exceptionally messed sh*t that is helping ensure that DC still remains tough to love and that I still have something to blog about.