Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Ralph Lauren City

During brunch, my friend mentioned that a gay someone she knew hated Boston for its supreme bro-ishness, which is a point I’ve been trying to make for YEARS. Everyone thinks Boston is oh so liberal, and politically speaking, it generally is, but when it comes to actual pragmatic progressivity, Boston is way behind New York. Walking down the street in mint jeans gets a few eye-raises (or maybe I’m so ridiculously self-involved as to be hallucinatory). Ideally, I’d enjoy making frat boys turned financiers uncomfortable, but actually, I’m scared of them; the stereotypical bro versus gay man dynamic reigns supreme (at least in my head).

Boston’s Irish & Italian-American hyper-masculinity seems to oppose its snotty Brahmin culture, but not when it comes to being a plain old weirdo. If you don’t fit into either of those categories, you don’t fit in anywhere, except perhaps Somerville, Cambridge, or Jamaica Plain. More on the latter later.

Boston is small, and for that reason, it presents a degree of comfort. Through much therapy, I’ve realized I’m not the dive-into-the-deep-end type; I can’t even commit to writing twelve blog posts in order to form an every-day writing habit. I like baby steps. Living in a small city is a baby step I need to take in order to ultimately dive into a fruity wonderland like New York (or London, or Paris, which I would most want to visit during fashion week if I were a pop star. The front row perks are dreamy).

Boston is also familiar, more familiar than any other city (because I’ve lived 30 minutes outside it my whole life), and familiarity provides another degree of comfort. Thus, it’s weird that a city I should so easily slide into seems to reject me. I’m no hipster; I almost unabashedly love Katy Perry’s music. (The “almost” equates to my being over the age of twelve and easily embarrassed.) There is nothing overtly ironic about me. I’m just odd and socially awkward. In high school terms, I’m obviously not a mainstream popular type, but I’m not the gothic rebel smoking pot by the dumpster, either. I fear them all. I’m the big backpack sporting (but not AT ALL sporty) kid with snot running down his nose, afraid to look people in the eye. I’m just a Plain Jane outsider, so it’s no wonder Boston isn’t MY place. It’s the anti-city of rejects. You best (1) be wearing a polo, baggy jeans, and round-toe shoes (EW!) OR (2) big swishy gym shorts and other assorted athletic attire OR (3) have a stylish reason to stand out, such as being a sexually ambiguous skinny jean wearing-type who loves noise like Sleigh Bells (the band) and lives in the aforementioned Somerville/Cambridge/Jamaica Plain area. Otherwise, you best get out.


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