DC is number one in our hearts, obviously, but you may be surprised to find that DC is also *literally* number one in a variety of ways. It’s like when a mom tells everyone her kid is brilliant, and then when they take an IQ test and it comes back at a genius level, the mom’s like, “no way, I was just saying that, I didn’t think it was actually true!” But yes, it’s actually true. Here are some of the more whimsical DC #1s.
IT’S THE SNOBBIEST CITY
This one actually doesn’t surprise me all that much. Snobbery is an expression of insecurity, and DC is a throbbing mass of insecurity, mostly, I think, because it’s such a one-industry town. And that industry – politics – is so openly hierarchical that it can’t help but give people severe status neuroses. I mean, the guy on top is totally laid back and cool – whenever you see the president on TV or whatever, he’s, like, fist-bumping people and making young women crack up – but as you go down the pyramid, the resentment increases exponentially. Consider the guys who lose presidential elections; those guys failed on the biggest stage possible, and on top of that, they believe, in their hearts, that they would do a better job than the guy who beat them. Imagine how bitter and paranoid those guys must be. I bet if you giggled within thirty feet of Mitt Romney or John Kerry, they’d whirl around and scream, “what’s so funny?!” Then consider that to become a Senator or Governor or whatever, there was a guy who had to lose to them, who is probably still in politics, and probably sees Romney, Kerry, etc, the man who destroyed their dreams, at lobbyist balls and whatnot. This dynamic goes all the way down the line, right down to the guy putting “Hillary 2016” postcards in screen doors, all the while thinking, “I should be the assistant campaign coordinator, not Kyle!” So of course, when all these frustrated people get a chance to dump on someone they see as below them, they’re going to do it with relish.
IT’S THE CITY WITH THE MOST EX-STUDENT COUNCIL PRESIDENTS
This statistic is mostly apocryphal, but it makes total sense when you’re in a bar and the people next to you are talking about gerrymandering or competing to see who can name all the former Soviet republics. This town is full of alpha nerds. Think back to high school; the girl that dyed her hair black and did an interpretive dance about losing her virginity for the school talent show moved to New York, the homecoming queen who had a tanning bed in her basement moved to LA, and the dude who looked like McLovin and got a 1570 on the SAT moved here. This dynamic held true for every single high school in America. Now you understand why everyone’s always so curt and self-righteously irritated if you stand on the wrong side of the escalator. Rules, man. Rules are meant to be followed.
IT’S THE CITY THAT HAS THE MOST EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIRS
This statistic is from a survey of the now-defunct Ashley Madison website, so take it with a grain of salt – still, I trust it. Though the website was revealed to be a fraud, the deception was in the fact that all the women on the website were fake. The men who signed up were totally real.
Ashley Madison said that DC had the most signups of any city. This doesn’t surprise me. At risk of stating the obvious, you have to be married before you can have an extramarital affair, and DC is still a very traditional city. I get dirty looks at least four times a year for openly deriding friends or acquaintances in their early twenties who announce they’re married, and yet no one else even blinks. All this marrying in your twenties means you get deathly bored by your early thirties, and then once you feel the first brush of mortality from your first wrinkle or gray hair, you better believe you’re going to be having after-hours “life talks” with Derek from Marketing about how you’re “still fifteen years old on the inside.” A friend of mine used to work at a restaurant in upper Petworth and said that during the day, almost all the business was cheating marrieds meeting up for a tryst far from anywhere their spouses might run into them. If you’re married, I suggest you go directly to Amazon and search for “GPS tracer stick to car with magnets.”
IT’S THE CITY WITH THE BEST RENTAL MARKET
Yeah, this isn’t really a surprise either, I guess. DC’s housing stock is so limited, thanks to our relatively tiny size, and the Height Act, that demand will pretty much always outstrip the supply. We’re basically Manhattan in the Eighties: everything has gotten obscenely expensive, but moving to the boroughs is still unthinkable from a social and cultural standpoint. The question is, what’s going to be DC’s Brooklyn? I’m stumped. Virginia looks and feels like an outdoor Old Navy outlet store, and in Maryland it’s a ten minute drive just from your house to your mailbox. Maybe we’ll just end up building condos underground or something.
IT’S THE “BEST” CITY
According to a recent ranking by the Economist Intelligence Unit, DC is the best city in the US, as measured by a metric that considers a dozen or so factors. I really like DC, but this ranking has me scratching my head just a wee bit. The best?! My skepticism only intensified when I went down the list; supposedly the second best city in the US is … Chicago. Chicago?! This is just insane. DC and Chicago are the two best cities in the US? So I checked into where the “Economist Intelligence Unit” is based, and it’s in the UK. So this is basically like if I came up with a formula to figure out the best cities in England, and was like, “it’s Leeds and uh … Sheffield?” (I know nothing about England.) Still, it’s good for bragging rights. I’ll be sure to mention that I live here the next time I’m chatting up a British girl.