Airing of Grievances: Suburban Posers

Dear Suburban Posers,

We have returned to school, a cesspool of fellow Tulanians all just “rolling [in the] wave” and trying not to drown. There are thousands of new people to meet every year and everywhere you go. When you meet these new people at the latest obscure club meeting, it always begins with the same three questions: What’s your name? What’s your major? Where are you from?

The first question is typically the easiest to answer. You most likely reply, “Matthew” or “Sarah.” If you don’t, you probably don’t go to Tulane. Phew. Question one — check.

The second question is a pain in the neck for the brave undecided, and a routine for those who have officially settled on a concentration (for now.) “Public health with a Spanish minor,” you say for the 700th time since you first arrived on campus. They reply, “Nice! I’m double-majoring in Finance and Neuroscience.” This tepid social interaction is going unexceptionally well. You’re in the clear. Question two — done.

But as soon as they utter the third question, you are thrown into a frenzy. Even though you hear it from every person you meet, you never expect it to be so difficult to answer. Because truthfully, you could answer, “Hickory Hills,” but then they’ll ask you where that is because, of course, they’ve never heard of it, and you’ll have to explain that it’s a small suburb about an hour outside of Chicago, and then they’ll say, “Oh, well I’m from Bethesda.” The conversation will then come to an awkward halt.

So your alternative to placing yourself in this predicament is simply answering the third question with, “Chicago!” This is where you went wrong.

Rule number one of common decency:

Only tell people you’re from somewhere if you’re actually from there. I know it’s convenient to just tell a quick fib and move on — it’s like rounding up your GPA — you sound cooler and you don’t think you’re bothering anyone. But it’s so annoying for the people who are actually from there. Imagine you meet someone wearing a Nirvana or The Notorious B.I.G. t-shirt, and they’re like, “Yeah, I totally love Nirvana/Biggie.” And they only know two of their most famous songs — the ones everyone knows. That’s the equivalent to claiming you’re from the largest city near you.

Being from the city takes everyday persistence; there’s a certain grit that we’ve had to develop over the course of our lives. High crime rates, constant cat-callers and overpriced everything — those are just a few of the dilemmas I’ve faced on the daily. So next time, save yourself the shame of saying, “…Connecticut” when you mention you’re from New York and I say, “Oh, whereabouts?”

New Jersey is Not New York City,

Real Life City Kid