DC Haters and the Horse They Rode In

I have a standing Ring Game on Tuesday evenings – five or six friends and I gather to play pool, gamble a little, drink a lot, and generally bullshit about the world and its crazy human inhabitants.  Cigar smoke hangs heavy in the air and the bourbon flows freely. 


James, a displaced New Yawker with a fancy law firm gig and the predictable attitude and intelligence of a Jets fan, is relatively new to the group.  He plays a serious game of 8-Ball, but I can usually take him at One-Pocket because he lacks the patience to grind out the plodding game.  I had just sunk a sweet two rail bank shot to take the lead for good in the last game of this round when talk turned to DC versus his beloved New Yawk.  James hates DC; and he used the latest weekend to escape its confines.  So he was in rare form in discussing this country backwater utterly lacking in sophistication and the amenities of a modern metropolis.


I let his statements stand unchallenged though they grated against my sensibilities.


As rainbow hued balls were racked for the last round of games for the evening (straight pool short races to 25,) James launched into the women of my hometown – “money grubbing douches” were his exact words.


Civic pride and my inherent desire to stand on a soap box and tamp down an argument I find objectionable are getting hard to control.


When James said that DC’s restaurant scene “sucked,” he laid the critical straw.


“If you hate DC so much, go back to New York or any where else that will make you happy; but don’t stand around here spouting ridiculousness about a city you don’t know.  If you ever traveled outside of your yuppified corners of the city, you might see a million things and people you’ve missed.  The people who offend you are a bunch of khaki wearing carpet-baggers just like you.  You never meet real Washingtonians because they exist outside of your myopic comfort zone. Tell me, Jimmy, when was the last time you went to the Smithsonian?  Walked around Eastern Market? Ordered a drink in bar where everyone didn’t look exactly like you?  Been to an art gallery, the Kennedy Center?  Ate a fucking half-smoke? Have you ever had drink at F. Scott’s grave?  Do you even know where Blues Alley is, or Great Falls, or the C&O?  Have you ever taken a run in Rock Creek, or been to the Zoo for christsakes.   Jimmy, you live in a city with great art, museums, restaurants, and culture you have just ignored.  You love NYC so much, but you must love the city for the things you’ve heard you can do, not the things you actually do?  Because they’re all here you just would rather complain.


“And oh yeah, of course you think all the women here are “douches;” because you’re a conceited loud-mouth prick and, if the reports from our friend Sydney are accurate, a cheap date and a lousy lay.


“So I’ll make a deal with you Jimmy.  Here’s the thirty bucks I took off you tonight; that ought to buy you a Peter Pan Bus ticket to take your happy-ass back up I-95.


“I need another drink*.”




19 Responses to DC Haters and the Horse They Rode In

  1. Lemmonex says:

    I am calling for a ban on the word douche. Seriously, find a new word, people.

    Also, I agree whole heartedly. There are things about DC I don’t like. I don’t care for Georgetown as a whole, but can also see past my nose to enjoy a few of the restaurants there as well as some of the specialty boutiques. I don’t like Lauriol Plaza, but I have had some great Mexican. As everyone knows, I loathe CakeLove, but I have had some delicious baked treats in this city. Politics and Prose is a fantastic independent book shop. Not everything sucks and people who make blanket statements about DC need to open their eyes.

    The word Douche has replaced profanity as the last refuge of the inarticulate.

  2. i agree..douche is dead…
    and dc…rawks..if you are open minded and love a gritty underbelly and really…who doesnt luuurve a good underbelly?? xoxo

    DC Rawks if you just get out and enjoy it. Do we lack a really kick ass place for Mongolian BBQ at 4am on Wednesday – sure. But pretty much everything else is here in its own measure.

  3. Shannon says:

    Mmmm, I like a gritty underbelly as much as the next girl, but a seedy underbelly is even better.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not being completely in love with your city. I’ve lived places I disliked (Sarajevo, for instance). But you pick out one or two things you do like and make the best of it…or go back to where you came from.

    My larger problem is criticism from the uniformed and un-curious.

  4. LivitLuvit says:

    Thank you for this- I wish you had said it, though (esp the part about Sydney…)

    I’ve always been a city girl- the more to do the better- and I love it here. You just have to know where to look, which is true with any city- there’s the lame stuff everyone is doing, and the neat underground stuff only some know enough to find. I contend that anyone who’s been to Granville Moore’s and the Rock and Roll Hotel on the H Street Corridor should be able to admit that this city? Ain’t so bad.

    And even the douchey (sorry Lem) like Gtown offer some spectacular people watching, if you decide to just have fun with it.

    LivLuv, I wish you were here when State of the Union opened. That place was the hippest kind of hip that never would have called itself hip. Oh, I miss that place. But RR Hotel does a good job with the spiritual legacy.

  5. Michelle says:

    if that guy actually lived in NYC he would probably be declaring his hate for that city too…. because he thought it was the hip thing to do….

    if you run into him again give him a $5 and point him to the MegaBus… I am sure he could book $2 tickets each way!

  6. Lisa says:

    I kind of like the term douche – it’s so, well, moist and graphic, even if way overused.

    I imagine that initially it might be easy to feel like DC is provincial and lacking when moving here from NY. Or those might be easy things to focus on if you’re unhappy with your new life. OR maybe he generally loathes himself, and his location and surroundings are much easier to focus on than getting into therapy and working on himself. But really, I’ve never met the guy, so who knows.

    The thing about DC women more money-grubbing than NY women, though? Definitely the opposite of everything I’ve heard from male friends (with crazy-money jobs) who moved to NY.

  7. lacochran says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more–this city offers so much that if you can’t find something to please you, you aren’t looking.

  8. Kristin says:

    I love DC, and I’m trying to take advantage of all of those things and more. I’d do the same in New York or Boise, but I picked DC.

  9. Daniel says:

    God, how I hate how it is so hip to hate my hometown (and by that I mean the Metro DC area). Particularily people of a set whose mission in life is to come here, get the checkmark (so now of course they “get” DC) and leave (before they become “too DC”). They live in their bubble, interact almost exclusively with each other, complain/whine/bitch/moan about how horrible it is and then punch out. I often refer to them as living in the “other DC.”

  10. Marissa says:

    So as a public DC-hater (although I prefer the term “tough love”), I feel it’s my duty to explain the various nuances of hate for DC. There is the “I hate myself, ergo I hate DC (and anywhere)” hater. Not cool. There is the “I’m used to such-and-such and hold that up as the gold standard for everywhere else” hater. Not cool. And then there are those of us who have lived here for a good while (comparatively to how long we’ve lived other places), who have done a lot of shit in this town and have come to the conclusion that it is rather lackluster. Sure, there are tons of museums. There’s also tons of tourists. Sure, there is R’n’R Hotel. But is it really all that stellar that there’s *one* decent bar in this town? Sure, there’s Eastern Market, some decent restaurants and a nice park (to get raped in! ZING!). But is it worth sifting through the sea of backward doucheiness (and really, there is no more perfect way to generically describe so much of the population)? After a while it really tests one’s persistence. Luckily, I’m persistent. I also have such low expectations that if I see a pair of flat-front pants I f*cking write a blog about it. My opinion — DC is not that cool. Sorry. You hate me because I dislike where you live and have an opinion about it? Who’s really the jackass in this situation now?

    Example: People think it’s hip to hate DC? Thanks for devaluing my opinion, which is different than yours by classifying it as a “hip” trend. My opinion is not a pair of skinny jeans. Classifying someone’s opinion as “hip” is uppity and demeaning and when uppity and demeaning isn’t done in a funny and entertaining manner it’s really annoying. I’ve talked to a wide variety of people and have found that DC (in general, probably not anyone on this forum) does not do well with differences of opinion. People shun reason for polemical arguments or just walk away in a huff. It’s quite entertaining actually, but can get old. Perhaps the partisanship is all due to the government, which is probably a root cause of why so much sh*t sucks here. Or maybe it’s a case of rampant close-mindedness. Or political correctness. Or fear of the other. Or a giant stick placed firmly up the ass.

    Whatever. I have my forum where I’m free to hate all I want, which I hope I do with more hilarious observation and less bitter vitriol than I’m revealing here, so I’ll leave it at that. I just felt the need to stick up for the haters because not all of us are as uninformed as many, apparently, like to think.

    And PS, RR, I didn’t know guys had “frienemies.” Interesting.

  11. Lemmonex says:

    Marissa, you make some decent points here, but um…FYI…I think I heard somewhere that women are raped in NYC as well. That argument holds negative water.

  12. carrie m says:

    don’t the DC-hate blogs kind of prove the point that it’s hip to hate on DC? Just asking…

    I’m not saying DC is the bestest city in the world, not by any stretch. We have great things. We have crap things. EVERY CITY IN THE WORLD DOES. I think people are making an excellent point – it’s not cool to hate if you don’t know the city. If you know it and want to give it tough love, great. Definitely a more informed opinion.

    And douche? Are women called douches?

  13. Marissa says:


    Damn, was my rape joke too much? I never know online. Trust me, though, my rape jokes kill in person.


    “don’t the DC-hate blogs kind of prove the point that it’s hip to hate on DC?”

    If it’s hip to sit in front of your computer screen for lots and lots of hours then, um, OK? Although I shouldn’t shirk the idea that someone *wants* to call me hip (or is this term now an insult? I’m getting that feeling…). See, I always thought it was prerequisite to be at least a tad bit dorky to blog with the HTML and all. Although I guess it’s hip to be a dork now. I, for one, can’t wait to purchase my nerd glasses seen on last fall’s runways. And I’m not even joking. Oh. But see? *LAST* fall. I guess it’s not hip to be a dork anymore. I’m so confused.

    And I agree with you that every city offers pluses and minuses. I’ve liked and disliked every city I’ve lived in, but only now have I had the impetus and time to write about it every day. It just so happens DC has revealed more minuses to me, hence my blog’s theme. It’s not original (therefore, I’m not sure how it’s hip…), but I’d like to think I put an entertaining twist on things. Some people like it and some don’t. Eh. Can’t please everyone.

    On the last note, I prefer to call female douchebags douchebaguettes, a term I thought my friend had coined, but it turns out Vice (I think) did. Figures!

  14. scottstev says:

    As someone who grew up in the area (Rockville/G’Burg), who eventually moved to Richmond, and returns frequently for family visits, this post and the comments touched on a lot of the ambivalence I feel towards my hometown. I think the dining scene in DC is fantastic, especially fine dining as well as the low-end ethnic food in the suburbs (find better Banh Mi’s on the East Coast, I challenge you). The C & O and Great Falls provide wonderful natural respites in the city.

    That being said, I never felt all that comfortable in the region. This is probably just my experience, but I found the DC dating scene very adversarial with Guys and Girls always going out separately in groups playing the Game. Then they take the entire Game to Dewey every weekend. Once folks got married and had kids (I’ve done both) then adult social life stopped and all focus went to the kids and their academic achievement. This is probably the suburban MD provincialism I grew up with, but I hated how my friends never bothered to take advantage of much the cultural activities available often for free. I probably end up doing more things downtown as an occasional visitor than most of my friends.

    I do appreciate the pro-DC point of view. Dining is fabulous and approachable. You never have the reservation lottery that you do in Manhattan. The food scene is more focused on the average diner not on some glittering psuedo-private club like the Waverly Inn. I enjoy the perspective I get from reading the DC blogs, and having moved, I don’t think you could say it’s a case of greener grass.

  15. kjohnsonesq says:


    “Damn, was my rape joke too much? I never know online. Trust me, though, my rape jokes kill in person.”

    As somebody who was raped, I would like to say there are no funny rape jokes, no funny jokes about rape joke, or any derivative thereof, no matter what context, forum or venue.

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