Chicago, the Best of Los Angeles and New York

That GuyThought Catalog, the popular online Millennial outlet, recently posted about the differences between LA and NYC. At polar opposites of the country, these major cities are often pitted against each other and used to illustrate two extremes: the easy, breezy superficialness of the West and the fast-paced, grungy lifestyle of the East. Being a Chicagoan, I think I can speak for most when I say that we’re completely fine with being left out of the “who’s better” war. We’re perfectly happy with keeping our beautiful city a secret and laugh at the shenanigans of our coastal friends. However, after reading this post, I realized that none of the pros and cons for either city make me want to live there and if anything, I would be doing a disservice to everyone by keeping the Windy City off the radar. Therefore, behold Ryan O’Connell’s original list with Chicago added to the mix:

1. “In New York, you’re only allowed to be an asshole if you’re interesting.You have to earn the privilege of behaving like a dick. In Los Angeles, however, you can just be a dick. No funny jokes or good personality needed!” In Chicago, we like to be nice and most of time, the “dicks” that I meet are from out of town.

2. “Los Angeles is the land of delusions. You can live your life thinking you’re the best invention since sliced bread and no one will question your self-importance.New York is different though. Living here basically entails being humiliated on a daily basis. It’s like being served a slice of humble pie over and over again. So even if you do develop an ego and start to think you’re the shit, there will always be something waiting to bring you back down to Earth.” See #1, which means that Chicagoans are usually down for a good time, happy to meet new people and discover what each can bring to the table. Call it the Midwestern charm.

3. “The standards of beauty in L.A. are wildly different from New York’s. L.A. is all about looking healthy, refreshed and athletic. Juice cleanses (aka starvation), hikes up Runyon Canyon (three times in one day), and a natural tan (secretly produced in a tanning bed). Meanwhile, New Yorkers want to look they’re on the verge of death 24/7. To achieve this look, they make sure their skin resembles that of a corpse and flaunt their malnourished figure proudly. ‘No, honey, this body was not brought to you by exercise and kale…'” In Chicago, we have the advantage of having extreme weather: warm days in the summer and freezing temperatures in winter. What this translates to is that you’re supposed to put on some weight in the winer – how else can you stay warm? Once it starts to warm up in the spring, it’s time to strap on those running shoes and get ready for the beach. You heard me right. Unbeknownst to most, Chicago has beaches and we want to make sure we look just as athletic as L.A.

4. “People in Los Angeles are always between projects. Ask them what they do for a living and you will NEVER get a straight answer. They work in the entertainment industry? They’re a pet psychic? They’re someone’s life coach? Oh, but they’re this close to getting a deal with so-so, which will catapult them to overnight fame. With New York, it’s like, you better be doing something fantastic with your life because people don’t just move here and hemorrhage money just to be between projects.” In Chicago, you’re encouraged to have a plan. It’s perfectly OK to be in between projects and bartend on the side but at the end of day, you know where you want to go and you’re doing what you can to get there. Oh, and you’re not spending $2,500 a month to live in a closet.

5. “People in L.A. always say that they want to move to New York one day. “It’s been a dream! I’m just so jealous that you get to live there!” It’s as if New York is some untouchable entity that employs a lottery to decide who gets to live here. New Yorkers, on the other hand, constantly talk about leaving the city. “But I could never move to L.A., ugh. I hate it there. OMG, maybe San Francisco though. I’ve never been but I think I would love it!” Lots of Chicagoan love New York. We really do! We just could never live there and L.A. is pretty much never an option. Ironically enough, we’ve been to San Francisco and love it!

6. “Living in L.A. is such a pain in the ass logistically that if you manage to do it, you can live pretty much anywhere else and it’ll be considered an improvement. New Yorkers are screwed though. They really can’t go anywhere else. The city turns them into Martians that don’t translate outside of the metropolitan area.” Chicago truly is the best of both worlds. You’re not as constricted as everyone in New York and you’re still allowed to leave the city by plane, train or automobile. If fact, you really do have a choice on whether or not to own a car, unlike L.A. where you need one and New York where you can’t have one.

7. “Dating in L.A. is a mystery. HOW DO YOU MEET ANYONE? In New York, it’s easier but no one wants to ever settle down. They’re too busy screwing themselves to ever really screw you.” Once again, Chicago hits the middle with this one. I’ve seen plenty of friends choose to date, and others decide not to. Either way, there are numerous options no matter which road you decide to go down.

8. “In New York, you’re considered wealthy if you have a dishwasher in your apartment. In L.A., you’re rich if you live in a mansion.” In Chicago, it’s not a dishwasher. It’s the in-unit washer/dryer. What I wouldn’t do for one of those. 

9. “L.A. feels like a Xanax, like your limbs have been dipped in a vat of pudding. You’re always weirdly sleepy, even though you haven’t really done anything. Perhaps it’s because the sun is always beating down on you? In New York, you always feel like you’re halfway through drinking that cup of coffee you didn’t need.” Chicagoans are pretty intentional about what they do and how they feel. Hibernate during the winter, flaunt your stuff during the summer. Bars when it’s cold, patios when it’s warm. Let’s be honest, weather dictates everything.

10. “L.A. knows how to make a good fucking salad. New York knows how to make a good fucking bagel. Somehow this crucial difference is more telling than anything else.” Salads and bagels?! We’ll take a burger and a beer. 

At the end of the day, Chicago is spotless and that’s more than anyone can say about L.A. or NYC.

For those of you that have been to any of these cities, what do you think? Anything to add? What’s your favorite?

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