Thursday, June 21, 2012
Manly Cincy: Who'Da Thought It?
A typical Cincinnati guy
Most of our relatives live on the East or West Coast, and we southwestern Ohioans suffer a serious inferiority complex as a consequence. The East Coast is suave and sophisticated; the West Coast, cutting
edge and hip. Though Cincinnati is strong on Neilsen ratings for TV evangelists and on contributions by the 1% to Mitt Romney's campaign coffers, I’ve never been sure what else we excel in. Then, much to my surprise and relief, I discovered in the Enquirer that a new study ranks Cincinnati in the top quartile of "America's Manliest Cities." It turns out that Cincinnati is a lot more manly than all the East Coast cities in the study, i.e., New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Rochester, Providence, Buffalo, and Washington DC. And it's still more manly than Seattle, Portland, and every sizeable city in California. In fact, there wasn't a single East or West Coast city among the twenty manliest metropolises in the U.S. Nine of the ultra-manly places were in the Midwest, and eleven were from the South. These revelations completely restored my waning civic pride. While I hadn’t even recognized how manly a place we live in, now I view our city in a whole new light.
It’s easy to think of individuals as manly or unmanly, but what exactly makes a city manly? The research criteria were devised by Bert Sperling, the expert who does the well-known "Best Places to Live" studies (see www.americasmanliestcities.com). Factors contributing to ratings of high manliness include: number of professional sports teams, NASCAR events, monster truck rallies, triathlons and marathons, American-made cars, pickup trucks, motorcycles, bowling league participation, hunting and fishing, woodworking, steakhouses, sports bars, BBQ and wing joints, doing your own plumbing repairs, "Playboy" and “Maxim” subscriptions, and numbers of hardware and home improvement stores. Conversely, cities lost manliness points for sushi restaurants, home decor stores, coffee houses, minivans, foreign cars, cupcake shops, and subscriptions to unmanly publications, e.g., "Martha Stewart Living," "Vanity Fair".
I myself have never gone to a NASCAR race or monster truck rally; don't hunt, fish, or bowl; dislike BBQ and wings; can’t imagine doing my own plumbing; and rarely visit the hardware store. We do, however, eat sushi, buy coffee at Starbuck’s, like chocolate cupcakes, subscribe to "Vanity Fair", and own a foreign car. Nonetheless, this isn't about oneself, but about the macho prestige ranking of one’s community. Besides, I will probably start going to NASCAR events now that I know what’s “in” locally. I've always wished that I could fit into our community better.
-Linda K-C (6-21): Also I am probably the only person you know that can say they know where they were when they heard of the tragic death of famous NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt. When Art and I lived in Williamston there was a gas station right down the street from us. It was Ill kept and the men that worked in it were equally Ill kept. Very friendly, not all their teeth, kind of dirty, but they pumped our gas for no extra cost , rain, shine, heat or freezing, knew our names, did any thing extra we asked. So one Saturday afternoon our gas pump guy (not the owner) was there at my window when I turned in to get gas. Poor guy was practically crying, very shaky, he said, "Did you know Dale died? " not sure why but I was suddenly ashamed that I had no idea after all these years of calling us, "Dr Craven and Linda" that I had no idea which of the workers was Dale, was it the owner, or the older portly guy that always said, “Okey dokey, have a great day.” Anyway, I was genuinely sad. I said in shocked voice "Omg, how did he die?" Our serviceman, too upset to notice the absurdity of my question, said "In the wreck of course." "I'm so sorry ," I said several times, I went home and asked Art if he knew the names of the men that worked in the gas station; he said, no idea. So I told him one of them named Dale was killed that afternoon in a car accident. Art said "Oh, that's too bad, I think the owner was named Dale." Several days later I saw on TV what had happened, the fire crash, the family and manly men weeping loudly, only then did it dawn on me who "Dale" was. So as a joke on Monday I went into my office, everyone was around having coffee etc, I said "I will never forget where I was when I first found out that Dale Earnhardt was dead." The looks on their faces. Unpleasant surprise and disdainful -- you like NASCAR? "
-Linda K-C (6-21): David, I don't think you are going to join the manly ranks just because you now know what counts as manly, But maybe I am wrong, NASCAR might give you points, I was fairly surprised about 10 years ago to find gay couple friends of Jayme and Kevin's spoke highly of the fun of NASCAR, I met them the first time even when they brought a gourmet meal and elaborate hand made cake in celebration of Ben's birth.
Later I stayed at their house to take care of the doggie when they were out of town. They continued to bring beautiful gifts to Ben and Jayme, and once in a while they would name a NASCAR driver they really liked, stayed at his home when at a race and really enjoyed NASCAR. Finally , I couldn't stand it any longer, I just had to ask Jayme how two gay guys were so welcome at NASCAR. Jayme really laughed, she said "didn't you know Dave was head ad man for Viagra and he got a well know driver to let Viagra sponsor them?" Then it turned out they really did go and have a great time, treated very nicely so you just never know.
-Ami G. (6-21): Please don't try to fit in! Please!