How do I put this? Where do I start? I’ve been wanting to write you this for a while, but just didn’t want to hurt your feelings… Wait. Let’s be honest. I was actually just too wrapped up in all your glorious gluttonous events. But now, Richmond, it’s cold out. And I’ve turned on my rainymood.com sounds and am ready to write how I really feel about you.
Oh, Richmond. Can I call you Rva? Of course I can. In fact, you want me to. You want me to so much, that you’ve printed out bumper stickers for all your residents to proudly (cultish-ly) display and you’ve coyly created banners with the logo to humblebrag around town.
Anyway. Here’s the thing, Rva, dearest. I LIKE you. I just don’t LOVE you. And I know that line hurts. It does. I know because once an ex-boyfriend used it on me and right after, I became acquainted real good with $4 bottles of wine from Walmart for a week or two.
Don’t judge me. Or I’ll judge your Broad street.
When I first moved, I had faith that we were really going to like each other. So I settled right in the Fan to watch and experience all you had to offer. I told all of my friends and family—gushed over you, raved, got excited, said this was IT.
I couldn’t contain myself.
So we jumped into bed together, you and I, Rva. And honey, it was hot. It was hot like Gilles Marini hot. Like Halle Berry-Monster Ball hot. Like take off your shirt, swing it around your head, whip your hair, guzzle some tequila, and…whatever. You get it.
I went to your festivals (OH, FOLK FEST AND BRUNSWICK STEW!!), I checked out the river views( so gorgeous, so big, so above average. ), I ran outside in the Fan (and struggled not to high five every runner I passed in the price is right style), I went to your clubs and meet ups,I wrote a piece or two for a local mag, I chatted up new people, I found a cool church, I networked like a pro, I drank till I found a favorite bar (Whiskey), I partied with freaken Richard Branson. I praised the awesomeness of VCU. I went out for cocktails when I found out if I was ever attacked by my friendly local crackhead ,I could go to VCU med center and be raised from the dead. I was all up on you Rva, like a dirty whore. But..I still had to you write you this letter.
Why, you ask? Oh, stop. Don’t look at me like that .
So, here goes.
Rva, you’re kinda like Regina George. Plastics included. And all us transplants are the girl that doesn’t even go here.
Okay. Fine. Maybe a bit harsh.
Ask any non-native living here what it’s like to make friends in you, Rva. You’re not exactly Mother Theresa welcoming. Unless we’re all wearing pink shirts on Wednesday and sitting at the right table.
Sure, sure, Richmonders will at first be friendly. They’ve no choice; they’re required by the laws of the South to wave and offer sweet tea (PBR). But let the poor unsuspecting transplant say, “Drinks on me! Let’s hang out later!” and you can be sure the drinks will be on him (hello, have you seen the bars per capita?). But that’s where the shot stops. That is, unless you know the secret handshake or find someone who will give it you. But if not, you’ll most likely stick with your other fellow transplants. There’s safety in numbers, they say.
And word on the street is, there’s a little bit of of Regina George in the restaurant playground too–foodies, food bloggers, food writers, and some media. I was just talking to a kitchen manager who I’d just met a week ago when he brought this up.
“It’s political and like a high school. And if you don’t play by the rules, you could get left behind.” His words, not mine. Except I’m sure this doesn’t apply to Peter Chuck Norris Chang who probably doesn’t give a shiz and eats with one chopstick.
But listen. I’m not asking for everyone to sing kumbaya. I’m not asking for there to be a welcome committee. I’m asking for your gang to be open and not require a 14 step secret handshake and secret word and a pink shirt on Wednesdays with the Rva logo on it.
Secret handshakes are too hard for me. Seriously.
But wait, there’s more. There’s that oh-so-strange thing that you do with festivals and events. It’s weird. At first I just thought you were trying to show off for me. Kinda cute. Caught my eye. Made me blush. Then when I asked about it, you were all sheepish and sidestepped it.
But I’m askin’ again–why do you keep having multiple festivals and events in one day or weekend, Rva? And why are 50 percent of your festivals badly planned, with long unbearable lines and bad execution? Like that wine fest behind VMFA in the middle of summer, with lines so long that eventually I looked like I had just run through a slip n’ slide covered with canola oil (read: sweaty Betty). Or how about that Hardywood festival a few months back where I stood in line for almost an hour to get a beer (I never even got that beer)? Or how about this past weekend when FOUR festivals were on the same Saturday along with the State Fair? It’s so bad that I’ve thought about shopping for engraved flasks to hide in my bra so I can drink while standing in line for more drink. Survival of the fittest, ya’ll. I’m in it to win it.
Every time I go to a long lined, badly executed festival this comes out.
I know you’re proud of your festivals and whatnot, dear Rva, but maybe you should check that out. Focus on your motion of the ocean, k? By the way, the Watermelon Festival is, in my book, a level of Dante’s hell. Take a poll. I know I’m not the only one.
And while we’re at it, can we please talk about your ego?
I mean, you’re attractive,fun, and real good romp, but the ego is ruining it for me. Seriously, Rva, if you tweet ONE MORE time about the lists that you’ve made it on to, I will die. Which might be why you’re still doing it. The latest word on the street is that you’ve ranked 9th in the list for America’s most promiscuous cities . It’s kinda like if a man ever tells me about the number of women he’s slept with as a selling point. Not cute. And I.Don’t.Care.
Ask me if I care that you won Best Town Ever. You voted for yourself! It hasn’t changed much since elementary elections.Writing yourself in for class president and then voting for yourself is the equivalent of talking in the third person.Weird. Ask me if I care that you placed on some random list as an innovative city (can you PLEASE stop using that word? Don’t you have a vocabulary beyond innovative and creative?), or a bicycle city, or a city with a sky and buildings? I don’t.
Oh? Rva ranked on the list of “Cities with 8 letters in their name?” Great.
But if you really want to stick to the lists, please don’t forget that in 2011 you were named the top asthma capital. Cute. And at the beginning of the year you were ranked in the top cities decimated by the global recession. And you also ranked as one of the top cities for worst integrity. Why didn’t anyone send a tweet about it? Oh. Okay. Maybe I missed it. Well how about you just let me find out how cool you are without you telling me every two seconds, would you?
Now back to your overuse of the words innovative and creative. I’m sorry–I now have verbal blogger diarrhea. It won’t stop.
I can’t. I just can’t:
Look, I get it. You ARE those things–sometimes. Not all the time. Because if you were, you’d figure out that we don’t need four groceries stores in one section of Carytown. Having more meetups and hackathons and forums can only be so creative if you keep having them with the SAME people.
The point is, if you’d just stop talking with the same people over and over about innovation and creativeness or some other buzz word,and branched out and found other spicy people to work with, maybe something would actually happen. And maybe we kinda get back together, Rva. Maybe.
We’re not the same we promise. We’re creative:
Let’s put it this way.You’re charming, Rva, you’re charming. Besides the fact that you’re small (you can’t help it, chin up.) and that it’s impossible to go into a grocery store and not run into your ex’s ex or your mailman or @rvalover234 from Twitter who you know-but-don’t-know, you have some great things going on about you.
Your low cost of living is rad. Your river is sexy. The way you cook for me is a turn on. Your fun events make me wanna show you my goods and let my parents come to meet you.
At this point, the date was great…but the kiss…well it was like this:
I want to be hopeful, but maybe we should just be friends. Not lovers. If you’re really upset we can discuss. I’d say call me, but… I’m going out to Short Pump. No reception there, you know.