Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the world. Unfortunately, that diversity doesn't always extend to its opinions.
This is a city that has virtually no Republican Party to speak of, that has banned plastic bags in supermarkets and condomless porn (while the state of California has banned foie gras and Kosher-for-Passover Coca-Cola). Things that would be perfectly acceptable in other cities are treated as downright horrifying here.
Here, then, are the 10 most shameful things to confess to in Los Angeles (Mind you, dear reader, LA Weekly, Voice Media and this blogger wish no shame upon anyone; rather, these are things that other Angelenos will make you feel ashamed of, either implicitly or explicitly):
10) You bought a dog – a non-rescue dog
It's not enough to own a dog in Los Angeles. Your dog has to have a story: "We found him on the street and he had this cut under his left eye and I'm pretty sure he'd been beaten."
L.A. has between 26,000 and 44,000 stray dogs. Many of them end up in shelters, where if they're not adopted they face euthanasia. Why support dog breeders, who are simply flooding a crowded marketplace?
Well, maybe because you need a low-allergen dog breed, or maybe you just wanted a golden retriever because they're pretty and because this may be Los Angeles BUT IT'S STILL AMERICA GOD DAMNIT.
Just don't say that aloud. Tell everyone you rescued it from a dog-eating hobo.
9) You've never been for a hike
Now the word "hike" means something different here than it does in other, less-enlightened parts of the world. In, say, North Dakota, going for a hike means two or three hours, steep inclines, a massive canteen dangling from your belt, and at least an outside chance of having to saw your own arm off with a Swiss Army knife.
In L.A. it means a 30-minute power walk up Runyon Canyon in a sports bra along with three friends, a (rescue) dog, and a good eye for Ryan Gosling in sweatpants.
Angelenos are expected to have at least a passing acquaintance with this form of leisure activity. If you don't, you either (a) hate nature; (b) hate exercise; or (c) have no legs.
8) You don't know how to use chopsticks
What were you, born in the Appalachian Mountains in 1850? L.A. is a rich cultural stew; it can't be eaten with one of your Euro forks.
7) You're Latino, but you don't speak Spanish
Mexicans and Central Americans who don't speak Spanish are so baffling to (white) Angelenos, they think you're Forrest Gump or something. If you are Latino and know about as much Spanish as the Bumblebee Man on The Simpsons, you may want to consider taking an online class.
6) You're a Christian
It's weird, 'cause L.A. is like the world capital of kooky spiritual beliefs, and Christianity is perhaps the kookiest spiritual belief of all. But unlike 12-step groups, Kabbalah, or the Marianne Williamson lecture circuit, Christianity is deeply uncool. (Even Jewish hipsters is a thing.)
See Also: Spiritual Communities of Los Angeles
Maybe it's too mainstream, or too working-class, or just has too much historical baggage. The only thing more embarrassing to believe in is Scientology.
Up next, you live WHERE?
5) You live in the Valley ... or worse
Living in the Valley isn't so bad as long as you have air-conditioning and don't mind people looking at you like you have herpes when you give them your phone number and it begins with 818. People start making the following assumptions: you're super-square, super-boring, probably own a swimming pool, hang out in a 7-Eleven parking lot for fun, and have never met a black person.
But hey, at least you're not 661. What is that, Palmdale?
4) You're an accountant ... or worse
Even the people in L.A. who aren't writer/directors, actor/stand-up comedians, or singer/songwriters are doing something creative with their lives: "I'm working in the art department on commercials right now, but someday I want to design environmentally friendly scaffolding," or, "I used to make flyers for my band so I've been thinking about taking some graphic design classes?"
In L.A., there's your job, your gig, and your long-term goal for "fulfillment." For most people, anyway. Lawyers, accountants and middle-managers know all too well the looks of pity and revulsion when answering the dreaded, "What do you do?" question. "Oh ..." the other person says, searching over your shoulder for someone else to talk to. "Huh ..."
3) You drive drunk
There is such a thing as healthy shame and this is one reason why — you definitely shouldn't drive drunk, much less proudly admit to it, even though tons of Angelenos drive drunk all the time under the justification of, "It's cool, I only had two beers and a shot 45 minutes ago," or, "I'll stop at Starbucks if I see one and it's on the right side of the road." At least they used to, before Uber was a thing.
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2) You drive a truck
The following is a list of acceptable vehicles to drive in Los Angeles: a Prius or any other hybrid; a Leaf or any other electrical car; a small, pre-2010 sedan (Japanese preferred); a minivan (if you have two or more kids and they play soccer); a Mini or Smartcar or that other Italian one; or a BMW/Audi/Benz as long as it's black and you make more than 10 grand a month. Drive a truck or an SUV, and you may as well be clubbing baby seals, rolling them into cigars and smoking them.
1) You own a flip phone
Ahoy there Thomas Edison. Take your horse and buggy and get thee to thy nearest Apple Store, posthaste.