The winner of our “You are so D.C. if…” contest went straight for the bottom line. If the nearly 500 entries we received could be summed up with one word, that word would be “gentrification.” The outcomes of rising costs of living are many, but one is more poignant than others: “You are so D.C. if you’re a D.C. native and can’t afford to live in the neighborhood you grew up in, let alone any other parts of your city.” 

City Paper staff voted blind, meaning we didn’t know your names when we entered our favorites. For that reason, some people won two or more times, while others who entered the contest again and again don’t appear in these pages. 

This winner, who found a sharp way to express something many others wrote, didn’t respond after we reached out last Friday asking for a name, and didn’t respond to a follow-up email Monday morning. Maybe this person is trying to be some anonymous voice of wisdom and truth—the wizard behind the curtain, a mysterious moral benefactor. Or maybe our winner forgot to check email this week. Either way, congrats. 

Other lessons? D.C. loves Marion Barry. No other politician, past or present, garnered more than a one-off reference, usually negative. For Marion “Mayor for Life” Barry, our readers managed to collectively demand an entire category. They did the same for mumbo sauce, go-go, Metro escalator etiquette, and the experience of repeatedly delivering a verbal resume on demand. 

Our categories on race, gentrification, and neighborhoods were far less defined. Answers from all three categories overlapped. As one entrant wrote: “You are so D.C. if you are young, white, with a good job, and gentrifying a black neighborhood.”  

Early this week, patterns seemed to be emerging in terms of which entrants stayed anonymous and which didn’t. Were people more likely to fess up to their love of mumbo sauce than their thoughts on race relations? As we go to print, the answer appears to be no. Some wanted to stay anonymous due to their jobs, more people remained anonymous over go-go music than race, and plenty of people attached their names to touchy subjects. 

Enjoy the collection. —Alexa Mills

First Place

You’re a D.C. native and can’t afford to live in the neighborhood you grew up in, let alone any other parts of your city.  —Anonymous

Second Place

You go to the corner store and buy a pickled egg, sunflower seeds and a big mama hot sausage, put it in a plastic sandwich bag, bite the corner of the bag and eat it out of that small hole. —Rachael Dunston

Third Place

You had a Marion Barry summer job. —Bruce Holliday

Fourth Place

You once lived in Shaw but claimed it was Logan Circle; lived in Logan but claimed it was the east side of Dupont; lived in Dupont but always mentioned you’re not gay (but are of course cool with all your LGBT neighbors); lived in Bethesda but claimed it was D.C.; or lived in Rockville but called it North Bethesda. —Jeff S. 

Fifth Place

You eye roll at movies set in D.C. that have skyscrapers. —Aryn Myers

Sixth Place

You will never, ever, ever refer to it as Reagan. It was named after a perfectly fine president and is called Washington National. —Sarah D. 

Seventh Place

You were born in a D.C. hospital. The rest of you are posers. —Jon Gann

Eight Place

You refuse to go to a museum that requires paid admission, but you’re more than willing to purchase an $18 cocktail. —Michelle Goldchain

Ninth Place

You think you are better than people living in Maryland or Virginia, even though you just moved here from some small town (including towns in Maryland or Virginia) one week ago. —Julie

Tenth Place

You organically walk to the beat of go-go music. —Cherrelle e’Lan

You responded with “NE, NW, SE, or SW” when someone asked you what part of the city you lived in. If the follow-up conversation revealed that the person asking the question also lived in that quandrant or had family in that part of town, then and only then was it proper D.C. etiquette to identify your neighborhood by name. Why? Because unless you knew the people in that neighborhood and knew how they referred to their community, you really didn’t know how the community chose to identify itself. Before realtors defined neighborhoods, we D.C. folk began our discovery of what we had in common with a fellow resident by stating our most inclusive identity, a resident of this city, not the most restrictive. —Beverly Lancaster

You often use “the Shrimp Boat” in your directions when asked how to get from point A to point B. —Tyrone Goodwyn

You remember taking pictures in front of backdrops in the CVS parking lot at Florida and Georgia—across the street from Popeyes. —Anonymous

You were born here, your parents were born here, your grandparents were born here, and NONE of you worked for the federal government. —Catherine Aselford

You have ever walked into the alley behind the J. Crew on F Street, closed your eyes and inhaled deeply because on the right day, under the right conditions, you can make yourself believe it smells like the funk of the old 9:30 Club. —Kevin M. Goldberg

You assume the word “contractor” refers to a government contractor, rather than a carpenter, plumber, etc. —Ben Wohl

You stand on the right and walk on the left. —Candace Tyler

You literally want to die when someone stands still on the left side of the escalator. —Kelly McCone

The thought of someone not walking up on the left side of the escalator enrages you. —Ashley Lowerre

You stand on the right side of the escalator anywhere around the world and get annoyed when others don’t. —Ally Crha

You push people who stand to the left on escalators. Monica Galli

Tourists standing on the left of a Metro escalator incites homicidal rage. —Shauntice Rodriguez

You believe it is your personal responsibility to educate escalefting tourists about how we do things here. —Becca Lundberg

Your biggest pet peeve is not standing right, and walking left. —Alessandra Clará

You complain about gentrification on the way to Soul Cycle. —Anonymous

You complain about gentrification while sipping a pumpkin spice latte in your gentrified neighborhood, in its newest protest-chic coffee shop. Carmen Molina

You remember when H and U streets were not gentrified. WashNative

You are white and don’t speak to your black neighbors in a gentrified black community. Anonymous

You are a gentrifier strongly opposed to gentrification. Dan Forrest

You are young, white, with a good job, and gentrifying a black neighborhood. Anonymous

You recognize a neighborhood as “gentrified” once you see white women jogging there. Anonymous

You are always in awe of a white woman with a yoga mat walking in Petworth because back in the day you would have never seen that. Erin McNamara

You say “ Dat Joint” when referring to pretty much anything Bruce Holliday

You call people bamas. Bruce Holliday

You have used the word bama in a sentence. Anonymous

You call Trump a bama at least once a day. -Lou Mario

You still use the word bama, lunchin’ or joanin’. Anonymous

You miss people understanding what bama and cised mean, and are tired of explaining what mambo sauce is. Cameron Jacobs

You used to say “Dem joints was hittin’ n’ stickin’ like Popeye’s chicken!” Meaning something was GOOD! David Driggers

You called, and still call, Meridian Hill Malcolm X Park, and wouldn’t get seen hulu hooping there on purpose. Anonymous

You know what “demountables” are in the D.C. schools. David Kusnet

You pronounce SE souf-feast. Anonymous

“Ery/er” is actually part of a word for you. Eryday = Everyday. Saerday = Saturday. Merlan = Maryland.Cherrelle e’Lan

Irk is how you pronounce Eric. Monica Bell

You regularly break into alphabet soup laden conversation, and actually know what the acronyms stand for. Rufino Hurtado

You always refer to D.C. as the District never anything else. Dan Maceda

You call neighborhoods by their actual names and refuse to use the ridiculous mashups like Admo. Anonymous

You rename/rebrand your neighborhood by installing a mural on the side of your house. Yancey Burns

You give someone the stare of death when they say “I’m from here,” and you reply “what part?” and they name a Maryland neighborhood. Tia Dowe

You understand that there are actual neighborhoods full of people who don’t work on the Hill, at the World Bank or IMF, and care even less if you do.Ariane C. Jones

Part of meeting another D.C. native involves naming your neighborhood, followed by naming the intersection you lived closest to, and then asking the other person if they knew some person who lived near there.  Coreene White

You belong to a neighborhood listserv that spends days debating whether it is okay to put dog poop bags in trashcans. Susan Holbrook

You care about the schools in your neighborhood whether your children attend private, charter, or public schools. Ariane C. Jones

You know where the best Ethiopian food is in every neighborhood. Daphne Puerto

You remember Trinidad being much larger and don’t understand Truxton Circle being a neighborhood. Anonymous

Knowing your neighbors is important to you. Ariane C. Jones

You refer to your neighborhood with a street name—Kennedy Street, 5th and O, Morton Street, etc. Tanya Golash-Boza

You have a Slack group to discuss messages on your neighborhood’s listserv. Anonymous

Go-go music.  Sheika Reid

You love go-go music. Ariane C. Jones

You know Chuck Brown is the godfather of go-go. Anonymous

Chuck Brown is your godfather. Cherrelle e’Lan

You only know certain chart-topping pop songs because there is a go-go version. Dustin Williams

You dance, no matter where you are, when Chuck Brown comes on. Anonymous

You know go-go music, Chuck Brown, Rare Essence, EU and the Junk Yard Band. Anonymous

You know all of the words to ANY Chuck Brown song. Anonymous

You’ve gone to a go-go at one of the private schools. Anonymous

You went to go-go parties at Sidwell and NCS. Sheika Reid

You remember free go-gos at the Highland skating rink. Anonymous

You know what go-go is and like it. Maria

You never knew the reason your family and friends always went to Marshall Hall instead of Glen Echo was that Glen Echo didn’t allow black families in their amusement park. And once you found out, you really didn’t give a damn because you always had the best time ever at Marshall Hall. And besides, you got to ride a boat to Marshall Hall. What the hell could beat that? —Beverly Lancaster

You slam black people on social media. —Anonymous

You are the white PTA president of a historic black school.  —Anonymous

You are white and got into an argument about dog poop on sidewalk.  —Anonymous

You are white and were caught not paying the Metro fare, but if you are black they don’t care.  —Anonymous

You think it’s whack that the white people over at City Paper are creating a litmus test for being D.C. Better yet, you’re so D.C. if you remember when what white people wanted was the last thing that mattered to the cultural pulse of the city. Maybe you’re so D.C. if you miss U Street, jazz clubs, still call it Malcom X Park, want the Washington Football Team back at RFK, miss the UniverSoul Circus, go-go, and get asked for directions to the Metro every goddamn time you’re walking with your kid on the Mall. I dunno, who really does? —Michelle Davis

You believe this will be something new white folks get, and not long term residents. —EJJ

Mumbo sauce. —Sam Majors

You like chicken and mambo sauce. —Darlene Wright

You love your chicken with mumbo sauce. —Chantelle James

You can’t eat wings without mumbo sauce. —LaKia Lockett-Johnson

After moving away, you still drive to D.C. for your chicken wings and mumbo sauce. —Diana Brooks

You order mumbo sauce on your wings AND fries. —Candace Tyler

You put mumbo sauce on EVERYTHING. —Evangelo “Jegs” Banua

You grew up on a particular carryout and are a loyalist to its mumbo sauce. —Anonymous

You won’t eat wings from a carryout unless they have mumbo sauce on them. —Quinton Brooks

You buy mumbo sauce in bulk from a Chinese carry out. —Preston Cornish

You listen to go-go music and eat chicken wings with mumbo sauce. —Anonymous

You know what authentic mambo sauce tastes like. —Anonymous

You prefer mambo sauce over hot sauce. —Cherrelle e’Lan

You thought that mumbo sauce was a staple in the American diet. —Sheika Reid

You have a spreadsheet of ingredient combinations you’ve created in your quest to engineer the perfect mumbo sauce. —Kevin M. Goldberg

You have mumbo sauce, half smokes, and DC Brau in your fridge all at the same time. —Nate Bell

You know about new hip, trendy mumbo sauce at Whole Foods. —Alex Booker

You order wings and fries with mumbo sauce on EVERYTHING. —Bria Culp

Since you moved here, you haven’t had a single conversation where you weren’t asked, “So, where do you work?” —Marissa Paulsen

You have an elevator speech prepared for new acquaintances’ inevitable question, “So what do you do?” —Becca Lundberg

You ask, “What do you do?” upon meeting a new person, and not, “Hi, how are you?” —Anonymous

The first question you ask when meeting someone for the first time is, “What do you do?” —Annette Quarles

You start every introduction with, “What do you do?” —Allie Fernandez

You meet someone and immediately say, “So, what do you do?” —Elizabeth Hagerty

Your first question is, “So what do you do?”  —Alessandra Clará

You ask, “So, what do you do?” before you even know the person’s name. —Yigit Erkut

You think you and your job are more important than everyone back home. —Tom DeLuca

You think it stands for “Deserves Career.” —Michael Rose

You introduce yourself with your job title. —Coreene White

For 50% of your acquaintances you learned their jobs before you learned their names, and for the other 50% you will never know their true professions and employers. —Lily Carter

No one understands what you do. —Stephanie Johnson

Mayor Marion Barry is your Mayor for life. —Cherrelle e’Lan

In the summer, you had a job through Marion Barry’s Summer Youth Employment Program. R.I.P. Marion Barry, “D.C. Mayor for Life.” —Dr. Monica Roaché

You assume the D.C. quarter features Marion Barry. —Phil Wolf

You know that Marion Barry will always be “Mayor” Barry for LIFE. May he rest in Paradise. —Latrice Stewart-Muhammad

You remember the love the city has had for Marion Barry. —Sheika Reid 

You got your first job under Marion Barry’s summer employment program. —Kim Park

You rode in a election day caravan with Marion Barry. —Will Sommer

You have ever used “the bitch set me up” as a legitimate excuse for something. —Norah S.

That goddam bitch really did set you up. —Dan Campbell