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It was the best pick-up line I’d ever gotten. “You walk like a New Yorker,” he said as I stomped from Starbucks to my office a couple mornings ago.
A New Yorker? I was instantly charmed. After all, I’ve always aspired to be a New Yorker. In fact, when I first got to college, I pretended to be one.
“Where did you grow up?” My dorm mates asked.
“Oh, really? What part?”
“The New Jersey part.”
Like most self-respecting (or is it self-hating?) New Jerseyans, I’ve always been proud of growing up near The City. At the same time, I was always ashamed of growing up just outside its bounds. It’s a complicated psychological state, one that’s stuck with me even after three years as a Washingtonian.
Since 2004, I’ve made D.C. my home. And I love it here. The neighborhoods, the community politics. But I’ll always identify as an almost-New Yorker. I try not to smile when walking down the street, I sneak sodas onto the subway, and I wear black like it’s my uniform—-a fact that wasn’t lost on my suitor the other day.
“You look like a New Yorker, too,” he said.
So thank you, suitor, for glimpsing the New Yorker I always wanted to be.