The sun is out, the tour buses are rolling in, and cross walk signs are being ignored all over the city.
It is officially summer in Washington, D.C.
DCist’s Megan Carpentier: How Not to Be THAT Intern
- Your underwear is no one else’s business. Seriously, no one wants to see the top of your thong or your boxers or, God forbid, your be-pantied crotch. Invest in a belt, learn to keep your knees together in a skirt and master the art of exiting a cab with your legs together. The day your boss sees your underwear is the day your recommendation gets less effusive.
- You are never going to out-drink a Hill staffer or a lobbyist Yes, we’re sure you’re hot s*** on campus in your flip cup league, and you can throw back a dozen shots and a couple of beers, boot and then rally and come back for more. Everyone drinks in D.C., and they drink for a living, which means that they, in many cases, can drink to excess and still work (hell, I’m drinking right now). So not only should you not try to keep up because you likely can’t, but, additionally, no one is going to care about your drunk tales or your hangovers.
- Don’t hook up with co-workers or fellow interns We all understand that, in college, you have sex with your classmates and the people on your dormitory floor and the people you’re in clubs with, and it’s cool. But, do not be boinking the other interns in your office. Hang out, meet their other friends, meet other interns, but don’t screw the girl or boy in the next cube. Everyone’s going to know, and you never know on whose side the opprobrium will fall.
- Shut up Everyone here is smart, and probably smarter than you. If you keep your mouth shut, you won’t be able to make the fatal error of bragging about how great your Hah-vard education is to someone that went to the JFK School and had a dual-degree with the law school.
- Avoid gawking Yeah, you’ve probably seen that guy on TV. So has everyone else, and you’re the only one looking.
- Get out of my way If I’m on the street, I’m trying to get somewhere, and so is everyone else. There are, like, actual places to get to here, and some of us are trying to get to them and you are getting in our way so stop standing in the middle of the sidewalk.
- Khakis make you look like a kid Throw away the pleated pants and the navy blazers, please. There’s a Marshall’s in Pentagon City. Call your mom. Look into a real suit.
- Use a condom We’re not kidding, definitely use them. Look at the stats . This is not a small college town and you don’t know everyone else that person has slept with, so stock up.
- Don’t attend Senator Coburn’s sex ed lecture No, seriously . Just don’t.
- Don’t sleep with anyone important I hear that power is an aphrodisiac, though I’ve never felt its effects myself. But, seriously, don’t be the next Monica , Jessica or Julia . You might find infamy, but the sex will probably suck and you’ll never get a job here again.
Plight of the Pumperickel: Why I Love/Hate Tourists in D.C.
The process of transforming from "someone who lives in Washington" into a "certifiable Washingtonian" can be broken down into the following steps:
1. Take up residency in the District.
2. Become familiarized and develop a love for all things local.
3. Start hating tourists.
Let’s face it, hatred of tourists is a prerequisite for membership to any metropolitan population. It’s often unfounded, but it nonetheless bonds a group of people who are otherwise strangers. New Yorkers hate tourists. Washingtonians hate tourists. And the natives of any European capital will turn their nose up at the mere sight of a sunburnt, Hawaiian-shirt-wearing American with a camera dangling from his neck.
I work near the National Zoo, so I probably see more tourists on a daily basis than most. It’s only 1 pm, and already I’ve been approached by two different people asking for directions. And while I myself have been a tourist in unfamiliar cities several times over, I sometimes find myself catching the eye of a fellow Washingtonian and together we chime, "Ugh. Tourists."
Our annoyance is understandable, and yet even the most xenophobic of Washingtonians admit to the benefits of a healthy tourist trade. Like most things, tourism in DC has aspects good, bad and ugly:
1. The economy. In 2007, DC welcomed 16.2 million visitors including 15.0 million domestic visitors and 1.2 million international visitors. That year, travel and tourism supported more than 71,000 full-time jobs in DC and generated $2.7 billion in wages. It’s hard to hate people when they very well may be putting a roof over the heads of so many Washingtonians.
2. Cultural exchange. Washington was the 8th-most visited city in the United States for international travelers in 2007. Understandably– I think a visit to DC is the best way to introduce foreigners to the United States. The streets are clean and unintimidating, the Metro is one of the easiest public transportation systems to nativate and most major attractions are free. How can someone hate America when DC is such a visitor-friendly destination?
3. I can’t think of anything else . Seriously, this is where the good ends.
1. Metro incompetence. Nothing infuriates me more than tourists clogging both sides of a Metro escalator. I’m not sure what’s so hard about standing to the right. Also, people who stand frozen in front of a turnstile for five minutes, unsure of where to insert their tickets. And don’t get me started on people who can’t figure out how to operate the ticket machines. If you know how to operate an ATM, you can figure these babies out. I don’t understand what’s so hard.
2. Poor sidewalk etiquette. If you’re traveling, say, in a group of four, it’s just plain rude to walk four-abreast. This has happened to me more times than I care to recall– obnoxious gaggles of tourists, often with young, misbehaved children, swarming the sidewalk and making it impossible for me to pass. To add insult to injury, these groups often move at a snail’s pace and stop every three feet to consult their maps, which they never seem to be able to decipher.
3. The mobbing of monuments and other attractions. The newly renovated National Museum of American History? I’ve been meaning to go. Actually, I’ve visited four times and left within 10 minutes on each occasion. My reason? I couldn’t move three inches without bumping into another tourist. Once I waited to enter the building, I found there were additional lines inside for individual exhibits. Museums are supposed to be enjoyable and relaxing experiences, but this was anything but. Hot, sticky and cramped museums? No, thank you.
The only truly ugly tourists I’ve ever seen are in Georgetown. Not ugly in a physical sense, mind you. Snobby tourists, belligerent tourists, stupid tourists– they flock to Georgetown’s nightclubs, restaurants and shops because you don’t need to know anything about the city to find good food and entertainment there. It’s a well-known, built-up area and perfect for people who don’t want to bother getting to know the real DC. Let me put it this way: the only time I’ve ever seen a teacup chihuahua being carried in a Juicy couture handbag by a bleached blonde, fake breasted, stiletto wearing woman was in Georgetown. And no, she was most certainly not a native.
Young Washingtonians Guide to DC :
Tip #1 Housing Options [Living beyond the youth hostels]
Tip #2 Finding the perfect watering hole
Tip #3 Embrace the Metro [and all its glory]
Tip #4 Taxi Cab Receipts
Tip #5 Find a Home Base Bar
Tip #6 Gas Stations in D.C.