Reasons to love SoCal that have nothing to do with the weather

By  | March 8, 2015 |  Comments | Filed under: Edible

Everyone who finds out we just moved here from Not Here is like, “can’t beat the weather!” and “how about this weather!” and “weather weather weather. Weather?” I’ve always lived in the midwest. Nay for a brief semester abroad and trips here and there, I’ve been neck-deep in midwestern sensibility and puffer coats my whole life. It didn’t click until a few months of living in SoCal that those shackles kept me from amazing things that have nothing to do with sunshine.

I’m never moving out of California because:

1.  You can wear t-shirts to dinner. I know, cue twenty people in the midwest who let their bra straps hang out at Old Country Buffet. Have a seat. I’m talking about dinner dinner. In Chicago, you don’t wear your house cleaning clothes on Saturday night to a place that serves quinoa entree salads. In SoCal, you can do whatever you want. I speculate it has something to do with a) People show their money with their cars, nose jobs and hair care and B) There’s a vibe of calculated nonchalance. Wear a suit to dinner and you look like a maitre d’ on his break. So yank that Old Navy tank out of the hamper and I’ll see you Parkway Grill.

2. No judgement on princess culture. If my four-year-old had her way, she’d have Cinderella tattooed inside her eyelids so she could never stop seeing sparkles and the promise of glass shoes. In the, how shall I say this . . . judgey upper rungs of Chicago parenting, letting your kid wear character clothes is considered bad form. I was in a groove there. The girls wore tasteful (BORING, MOM!)) dresses and so did their friends. Here? Oh, honey, SoCal is all about the princesses. The culture here seems to have the take: “let’s celebrate what girls like instead of changing them”. You know what? I like it. The kids here show up in light-up sneakers with faces on them. So be it. I’m not going to push my agenda. I’m here to flow, ya’ll, not bring drab modesty to preschools across America. Elsa sneakers it is.

3. Inclusiveness. There seems to be a strong emphasis on inclusion in SoCal. There was some kind of international day at our new school when all the kids dressed in the spirit of their cultural roots. I’m sure there were a few surprised faces when my child with the long Greek last name showed up in a German dirndl. The best thing I saw were kids in full african garb.

Race issues are uncomfortable in Chicago. It’s no one’s fault. Chicago has a weird history and for some reason white people ended up on one side of town and black people on the other and issues of public school funding, food deserts, social services and culture wars have made the idea that race is invisible an unfortunate lie. SoCal isn’t bogged down by as much geographical separation and so the social issues aren’t so much about race. It’s refreshing.

4. Making friends is so easy! This is kind of along the lines of inclusiveness, but on an individual level. The people of SoCal do not snub newcomers. I mentioned before that everyone in L.A. has a referral to give you. You don’t have a conversation without recommending your  lawn guy or where to get your crotch waxed. At first I didn’t get it. Why tell me about your guy? Then I got it. Referrals are just a way to pull you in to a group hug. I am speaking very broadly here, but I get the feeling people in SoCal realize “anyone could be someone” so why would you ice out another mom just because you didn’t grow up in the same suburb?

5.  Every diet is accommodated here. It’s, like, Orthorexia paradise. Restaurants have like ten different menus that cater to what you’re avoiding this week. Low-carb (passé). Gluten-free (on trend). Vegetarian (retro). Vegan (political). Whatever you’re into, they’ve got an entree for you. Welcome, fruitarians.

6. Easy-to-skirt pet laws. Landlord says you can’t have a dog? If you are on anti-depressants, you’re in luck. In California, you have the option of being a super a-hole and paying $64.95 to have your pet certified as a service animal for your “anxiety”, which utilizes a loophole in the Americans With Disablities Act. Isn’t that deliciously terrible? Now, I wouldn’t do that because it would be like using a handicapped parking space for a social phobia, BUT. I’m just saying you can jeff up your kharma if you want.

California. The land of whatever.

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This is my, um, guard dog. He’s normally not sleeping, I swear!


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