As someone who once tried to change her Facebook marital status to “in a relationship with NYC,” I’ve witnessed firsthand how a city can seduce one into blind patronage. Fast forward six adulterous years later, and surprise (even to me), I now find myself living in Los Angeles.
The pleasure -- or misfortune -- of living in either LA or New York as a modern day woman is the topic of many friendly debates, articles, Yelp reviews, and hearsay bar conversations. More often than not it’s a materialistic battle: tacos vs pizza, Hollywood vs. Wall Street, athleisure vs. suits...the list goes on and on.
And while the aforementioned criteria do have their place in determining which city ranks superior, the comparison deserves to be much deeper than the superfluous availability of avocado, or the water quality in bagels...
Alas, it seems the simple Buzzfeed question, “which metropolis is the bestropolis?” is about as easy to answer as the age-old “Pepsi vs Coke” dilemma. It’s subjective, a matter of personal taste, and we all secretly know what really tastes better anyways...Kombucha. Damnit, you can tell I live in LA.
In an effort to spare you my bias (possibly sprinkled subconsciously throughout) I asked 15 badass #WomenWhoSwaay -- Angelenas, New Yorkers, transplants, bi-coasters and inbetweeners -- to compare the “City that Never Sleeps” with the “City of Dreams,” colored in by their personal experiences.
Of the hilarious insights shared, ten common categories emerged: the weather, people, vibe, dating, opportunities, lifestyle, transportation, social life, mannerisms and culture.
And with that in mind, I now present to you: a tale of two cities.
1. Siri, what’s the weather like today?
“Living in New York for a brief time, I remember waking up every morning to a world of grey…walking to class in the rain and the wind, with 0% chance of having a good hair day. But the sun shines here in LA…A LOT…sometimes too much…but I prefer this.” -Rachel S., Digital Media
“Everyone in LA is smug about the great weather and beautiful vistas, but spends all of their time and money bicycling in-place, indoors.” -Liz P., Marketing Manager
2. People Be Like
“In New York, a homeless person will spit in your face. In LA, your best friend will spit in your cocktail while you're not looking.” -Michelle C., Publicist
“In New York, the people are fun but SOOOO serious – it’s like everyone is in such a hurry to go nowhere, it looks like they need a good cry…and they’re all in suits. But in LA, the people are legitimately insane, which may be from too much sun or maybe too many dreams. It’s cute, but it’s crazy.” -Rachel S., Digital Media
“LA people take the time to enjoy life. NY people would never survive without 5 Hour Energy.” -Vanessa H., Finance
3. Do you get my vibe?
“L.A. is very much ‘fuck yeah’ and bright colors...NYC is all ‘fuck this, fuck that, fuck you, fuck the horse you rode in on’ and cigarette smoke grey.” -Cydney T., 26 Investment Services
“NYC is all about intellect; it’s sexy to be a brooding artist, surviving on coffee without time to eat. Dark bags under your eyes paired with high-end clothes is considered chic. In Los Angeles, you can just invert that. It’s all about, OMG I got 10 hours of sleep #blessed, smooth skin, work-life balance.’ No one cares if you’re smart.” -Taylor P., Marketing Innovation
Photo Courtesy of Eat LA
4. Dating: Swipe East, Swipe West
“The rating system in NY is inflated. If I’m a 6 in NYC, I’m a 4 in LA…” -Wally B., Comedian
“The dating grass is not always greener. New York has douchey Wall Streeters...we have unemployed Mactors (model/actors).” -Megan W., Publicist
“In NY, a long distance relationship is with someone outside of the tri-state area. In LA, a long distance relationship is with anyone on the other side of the 405.” -Liz P., Marketing Manager
“It seems like NY is more of a relationship town, and LA is more shallow. It’s always, ‘Is there someone younger and prettier behind me the dude can get with?’” -Steph R., Writer
Photo Courtesy of Free People
5. “This Opportunity Comes Once In a Lifetime” -Eminem, 8 Mile
“LA doesn’t give you everything you need or want up front. She’s guarded, fickle and tough. Yet, if you remain patient and open she will provide you with more adventure and opportunity than you could have ever imagined.” -Atlee F., Singer/Songwriter
“In LA, industry people are nice and inviting...because they know that people can surprise you, and anyone can potentially be that person who opens a door for you. New Yorkers just don't have time to sift through that many humans.” -Alexa K., Program Manager
6. Everyday I’m Hustlin’
“Surviving and thriving spiritually in LA requires constant and active meditation.” -Atlee F., Singer/Songwriter
“In New York, it’s easier to get around but harder to live...there’s no help with literally anything ever. While in LA, it’s harder to get around but easier to live. In fact, people here are overly helpful.” -Hallie J., Digital Strategist
“I hate the shopping experience in NYC. There’s always a line to try something on, and an even bigger line to buy it! Plus when it’s cold outside, it’s WAY too hot inside the stores...but it’s too much effort to unbundle your jacket.” -Tammy S., Film
7. Transportation Nation
“Being in a packed NY train is like playing the trust game ‘who’s not gonna grab my ass while I’m crammed against the door?’" -Atheer Y., Nutritionist
“I’ve made some of my best friends while drunk on the subway...but I’ve also seen a homeless person with an anaconda. It’s constant nonsense. In LA though, it’s basically, “I’ll see you when I see you.” -Taylor P., Marketing Innovation
8. Let’s Get Social
“Happy hour in NY means 2-for-1 drinks specials. Happy hour in LA means 2-for-1 sound bath and silent meditation.” -Liz P., Marketing Manager
“NY house parties are in tiny apartments (max occupancy 10-20, with at least 40 people inside). Whereas in LA, they’re so large that people just show up. In reality, the host only knows 50% (which is why everyone asks how you know the host). It's like an audition of how well someone can act.” -Alexa K., Program Manager
9. More Cultured than yogurt
“I admire the hustle in NY. You really have to love it there to stay there, so I think it breeds a strong culturalism which I appreciate. And the toughness…there’s a strong moral character that LA doesn’t seem to have.” -Rachel S., Digital Media
“In NY business casual means suit-jacket optional. In LA, business casual means bra-optional." -Liz P., Marketing Manager
“LA supports a culture of wannabes who end up waiting tables. In NY it’s all about the dreamers who make their dreams come true.” -Vanessa H., Finance
Photo Courtesy of Time Out
"Everyone in NY is an asshole – but it’s just because they need to know what you need. It’s like, “If I can help you in some way I will, but if not, stop talking to me.” While in LA, I’ve noticed people like to openly chat while in line. I’ve naturally met a lot of my best friends Starbucks." -Taylor P., Marketing Innovation
“You can tell who just moved to LA by whether or not they touch the food platter at a party. It’s a shame because it’s always made of the good shit (steaks, sushi, the works). -Alexa K., Program Manager
And there you have it folks, the real differences between LA and NYC, straight from the horse’s mouth. But while their words are insightful, they remind us that just like mimosas at brunch, we’ll never really get to the bottom of it (at least, we hope not).
Just remember that whichever city you chose, one thing’s for sure: you still can’t make that your relationship status on Facebook.
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Victoria's Secret is best known for what it has to offer women. However, a few days ago as I was strolling around the flagship store on Bond Street, I discovered that the store also has a lot to offer men as well. Just not exactly what you'd think.
My experience began like many other shopping excursions, casually browsing for a few practical items. The store was bustling with women who were relaxed but focused on their own purchases. The women in the store all displayed a quiet confidence in knowing what to do and how to do it. My browsing journey took me into another room where I noticed a man behaving quite awkwardly while being guided around by one of the many well-trained twenty-something shop assistants. My first thought was: "Good for him coming in here alone! I imagine it isn't the most comfortable experience for a man." It was clear he felt out of place. His discomfort was obvious by the way he was shuffling around and avoiding eye contact with any women nearby.
This otherwise unremarkable experience sent a spark through my mind. This man was professional and smartly dressed; perhaps he could have worked for one of the many private equity, hedge fund or banking firms in the nearby area. I imagined that he was confident in his own world of work, but in this female haven he was not. He was the only man in the room, and it showed.
This world - that of Victoria's Secret - was not created to make someone like him feel comfortable. In this environment—a store catering to women, filled by women and selling feminine merchandise—the familiar patriarchal dynamics of the world had completely shifted.
This was a world that can transform an otherwise confident professional into an introverted, self-conscious and indecisive man who needed the help of a twenty-something female to make one simple purchase.
I have seen this story play out with the gender roles reversed many times throughout my career in the corporate world. Today, the culture of many companies are built and sustained by men, for men. Traditional male characteristics are still encouraged, rewarded and expected from female professionals, especially if they expect to reach the executive suite. Being the only woman in the room is still an everyday reality for so many women in business; most men do not understand how corrosive this situation can be to a person's confidence.
I have often heard men say that they believe gender inequality is not an issue in their firm. They hire women and now even have some women on their teams. Well, on those terms this man should not have experienced any issue either. There is no sign at the door of Victoria's Secret barring men from entry. Men are allowed to freely enter and buy whatever they choose. No woman in there would tell them to leave or suggest that to get to the front of the queue they must behave in a certain way. So, what was the problem? Why did this man appear so uncomfortable? Why did he suddenly lack the confidence he seemed to have in the outside world?
It's all in the numbers. If that store catered towards the needs of men, or if there were simply more men in the store (either equivalent to or greater than the number of women), then it is likely that man would have felt a greater sense of belonging.
Just because women are allowed into the workplace now, does not mean their experiences are equivalent to those of their male peers. Women, as the minority, simply do not have the same sense of freedom to be their true authentic selves in many corporate environments, even today.
Just like that Victoria's Secret shop assistant guiding the lone man through an ostensibly unwelcoming environment, so, too, do women benefit from the guidance of sponsors, helping them navigate the male dominated corporate world.
Before a man talks about gender parity, perhaps he first needs to take a trip to a lingerie store and experience what it is like to be the only one in the room. Maybe if more men had experiences like this, they may begin to understand what it is to feel so out of place. Maybe they would join us in creating greater gender equality in the workplace.