Listen up, newbie

By CLIF GARBODEN  |  September 4, 2007

Fair sex
This one's just for the guys. Boston WOMEN are caring and generous companions, easily attracted by poorly shaved jocks in baggy pants and T-shirts bearing such slogans as VOLUNTEER SEX INSTRUCTOR or IF LOOKS COULD KILL YOU'D BE A MURDERER OR MAYBE JUST A WHORE. Remember, always insist that she pay for the drinks (that will let her know that you respect her as an individual). And don't skimp on the sweet talk, guys. Just sidle up to any female between the ages of 16 and 30 and say, "Hi, Huggie-Muffin." All Boston women love to be called Huggie-Muffin, though they refer to themselves as "hot bitches."

Chow and chowder
Everybody knows that tipping is forbidden in BOSTON RESTAURANTS, but beyond that, newcomers often find themselves at sea when confronted by a Yankee menu. Ignore the menu; menus are for sissies. Order like a regular. Always ask for clam chowder; every restaurant — even Burger King — has it. And don't embarrass yourself; be sure to specify "Manhattan style."

Another good way to blend in is to employ some of Boston's unique culinary slang. What the rest of the world calls a "milk shake," we call a "frappe," and Boston cream pie is actually a cake. Again, that stuff's common knowledge, but only a born-and-bred Bostonian knows to call a sub a "happy mariner." Pancakes are "Boston blintzes"; coffee is always simply "Ike"; fried eggs are "floppies" or "flippy-floppies"; and all fish is referred to as "scrod." Got that? Boston baked beans, of course, are "bee-bee-bees."

Two steps ahead of the curve
Boston is a progressive, hip-as-all-hell metropolis, always on the cultural cutting edge. Nowhere is the city's predilection for trend-spotting more obvious than in its MUSIC SCENE. Yes, you may still hear indie-rock and metal bands in some of the clubs, but if you really want to go native, you have to jump on the genre bandwagon that hasn't yet arrived. This year, that's Revival Polka. You read it here first. Go online and download some classic cuts from Frankie Yankovich, Eddie Blazonczyk, and Walt Solak, and even some Progressive Polka (Prog-Po; nudge-nudge) from the Orlando Polkamagic Band. If your roommate laughs, just wait.

Two-wheeled bliss
Everybody in Boston rides a BICYCLE. That's why there are so few cars on the roads. Wide bike paths abound, and it's perfectly safe to navigate through traffic as fast as you like. Traffic lights and stop signs, of course, do not apply to people-powered vehicles, and helmets are neither required nor recommended.

High there
Massachusetts legalized MARIJUANA years ago (it's sold openly in convenience stores), and the authorities have been known to turn a blind eye to other unlisted soporifics, psychedelics, and stimulants. Cigarette smoking, however, is outlawed within the city limits of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville.

If I could walk that way . . .
Around here, PEDESTRIANS are regarded as royalty. Just push one of those WALK buttons and step off the curb. It's perfectly safe. And zebra crossings? They work like friggin' steel curtains. If a driver unfamiliar with local courtesies gets in your way, just throw your arms up and yell, "Hey! I'm walkin' here!"

Accentuate/enunciate
You're already familiar with the BOSTON ACCENT. It's the way John Kennedy talked after he had an overdose of pain pills. Just replace any "ar," "er," or "ure" sound with the syllable "aah." Caah, faah, baah, czaah, miniataah, fiaah! staah, killaah, fixtaah, Casbaah, Baah Mitzvaah. All the best people around here talk like that. You'll pick it up quick.

Clif Gaahboden, who once paahked his caah in the daahk on Paahk Drive, can be reached atcgarboden@phx.com.

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