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!"

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

< prev  1  |  2  | 
Related: Boston music news: March 28, 2008, You could look it up, The Boston Red Sox, More more >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Baseball, Sports, AL East Division,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
    Sometimes you want to give PBS a big grateful kiss just for staying the course while most of TV, losing ground to the interweb age, hovers between cultural hemorrhage and commercial death.
  •   REVIEW: GOD IN AMERICA  |  October 10, 2010
    For all our bragging about separating church and state, throughout our nation's history, religion has never been on the sidelines. If
    You students are back. We locals, many of the best of whom began our lives here as scholar-transplants from that Other America ourselves, know this without consulting a calendar.
  •   REVIEW: THE WORLD THAT NEVER WAS  |  August 17, 2010
    Some marketing wizard gave Oxford-based historian Alex Butterworth's exhaustive history of the international anarchist movement a fun title it doesn't deserve.
  •   FASHIONABLY GREAT  |  August 10, 2010
    New-York-born-and-based photographer Richard Avedon (1923–2004), who's rightly credited with revolutionizing fashion photography, was more than a couturier-mag genius.

 See all articles by: CLIF GARBODEN