Is Chicago a rude city?


  • Chicago skyline
Chicago skyline (William DeShazer/Chicago…)
January 25, 2012|RedEye

The setup: Chicago was ranked the nation's 14th-rudest city this week in a Travel + Leisure magazine poll of readers.


Sure, Chicago might be the 14th-rudest city, but let's have some perspective: We're the third-most-populous city in the country, and we didn't even crack the Top 10 in rudeness. That's because we are Midwesterners, the friendliest faction of fornicating, fun-loving fools in Western civilization. If you live here—even if you're not from Chicago—you're probably from the Midwest: Ohio (like me) or Iowa or Wisconsin or Michigan.

We drink lots of beer, root for hapless sports teams and keep hilarious and brilliant company. We live by a code, which is that if you shovel your car out of a street parking spot, you can save it with a beach chair, because that monkey is yours.

Yet we are so accustomed to being easygoing, cool guys and gals that when our universes are upset by a particularly ignorant or frustrating individual, we will not let that stand. If you take the parking place that we dug out, if you yell something disgusting at our lady friends, if you're in a Wrigleyville bar and use the N-word just because you don't see any black people around, we will eat your face.

We're only rude when you're being a moron, America. That's how we do.



Look, we've all fallen victim to crossing paths with a seriously snippy trixie or an inexplicably entitled stockbroker bro on the sidewalk or the train at least once in our Chicago residencies. But let's be clear about something: These people are minorities in this city.

Ever seen a woman drop a few bucks out of her purse? You will most definitely find several people chasing after her to return it. How about those times an elderly person gets on the bus? It might take a while, but someone will look up from his or her iPhone and offer a seat (with the exception of the No. 66-Chicago bus, where the lowest of Chicago's societal members tend to gather and torment for one seriously hellish 20-minute ride).

The thing about Chicagoans is that most of us have a larger capacity for empathy and respect for others than a lot of residents in other metropolises do. Many of us were born and raised in the Midwest, and we like to keep it old school, I guess.

So even on the coldest of days, the people in this city ultimately have warm hearts. That being said, who wants to go snuggle?


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