by Borderstan.com June 14, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

"Valencia"

Quency Valencia at Bang Salon U Street. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Quency Valencia is an outspoken young man. He still remembers when he was getting paid $8 for a haircut and the problems he had speaking English. Those days are far from forgotten but he has since become a well-known hair stylist at Bang Salon U Street, where he’s been working for the last three years.

His clients have become his friends, from the local neighborhood customers to those that come from The White House for his services.

This Sunday, Valencia will be in Las Vegas providing his professional hair styling expertise and his specialized makeup services to the current Miss DC, Allyn Rose as she competes in the 62nd Miss USA Pageant.

“In my profession,” Valencia said. “You see and deal with many important people, much more in a city like DC. I have learned to be even more discreet than what I was.”

The Long Road to Becoming A Stylist

Like many in the city, Valencia is not from DC . He has lived here for 10 years and he’s been a stylist for over 13 years, but he hails from San Cristobal, a border town in Venezuela. He began working in San Cristobal, then lived in Punto Fijo, Venezuela. Next Valencia worked in Aruba training make up artists and hair stylists. With a will to grow and the drive to look for better opportunities, Valencia ended up in Virginia, where his brother and sister live.

Valencia began working as a barber at a salon on Glebe Road trying to perfect his skills – at the time he did not regularly cut men’s hair. Valencia used that time and work as an opportunity to learn and after four years there, he found a job at VLS Hair Design on Connecticut Avenue. He eventually moved on to Bang Salon where he currently works and is recognized as a professional hair stylist.

“At Bang Salon, we are always updating ourselves with styles and fashions a season ahead,” Valencia said.

"Valencia"

Quency Valencia and Allyn Rose. (Courtesy Quency Valencia)

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by Borderstan.com June 13, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

From Willis Shawver. Follow him on Twitter at @WShawver or email him at Willis[AT]borderstan.com.

Did you get your mother one of those Edible Arrangements on Mother’s Day as I suggested? Did you at least call her? Good. Don’t get too comfortable though. Father’s Day is Sunday and you’re on the hook to do something nice for your other parental unit.

album_covers-w597-h556_2

My father gave me his music, literally, in the form of vinyl. (Willis Shawyer)

Finding the right Father’s Day gift for dad can be difficult. There’s always brunch. Perhaps a round of golf at your local country club? How about an old bottle of scotch? All dads drink scotch, right? Just don’t get him a tie. He has enough ties.

Whether or not you decide to give your dad a gift on Father’s Day, at least take a moment to thank him. If you were fortunate like me, you had a father who was a positive influence on your life. Someone who taught you right from wrong. Someone who left their mark on your life.

My father gave me his music, literally. In the form of over a hundred vinyl records. During my childhood, I would paw through the stacks of his records and sample every genre of music. From Sly and the Family Stone to Elton John.

I’ll never forget the opening guitar riffs of Santana’s “Black Magic Woman,” or the blazing horns that kicked off the Chicago Transit Authority album. As a kid, I was blown away by the amount of sound The Who produced with songs such as “Baba O’riley.”

My dad wasn’t a hippie but there were some great folk albums from America and Peter, Paul and Mary that I loved. I can also thank my father for turning me on to George Harrison and his first amazing solo album, All Things Must Pass.

There were more than just the classic rock albums. There was the Ghostbusters soundtrack that I would rock out to in my room for hours at a time. Ray Parker Jr. anyone? If you weren’t jumping around on your bed dancin’ to the Ghostbusters theme you weren’t livin’!

And of course there was the Beatles. If you’re a fan of the Beatles you probably remember the first time you discovered their music. I was hooked when found the Red and Blue albums in my father’s record collection. You get to experience the early hits like “Love Me Do” and “Please Please Me“, and then quickly move into classics like “Here Comes the Sun” and Strawberry Fields Forever.”

It’s nice to be able to relive those memories from my childhood whenever I want. All I have to do is pick a record, fire up the record player and listen.

My father game me his music. Whatever it was for you, thank your pops for it. Happy Father’s Day, dad.

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by Borderstan.com June 12, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

From Farrah Joon. Check out her blog, sexandfessenjoon. Email her at farrah[AT]borderstan.com, follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Joon.

"American"

My protective dad. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Despite living across the country from my family, I’m actually pretty lucky. I’m not as disconnected as I thought I would be. I talk to my parents regularly (without a choice, really) and, as I’ve gotten older, our conversations have transformed.

Now — instead of only lectures — my dad likes to debate and, apparently, I’ve become someone worthy of his intellect.

My dad and I have great debates because we think so differently. I listen to his advice now, but for most of my life I’ve done what I want. And, therefore, we have a different belief system.

Our most frequent debates center around my life decisions or my opinions regarding Islam and Iran.

My dad rarely talks about Iran, if ever. His childhood stories come in random spurts and when they do it’s like a glimpse into this side of him that my family and I barely recognize.

Don’t even get me started on his reaction when we discuss Islam. He just gets a scowl on his face and says, “This is a ridiculous conversation topic, Islam is ridiculous — I don’t vant to talk about it.”

I’m the opposite — I obsess about Iran. I stare at pictures all day, I talk about going back all the time, much to my dad’s dismay. And when it comes to Islam, I emphasize my opinion that people have the right to choose their beliefs.

I thought my dad’s “disdain” toward Iran was because I had chosen to focus on it so much in both my identity and in my professional goals. I thought his aversion to all things Iran really had a double meaning — and that secretly, he just didn’t support my desire to pursue any field affiliated with Iran because I would never become a doctor, lawyer or engineer.

I thought my dad was being negative and not supportive, but it didn’t take me long to realize that he thought he was protecting me.

Our (my) parents came here to live the “American Dream” — they came here for more opportunities and to provide their children with those same opportunities that weren’t offered to them when they were our age. I feel like, when I talk about wanting to go to Iran or visit new places like Egypt, my dad feels like I am keeping myself from achieving the American Dream: The promised American life without conflict or danger.

And frankly, my dad carries a lot of bitterness toward Islam, it’s what many of our parents blame for what Iran has turned into. While I think the blame should be more targeted, I get it. There’s an underlying sense of resentment.

My dad came here for equal opportunity — the ability to become successful and have access to freedom. Sometimes I think that maybe my ambitions threaten his sense of security. Like I’m about to screw myself of all the opportunities that he worked so hard to obtain for me.

Or maybe I’m just over analyzing my control freak of a dad.

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by Borderstan.com June 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

southern

Since I can’t go back to Charleston anytime soon, I’m bringing Charleston to me. (Rachel Nania)

Despite a tropical storm aiming straight for the southern part of the East Coast this weekend, I braved my way down I-95 and took a road trip to Charleston, S.C.

Yes, ma’am — I had plans for sun, paired with Southern cuisine and a side of Seersucker.

Boy, was I disappointed.

What I always remembered as a traditional, southern little city did not live up to my “leave your pinkie out while you sip your tea” and “remember to tie your bow” expectations.

In fact, it was quite the opposite. Charleston has transformed into the capital of cool.

Sure, the Seersucker, manners and bows are still around — and will always be preserved — but on top of all that is a top-notch local food movement, a booming boutique business, a cocktail scene like no other, skateboarders, and, oh yeah, beaches.

The whole trip home I was wanting to turn around and just head right back to Charleston. But since I can’t get back there for a few more months, I’m going to do my best to find a bit of Charleston in DC.

That’s right, I am on a mission to get southern in Borderstan.

Bourbon: One thing they take very seriously in Charleston is bourbon. And thankfully, so does Bourbon on 18th Street. Not only does this place have lots of — well, bourbon — it also serves bowls of tots, fish and chips and grilled BBQ salmon. 14th Street’s Back Whiskey also has you covered in terms of beverage selections and locally sourced small plates.

Locally-Sourced Southern Food: Shrimp and grits, crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, hush puppies — I could keep going. But I’ll stop. Thankfully, there are several places in the area that serve up some great southern food. Next time you have a hankering, try the cornmeal fried oysters and Spoonbread at The Pig.

Still hungry? Eatonville has Hushpuppies, po boys and catfish and grits. And we absolutely can’t leave off Oohs and Aahs on U Street. The fried chicken will make you say more than “ooh.”

Chic Boutiques and Local Businesses: Finding chic designs isn’t too difficult in Charleston — and it’s pretty easy to find the same in Borderstan. Classy outfits? Check out Ginger Root Design. Something a little more edgy? Redeem. Home decor? Good Wood.

Greenery and Gardens: One of my favorite parts of Charleston is the courtyard gardens, visible from the streets in downtown Charleston. While the gardens in DC. are not as popular as the ones in Charleston, you can catch some great greenery up and down the side residential streets in Dupont Circle or at Meridian Hill Park.

Surfers: Sorry. Charleston still wins on this one.

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by Borderstan.com June 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

"Bike"

DC BikeParty Undercover. (Courtesy DC BikeParty)

Ready for your monthly DC Bike party? This time the theme is “Undercover“, a celebration of all things clandestine. What can be more appropriate for a city like DC and its endless tales of spies.

The playlist that will accompany the ride includes Booker T. & The MG’s, Reverend Horton Heat, Johnny Cash and tunes of the like. Participants are encouraged to embrace the spirit of The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” video and Spy vs. Spy when dressing for the event — think black and white, sunglasses at night and fedoras.

The ride will depart from Dupont Circle for a 10-mile route visiting major landmarks and will end up with a celebration at Hawk n’ Dove on Capitol Hill. With plenty of happy hour specials for the DC Bike Party participants.

The Details

  • What: DC Bike Party: “Undercover.”
  • Where: Departs from the middle of Dupont Circle.
  • When: Wednesday, June 12.
  • Time: Meet at 7:30 pm and depart promptly at 8 pm.

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by Borderstan.com June 10, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Rachel Jones. Email her at rjones[AT]borderstan.com. She is  she is the owner of K-9 Divine and a professional dog trainer. 

Woody_r_jones-w597-h556

Does your dog hide when the fireworks begin? (Rachel Jones)

Many adult dogs have phobias about loud noises, such as thunder and fireworks. This is mainly the result of not being exposed to the noises during their critical period of learning, two to 14 weeks of age. If your dog already has a noise phobia, or you would like to prevent him from developing the phobia, there are steps you can take — and 4th of July celebrations are less than a month away.

Exposure to Stimuli

Puppies need to be exposed to stimuli as soon as possible. When puppies (and humans) are born, their brains are not fully developed. As a puppy’s brain develops and connections are being formed, she must experience a variety of sights, smells and sounds in order for the maximum number of connections to form.

If a puppy never hears a firecracker or similar noise when she is young, she will not develop a connection in her brain that will enable her to process the sound when she hears it as an adult. This can lead to adverse reactions such as urinating, vomiting, intense fear or aggression.

Introducing a Dog to a Loud Sound

The proper way to introduce or desensitize a dog to a loud sound is gradually.

  1. Do not force the dog into a “scary” encounter with the noise or stimulus. If done properly, your dog should never feel agitated or frightened during the training.
  2. Start with a very quiet version of the sound. You can actually buy sound files of thunder, fireworks and gunshots.
  3. Make sure your dog is having a good time while listening to the sound by feeding him treats, playing with a favorite toy or giving him a belly rub.
  4. Gradually increase the volume (or your proximity to the sound); always being sure that your dog is relaxed.
  5. If your dog shows any signs of nervousness (ears back, wide eyes, panting, licking the lips, tail tucked between the legs) lower the volume or end the session.
  6. One moment of panic can derail all of your work, so be sure to proceed very slowly and only increase the volume if your dog appears to be relaxed.

Many dogs escape from their homes and go missing during thunderstorms or fireworks. Take the necessary steps to ensure that your dog is safe and happy during summer storms and festivities.

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by Borderstan.com June 7, 2013 at 11:30 am 10 Comments

"Vintage"

Vintage Stores are not Thrift Shops. (Dafna Steinberg)

From Dafna Steinberg. Follow her @AlizaySteinberg. Email her at dafna[AT]borderstan.com.

As many of you may (or may not) know, I buy and sell vintage clothes. After selling in markets and online, I finally found a permanent home at Blue’s Hard Goods on 14th Street. In addition to BHG, there are a number of other great stores. In fact, we have a Vintage District!

However, it’s becoming apparent that, as the neighborhood changes, people don’t really seem to understand how vintage stores work. They come into the shops and ask questions that I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t ask in any new clothing store.  And it’s starting to become a little insulting.

Here is a list of questions that I have been asked and an explanation as to why one shouldn’t ask these questions when shopping at a vintage store.

“Do you have this in my size?” Unlike at a new clothing store, each item of clothing is one of a kind. Everything, more or less, comes in one size. So if you see a piece of clothing on display, trust that it is the only one in stock. Also, the thing to remember with vintage is that the sizes are much smaller than contemporary sizes. So don’t assume that just because you’re a size 8 or a size Medium that you will fit into those sizes in vintage.

For example, a size 8 from the 50’s or 60’s is probably closer to a size 2 or 4. Guys, check the sleeves on shirts. You may have to roll them up or wear them as ¾ sleeves, as they are all pretty short. Don’t get insulted…just think of it as a form of human evolution.

“Why is this so expensive?” A vintage store is just like any other boutique except the clothes are older and predominantly second hand. However, unlike a regular boutiques where the clothes are ordered directly from the company that makes them, vintage clothes are handpicked, most times by the shop owners themselves.

It takes time, effort and gas money to find all the clothes, not too mention rent, possible commission and whatever other overheads you have to pay. In my case, I have even traveled nationally and overseas to find things. While we may be paying less than the amount you see on the price tag, you should know this: You are paying for the luxury of not having to find this item yourself.  Don’t come in and try to bargain either.

This isn’t a flea market. You wouldn’t walk into Macy’s, pick an item off a rack and say to the cashier “$55? How about I just give you $35?” would you? If your response to that is “Well, I could go find those things myself…”, then by all means GO! Use your own time and money to drive out to various locations, pick through racks upon racks of clothes and do load after load of laundry. Therefore, you at least will still pay the lowest price possible for one, maybe two items (not including gas money, water bills and just plain personal energy).

For those of you who don’t want to go through all that, consider vintage stores a well-curated gallery of good quality, one of a kind picked items where all you have to do is try something on. Buy something special that will last you a long time. It’s already lasted this long. Trust me… it’ll be worth the price you pay for it.

“Where do you get all your stuff?” I cannot even begin to tell you how many people ask me this. If you are a random customer, you’re gonna get the answer I give everyone: “Oh… all over.” Why? Because that would be like McDonalds revealing what actually is in the special sauce…trade secrets are trade secrets.

“I have a huge bag of old clothes in my car. Will you buy them from me?” Okay, just because vintage stores sell second hand clothes, that does not mean we will take your old GAP t-shirts. We are not (I repeat NOT) a thrift store (or Buffalo Exchange). Nor are we a consignment store. And while there are some vintage places that do sell on consignment, most need you to make an appointment first. So don’t just come in with a bag of clothes and expect the people working to drop everything and look through them.

Call first, or come in beforehand and ask if the shop takes consignments or buy clothes directly. I can promise you most won’t, but it can’t hurt to politely ask first. If you have a big vintage collection, talk to shop owners and see if you can schedule an appointment for them to come to you. That way there is no pressure on them to take things they don’t want because you don’t want to take things home with you.

When shopping in a vintage store, it is totally ok to ask questions about the clothes and the shops. For many shop owners, it is a passion for history and love for story telling that keeps them going, so they love answering questions related to each item in stock.

But when you talk to them, keep in mind that this (like many other retail stores) is how they make a living. Don’t be entitled or rude. Most sellers and shop owners work hard to bring in the best and they do it so you don’t have to!

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by Borderstan.com June 6, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

From John Shannon, who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com.

"Bike"

DC’s Capital Bikeshare program. (Luis Gomez Photos)

DC has fallen in love with Capital Bikeshare (although not everyone in DC loves bikes,  bikers or bike lanes). The system has grown in numbers of bikes, stations and users ever since its opening. It has made parts of our city more accessible and helped many Washingtonians get into better shape.

However, in New York City the story might seem different with the opening of Citi Bike, at least according some detractors. New York’s bike sharing plan might even be a totalitarian plot!

Dorothy Rabinowitz, of Wall Street Journal Editorial Board fame, has criticized New York City’s bike share infrastructure plan in a video, which can only be characterized as an indignant rant, complaining that the bikes and ostensibly the people who ride them, are mucking up the scenery for her and her friends.

Apparently, “we now look at a city whose best neighborhoods are absolutely, you know, begrimed, is the word… by these blazing blue Citibank bikes, in all the finest, most picturesque parts of the city.”

She says, “the majority of citizens are appalled by what has happened,” and, “the bike lobby is an all-powerful enterprise.”

How all-powerful you may ask? Let’s ‘hit the streets’ to find out! Here are comments that accompanied a New York magazine article.

  • Just how powerful is the bike lobby? So powerful that you’ve never heard of it.
  • WSJ thinks that the bike lobby is all-powerful, but oil companies, arms manufacturers and Goldman Sachs are just victims.
  • “The majority of citizens are appalled by what has happened.” a line often used by someone who is part of a definite minority.
  • Truly disturbing interview by Dorothy Rabinowitz. Even the WSJ interviewer inserted a reality check by mentioning that no pedestrians have been killed by NYC cyclists in the past 4 years, yet there have been nearly 600 deaths of cyclists and pedestrians by cars. Dorothy didn’t pause for a split second before starting her rant.
  • Love the curmudgeons. If Ms. Rabinowitz looked at one bike, she would see the Rules of biking right on the handlebars. Those poor taxicabs don’t stand a chance against a bike – better watch out.

As is often the case with these kind of stories, the fun is in the comment sections, but some serious and thoughtful comments were posted on NYC websites and on YouTube.

  • bikeshare is great. an urban game changer. only problem is that the smart-dock technology is outdated: http://inventropolis.com/bikeshares-technological-…
  • How come no one has noticed that the citibike app continually posts the wrong information about the bikes available at the bike stations? The number of bikes that are supposedly available is off by double or triple the number of bikes — right now E45 and 3rd is supposed to have 4 bikes and it has 13. I just passed 3 stations in Midtown East and all were way off.
  • @driverseven – Use Spotcycle app – it’s 10,000 times better. Plus it has all the OTHER cities with bike share.

In a growing city of 8.3 million people, according to an NPR piece on March 13, apparently there is only one disgruntled voice so far to complain about NYC’s new bike-share system.

Even at this early stage of New York City’s bike-share program, that statistic must surely qualify it as a resounding success.

Hats off to New York City, hats off!

Helmets “on” though, riders!

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by Borderstan.com June 5, 2013 at 11:00 am 2 Comments

"Dog"

So many dogs, so many places to go. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Sarah Griswold. Email her at sarahg[AT]borderstan.com.

Hi friends, and happy summer! With these past couple weeks of high temperatures, it finally feels like summer is upon us! With the warmer weather, we have all been getting out into the sunshine, and I’ve been seeing more and more of our furry friends out and about too.

So today I wanted to talk a little bit about the thriving pet culture we have here in DC. It seems that everywhere you look there are happy pups strolling along 17th Street NW or lounging on an outside patio over on P. It’s true, DC residents love their pets, and I want to talk about some of the best places to take your pooch along with you this summer.

First off, if you don’t have a dog but are exploring the options and breeds that would be best for you, or if you are looking for a buddy for your dog (I personally believe in the buddy system), I have researched the best “apartment dogs” for you. By “apartment dogs,” I mean what dogs do well with small spaces and don’t require a lot of maintenance. You might be surprised to learn that Great Danes top the list! They are known for being quiet, gentle and lazy giants. You will also find that Pugs, Greyhounds and English Bulldogs won’t require lots of exercise and tend to be relatively low maintenance.

Next, if you live in the District you really need to know about the nearby dog parks and what times they are open so your furry friend can socialize and also to get out of your tiny, but cute, partially remodeled with exposed brick and über chic +/- 600 square foot apartment and get some exercise.

I love the dog parks; they remind me of a big back yard from back home — something most of these dogs are not familiar with. A little piece of advice though — keep your eyes on your pup. You never know how those interactions with other dogs will go and you don’t want a full-scale dog fight on your hands.  Here are some of the dog parks in the area. For a complete list of dog parks, follow this link.

You may be wondering about some places you can take your dog for some socializing of your own. As it turns out, there are lots of places that welcome pets. Some key spots in our neighborhood are:

  • Logan Tavern, 1423 P Street NW
  • Commissary, 1443 P Street NW
  • Bar Pilar, 1833 14th Street NW
  • Hank’s Oyster Bar, 1624 Q Street NW
  • Ulah Bistro, 1214 U Street NW
  • Lauriol Plaza, 1835 18th Street NW
  • Cafe Dupont, 1500 New Hampshire Avenue NW

Check out this complete list of dog friendly spots in your local area.

Since we are all feeling the heat this summer, I encourage you to get out there and explore what options are available in your particular neighborhood so you and your pooch can get that vitamin D without getting too overheated.

Enjoy!

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by Borderstan.com June 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Cara Scharf. Email her at cara[AT]borderstan.com.

"pool"

VIDA’s U Street rooftop pool. (Courtesy of VIDA)

If the past weekend’s heat wave is any indication, this summer may be brutally hot and humid.  Luckily, for Borderstan residents who prefer backstroke to heat stroke, there are several outdoor swimming pools nearby where you can cool off, catch a tan, and work on your fitness.

Public Pools

DC residents can take advantage of free access to any pools run by the District’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Pools are now open on weekends and will open for full weekend and weekday hours on June 24. Nearby, DC DPR pools include:

  • Francis Pool (2500 N Street NW) features roped-off areas of varying depths to satisfy children, beginners, and novice swimmers.
  • Banneker Pool (2500 Georgia Avenue NW) is a crowd favorite that you may find yourself waiting in line to enter, but once you’re in you’ll enjoy separate adult and child areas and diving boards.
  • Upshur Pool (4300 Arkansas Avenue NW) is where you’ll find ample parking but no depths greater than 5 feet.
  • Happy Hollow Children’s Pool (2200 Champlain Street NW, adjacent to Marie Reed Aquatic Center) exists solely for the young ‘uns.

Be sure to call the pool if you have questions (including what kind of identification you can use if you don’t have a DC driver’s license. Beyond listing the hours and addresses of each pool, the DC DPR Aquatic Facilities website is sparse but worth visiting for more information.

For all pools, early arrival is best to ensure you can snag a lawn chair. Expect to be with children at the pool, be curteous with your eating habits and choice of swimsuit, and don’t expect to train for the Olympics or you will get frustrated.

Grown-Up Pools

For those of you who like to booze while you bathe in a more exclusive atmosphere, check out one of DC’s rooftop bar/pool combinations, such as the swanky DNV Rooftop Pool Bar (at the Donovan House Hotel, 1155 14th Street NW). You can buy memberships to the Capitol Skyline Hotel (10 I St SW) or the Penthouse Pool and Lounge (1612 U Street NW, roof of Vida Fitness). However, Capitol Skyline has Adult Pool Parties that non-members can attend by texting your name to their guest list line (information on Facebook).

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by Borderstan.com June 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

From Fox Deatry. Email him at fox[AT]borderstan.com.

"Rainbow"

DC: The Emerald City. (Fox Deatry)

DC — the Emerald City, somewhere over the rainbow. Its streets lined with gentrified row houses, its stoops a hangout for rodents as big as Toto and its lounges frequented by Glinda the Good Witch or whomever drag queen performs. Time and time again, a new Dorothy walks into its borders from distant lands (usually Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania) to start anew.

Like a Munchkin, they have rarely ventured out of their small towns prior to the move to DC. But make no mistake: they do not lack the aspirations to be as great and powerful as the Wizard of Oz. What they do lack, however, is the heart of the Tin Man. This brings me to the ultimate question: Why do gay Washingtonians in their mid-twenties prefer love bites to real love?

Let’s take a ‘fictional’ example. Stephen: Age 27, living in pheromone central Scott Circle, owns a house, is an executive at a tech-social media company and is a chicken nugget (hunky white guy). Stephen, as it seems, is the dream boyfriend, a trophy hubby. But underneath that Vida Fitness body are reasons why this stud muffin isn’t ready for love. Here are a few theories:

Bi-Curious

Stephen is gay, but he just doesn’t know it yet. To him, it’s late puberty kicking in when experimentation is a rite of passage and folks dining at Annie’s are just ‘preppy.’

I Want Candy

Why settle with one when the city provides as much eye candy as a Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. Thanks to Grindr and Scruff, ‘meeting up’ is a lot less work nowadays. DC is also a hot bed for tourists and interns during the summer. The only problem is that after a few love bites, hormones develop and things turn into a high school musical drama sans Zac Efron.

Werk!

Working long, dreadful hours are accepted — except if lovers are involved. DC ‘Homo’ Sapiens can be homey, especially since many of them have strong family relationships or aspire for one. Some get clingy and if you have a wandering eye then that can put a damper on happy hour.

But Thanksgiving is Not Until…

November should be called National Coming Out Month as Thanksgiving dinners have seen more ‘Homo’ Sapiens coming out to their families than any other holiday. This American tradition is also the time when potential boyfriends are introduced to potential in-laws. Since we are still in the middle of summer, having a serious relationship is inconceivable. For Stephen, it shouldn’t be until after September 22, the beginning of fall.

The Ex-Files

So what if you dated a jerk, a cheater or a Republican. It was ten years ago, and it’s quite unfair for the populace to suffer. Future dates shouldn’t be judged on the past. Plus, you’ve already donated to the Obama Campaign in penance.

It’s All In Your Head

You’re not exactly Lonesome George — that giant Galápagos Tortoise that recently passed. He was literally the only one of his kind. In our case, we are not meant to be alone. If you can’t wrap your head around that then maybe you need the Wizard of Oz. Or perhaps you should close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, this is home.

This column first ran July 12, 2012.

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by Borderstan.com May 31, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Dear Chelsea,

I am trying to make business attire work for me. There are so many different opinions about what acceptable professional business attire is though. What makes sense for the modern young women? I know it can depend on your industry to an extent… But some basic guidelines would be nice — specifically for us women that do not like to wear pants everyday! I am tired of being told ‘a woman’s clothes shouldn’t be memorable! I want to wear dresses and skirts that I feel like myself in. Any advice?

Dress Me for Success 

Dear Dress Me for Success,

This definitely depends on your industry, and to a great extent, the city you live or work in. Business attire can definitely vary greatly across the board, especially considering the age group you work with, too. Since I wear a nose ring and pretty much start Casual Friday on Thursdays, I completely sympathize with the desire for comfort and individuality.

However, certain wardrobe staples must populate your closet for those moments that require a degree of professionalism, and particularly if you seek to impress a client or your boss. A neutral colored pencil skirt suit with tan hose for the summer can suffice, which I personally pair with a tan pointed heel for some femininity. Flats, generally, are acceptable too so long as they are not scuffed or wildly patterned (patent leather works well). A white blouse or perhaps something with vertical stripes on top — clean and classic is what you’re going for, the point being that your attire should not distract from your ideas or work.

Once you get a sense of who you’re working with, you can see how much you can play with this basic start. Perhaps in the right context, a more exotic blouse or some playful jewelry, or various pops of color (which seems to be the trend these days, but I’m no fashion expert). You will have an idea of what you can get away with and mix into your outfits after you have established yourself better among your colleagues and clients.

That being said, don’t ever show off too much leg or cleavage. When in doubt, don’t wear it.

Same goes for you too, boys: buy a suit that fits. Go to a tailor and get fitted for a suit. There is nothing worse than a man in a suit that does not fit him. Trust me.

Anyone out there have any other advice or suggestions? DC gets a lot of flak for dressing poorly–let’s prove them wrong?

Always, Chelsea.

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only. 

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by Borderstan.com May 29, 2013 at 11:00 am 3 Comments

From Farrah Joon. Check out her blog, sexandfessenjoon. Email her at farrah[AT]borderstan.com, follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Joon.

Night out: Friends and Boys. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Night out: Friends and Boys. (Luis Gomez Photos)

All men are dogs. There are the purebreds and the street dog/mutts. Purebreds can be trained. They are keepers. Mutts are for the streets.

When I graduated high school I didn’t think about the pressure of finding a nice guy who is responsible, well suited for dad, and treats me well (aka a purebred). Back then it was all about whether they were hot or not.

In the early days of college, going out was about meeting boys and either bringing them back to our place or making out with them at the bar.

We went out solely to meet boys. Our night’s fun was dependent on how many times we gave our number out and whether we kissed anyone.

During my sophomore year of college, I lived with my four best friends under one roof and it was a mess. We went out maybe four times a week. We pre-gamed, dressed up in our sluttiest outfits (back when it was “cute” to wear lingerie tops to the club), and set up a buddy system so that one of us always had a “wing-woman.”

And shockingly, we weren’t the only group of girls (or guys) who did this. At the end of the night, we would grab drunchies (at your local Jack in the Box) and retell our shenanigans.

Regardless our night’s success was based on d*ck at a time where we were still too scared to actually do anything with the d*ck.

But we were uninhibited — and we had just joined a world where these activities were perpetuated through a series of experiences… mistakes… and downright fun — we were young, sleazy and free.

I had a year of fun, excitement, and stupid, harmless mistakes — then one day, going out wasn’t just so I could meet boys… going out became something where I could go, drink, and have fun with my friends.

Our success was not reliant on whether we made out with anyone or gave our phone numbers — our successes were based on finding good bars, laughing, and no one getting sick at the end of the night.

There’s a very real difference between going out to just meet boys and going out to just have fun.

My “bar outfits” are no longer put together to attract guys — they’re put together for me. Whether I choose to wear a sexy top or just a plain white tank top — whatever is more comfortable for me.

The best ending — to a night is not finding the hottest guy and taking him home to my bed, it’s when I end the night stuffing my face with a burger and laughing about some random drunken nonsense with my best friend.

There’s nothing wrong with going out to meet guys and having fun that way — but there is something very wrong with not valuing how much fun you can have without meeting a guy.

It’s the fun nights spent with our closest friends that we will remember — not the names of all the guys we kissed. (Take my word for it).

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by Borderstan.com May 29, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

From Scott Thompson. Follow Scott on Twitter @foureyedblond or email him at thompson[AT]@borderstan.com.

"Spell check"

Spell check. (Luis Gomez Photos)

If Johannes Gutenberg were alive today, he would slap me in the face.

Five centuries ago, Herr Gutenberg meticulously lined up individual Latin letters on a metal press to create the first-ever printed Bible. The revolutionary final version contained 1,280 pages of text, colors, calligraphy — and no misspellings.

In 2012, it sometimes takes me two attempts to type and spell my own last name correctly.

I like to tell myself that this worsening problem is in no way related to my IQ. I used to be a fairly decent speller, and given the schadenfreude I feel upon discovering typos made by The New York Times or Perez Hilton, I certainly retain at least some command of the English language. Rather, I believe that I can no longer spell correctly because I no longer have to spell correctly. Modern technology does it for me.

My relationship with Microsoft Word exemplifies this situation. In 7th Grade, when my father brought home a table-sized Acer computer, I typed and spelled with joyful precision, out of respect for the old days when I had to write book reports carefully by hand. Today, I use Microsoft Word the same way the British and the Germans used the Enigma machine. Thoughts leave my head and land on the page in a garbled, red-accented collection of letters — decipherable only to me. Most often, it takes Spell Check longer to finish its run that it took me to type the paragraph.

Phone communication is no better. On my previous flip phone, texting was an arthritic endeavor. The tactile button-pressing required a modicum of mental focus and helped prevent a large swath of mistakes. On my new iPhone, the motion is so easy, so swift, and so autocorrected that I have to follow up each text with at least one or two *(asterisk texts) to explain myself.

Even Words With Friends — an electronic game solely designed to encourage proper, creative spelling — is now an orthographic wasteland. Rather than thinking critically about the set of seven letters before me, I often simply throw out a group of consonants and vowels, convinced that they will form some unknown, Scrabble-approved word from ancient Aramaic.  Or I spell a word like “at.”

It’s wrong to blame frenetic 21st century life for this problem. The question is not “Am I really that busy?”, but rather “Am I really that lazy?” Imagine if Thomas Jefferson had argued for man’s “unalienable tights,” or if the Duke of Wellington wrote a letter instructing his generals to “evade” Waterloo rather than “invade.”  One certainly could forgive these slight errors, given other life-threatening priorities at the time — not to mention the lack of impermanent ink.

But they didn’t make such errors. On the contrary, they did what our generation and every generation before us used to have to do in school spelling bees, pen pal exchanges, and testing blue books. They focused, took their time, utilized their minds and spelled (or at least did their best to spell) correctly – with no software system doing the thinking for them.

Today, if Herr Gutenberg asked me in person whether the word “misspelling” had one “s” or two, I would politely shake his hand, hand him the fire iron, and say, “Honestly, Sir — I can’t remember.”

“Let me Google it.”

This column first ran August 7, 2012.

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by Borderstan.com May 24, 2013 at 10:00 am 2 Comments

From Dafna Steinberg and Josh Siegel. Follow Dafna @AlizaySteinberg; email her at dafna[AT]borderstan.com. Email Josh at josh[AT]borderstan.com.

Dafna’s Fashion Fridays is on video this week. That’s right, this Friday Dafna talks to Lori, owner of Redeem and together they tell us about what people are wearing this spring, and what’s selling and, above all, what’s in style in DC!
[vimeo width=”580″ height=”400″]http://vimeo.com/66839195[/vimeo]
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