What’s to Love About Phoenix?
Gays Hating on Phoenix
I’ve been hating on Phoenix ever since my partner brought me back here kicking and screaming the whole way from my fairytale life living in San Francisco. (No pun intended) Growing up gay in Phoenix left me with a hometown hatred that I just can’t seem to shake. Many of my early experiences in coming out led me to believe Phoenix would never be accepting enough for my tastes. I longed for the metropolitan streets of San Francisco or even those of West Hollywood or maybe even San Diego.
After moving back to the Valley the differences in the populations were stark. Imagine going from living in The Castro for four years to a living in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, Arizona. Mesa is known for its large Mormon population and not a single gay bar.
It felt like everyone was white and drove a Chevy pickup truck playing country music. This included my own family. “I don’t recall my brother ever having a gun rack in his truck.”, I thought to myself. I even noticed a slight Arizona accent from both my father and brother. “OMG, my family’s a bunch of hicks!”, I realized. But they’re MY hicks, and I still love them.
Escape from Phoenix
Now 18 years on, I’ve come to believe I will never be free from this heat island called Phoenix. So I must instead learn to love the city of my birth. That’s why I’ve come up with the following things that I love about Phoenix. Help me fool myself by reading along.
What’s to Love About Phoenix?
- 63,221 other gays here – The gay population of Phoenix is estimated to be 63,222. That’s almost enough sisters to fill up both Chase Field and US Airways Airways Center (formerly BankOne Ballpark and America West Arena). That makes Phoenix the 5th gayest city in the nation!
- It’s easy to look good – Phoenix has one of the lowest fitness rates in the nation according to Men’s Fitness Magazine. Phoenix ties with El Paso as having the highest percentage of overweight people at 41.1%.
- Desert in bloom – I love how the desert wildflowers and palo verde trees bloom into a sunny yellow each Spring. The Sonoran Desert is quite beautiful, especially on the outskirts of the city.
- Desert thunderstorms – I didn’t even know San Francisco lacks thunderstorms, when I came home it was a welcome surprise. I love the smell and the sounds of the storms, the crackle of thunder and sudden down-pourings, until they knock out your power and its too hot and humid to sleep at night.
- The dry heat – My whole life I’ve been hearing, “But its a dry heat”, referring to Phoenix low humidity. I never really thought too much about it until Chicago. On a summertime visit to IML in Chicago, I suddenly realized what all o those people meant about the dry heat. Chicago was anything but dry. I was drenched the entire time. Talk about sweat hog, that was me.
- The Phoenix vs Scottsdale rivalry – There’s a definite rivalry between Phoenix and Scottsdale. It feels something like Ugly Betty vs. Paris Hilton, with Phoenix obviously being Betty and Paris representing Snottsdale. We Phoenicians know we can beat the attitude and plastic of Scottsdale, we just need a little time for the makeover. This is probably the closest feeling I’ll ever have to rooting for a team. I’m not a big sports fan, but this is what I imagine that feeling as being.
- Phoenix is cheap and there’s jobs here – In San Francisco the average rent is $2,608 according to Walk Score. That’s three and a half times more than a similar apartment in Phoenix. Take a price survey at Safeway on Market Street and Safeway on Osborn and you’ll find quite a markup in San Francisco.
- Phoenix has matured – We’ve finally got light rail, a ball park, a freeway system, a football team and even a hockey team in the middle of the desert.
- Low crime – Compared with other cities, Phoenix crime rate seems pretty low. I’m sure we can contribute this to our wonderful Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s and his tough stance on crime. Crimes such as faking a birth certificate to become President. That’s right, thanks to our crazy Sheriff Joe, the State of Arizona has sent a team of investigators to Hawaii to get to the bottom of the birther controversy. I’m surprised our spunky Governor, Jan Brewer didn’t tag along on the trip.
OK, who am I really kidding here? After thinking about the sheriff and governor, I just can’t do this. This town sucks. As for the 63,221 other gays living in Phoenix, I’m sure they’d get out too if they could.
What good is it to look better than our overweight citizens if you’re stuck at home half of the year hiding from the heat? As for our beautiful desert blooming, I’m sure there are plenty more flowers anywhere else in the country. Desert thunderstorms? Yeah, there goes your “dry heat”. Scottsdale / Phoenix rivalry… uh, who cares?
Cost of living? A couple proverbs come to mind: “Location, Location, Location” and “You get what you pay for.”
I really want to love Phoenix, just like I really want to believe in an afterlife. Wanting it isn’t going to change the facts. Besides, I’ve already tasted the good life. I’ve seen how a city like San Francisco can be and Phoenix can never hope to come close.
Can you help change my mind about this? Let me know what you think.