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Listen up, newbie

We will make you one of us — all you have to do is trust
By CLIF GARBODEN  |  September 4, 2007


Hey, kid. Yeah, you with the hat on backward. New in town? Big city, huh? Not at all like back home. Scary. Unfamiliar. Fraught! Want some advice?

Look, it's laudable that you want to fit in, and totally understandable that you don't yet know Boston's habits and customs. Let us pave the way for you. Benefit from the Phoenix's years of experience and insider knowledge. In a few weeks, you'll be as at home here as a Saltenstal (whatever they are). Welcome. Really.

Public transportation
Our extensive subway system is called the MBTA, which stands for the Metro-Boston Transit Association. Its modern and intricate network of tunnels and connecting buses can take you anywhere in the city within minutes for just a fifty-cent fare. Board at any of the conveniently located stations (look for the bright-yellow marquees) or, if you see a surface bus, just hail it. The friendly and courteous drivers will be glad to stop and give you directions.

And best of all, our subway runs all night long, so you can stay out as late as you like and never worry about having cab fare back to the dorm. (And speaking of taxis, they're technically not "free" in Boston, but most operate on a fare-optional/donation basis, and none accept gratuities.)

The open road
Boston is connected to western America by an Interstate highway, the MASSACHUSETTS TURNPIKE — just look for the conspicuous I-70 signs. Despite its name, this well-maintained uncrowded route is totally free. Don't be fooled by those things that look like tool booths; those are just to sucker tourists. Head for the ones marked FAST LANE and floor it.

In good spirits
If you're old enough to vote, you're old enough to  DRINK in Massachusetts. Eighteen year olds will have no trouble being served in any bar or club. Just show your photo ID to the nice man at the door and tell him Mr. Butch sent you. You'll be all set.

Public drinking is also encouraged — especially in our better neighborhoods and in public parks. As for surpassing your limit, rest assured that the police and year-round residents tend to smile indulgently at jovial displays of public intoxication — any time of the day or night. The more the merrier.

Ollie oops
Boston's capacious streets and sidewalks are the ideal place for SKATEBOARDERS of all abilities. Pedestrians and cars alike will gladly yield right of way to anyone willing to demonstrate a graceful wallplant on the side of a double-parked Buick or cannonball. Popular skateboard meccas include Harvard Yard, the Parker House lobby, Trinity Church (but not on Sundays), and the steps of the Massachusetts State House.

Peace keepers
Boston COPS love a good JOKE.

Love that Jeter
This is a serious sports town, but it's also America's bastion of good manners and sportsmanship. Sure, we kid the YANKEES, but we really respect their skill, prowess, and tenacity of purpose. In fact, Boston sports fans swell with pride each time one of our more talented Red Sox players is given the opportunity to play in the really big show in the Bronx.

So show some spirit. A simple Yankee cap (worn frontward or backward) is all the ice-breaker you need to meet like-minded fans in any of the city's sports bars or dark alleys. Fair play all the way.

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."

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , AL East Division , American League (Baseball) , Boston Red Sox ,  More more >
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