I always find it humorous when people assume certain things about you because of where you live. We all do it to some point I think, and sometimes there is some truth in the myths, depending on the person.
I remember when I first went to Alabama to visit my in-laws, I went into the local Piggly-Wiggly (yes, there are actually stores called that in the south). My mother-in-law was talking to the woman who was checking us out who she knew and mentioned that her son and daughter-in-law were here visiting from California. The woman immediately asked me if I knew any movie stars. I had to explain that we were from the San Francisco area not Hollywood. Not to mention the fact that even if we were from Hollywood, that didn’t mean we knew movie stars! 🙂
But I think lot of people from other states or countries think of California and all they think of is Hollywood or the Los Angeles area. California is HUGE and covers a very wide range of types of cities and areas.
Yes there is Southern California with Hollywood, surfers, Rodeo Drive, Malibu, etc. Then there’s the Central Valley which is a huge farming area basically filled with nothing but agriculture. Then there’s Silicon Valley, home to the headquarters of tons of internet companies, brilliant minds and rich dot com-ers. Then we have the San Francisco Bay Area which is totally eclectic and artsy, down-to-earth, and different than anywhere else I’ve ever been. Then there’s the whole Napa Valley wine country area, totally gorgeous and picturesque, and filled with great places to eat (oh yeah and drink wine). Then we have the upper Northern California areas of Mendocino and Eureka and beyond, which includes a lot of gorgeous coastal scenery as well a lot of hippie anti-establishment types (yep I’m generalizing, and I can do that because I’m from a family of hippies 😉 ).
Obviously there are tons and tons of other places in-between all these places, but these are just the ones I know more about.
As mentioned before, a lot of these myths are aimed at Southern Californians, because that’s what most people think of, but here we go anyway!
Myth: Everyone in California knows how to surf
The myth that we all surf is definitely a Southern California thing because the water up here in Northern California is TOO DAMN COLD! Well ok, you could wear a wetsuit and plenty of people do in the Santa Cruz/Half Moon Bay areas.
I have never surfed anywhere in my life, and do not know a single person that does. That includes people in my family who live by the ocean or who were scuba divers. It’s just not something any of us ever did.
Myth: We all hang out in bathing suits
This is preposterous but I have heard this. I remember when I was around 13 or 14 I would buy Circus Magazine, which was a magazine for heavy metal music. They always had pen pal ads in the back so me and my friend would write to people and become pen pals. I remember getting a letter from one person who asked if I was hanging out in my bikini by the pool all day. I had to laugh because where I grew up in the Berkeley Hills it was foggy about 75% of the time and freezing. Pools were very rare and no one had air conditioning.
Pretty much the only time I ever wear a bathing suit now is when I travel to OTHER places for vacation!
Myth: We have all been to Hollywood
Fact: I have never officially been to the city of Los Angeles or the Hollywood area! I have been to Disneyland, Magic Mountain, San Diego and other places in Southern California, but I’ve never seen the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive or Beverly Hills.
This weekend I will be in Santa Monica though, so maybe I can see a little more of this area!
Myth: We are all wine snobs
I don’t know a good Pinot Grigio from a bottle of Night Train. I know absolutely NOTHING about wine and actually don’t like it at all. I love wine country, but I do not like wine. Give me a good Gin & Tonic any day. 😉
Myth: Californians LOVE their sushi
This couldn’t be further from the truth for me because I do not eat any seafood at all. My whole family does love sushi and almost everyone else I know does too, but not me! I have tried eating vegetarian sushi, but I cannot stand the taste of seaweed. Too ocean-esque for me.
Myth: We all practice Yoga and are health nuts
Um no. I’ll admit, I did just buy two Yoga DVD’s because I am having some IT band issues and trying to stretch them out, but so far I hate it. Actually to be fair I did one video for about 10 minutes and gave up. I just don’t feel like Yoga actually does anything. I am more of a fast-paced workout type of person because I don’t have much patience to get the yoga moves correct.
As far as health nuts I cannot think of a single person I know who fits this description. Most of the people I know are healthy to a certain degree or don’t really try at all. That includes me. I am TRYING to be better now, but I’m as far from a heath nut as you can get.
Myth: We like our pizza with healthy toppings like chicken and broccoli
This just might be the most offense one to me! I take my pizza seriously! I do like the chain California Pizza Kitchen, and they do make some “weird California” type of pizzas. Have I ever ordered them? No way. When it comes to pizza I am actually a Chicago style, or Blondie’s Pizza/Fat Slice Pizza type of gal. I like my pizza non-healthy and loaded with cheese and delicious meats. I refuse to eat chicken on pizza, something about it completely disgusts me and I am not a fan of most vegetables on it other than mushrooms, bell peppers and artichoke hearts.
Myth: It’s always sunny and warm
Again this probably applies to Southern CA because in Northern CA it’s more like “It’s always freezing and foggy”. Ok not always, I exaggerate. However I would venture to say we have a lot more days here under 65 degrees than over. It’s regional of course also. Where I live (across the bay from San Francisco in the East Bay) it’s much warmer and less foggy than the San Francisco/Peninsula areas.
Myth: Californians are always tan
I know this photo above is from a movie that takes place in Florida, but you get the idea. Tan, orange, rubbery, wrinkled skin isn’t attractive.
When I was in my teens I did “lay out” and try to get tan. What I wound up with 100% of the time was a bad sunburn because I have fair skin. Thankfully I stopped that practice around age 18 and started wearing SPF every day around age 19 or 20. I have never been to a tanning salon and think they should be completely banned.
I have used sunless tanning lotions and sprays in the past and came out with light, natural looking results but the reality is… I AM LAZY. I have no desire to try and maintain some ridiculous tan, and don’t mind my fair skin. I think the majority of people look better with their natural skin anyways, otherwise you run the risk of looking like beef jerky. I know a whole bunch of people my age who look their age or much older than I do, and I attribute a lot of that to their not wearing sunscreen.
When I see a major tan on someone, I don’t think “wow isn’t she healthy and fit”, but rather “wow she is going to be seriously wrinkled by the time she’s 40, and I sure hope she doesn’t get Melanoma.”
But really folks, tanning with lotions or sprays is one thing (just don’t overdo it) but any other way is just plain dumb in this day and age. Skin cancer is one of the only cancers you can actually prevent, so why tempt fate?
Ok getting off my soap box now – but all of that to say, I don’t know anyone I would classify as tan here in California.
What are some myths about where you live that you would like to shoot down?