The Lolita Complex: how the way we talk about transgenerational relationships perpetuates hegemonic masculinity

Relationships between older men and younger women have become a romanticized norm in our society; from Hugh and Crystal Hefner to Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall, the scandalous stories of elderly, wealthy men and young women captivate us, but rarely do we understand their implications.

Historically, young women were shunted from one male guardian (her father) to another (her husband) as they were presumed too fragile and innocent to survive in the real world. Given that it was far more likely that an older man had the wealth, land, and status fathers wanted when sorting out the business of marrying off their daughters, women as young as 14 could be wed to men over three times their own age. Historic marriages were business transactions, meant to be mutually beneficial to both men involved. Women were simply capital to  be traded. While we’ve certainly progressed a great deal from this state, the way we discuss similarly situated relationships in the modern world is incredibly flawed.

The term “hegemonic masculinity” refers to the seeming omnipotence of masculine culture in the modern world; for men, masculinity is the primary determinant of their self worth, and despite our many socio-cultural advances, typically masculine traits possessed by traditionally masculine men are seen as infinitely superior to the typically “feminine” traits women go their entire lives attempting to cultivate to perfection. In many ways, a great deal of the reason young women find themselves seeking significantly older men is due to the way that hegemonic masculinity permeates our culture. Success and wealth are seen as traits that are inherently masculine. Generations of women grow up being taught that their greatest hope for a comfortable lifestyle lies in being successfully “feminine” in order to gain the attention of an already wealthy and successful male. Women are told that “marrying rich” is a legitimate aspiration, and one that ought to trump all others. Women are told that they need a man to take care of them, and that they ought to use their youth and sexuality to get a suitable man to look their way.

This seems extraordinarily harsh, and it is indeed true that loving and legitimate relationships can exist between those with a significant age gap. However, the way that we’ve come to romanticize these types of relationships is extremely problematic. This is a type of relationship that is seen as a badge of glory for the men involved and a mark of shame for the women, and we perpetuate this by the way we discuss such relationships. If and when something goes wrong, it is the female who is put at fault. We say that she was simply a “gold digger” looking to capitalize on the significant wealth and often fragile health of her “sugar daddy.” We never question the system that taught her this was her only means of self preservation, the same system that teaches girls that the only other way for them to be successful is for them to “sleep their way to the top.” We tell them that their sexuality is both something to be ashamed of and something to be utilized for personal gain, and then chastise them profusely if they fall too far on either side. And, just as in Lolita, we tell them that finding more “mature”  men and winning them over with their sexuality is the best way to ensure their comfort.

Not only is this extraordinarily demeaning, but it provides means for society to ignore a great many other issues that come along with it. Indeed, the idea of a “sugar daddy” has become so deeply intriguing to our culture that there are organizations boasting women who have paid for world travel and college education by setting them up with rich older men looking simply for “companionship.” As anyone who has ever been on Craigslist can tell you, we all know what exactly “companionship” means. Certainly, there can be cases where companionship is just that, but by endorsing such organizations and concepts, we tell women that glorified prostitution is the only way to gain power, success, stability, and prestige. We paint the men in these scenarios as “paternal” figures, merely looking out for the welfare of their charges. But the so called “paternalistic” relationships are often anything but. While the woman in question may in fact receive financial restitution and aid for education, travel, and the like, the idea that their youth and beauty are their only assets is troublesome.

The women who find themselves in famous age gap relationships are the stuff of lore in pop culture; we are simultaneously intrigued and disturbed by this phenomenon, and rarely ask why it is a rather common occurrence in the lives of normal individuals, not just those in the Playboy mansion or Trump Towers. We don’t wonder about the reasons why average women convince themselves that seeking a wealthy husband is the primary goal in their lives; we say that they have “daddy issues” and write it off to a childhood without a father figure. But unfortunately, this doesn’t offer a suitable explanation. Indeed,  as in far too many cases in modern society, the cause is nameable and well known:

The Patriarchy.

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Breaking my political silence: Why gun control is imminently necessary

Thus far on this blog, I have kept things light-hearted and fun; I’ve told stories of my day to day life and various amusing anecdotes, but this week has been too much. This week there has been much too much sadness, much too much tragedy. I can’t keep it light and full of fluffy bunnies and happiness, because that’s just not the way the world is this week. This week, we mourn.

In Seattle, in Oregon, and far too close to my friends and family in Las Vegas, approximately 8 people have lost their lives to mass shootings just in the past five days. All of these deaths were preventable, and so many times in the past few years, when gun violence has shaken our nation to its core, we thought, perhaps naively, that those with the power to stop it would do so. As much as we would like to think that these things will just go away, they won’t, and for quite a few reasons.

1. The Failures of Our Mental Healthcare System

Perhaps it would be more apt to say the distinct and utter lack of a real, effective mental health system is partially to blame for the incessant gun violence that plagues our country. It is important to note, however, that not every gun crime is committed by someone who is mentally ill. While it is certainly an immense problem that needs immediate solution, we cannot simply decide that the only problem with our system is the lack of accessible mental health treatment. While this is an incredibly important component, it is not the only ingredient. That said, it is equally important to note that reforming the mental healthcare system would not only provide help to those who may have the inclination to commit these crimes, but it would be wildly beneficial to the population as a whole.

We have certainly come a long way from the mass incarceration of the mentally ill in state-run asylums during the twentieth century, we have not, as of yet, made enough of an impact to truly be benefiting those who need it. While the same activists who (rightfully) protested the existence of asylums have successfully eliminated this massively dehumanizing treatment, there has been a distinct radio silence on what has become the modern equivalent of the state asylum: the state penitentiary. Numerous studies have told us that in so many ways, the nations prison system has come to act as a modern asylum, placing hundreds of thousands of mentally ill men and women behind bars.

In this piece, recently revived in this past Sundays’ edition of “60 Minutes,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart discusses how the Cook County Jail has become, by some estimates, the largest mental health institution in the country.

Unfortunately, a great many heinous crimes are committed by those who are mentally ill and unable to receive treatment. Some of the most recent and infamous mass shootings–Aurora, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood, the Washington Navy Yard–have been committed by those who had not been treated for sever mental illness.

Our answer is not to return to our previous system of abuse. Nor is it to continue the status quo as if nothing is wrong. We must put a decided and united effort towards reforming our  mental health system. Not only is it one way to help reduce the frequency and severity of mass shootings, but it is also something that should simply be done to affirm the humanity of all, regardless of their mental health status.

2. Refusing the “politicization” argument

Generally, when the demand for legitimate and comprehensive action on gun control arises in the aftermath of a mass shooting, politicians, influenced by the seemingly omnipotence and omnipresence of the NRA, claim that those demanding reform are simply “politicizing” a tragedy. This argument allows law makers on all levels–municipal, state, and federal–to avoid the issue entirely and lay low until the tragedy is less potent in the minds of the masses and they can move onto their next issue.

This refusal to make a change is inherently detrimental. Not only does it negate the importance of those who lost their lives in these tragedies by refusing to make changes that would save others in the future, but it tells the world that the protection of the health and well-being of our citizens is merely a political issue. It says that a movement that says we care about the safety of those around us is merely reactionary, not ever present, and merely a tool to promote a political agenda.

The death of tens of thousands of men, women, and children each year is not an  issue of playing politics. The constant nagging fear in the minds of parents as they send their children off to school, away to college, is not a matter of being a republican or democrat, but of being human.

Last October, I received generic CNN news alert stating that there had been a shooting at a middle school in my hometown of Reno, Nevada. As an older sister to two middle school aged brothers, the sheer terror of this alert struck me to the bone. The worst part? Knowing that hundreds of thousands of parents across the country receive alerts like this every day, alerts that strike fear into their very cores. But, of course, the wish to ensure that all parents, siblings, and family members do not have to worry that their loved ones won’t come home from another school day is merely politics.

3. If I want a gun, I can get one: the hyper accessibility of high powered fire arms.

It’s no secret that it’s incredibly easy to purchase a gun in the US. Pretty much anyone can go into a firearm shop and purchase any weapon of their choosing, regardless of their mental health status, safety training, or non-criminal history (i.e. if a student has a violent history in his or her school, this would not come up in any background check so long as the others involved chose not to press charges). Simply put, it is far too easy for anyone to purchase a massive, military grade firearm on a whim. If one acts through private means (like Craigslist or a gun show) it’s even easier, as even their published criminal history will go entirely unchecked.

And it isn’t as though all they can purchase is a small pistol or a hunting rifle; it is terrifyingly easy for someone to purchase a high power assault weapon and equally simple to obtain limitless amounts of ammunition. If I decided that I wanted to commit a crime and I wanted a high powered assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition to do it, it would take nothing more than a simple Google search. The best part? If I were a budding criminal, politicians would say that my possession of this clearly excessive weaponry was probably for hunting purposes. Just a note: if you need an assault weapon and hundreds of rounds to take down a deer, you probably shouldn’t be hunting in the first place.

The fact that anyone can purchase a firearm of any caliber with any amount of corresponding ammunition is a terrifying prospect, and one that is clearly abused all too frequently. Stopping someone from buying high caliber weaponry is not infringing upon their individual, Constitutionally granted rights; it’s ensuring that the protection of the lives of those around them is infinitely more important.

***

I am not a gun expert, and I do not pretend to be. What I am is a person whose heart beats a little faster when she sees someone with a gun holster at the local mall and who plans elaborate escape routes when I see a rifle in the back of a truck. I do not, by any means, advocate the banning of firearms in their entirety. I believe that the Second Amendment grants rights to a certain extent, but not to the point where I am legitimately afraid to be on the campus of my college or on the grounds of my brothers’ school.

I do not have grand visions of my personally changing this issue. Contrary to what we’ve always been assured, a single voice attempting to yell above all others is all too easy to drown out. I am not King Arthur; I will not pull the sword from the stone and be personally responsible for the reform of our gun laws and the end of partisan politics. But I am also not alone. There are millions of us, those who recognize the imminent need to make a change to our gun laws, and if we unite together… well we just might be able to make our voices heard.

Use this link to find your Representative. While the person you call and yell at will be an overworked, unpaid intern, the sheer volume of calls will be noticed. Let’s take action.

6 Open Letters to Minor Annoyances and the People who Cause Them

On a day to day basis, I find myself squinting my eyes and glancing at the invisible “Parks and Rec” background camera in response to ridiculous things done by those around me. I am the first to admit that I am a fairly judgmental person; it’s a problem I routinely work to stop, but have little success in halting. While this small personality flaw likely acts as its own small annoyance to those around me, it has also provided some rather amusing silent conversations with myself. So I present a few of these internal dialogues in hope that maybe, just maybe, they’ll amuse you, too.

1. To the Brad Pitt lookalike at the coffee place.

Dear Brad Pitt Lookalike:

I understand that your Brad Pittishness has likely endowed you with some small sense of entitlement. I’ll concede that your little pony tail and aviators do make you look as moderately important as a guy with a canvas satchel can look when he’s at a coffee shop in the middle of Reno during a week day. If this was all you were guilty of, Brad Pitt Lookalike, we would not have a problem. I would have likely registered with a small note of approval how you resembled the celebrity, and continued sipping my coffee without interruption.

But this is not all you did, BPL. On the contrary, it appears that your ego has gotten the better of you and you feel that you need to take up as much space as is humanly possible. This, BPL, is where we have a problem.

Let me tell you something, BPL: there are few things I am better at than getting sunburned. I’ve burned after spending less than ten minutes outside. I’ve gotten sunburned when it is cloudy, when it is raining. I’ve burned through prescription strength sunscreen that dermatologists give almost exclusively to melanoma patients. Yep. I’m that good. That being said, BPL, I’m sure that you can see where this is going: your deep need to take up not one, but two tables in the shade (one for you, one for your satchel and coffee) was incredibly bothersome. I could feel my shoulders burning, but I thought “no, Brad Pitt Lookalike wouldn’t really keep taking up both of those tables. I’m sure he’ll notice that there are no other shady spots open, that there are elderly people and a very, very pale girl staring at him as though willing him to move the hell out of the way.” But, no, BPL. That isn’t what you did. You continued to talk idly on your iPhone as my elderly comrades and I, united in our need for those coveted shady chairs, sat perspiring gently in the desert heat.

Dammit, BPL, you really did it. And tonight, as I smear aloe and black tea all over my shoulders and wonder why the hell you did not at least have the decency (as I did) to surrender one of those spots to the cute old couple sharing the scone. I will think of you, BPL. I will think of you with enmity.

Love,
Amanda

2. To those who feel that penile drawings are the most effective form of art. 

Dear people who feel the need to draw male genitalia on every possible surface:

I get it. I probably get it more than you do. I understand your deep, subconscious need to claim territory by virtue of the fact that you have a penis and in your mind that is magical and special and grand. I get you were slightly tired and more than slightly intoxicated and wanted to do something that would amuse you in under 15 seconds.

What I don’t understand is why you insist upon greeting everyone  with the undeniable fact that you have the maturity and artistic integrity of a four year old. I have compiled a list of alternatives that you may find more suitable and would, perhaps, allow me to rethink my current assertion that I would be and have been more intellectually simulated by a bagel.

  • Draw a vagina in lieu of your traditional subject. I would appreciate the irony, and, let’s be honest, transcending typical stereotypes is way better than telling the world that your personality is indicated exclusively by your drawing subject.
  • Have some artistic integrity. If you can successfully draw a photo-realistic version of a penis on my white board, I would celebrate what is clearly a budding artistic talent. I would also accept a cubist version, an expressionist version, or a version modeled after the Sistine Chapel. If you are incapable of successfully executing any of these, please don’t quit your current form of employment in an effort to become a revered artist.
  • Read some Freud. There’s nothing like realizing the fact that an insane bearded Austrian man would have thought you the poster child of the Oedipal Complex. On a similar note, build a time machine and travel back to his hey day, in which you would be hailed a psychologically fascinating phenomenon.
  • Reflect on the societal pressures that have lead you to feel that your gender is the best means for you to gain property and ownership of meaningless things like white boards, laundry rooms, and the dust on peoples dirty cars.
    And lastly:
  • Just don’t draw dicks. Seriously, stop being a tool.

Love,
Amanda

3. To the guy behind me in the grocery store laughing at my ice cream purchase.

Dear Ice Cream Shamer:

Look: I know I look a little ridiculous right now. I’m carrying four pints of Ben and Jerry’s and am wearing my red sparkly slippers. I am aware of the fact that on a scale of 1 to “Frequently Featured on People of Walmart,” I am a solid 8.5. However, why, exactly, do you feel that you are so deeply wise and important that you are allowed to voice your opinion about how I’m spending my evening? If I want to spend my weekend laying in bed with my main men (Ben and Jerry, of course) watching Legally Blonde and playing 2048, why is that any of your business? After all, if there is one thing in America that is 100% my prerogative, it is my blood sugar level. If I want to eat myself into diabetes, that’s entirely my choice.

Asking me if I plan to eat all of it by myself or if it’s “my time of the month” is not only incredibly obnoxious, but none of your goddamn business. So you go ahead, Ice Cream Shamer, and buy your 6-pack of summer shandy and your pack of Power Bars and your bag of baby carrots. While you’re feeling like a responsible, healthy adult, I’ll be sitting down to a freaking amazing night of Half Baked and Elle Woods. And really, who’s the winner here?

By the way, I ate them all in three days. And they were delicious.

Love,
Amanda

 

P.S. Here’s what my weekend looked like. Hope you had fun at the gym.

 

4. To the woman at Home Depot questioning my being in the store in the first place.

Dear Home Depot Lady,

I know I look out of place here. I’m a small blonde college student who perpetually has a look of utter confusion on her face. But don’t let my lack of stereotypically “masculine” traits fool you: I can negotiate a home improvement store like nobody’s business.

Let me give you some history: I essentially grew up on a job site. My dad taught me how to walk on floor joists as soon as my legs were long enough to reach across. I can identify types of saws based on how they sound, and am soothed by the smell of fresh plaster and paint. So when I go to Home Depot to steal pretty colored paint chips and buy some screw drivers, I know what I’m doing.

Asking me if “maybe I should have brought my boyfriend along” as I consider my various paint brush options might seem like a charming little tidbit of matronly advice to you, but to me it’s just obnoxious. Why does the fact that I have boobs and am wearing a sundress mean that I am unable to successfully and independently decide between a 9 x 3/8 in. and a 9 x 1/2 in. paint roller? Just because my screw driver set is shaped like a narwhal doesn’t mean I don’t know how to use it. Smiling knowingly and saying that “it’s so hard for us girls to understand stuff like this” doesn’t make me feel warm or fuzzy. It just frustrates me. I have a vagina and I am capable of putting up a shelf without help from any male relatives or significant others! I can build my Ikea furniture all by myself! Crazy, right?

I am a strong and independent woman, dammit, and I can shop in a home improvement with dignity, class, and extensive tool knowledge. All while wearing a dress.

In case you were wondering, I went with the 9 x 1/2 in. roller. And some plastic lawn flamingos. Their names are Julian and Joaquin.

Love,
Amanda

5. To the guy on the DC Metro who asked me about weed.

Dear Stoner Guy,

I’m not sure why you sought me out; why you purposefully moved seats on the decidedly uncrowded Metro car in order to sit next to me. I was just coming home from work. I promise, I didn’t want to talk to you.

Stoner guy, I saw the Holocaust Museum pamphlets in your hand, the Passport you were given that told the story of one of the millions of men, women, and children who were funneled through concentration camps during the Second World War. I understand that the museum is a very emotionally distressing experience. I know it can be hard to cope with all of that information and all of the anger and sadness you can feel after learning about the atrocities committed in these camps. But I promise, asking me about the best place to smoke a joint probably isn’t the best way to deal with these feelings.

No, Stoner Guy, I don’t know whether or not Rock Creek Park is a good place to smoke a joint without getting caught. I understand how my highly visible Capitol Hill Intern badge could make you feel that way, but I assure you that I have absolutely no idea whether or not you’d get caught if you decided to light up there.

Additionally, Stoner Guy, I can tell you probably aren’t from around here. Asking a random person on a Metro train just before rush hour about drugs probably isn’t a great call (have you heard of the DEA?). I hope you were able to quell your emotional distress somehow, and I hope that you didn’t get caught smoking your joint.

Love,
Amanda

Maybe you could try personal reflection instead, Stoner Guy. Just a suggestion.

6. To the people on Facebook who cannot form a coherent sentence.

Dear Grammar Novices,

I must say, there are few things that bother me quite as much as when your statuses, misspelled and gramatically incorrect until they resemble gibberish, grace my news feed, my first response is deep, visceral hatred. Most of you have graduated high school. Most of you are over the age of 16 and have taken at least one English class, and yet you seem to be woefully ignorant of how to successfully write a sentence. Even the shortest, most simplistic sentences are butchered under your watch. “Il meet you their.” “U left you’re  phone at my hose.” “Your so dum.” All of these things twist my stomach and force my brain to retreat in terror.

Sure, some of it can be attributed to autocorrect. I, too, have been bested by its cruelty. But these are more than just occasional mistakes. None of us are perfect, no matter how committed we are to being as gramatically correct as is humanly possible. But when I am unable to decipher anything you post, be it a funny cat story or intensely important personal narrative, it simultaneously disgusts and saddens me.

I want to remain Internet friends with you, I really do. I enjoy being updated about the various goings on in your life, from your family vacation to Canada to your truly unfortunate break up; these small, trivial pieces of information are, for me, rather intriguing. But for the love of all that is good in this world, please learn how to write sentences. Even paragraphs, if you can manage them. The Internet has all the information you need, so long as you don’t rely on your fellow Facebook friends to teach you.

Love and Luck,
Amanda

5 Things Only Nevadans Understand

For non-Nevadans, the entire state of Nevada is some kind of crazy enigma that is both intriguing and moderately horrifying. The general consensus from those I’ve talked to about my infamous home state is that it is separated into two parts: Vegas and not-Vegas. If someone has been to Vegas, they will likely tell me about how awesome they thought it was, with all the lights and strippers and partying and… well you get the point. If they haven’t been to Vegas, it is decidedly likely that their understanding of Nevadan culture is contingent upon the stereotypical “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” commercials. But to the vast majority of people I’ve met, the not-Vegas portion of Nevada is some magically mysterious desert land full of crazy gun-toting cowboys, aliens, and drug crazed hippies worshiping a giant burning statue of a man in the middle of nowhere (ok, so that last one really is a thing. But a really cool thing!). For my non-Nevadan friends, here is an introduction to what life is like in our quaint little piece of scalding desert. For my fellow Nevadans, I hope that you can relate to these, my many strange, disturbing, fascinating, and quintessentially “Nevada Life” experiences.

1. The Vegas-Reno Divide

The #1 most asked question when I say that I’m from Nevada is this:

“Oh my god, do you go to Vegas, like, all the time?”

The answer is always no, but rarely do people understand why. In all of the hype that surrounds the Vegas part of Nevada, rarely is it mentioned that the not-Vegas portion is considerably bigger. Here is a map for reference:

mapreno

This may not look like much, but it is, in fact, nearly seven full hours of non-stop driving. All Nevadans, native or otherwise, understand that if you live in the north, Vegas is not some sweet vacation spot you can drive to on a whim. Contrary to popular belief, Nevadans typically don’t just pack up and drive to Vegas for the weekend. We generally spend our time doing other, more important things, like hiking, skiing, biking, and generally outdoors-ing. Nevada is a beautiful state, when you get down to it, and Nevadans all understand that there is more to it than simply the shiny, glitter soaked cleavage that Vegas has to offer.

Additionally, non-Nevadans never seem to understand that there is a very real North-South rivalry. While Nevadans from all parts of the state will bond over their shared fire horror stories and general heat snobbery (i.e. “OMG this is nothing! Remember when it got to 120 last summer?”) if they find each other in other parts of the country, when we’re in our natural habitat it quickly deteriorates into all out war. The two major Nevadan universities (another surprise to non-Nevadans: we have two universities), University of Nevada (located in Reno) and University of Nevada–Las Vegas, have an ever lasting rivalry that all residents participate in in some way. No, silly non-Nevadans, Reno and Vegas don’t just get along like two happy little bunnies frolicking in a meadow. In fact, we are wolves who will tear the Southern rebels a new one. (no offense to my UNLV buddies–I still love you, even if you are traitors)

 

2. Nevadans are prepared for pretty much any natural disaster ever to exist. 

Earthquakes? Check. Floods? Yep, check. Fires? Infinite check.

Nevada is a pretty dangerous place. In addition to our ability to combust in mere minutes, we are also surprisingly susceptible to a whole host of fun natural disasters.

Nevada Wildfires

Yep, just an average Nevada summer.

 

Nevadans know that they essentially have to be prepared for everything. While we may just look like an average, deathly hot, dust filled, life taking desert, we are much more. We have some of the largest and most intense fires in the nation. In fact, I recall having a day off school while a wildfire swept through town. We also have intense droughts (water is for wimpy losers), bouts of intense earthquakes, and rock slides that can destroy neighborhoods. Up in the mountains, we have blizzards and avalanches like nobody’s business. Floods happen almost yearly, and hurricane-force winds are the norm. Dust storms? Had one last week, and people barely blinked (except to get the dust out of their eyes). Essentially, if it isn’t a hurricane or tsunami, we’ve had one, and it likely destroyed a small, family owned farm.

People from Nevada generally aren’t impressed by even the worst Mother Nature can dish out. After all, we’ve probably seen it all over the course of a week. Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said that “if you don’t like the weather in Nevada, wait five minutes”? Well, Nevadans understand that the sentiment is equally true with natural disasters.

 

3. Prostitution: legal, but not. 

After I’ve shattered the non-Nevadans dreams about the frequency of my jaunts to Vegas, their next question (usually in a voice that is almost disturbingly hopeful) is whether prostitution is really a big industry in our state. Again: you non-Nevadans should seriously do your research.

Consider this the most important piece of Nevada tourist info you will receive: PROSTITUTION IS NOT LEGAL THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE STATE. Seriously. I’m not kidding you.

Here’s a quick history lesson: prostitution laws in Nevada are delegated to the counties. The only state-wide regulation is that no county with more than 400,000 residents can legalize prostitution. This means that Clark County and Washoe County (the counties containing the states’ two largest population centers) do not have legal brothels. Most Nevadan’s are not stupid enough to hire a sex worker in either of these counties, or in Douglas county, which has also passed laws banning the practice. Tourists, however, are generally not as intelligent. For Nevadans, idiotic tourists who get arrested for soliciting prostitutes in Reno or Vegas are sources of hilarity and merriment. Hey–for a state consistently ranked last in education, it’s always nice to be smarter than someone!

In total, 11 counties have laws that legalize prostitution and one county doesn’t have a law either way. If you feel the deep need to get it on with a real Nevada prostitute, please do your research. Or, better yet, just don’t hire a sex worker in the first place.

NEVADA LYFE

Remember, only get your sleaze on in the rural counties.

 

4. My not-so-real gambling addiction

Perhaps it’s par for the course given Nevada’s less than stellar stereotyping, but I frequently get asked if I or my family are big gamblers. Granted, gambling in Nevada is pretty much the norm. We have slot machines in our grocery stores and I don’t think I realized that gambling was illegal pretty much everywhere else until an embarrassingly late age. But despite all of this, gambling is generally not something native Nevadans engage in with much frequency. The obese, tipsy, chain smoking gamblers that are fixtures at Nevadan casinos are usually from out of state (damn Californians).

Similarly, to non-Nevadans, the people of Nevada are massive drinkers. Their reasoning is generally sound. With 24 hour access to literally any type of alcohol you could ever want, be it in a bottle, bag, or box, we have to be big into the drinking experience, right? Well… not exactly. Sure, Nevadans party like everyone else, but we are not, in fact, the “drunkest” state in the country. That honor actually goes to New Hampshire.

Sorry to burst your bubble, non-Nevadans, but the people of the Battle Born State don’t actually party any more than you do. Unless, of course, you’re from New Hampshire.

Welcome to nevada

Welcome to Nevada, silly tourists, give us your monies.

5. THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON: It’s Ne-VA-da, not Ne-VAH-da.

If I can enlighten you on a single, solitary Nevada issue, it is this. It is a source of deep seeded anger, hatred, and animosity for Nevadans that our state gets mispronounced so frequently. Worse? When people are told the correct pronunciation and pointedly choose to ignore it. Because looking like an ignorant fool is definitely the best policy, right?

Let’s practice, okay? Say it with me Ne-VA-da. Do it again. NE. VA. DA. There is no “vah” in there anywhere. One last time? NEVADA. Awesome. Hopefully you’ve learned something.

This is probably the most inherently Nevada thing out there. Nevadans will stop you mid sentence to correct the pronunciation; and, no, when it’s correcting your blatant and concerning ineptitude, it isn’t rude. Additionally, if you correctly pronounce Nevada in front of a native Nevadan, you will most definitely gain a small amount of approval and respect. Don’t expect us to show it, though; Nevadans aren’t easily impressed. Say it with me once more, with feeling!