Tag Archives: city

Chop Style: No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service

Well, it’s pretty hot outside. In the dead of Summer, most people want to get away with wearing as little as possible. Jorts sightings have been at at all time high in Baltimore recently, and tank tops and flip flops are out in force as well.

We would hope that it doesn’t still need to be said in 2011, but apparently it does. The old rule still stands: No shirt, No shoes, No service.

Even the diviest of dive bars require shoes and shirts.

These things may be optional in your backyard or rooftop deck, but out in the streets, shoes and shirts are still mandatory, no matter what the temperature. Sure, okay, if you absolutely must you can wear sandals the right way but you’ve got to have something on your feet.

This is Baltimore City… it’s filthy. Aside from the typical urban grit and grime, our streets and sidewalks are often full of broken glass, chicken bones, strip club postcards and all other manner of hazards. The Chop happened to sight a girl walking barefoot down Cathedral Street a few days ago, and we were nothing less than revolted. Walking or (God forbid) running barefoot in an urban street is not only dangerous, it’s disgusting. Not even Rex Ryan would tickle those toes.

As far as shirts go, you’re gonna have to keep that on too. Nothing says absolute white trash redneck like going shirtless publicly. Have you ever seen COPS? The shirts to skins ratio on there is always at least 2/5.

It doesn’t even matter if you’re a sitting congressman who hits the gym regularly… shirtless is simply not a good look on anyone. This summer, just keep it on. You might even think about a lightweight cotton or linen jacket as well.

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Hello Neighbors, and Welcome to Mister Chop’s Neighborhood

Whenever we travel anywhere outside Baltimore, we can’t help but notice the differences and similarities Charm City has to whatever city we’re in. When we went to New York to visit a friend last week, we noticed plenty of both, including one difference in particular that struck a nerve.

It was only about two minutes after our arrival that we met our friend’s neighbor. The old lady who lives upstairs is almost as stereotypically NYC as we are Baltimore: Irish, Catholic, working class, and lived in the same apartment paying way less than market rent for more than 50 years. She had that quality peculiar to retirees, where her sphere of activity had shrunk from the whole city to Queens, to the neighborhood, and finally, at 80, to the building itself. We’re not saying she was a busybody, but she did know everyone in the building and what they were up to at any given time.

A visual approximation of the Chop in his neighborhood.

It hasn’t been the only time that it’s come up recently, and it got us thinking that we’re the exact opposite. We don’t know hardly any of our neighbors, and frankly, we don’t want to.

It’s not just a difference between New York and Maryland, or between apartment buildings and rowhouses, but mainly a difference between the 20th century and the 21st. Fifty years ago, neighborhoods were not only a lot more homogeneous, but the people who lived on your block were also the same people you went to work with. They were the same people you went to church with, and having only three channels on TV, they were the same people you went to the Moose or the Masons with, or just down the corner bar. When people bought a house back then, they didn’t do it with the intention of flipping it at a profit and moving to the county as soon as their first born was ready for kindergarten. Of course, some people didn’t buy their houses at all… a lot of people inherited them.

Things aren’t that way any more.

We’ve lived all over Baltimore, so we’re no strangers to bad neighbors. We’ve lived next to junkies, alcoholics, white trash, thieves, lead-paint-eating children, tranny prostitutes and even yuppies. There was one neighbor in particular who liked to yell things at us from across the street, such as:

“HEY WHITE BITCH! GIMME SOME FOOD WHITE BITCH I’M HONGRY!!!”

Now that we’re a homeowner we like to mind our own business more than ever, and associate with people because we have an affinity with them, not because we happen to live near them. That option to just wait for the lease to end and pack up and leave isn’t there anymore. By the same token, we plan to be here for a loooong time, so there ought to be no hurry to make nice with the neighbors. There’s plenty of time for that later.

And anyway, none of them really rolled out the welcome wagon when we moved it. We’re still waiting for our homemade lasagne and chocolate cake.

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