Getting around to doing this video took me several tries. Long story, short…tl:dr…I strongly dislike the District of Columbia. Actually I hate DC. There is absolutely nothing about living in DC that I like. Ok, I like my barber and Founding Farmers…everything else, yeah won’t be missed. But I did not want to come across super negative/bitter in the video, hence why it took me 7 attempts to finally get a recording that I liked, because my experience is not the universal experience. Albeit the comments on this video have showed the majority do agree with my opinion on the nation’s capital. So let’s get to breaking it down, why Jouelzy can’t wait until August 25th when she’ll be boarding that one way flight to Houston.
Why I moved to DC –
I initially went to college in DC at both George Washington University and Howard. I hated DC then too. But I thought being an adult with money might change my perception. I dropped out of college and moved to NYC on a whim, fell in love with Brooklyn and went through maturation. Then I evolved, and NYC isn’t worth living in if you’re not going to take advantage of the opportunity it offers, because it’s hard to maintain. I was focused on applying for my MBA, so I decided to end that chapter of my life and because I make decisions on the whim, deciding to implement them the next day…I moved back to my home state Delaware, with the intentions of working towards getting into grad school. Life happened, plans changed, and Delaware sucks…so I wanted, after a year back in suburbia, to move to Houston then. But moving across the country ain’t cheap and it’s not a last minute decision, so I was thinking either Philly or DC while I still worked on getting into an MBA program. Top tier MBA programs largely do not recruit in Philadelphia, since I was already in DC a lot and I have quite a few friends that live out in this area, so it made sense. I got a job, moved into DC proper and when my car broke down, decided to forget about it and pick up a bike. Big mistake. For those who do want to move DC, just move out to the suburbs of Maryland and most definitely have a vehicle. I am fully aware that my personality plays into my experience, that’s why this is my opinion posted on my channel, so the argument of maybe it’s you is an empty one. This is my opinion strictly on the District of Columbia, not Maryland or Virginia. And while I know my complaints can be levied against any city…the point for me is that there is nothing in DC to balance out these issues. This is it, there is no reprieve and I have tried to find it only to be disappointed everytime…so I drown my sorrow in a cocktail from Founding Farmers, which ain’t cheap.
1. DC is unnecessarily expensive. Wildly overpriced for everything. Like the cost of living here is more than NYC. The flip to that is you definitely make more money here and the career field is alot more open then NYC. But, your rent is expensive, groceries are expensive, the metro is expensive, everything is just expensive. There’s a 10% tax when you eat out. You pay $.05 if you need a bag at the store. There’s no WaWa or bodega for $4 sandwiches. I definitely felt like I was hemorrhaging money while living in DC.
2. The food SUCKS! I travel for food. I love exploring my community to find the local mom and pop shops, food trucks and hole in the walls to support. I loves food of all varieties. First, DC does not have variety in ethnic food. There’s Chinese, Ethiopian, burger joints, jumbo slices, subs and New American, that’s what they consider variety. Finding good sushi is stressful, korean bbq is out in Maryland or Virginia by car only, tacos are $4 and the Indian food is mostly of the northern punjabi variety. Besides that it’s also all very expensive, at minimum $12/plate. Let’s shine a bright spot on Founding Farmers tho. I love it, even though it’s not cheap and across town from me in Foggy Bottom, I really love it. I’ll be back one last time before I bounce. But amongst all the underwhelming food I’ve eaten and traveled to and been disappointed with, Founding Farmers has never failed me, because with the fresh food comes amazing customer service. Which leads me to….
3. Customer service is a struggle x2 Why do people who do not like people work in hospitality? Should I tell you about the super rude waitress at Society Lounge who caught an attitude after noted she over charged us. Or when the owner, Lance London, of Carolina Kitchen franchise, who with his unbuttoned shirt, blazer w/ jeans, Air Force 1s, and pinky rings proceeded to tell me that I’m a woman so I know nothing about business and thinks a 45 minute wait for a party of three is acceptable when 2 of your 30 tables in the restaurant is occupied. What about Smith & Commons double charging my credit card or the epic swindle that is Bus Boy & Poets or Eatonville, the latter serving me bad shrimp and graciously giving me $2 off the plate. I just nod my head and take my behind back to Panda Chinese, because the chinese food in my hood is surprisingly good or when I’m feeling fancy Founding Farmers.
4. Dating is dry season if you want anything past a f*ckbuddy. DC is a waste land of potential. Accomplished, great on paper with absolutely too much damn ego. It’s a city of fuckboys, Kappas, and Aquarians. I can not date in this city. Now if you’re really into your church or the Spelman girl with the cute bob/twist out, pearls and a reasonable heel, you have a much better chance than my educated ratchet, ubiquitous self. But I know a lot, a lot of people who are in hapless fuck buddy situations because they were tired of not getting what they wanted and instead they settled for what they could get. It’s a perpetual circle that promotes the fuckboy mentality. Men can literally have a girl in every quadrant plus Virginia and Maryland and they will never know about each other — as long as they don’t date two girls from FAMU, they are fine.
There’s a pervasive come hither attitude, that constitutes a fuckboy, in DC. The big fish little pond syndrome that is symptomatic in every city but is the mainstream in DC with no balance. Folks have created their own bubble where they verbally elevate their positions in life and expect you to bow down to it. I can’t communicate in anything other than honesty so I fail at this epically. If you’re open to dating internationals, then you might fair better; that’s if you can work your way into those circles. Or if you join a church movement like Worth the Wait, those folks also tend to fair better.
5. I don’t like the people. Cliques on cliques on cliques. The people here are just a collective ugh. I understand that the older you get the less open most people are to friendships. I don’t even know that right now I want more friends. But social acquaintances? A good time crew? Educated friends who I can do ratchet things with? The clique mentality here is very strong. Like that’s it. Everybody resides in cliques and because most people don’t actually live in DC proper, running into folks in casual settings is rare unless you’re at an event. Folks don’t really overlap. You have your church clique, sorority clique, work clique. college friends clique. Everyone is separate. I’m use to intermingling my friends, which doesn’t seem to be the thing in DC. It’s just odd that people I’ve met here keep things so segmented. Like if we hang out then we have to hang out with our specific group. Folks will tell you they’re going to something and not invite you.
I interviewed someone in the natural hair community for a publication I write for. Mind you she contacted me about featuring her. At the end of our convo, both of us have our phones out and she says “oh I’m having an event next month, but I don’t know how I would invite you…” L-O-L, I told her to just have her publicist contact me. Stay blessed. Another time, I was interviewing Chrisette Michele at a hair show, there was another natural hair blogger there with a friend. She recognized me and I mentioned that I just moved here and I’m trying to meet people – I’m probably going to go to Nando’s after this. Her and her friend say their hungry too so we should all go to Nando’s. Cool…they left as I was wrapping up and I told them I would meet them there shortly. Girl. I got there and they were sitting at a two top booth chilling. I was oh…um…ok. They hit me with the “oh no other seats were open, sorry.” The restaurant was empty and I just said don’t worry I’ll get my own seat and ate by myself. Unless I go up and introduce myself as Jouelzy with 110k subscribers on YouTube and 23k on Instagram, folks don’t have the time of day. But they have no problem calling you and asking for a favor after an intro six months prior with no communication in between.
Saddest part of it all is the one person I did meet who invited me out, was an epic liar. I can’t even say any more on that because then I would be messy. But girl…I wish #catfish. There’s just an air of aloofness, where people don’t think to invite, intermingle and collaborate organically. Everyone sticks to what and who they know until they see opportunity for personal gain with you. Yeah, I’ve meet a handful of people who I could tell didn’t care for me. But there were others where we hang out one on one at their request but say I hit them up on some “I’m trying to find something to do this weekend,” and I would get hit back with the “oh I have plans, going to a friends happy hour.” That’s it, conversation is done.
6. The natural hair community (vloggers/bloggers) is mysteriously hard to find/connect with. I know who’s who here and I thought coming to DC, where quite a few notable vloggers/bloggers live that it would be easier to connect with folks. At least cross paths, run in a similar circle. Folks don’t have to be friends but that word of mouth about events and such would pass easily amongst us. Nope not at all. In a city where the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) can happen a mile from my house and I not hear a peep about…natural hair events happen here and no one knows about it. Essence does an event during CBC, no one knew. Beautiful Textures sponsored part of K. Michelle tour, the Atlanta stop all the natural hair bloggers were there, DC stop – no one from DC was there. You find out about things after the fact on Instagram. I’m fine because I’m not part of the natural hair community anyways, but why do an event to build your brand and just promote to your same ten friends?
So who does well in DC? Clearly not me, but I do think there are people who enjoy the city. The common attributes are they are either really into their (mega) church, sorority/fraternity, have family in the area, or have their own family, write for Washington Post, The Root or Slate and/or comfortable being creatures of habit. Men, regardless of sexuality, also do well here. Just not me, because it’s too easy for me to get stuck in my ways and stick to being a loner here. No good. I enjoy creating memories with others and being an ever evolving person who can learn from those around me. So I’m out *deuces*
The author Jouelzy
Jouelzy is a #SmartBrownGirl, Author, Vlogger & Writer, addressing lifestyle issues that impact women of color from beauty, culture to technology. With 162k+ subscribers she’s reshaping the image of women of color, who honor their right to revel in their diversity.