I still maintain that San Diego is the best place ever. But I was disillusioned by a scene I experienced on Saturday night. And now I can answer the question of whether I am urban or suburban. Suburban.
This weekend my friend Betsy flew in from NYC. On Saturday we enjoyed a beach picnic with fish tacos from Roberto’s. Then we got ready at her hotel and went to the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego…
First we had a scrumptious dinner at Searsucker. The food was amazing and my martini was only $10, as opposed to $17 in NYC. But the people-watching left us with our mouths open. Betsy had been expecting a college crowd—I told her that that’s what you find in Pacific Beach. Instead, we saw an older clientele at Searsucker, but despite all the maturity, everyone was trying harder than teenagers in a school cafeteria.
We walked down Market Street to the Ivy, and it was there that Betsy made a brilliant comparison. She said the Gaslamp was like the Meatpacking District in Manhattan. The Meatpacking was cool 6 years ago, and you can still get a great dinner (e.g. Pastis, STK), but beyond that, it’s all bridge-and-tunnel (people who come in from NJ) on the weekends. I don’t want to be mean, but the people in downtown San Diego did have a guido, overly-manicured quality to them. And no offense, because I’m Italian, but isn’t the essence of GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry), all about effort? It’s about devotion to appearances…or as I would say, trying too hard. And I didn’t love the fashions we saw. Especially poor Betsy—she is a stylist, and she was here for work, in between shows at NYC Fashion Week.
My sister had warned me that the Gaslamp was all tourists. That, and probably people who moved here recently-ish and haven’t embraced the whole “laid-back” thing (I guess city folk aren’t ever laid-back). They made the mistake of thinking that the people are the scenery here. No. The ocean and the sky are the scenery. You are just a person.
SoCal is the capital of Playing Hard To Get. You’re not supposed to look like you care. So I was bummed that the scene Betsy was seeing was this earnest, Type A, angsty, slutty yet naive, provincial, unsophisticated, skirts-up-to-there, leopard-print-clad, yucky crowd. No one represented the true San Diego I remember and love.
Sorry, I just had to bitch.