Miami Stereotypes That Aren't True

Revelers at this weekend's Go Hard Festival
Revelers at this weekend's Go Hard Festival
Photo by Karli Evans/karlievans.com

More than most cities, Miami is defined by its stereotypes in the eyes of the rest of the country. No one really bothers to get to know that much about the real Miami. To most, we're just a postcard image of a plump bikini model drinking champagne on the hood of a Lamborghini parked on the beach.

But not all our stereotypes are true! Allow us to debunk some of the most persistent South Florida cliches.

1. It's Like Cocaine Non-Stop Down Here 
Do people in New England actually eat clam chowder all the time? No. Do people in Philadelphia gorge themselves on cheesesteaks 24/7? Nope. Do all Chicagoans eat deep-dish pizza exclusively? We should hope not. 

Likewise, Miamians do not spend their days coked out of their minds. So please, out of towners (*cough* *cough* New Yorkers), stop asking if we have yeyo all day. Stop asking us if we know where to get it. Yes, we understand our city has a certain reputation. Yes, we totally understand that the cocaine here may be purer or whatever. No, we do not want to do blow with you on a random Tuesday night. 

Our go-to recreational drug of choice here is the same go-to recreational drug of choice as it is everywhere else in America: pot. 

2. Everyone Is Gorgeous 
This one flatters us, but sometimes we think people are holding us to unreachable standards. Not everyone here has a big ol' booty with a teeny lil' waist or six-packs abs. In fact, there are plenty of downright ugly-looking specimens in the Magic City. Plenty of us are all puffy-looking with bad skin, receding hair, and ill-fitting clothes, but damn it, they're just as Miamian, if not more so, than any swimsuit model. 

3. We Are All Shallow and Stupid 
We addressed this in-depth here, but Miamians can hold our cultural and intellectual own. We're home to the country's largest book fair, have an annual festival dedicated to poetry, and, according to Amazon, we're America's second most well-read city. 

4. Everyone Is on Boats All The Time 
Actually, this is one that is truly disappointing for not being true. I mean judging from Miami-shot music videos, everyone here just spends ample time on boats popping champagne all day, but my particular friend group has a distressingly small number of boat owners. Then I meet people who own boats, and I'm not sure if I want to talk to them for more than five minutes, let alone spend extended time with them on a small vessel in the middle of the ocean. I'm sure there are nice boat owners out there, but it's just a struggle finding them. 

5. Old People ... EVERYWHERE! 
This is a bit of a holdover from a different time, but still seems to be etched in some people's minds by Golden Girls reruns. As it turns out, Miami's population is not especially grey. About 13.3 percent of the population of Miami-Dade County is 65 and older, which is about the same as the 13.4 percent rate for the entire United States of America ... and by Florida standards, where over 17 percent of the population is over 65, that's downright young.

Models at a South Beach car show
Models at a South Beach car show
Photo: Concavo Wheels' Flickr | CC2.0

6. We All Drive Super Nice Cars
As the great American poet Will Smith once said, "Water so clear, you can see to the bottom, Hundred-thousand dollar cars, e'ybody got em." Of course, anyone who actually sees cars outside of the valet line at a South Beach hotel knows this is not true. We see people driving cars every day that make us sincerely wonder how they're even still running. We're talking things literally held together by duct tape, making ominous popping noises as they struggle down the street. 

7. We Are All Very Tan All The Time 
Any Miamian who has relatives up north knows this struggle. 

"Oh my goodness, you're so pale! Don't you live in Miami? Oh wow, I'm tanner than you are! Mark, come look at this! He's so pale!" 

Truth is, when we know we can go to the beach and get our tan on almost year-round, we just kind of take it for granted and sometimes go months without bothering to actually lay out in the rays. 

8. We're Fair-Weather Sports Fans 
This is another old tale we've addressed at length before. It's not that Miamians don't pay attention to our teams when they aren't doing well. In fact, we secretly love to keep tabs just se we can complain about them ... but not too much, because that's just embarrassing. 

9. Everyone Here Dresses Very Colorfully and Ostentatiously 
This is only true for about 80 percent of our population ... give or take 10 or 15 percent. 

10. We Have Tons of Sex
There are plenty of lists and studies and surveys that purport to know which cities are the sluttiest. Like, here, here and here for example, and we're never on any of them. So that's just according to science. That doesn't mean people aren't doing it in South Florida, but apparently we're not doing it as much as they are elsewhere.


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