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Ten Signs You're Not From Miami

There are about a million types of people in Miami: billionaires and day laborers, porn stars and conservative Jews, and just about every nationality on the planet. But when you really think about it, there are just two kinds of people in this town: The ones who are from Miami, and the ones who aren't.

Plenty of people move to South Florida to start a new life in the sun and on the sand. But until you've lived here a while, learned a few things, and passed a few tests, most locals won't accept you as a "real" Miamian.

Wondering what you're missing? Here are ten telltale signs you're not from Miami.

See also: Ten Signs You've Lived in Miami Too Long

10. You go to the beach.

There are two minority groups of Miamians who go to the beach: retirees and low-rent strippers. The rest of the people you see crowding the shores of South Beach are either tourists or recent transplants like you, AKA people who haven't yet grown spoiled by Miami's spectacular natural surroundings. So where do native Miamians cool off? Wherever their boat friends are sailing to that day, of course.

9. You have no hurricane stories.

If you've been in town only a year or two, you haven't yet experienced a major hurricane in South Florida. And that means you're missing out on a huge part of the local experience: bonding with your fellow Miamians over the weird and wild stuff that goes down when the power is out and the city is on lockdown. A lot of it is tragic: properties destroyed, cars flooded or crushed under fallen trees, roofs patched with blue tarp for years on end. Don't even mention the name Andrew. But the rest? It's damn entertaining. Remember that hurricane party at your cousin's place with the caja china after Charley? Or that time after Wilma when you and the stranded tourist girl got busy on the Washington Avenue sidewalk after curfew? No? You must be new here.

See also: Ten Signs You're a Miami Art Snob

8. You can't keep the highways straight.

I-195? I-395? I-595? All connected by I-95? Is this some cruel joke played on the people of South Florida by a malicious highway planning committee? It'll take you at least a year of driving in Miami before you can remember which is the Dolphin Expressway and which is the one in Broward.

7. People keep trying to kiss your cheeks.

You say hello with a handshake, but people here keep pulling you in for a kiss on the cheek — sometimes on both of them. And it is freaking you out, man. Chances are you're from the cold, dispassionate Midwest, where kisses of any sort still count as "first base." But get used to it. You're in Miami, the land of the thong bikini and topless beaches, and we've adjusted the warmth of our greetings accordingly.

See also: Ten Miami Girls You've Probably Dated

6. You're afraid to show a little — um, a lot — of skin.

Speaking of which: Ladies, don't be afraid to let it all hang out. You might not look like the gym bunnies next to you on the beach, but that's not stopping the other 80 percent of the Miami population wearing exposed midriffs, nip-slip-threatening necklines, and booty shorts. This ain't no judgmental New York City-style scene, where unless you just stepped off the Fashion Week runway, someone thinks you could stand to lose a few pounds. Miami is the ultimate cultural melting pot, which means that no matter what you look like, there's somebody here who digs it.

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Ciara LaVelle is New Times' former arts and culture editor. She earned her BS in journalism at Boston University and moved to Florida in 2004. She joined New Times' staff in 2011.
Contact: Ciara LaVelle