Over at HuffPost Miami, writer J.J. Colagrande, a man who just a few months ago declared that Miami is the best city in America, authored a Holden Caulfield-level diatribe claiming that "Miami is so fake it's frustrating." You've probably seen it pop up on your Facebook news feed these past few days. Unintentional or not, it's a pretty good troll.
But let's be, uh, real -- Miami is so real it's almost too hard to take.
Colagrande mostly zeroes in on "fake people" and breaks them into two groups.
The first is "the nip-and-tuck, augmented, collagen, Botox, fashionista style fake; a breed who need to look good, drive fancy cars, live in fancy houses, go to fancy parties."
First of all, how often in Miami do you see plastic surgery that attempts to look like it's natural? The additions may be fake, but the end result is pretty real about how fake it is. I'm talking watermelon-size ass implants, boob jobs that look like volleyballs bolted to a plank, faces pulled so tight that sneezing hurts, and lips plumped so fat you could use them as pillows. It's the kind of surgery you know is surgery from 10 feet away. Let's not even get started on those obviously steroid-plumped muscles on some dudes.
You know what's fake? The Hollywood actress or New York society doyenne who goes into her surgeon's office every six months for some subtle touch ups, racks up tens of thousands doing so, and then turns around and says her "secret" is something like "wearing sunscreen every day and doing yoga." That shit is fake as fuck.
As for the part where Cologrande shames these types of people for liking to "drive fancy cars, live in fancy houses, go to fancy parties." Um, yeah, that's just what rich, shallow people like to do. That's just how it is. These people pretending they don't want to drive a Lambo up to LIV would be fake. They may be incredibly materialistic, selfish and a bit dim, but they ain't trying to hide it.
Then there's the other type of "phonies" cited. A slightly harder to describe breed.
"It hides behind smiles and pats on the back. It lives in the hearts and egos of those who look you in the eye. They say one thing, do another. They're your friends on Facebook but at socials walk by you like you don't exist," he writes. "Not only can you not rely on people to follow through, to do what they say, to follow-up, you also can't trust anyone's rhetoric. Definitely ego-based, our selfishness and distrust for neighbors and friends makes Miami one of the hardest cities to endure, despite all that which is beautiful here."
Let's deconstruct this a few different ways.
First of all, Facebook profiles are, by definition, not "real." It's actually pretty awkward to go up to someone at a party and be like, "Oh, um, hi, we're like friends on the internet...." Plus, talking to someone you don't want to talk to at party would actually be fake.
Second off, while I'm not going to deny that this type of attitude exists, I don't think it's all that widespread, nor does Colagrande really convince the reader that it is.
Yeah, there are areas where this kind of thing thrives: some party promoters, certain PR people, people who swing from one person to the next in search of the best event hook-up (and best free drugs and drinks), but that all exists in some weird South Beach microcosm. And actually, wasn't it Colagrande who reminded us all just a few weeks ago that Miami is not just South Beach.
Plus, if you're a naturally intuitive person or live here long enough, you start to learn how to filter those people out of your life. Like those volleyball boob jobs, you can spot their phoniness a mile away. At that point their inauthenticity is no longer my problem, but theirs.
Truly frustrating falsities are the ones you actually believe. Obvious fakeness is just amusing at most, or at the very least makes you feel a little sad for that person.
But, beyond certain groups of people, Miami is real as fuck. Sometimes a little too real.
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I've only lived one other place in my life. Over in Naples, where people live in sprawling gated subdivisions and strive hard to keep up appearances of suburban boringness... or, you know, as is often the case, are actually just boring. There's not a lot of real life going on over there, and when it does, people tend to keep it hidden.
Miami, however, isn't particular good at trying to keep life smooth around the edges. There's crackheads roaming the street, alleyway blow jobs, sloppy drunks stumbling home, weekly shootings, bums rummaging through your garbage, dudes stopping at nothing to try to get someone in bed, horrible drivers, and not particularly high-class prostitutes.
That shit's real. Sometimes a little too real. Frustratingly real.