1. Tell us how excited you are to live close to Myrtle Beach.
Sure, Myrtle Beach is a great place to spend some downtime from Charleston — if you want to get pink eye while dining at an all-you-can-eat “lobster” buffet surrounded by a bizarre mix of killer motorcycle gangs and inebriated, recent high school grads. (Been there, done that).
2. Ask where you can find the cast of Southern Charm.
We don’t know or care, but if we do a lot of cocaine and get arrested, do we get our own TV show, too?
3. Ask us for directions to Hyman’s Seafood.
The only answer you will get from this question is an eye roll. If the person you ask is feeling generous (and they will feel generous because you’re in Charleston) they’ll give you the wrong directions and lead you to an authentic Charleston gem like FIG, Hank’s or McCrady’s. That is, unless you have twenty kids with you. Then by all means, we will lead you straight to the front door of Hyman’s.
4. Expect us to be like the quintessential, southern town you see in the movies.
You won’t find many people wearing camouflage or waving the confederate flag, and no one talks like the dad from The Notebook.
5. Support the carriage tour industry.
Downtown traffic is terrible, but getting stuck behind a horse and carriage tour while driving down The Battery on your way to work can ruin your day. This is an outdated way to navigate Charleston’s hidden alleyways, explore its vivid gardens, and stumble upon its eerie graveyards. And, hey, exercise is good for you. This means you might be able to save two lives by walking: yours and a horse’s.
6. Be the entitled local “debutante” who dines out every night, but never achieves satisfaction.
You have a ton of money and a black, steel American Express card, but you walk into restaurants like a privileged toddler. You embarrass yourself and the tables sitting near you every time you demean your server. So, next time you decide to sneak into, say, Monza, remember that the restaurant community is a tight one. Each time you send that delectable Chicken Milanese back to the kitchen (that you order every time), and then storm out, know that the staff at every surrounding restaurant is aware of your bad behavior.
7. Sip your Grandma.
If someone orders you a shot of Grandma, and you don’t shoot it, you look strange. Cheers and drink up. Relish the slow, sweet burn of that refreshing orange liqueur and feel the giddy after effects. Then, have another because one’s probably on its way.
8. Block the already busy sidewalks with your confused family.
We have places to be and we know how to get there. By stopping in the middle of the Meeting Street sidewalk with your party of ten and a baby stroller, you become the human version of the loathsome carriage tours. Go to a secluded area, figure out your map or ask someone — except when referring to number 1.
9. Ask where the “slave market” is.
Uh, we don’t do that anymore. However, the City Market is on the corner of Market and Meeting Street.
10. Be that Ohioan.
You know the one. He’s still infatuated with Ohio and never stops telling us about it, drives down one-way streets in the wrong direction and thinks the only food group is Skyline Chili. There’s even a website dedicated to people who relocate from Ohio to the Lowcountry: www.gobacktoohio.com. The map won’t tell you how to navigate downtown, but it will give you two options on how to return to the place where you can yell, “Who Dey!” without someone wanting to punch you.
11. Assume everyone wears Lily Pulitzer.
I mean, they’re around, but the only people impressed with those bright pink elephants imprinted onto lime green, cotton, dress-shaped trash bags are groups of sorority sisters during rush.
12. Lament the appearance of palmetto bugs.
These enormous insects will haunt you everywhere: restaurants, apartments, and hotels. They don’t exist because it’s dirty. They exist because of the climate, and because they’re immortal. So, stop freaking out about them and embrace these creatures as a special part of your home.
13. Complain about the heat.
You are in the South on the coast. How is it confusing that you will sweat in August? Go find a hotel pool or drive to the beach. You’re going to survive this one. Unless you drive out to Folly and try to go swimming after drinking seven frozen screwdrivers at Taco Boy. Then it might be a close one.
14. Schedule us to work on a Sunday.
This is the worst. Please don’t make us miss out on Second Sunday and Coast’s half off wine and taco night.
15. Talk about how much you hate brunch.
No, brunch isn’t just for “hipsters” or “basic bitches”. Brunch is a lifestyle, and no city does it better than Charleston. From sipping mimosas at the cool, casual Macintosh to Warehouse where you can have breakfast all day on Sunday, brunch is part of Charleston culture.
16. Try to change the last call to 12 a.m.
We should have known what was coming when the law banned Byron from King Street. Isn’t it enough that we can’t drink our frozen painkillers on Sullivan’s anymore? The bars already have to start clearing everyone out at 1:30 a.m. when they don’t close until 2 a.m. When a city is voted #1 in the U.S., there’s nothing to fix, especially when the businesses being singled out are the reasons for the city’s rave reviews. You, government officials, can go back to Ohio.
17. Compare Charleston and Savannah like they are the same cities.
Charleston’s culture has surpassed being an historic town from the Civil War era and it’s changing every day. With Charleston Fashion Week and the ever-eclectic Spoleto, it’s established itself as a metropolitan city while maintaining its charm. Theatre 99 is another city favorite where you can see inspired, live improv shows from hilarious local troupes to Upright Citizens Brigade. So, by all means, go legally drink on the streets and eat at Paula Deen’s restaurant in Savannah, but don’t brag to us about it because you’ll just make us sad.
18. Make us wait in line to get into our favorite bar.
For those of us who reside in the city year round, the sultry summers and quiet winter breaks when we have our favorite spots almost to ourselves are little moments to be savored. No one is throwing up on the sidewalks outside or peeing in the alleys (usually). It’s just us, bonding over Brown Derbies at The Belmont. Then CofC resumes. Chaos ensues. As The College warns its staff each year, yes, the beach is close but the bars are closer.
19. Assume shrimp and grits is the only food group we offer.
The Holy City is revolutionary in the food industry. The myriad James Beard Award winners and nominees weren’t chosen because they perfected the fried green tomato. We have rustic dive bars, authentic Asian fusion, innovative French and open kitchens with ever-changing menus. Eating out anywhere else is boring.
20. Publish rave reviews telling the nation they should move here.
We know we’re great! We love it here, but when everyone wants to be part of the best city ever, it negates authenticity and introduces commerciality. We like you. You can visit, but, afterwards, please leave.