1. Mix up Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. Black sheep Northern Arizona University is exempt from their 118-year-old Duel in the Desert rivalry.
2. Overdress. We’re casual. Not like Crocs-at-dinner casual, but casual.
3. Underdress, especially in cities like Scottsdale or up-scale parts of Tucson or Sedona. Tacky.
4. Demonstrate confusion about the salsa bar, because you are going to a locally-owned Mexican restaurant, which is a test. Hint: salsa bars are like buffets. All the salsa you can happily chug down.
5. Pronounce it “saaaayl-zuh.” It’s “Ah.” Like “ahhhhhmazing.” Same with tacos. They’re not “tackos,” they’re “ahhhhhhh … some.”
6. Put on a cowboy’s hat and not intend to go all the way to the rodeo with him.
7. Use “training wheels” to prep your tequila shot. By age 21, you shouldn’t need the lime, saliva, and salt ritual.
8. Demonstrate potential for drama. Low-maintenance is key.
9. Disdain hiking, camping, off-roading, and/or shooting guns.
10. Wear socks with sandals.
11. Not love all things Mexico. We respect the people, the food, Rocky Point, the piñatas…the people.
12. Attack the LGBTQA community. Most Arizona cities are extraordinarily welcoming, especially for a red state.
13. Say we’re poor. Some of us are and — we know it . And don’t hint at your goal to be a Sugar Baby. We’re oversaturated.
14. Discuss politics right away. There are few Centrist Arizonans. We swing extreme left or right. Or Libertarian. You might guess very wrong.
15. Find the desert to be ugly, and/or whine about the heat. Go home to your bugs and humidity, and shovel your car out of your driveway already.
16. Brag about being from California. Remember the bumper sticker: Welcome to Flagstaff; now go home.
17. Waste water. From ranchers to hippies, we’re sensitive to our ecology and conservationists at heart.
18. Call someone an Indian who’s not from the subcontinent of India. It’s racist. You’re insulting about 300,000 Native Americans and a heckuva lot of pre-European history.
19. Throw a lit cigarette butt. The forest fires are horrendous and worsening. Respect!
20. Not be willing to learn to two-step or salsa.