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Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:01 pm
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Default Had Enough of Denver, CO...

*"It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."*

In late July 2010, I moved to Denver, CO for work reasons and have been living in Littleton, CO and working in Downtown Denver ever since.

*Firstly, Some of my observations may be offensive to some Denver people, for that I can only apologize for your offence, and remind you that these are simply my observations, perceptions and opinions. I'm not stating them as fact.*

*Secondly, to offer some perspective, I consider myself to be a well-traveled gentleman. I spent my formative and teenage years growing up in my native England, before dividing time evenly between our holiday home in Portugal, and various work placements in Paris, France and various areas of Spain. I moved to the USA in the early 2000s and have lived in such areas as California, Oregon, North Carolina, Texas, and now Denver, CO. I have experienced many different lifestyles, cultures and environments, which I believe puts me in a good position to "judge" Denver and the Colorado areas that I have explored.*

Without further ado, here are my random observations:

*1 - ATTITUDES & PERSONALITIES*

I think the past few years of enjoying "southern hospitality" in Texas have somewhat spoiled me. When I first moved to Denver, and carried on the practice of southern manners and respect, I was at first shocked to see it wasn't reciprocated in Denver. A typical exchange of pleasantries in Texas would go something like this:

"Good morning, how are you doing?"
"I'm doing good, thank you! And yourself?"


or

"Thank you, hope you have a great day."
"Thank you too, and you do the same."


It came as a shock in Denver when I found THIS to be a typical response to my good manners:

"Good morning, how are you doing?"
"Good."


or

"Thank you, hope you have a great day."
"Uh-huh. / I will / Yup."


I know Colorado has somewhat of a reputation of "live and let live", which at first I took to be a good thing - people kept out of each other's business and were tolerant and accepting. However I've come to see that the phrase has been somewhat skewed to mean "You do your thing, and leave me alone." It's not a very sociable place, in my experience. People don't chit-chat in elevators, nor do they engage in small talk in restaurants or bars. And no, I'm not the annoying chatterbox who is forcing boring conversation on the guy who simply wants to mind his own business. I'm just talking about not returning a simple smile or a "good morning" when I offer one while waiting for an elevator to arrive. Doors are not held for you, and when you hold them for others, they won't thank you. If you let someone into your lane while driving, they won't wave you a token of thanks. I'm lucky to have a good group of close friends who visit and who I visit on weekends from my place of employment
, because it seems to be very VERY hard to make friends in Denver. It's a very closed off, introverted culture.

*2 - LOOKS AND DATING*

Again, considering my background in the UK, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy and all over the US, I hate to sound offensive here, and apologies for being potentially upsetting, but the women in Colorado are without a doubt the most frumpy, plain and practical I've ever seen in any other place. Clothes seem to be more "functional" than "fashionable", and it's rare to find a woman wearing anything other than jeans, khakis, corduroy trousers and old fashioned sweaters, blouses, etc. Even the younger girls seem immune to the trends of tanning, trendy hairstyles, make up, etc. In England, they have a phrase known as "The Farmer's Wife" to describe this particular look - homely, practical and plain.

If you like women to be somewhat feminine - enjoying the nail salon and trendy clothes, then you won't find your type in Denver. If, however, you enjoy a woman who looks good in beige khakis and likes walking her dog for six miles a day, you might be in luck.

The men are no better. I once read a theory that certain societies attract certain people. New York is the financial epicenter of the world - Wall Street, Main Street, headquarters and the best of the best. Thus it attracts like-minded people - hard nosed businessmen, cold corporate mentalities, etc. Hence, New Yorkers have a reputation of being somewhat callous and selfish. In the same vein, Los Angeles is the home of the movie stars, the musicians, the divas. Hence most people there tend to be somewhat superficial, shallow, dim-witted, etc.

By this pattern, Denver has become an economy based on IT and software. Consequently, most of the guys here tend to be nerdy, computer geek types. Spend ten minutes talking to a Denver-born co-worker or the guy sat next to you at the bar and you'll see that his life revolves around: his dog, hiking, cycling and his online business. Or something similar. It's very odd. Think back to high school, and the kid who was always called "Jacob" or "Marcus". For lunch, he'd eat a granola bar and a carton of soy milk. At recess, he'd read a book and look with pity at the kids listening to their music. Well all those Jacobs and Marcus' grew up to populate Denver, CO.

There is a considerable "Stepford vibe" around Denver and it's hard to put my finger on what it is.

*3 - CULTURE*

Denver so desperately wants to present itself as a cosmopolitan city, but sadly it falls a little short. Especially compared to the likes of LA, London, Paris and Dallas. There is the 16th Street Mall which everyone is oh-so-proud about, but in actuality is nothing more than a mall that has been cracked open and stretched into a high street rather than under one roof. Local theater is wonderful, and there is a solid music scene of local jazz, blues and soul acts. I've noticed that mainstream shows tend to skip Colorado, the Pepsi Arena hasn't really had anything "big time" in the six months I've been here.

The "environment" is a HUGE deal here, and you will constantly hear the buzz words of "e-[insert word here], "green", "organic", "electric" and "recycle". Most of it is in the form of redundant public relations exercises by the corporations here, such as the hotels claiming they will now only wash your sheets and towels every three days instead of one in order to "preserve the earth's water supply" (I'm sure saving money on detergent doesn't come into it, huh?). Most people like myself with a good in-built BS detector will laugh at this nonsense, but the Denverite really believes he's making a difference. It reminds me of the scene in the Simpsons when Ed Begley Jr refuses to board a bus due to the harm the fumes cause to the earth. He then climbs into a home-made contraption, telling onlookers, "It's a go-cart, powered by my own sense of self-satisfaction". I always think of that scene when I'm in Denver.

*4 - DAILY LIVING*

Living expenses in Denver are outrageous, as I discovered the first few times I ate out at a restaurant or did my first weekly grocery shop. Again, perhaps I was spoiled in Texas, but the food portion/price ratio is seriously out of whack compared to the Lone Star State.

Knock on wood, I have yet to encounter any crime here in Denver, and neighbors tend to be very quiet and non-intrusive.

*5 - WEATHER*

The touted "300 days of sunshine a year" is somewhat of a fallacy, unless the sunshine is counted when it's hidden behind grey clouds, or shining mutely while the snow falls. In contrast, since moving here, there have been a few days of gorgeous weather, but mostly grey overcast days, and recently, atrocious snow and sleet. To be fair though, it has been a very cold season nationwide, and even Texas has been getting blasted. You'd think with a reputation and history of snow, that Denver would be adequately prepared with these snowstorms, and would actually be setting an example to the rest of the nation on how to quickly and efficiently deal with snow on the roads. Just another day in park for Colorado, right? Wrong. You'll still see cars skidding and sliding, accidents and blocked roads, and people trapped in snowdrifts. The lack of ploughs, salt and chemical de-icers has really surprised me lately, as has the ability of the drivers to maneuver in the snow.

The worst, and most baffling, part of it all is that the natives are actually PROUD of their abysmal weather. They shake their heads and "huck, huck" at you when you tell them you had to dig your car out of a snow mound in the morning, patronizing you with a "It's usually much worse than this" or "You couldn't handle what we had last year!" That's right, pal - I couldn't. And you know why? Because I don't need to, and I don't want to. I've felt a cool ocean breeze on my face as the sun shined down on me while walking an Algarve harbor. I've sat on a patio near Lake Austin being tanned by the warm rays shining from a rich blue sky. Why anybody would choose to live and remain in Denver - where snow, ruined shoes, wind-whipped faces and weathered cars (you'll see a ton of those) are all part of life will mystify me. Especially when somewhere like Charlotte or Orlando is just a uHaul away. Hit the road and drive on out of there!

*6 - DRIVING*

Which brings me to another point: driving in Denver. AKA, an exercise in frustration. Colorado drivers are the most timid, passive drivers you will encounter in most parts of the USA. If the posted sign is 45, you can guarantee they will stick to 45, or maybe even 40, but not ONE mph over the limit. Therefore it's quite common to find yourself on an otherwise open road, trapped behind two side by side cars going 40 in a 45 zone for a good few miles. The concepts of the "fast lane" or "going a little fast in the HOV" lane DO NOT apply in Colorado. And the unspoken rule of being a little bit naughty and going around 5mph more than the posted limit also does NOT apply here. If the sign says 25mph, and you find yourself trapped behind a local on a one-lane road, then be prepared to do 20-25 behind him the whole way.

Similarly, locals with NOT pull out from a side street onto a main road unless both lanes are completely empty. Weaving, squeezing in, hauling ass, etc, is not applicable here. Similary, if they are on a side street, and they want to get into the left lane of the main road, they will not pull into the right lane and then attempt to get over in their own time. No sir. They will sit there till both lanes open up and they will gladly and ignorantly keep you waiting. Going back to what I said earlier, it's the skewed perception of "live and let live." They will do their own thing - wait in traffic until they get what they need while holding you up - and unlucky for you.

I've driven with maniacs in Italy who barely observe red lights and stop lights, and I've driven in Texas with the crazy lane changers, but this whole "ultra-safe" method is exclusively Denver. And believe it or not, I find myself yearning for the Italian crazies, because at least you can get home at a decent time.

*7 - FAMILY*

Here is where Denver scores big points with me - it is a wonderful family place and there are umpteen things to do. While I wouldn't recommend a young, upstart college grad to come to Denver to spend the best years of his life (he will find it boring and tedious), I would recommend families and 40s+ to move here for the absolutely plethora of activites and facilities of families and children. Everything from the Kids Expo, Monkey Business, Children's Museum of Denver, etc all offer great entertainment for all the family. And places like Houston and LA didn't even come close to the array of things like Toddler Gyms, Kids Gym, Kindergarten Dance Classes, etc that we have found here in Denver. In some other states, it seems that kids don't need amusement until they are 10 and over. Here in Denver, you can find things for your 6 month old to enjoy. And that's a really important thing for us.

To summarize, I'll use my high school analogy again. If you were the kind of kid who got busted for smoking cigarettes in the toilets, played football or your lost your virginity in the backseat of a car to your longtime boyfriend, Denver is not for you. However, if your memories of high school were the electronics club and tofu sandwiches for lunch, you may have found your dream home in Denver. It's not for everyone...but it might be for you.



*Epilogue:* When I made my first trip here to scout homes and locales, I was amazed at how infrequently I seemed to see important places like Walgreens, gas stations, etc while there seemed to be a liquor store on every single Denver street corner. It never made sense to me at the time, but now it does. I think the only way the locals are able to live their lives here in Colorado is to pass the days in a blind drunken stupor. How else would you find contentment and bliss in this city?
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:05 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Seems like the women of Denver are immune to your charms
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:06 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Bloody fantastic beer scene though, which surely makes up for whatever you're moaning about? (Sorry - gave up after the first couple of paragraphs).
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:07 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
Seems like the women of Denver are immune to your charms
Have you seen them?! More like immune to Max Factor and cleavage.
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:13 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Someone else who thinks the speed limit laws don't apply to them and they can pick and choose which laws to abide by.
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:16 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
Someone else who thinks the speed limit laws don't apply to them and they can pick and choose which laws to abide by.
Are you one of those chaps going 40 in the 45 zone that I mentioned?

Come on...there's nothing wrong with going 50 in a 45 zone, especially when it's a highway or a clear road. Common sense should dictate those situations.
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:22 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Originally Posted by DonewithDenver View Post
there seemed to be a liquor store on every single Denver street corner. I think the only way the locals are able to live their lives here in Colorado is to pass the days in a blind drunken stupor.
My kinda town
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:23 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Originally Posted by ChocolateBabz View Post
My kinda town
Nah, Houston was my kinda town, brother. "You don't know what you got till it's gone" has never rang more true.

I
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:26 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Originally Posted by ChocolateBabz View Post
My kinda town
It actually sounds pretty good. I like booze, the environment and careful driving and I'm not into false nails I have visited and it seemed pleasant apart from all the bums in the park, but you get that in more liberal areas.
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:26 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Originally Posted by DonewithDenver View Post
Nah, Houston was my kinda town, brother. "You don't know what you got till it's gone" has never rang more true.

I
Ahhh..... you like Houston.
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:30 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
Ahhh..... you like Houston.
I'm very pro-Texas, and I found the vibe I was looking for in Houston: cosmopolitan, opinionated, aggressive, colorful, hard working yet laid back, bigger and better. Houstonians love their food, their music, and their BBQ.

Whenever I hear liberals say they yearn for a certain kind of world, and I see how vanilla and passive Denver is, it makes me shudder. It's a certain kind of person who likes this kind of safe, dull environment, and I'm not one of them.
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:31 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

I think part of your problem is living in Littleton. That could be described as a bit Stepford Wive-ish. Littleton is not Denver. I lived in the suburbs of Colorado Springs - very similar. I hated it too. But downtown Denver rocks.

I agree with that there is a distinct lack of stockings or opaque tights to be found on women here, but it's almost made up for in terms of lycra yoga pants, running tights, pony tails and skinny jeans.

I'm not sure what constitutes big acts in terms of music? We haven't had Michael Jackson here lately because he's dead. Sorry, there isn't much interest in Celine Dion, Take That or the Spice Girls here. People are a little more discerning.

That said, we did have the Police come. And they were crap. U2 did a really famous gig at Red Rocks.

Anyway, the weather is almost always sunny. I disagree with you there.
You also forget to mention the $5,000 mountain bike on top of the $1000 car. And Nalgene bottles. And triathlons. Everyone here does triathlons.
And the ubiquitous Colorado bandanna on the dog.

Plus we have Denver Cruisers. Denver is the Mecca of cruiser bicycle culture. We rode last week at -22C.

I suspect the problem is that you're just a goit. Or a gimboid. (Yes, Red Dwarf is available on Netflix...)

Last edited by Octang Frye; Feb 9th 2011 at 10:35 pm.
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:32 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Originally Posted by Octang Frye View Post
I suspect the problem is that you're just a goit. Or a gimboid. (Yes, Red Dwarf is available on Netflix...)
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:35 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

[QUOTE=DonewithDenver;9165321][B][SIZE="4"]

*7 - FAMILY*

Here in Denver, you can find things for your 6 month old to enjoy. And that's a really important thing for us.


Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
Seems like the women of Denver are immune to your charms
What's he so worried about the women for? He seems to have a wife and child . . . And time on his hands to write this vast post.

Last edited by Nutmegger; Feb 9th 2011 at 10:38 pm.
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Old Feb 9th 2011, 10:35 pm
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Default Re: Had Enough of Denver, CO...

Originally Posted by Octang Frye View Post
I think part of your problem is living in Littleton. That could be described as a bit Stepford Wive-ish.

I agree with that there is a distinct lack of stockings or opaque tights to be found on women here, but it's almost made up for in terms of lycra yoga pants, running tights, pony tails and skinny jeans.

I'm not sure what constitutes big acts in terms of music? We haven't had Michael Jackson here lately because he's dead. Sorry, there isn't much interest in Celine Dion, Take That or the Spice Girls here. People are a little more discerning.

That said, we did have the Police come. And they were crap. U2 did a really famous gig at Red Rocks.

Anyway, the weather is almost always sunny. I disagree with you there.
You also forget to mention the $5,000 mountain bike on top of the $1000 car. And Nalgene bottles. And triathlons. Everyone here does triathlons.
And the ubiquitous Colorado bandanna on the dog.

Plus we have Denver Cruisers. Denver is the Mecca of cruiser bicycle culture. We rode last week at -22C.

I suspect the problem is that you're just a goit. Or a gimboid. (Yes, Red Dwarf is available on Netflix...)
Was it necessary to direct a personal insult at me, simply for sharing some views and perceptions of Denver? And yes, I've seen Red Dwarf too back home

What made you move here? And more to the point, what made you stay? I honestly think this is the worst place in all of the US that I've lived in. Again, my OPINION. I can't believe I have the honor of paying state tax to live in this frosted, liberal, smug, industrial hellhole.
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