You Can't Spell Life without 'LI': The Stereotypical Struggles Of A Long Islander

by Stephanie Hayman

Somewhere beyond Connecticut, bordering New York City, but floating amidst the cascading waters of the Atlantic Ocean, there is a small, yet densely populated piece of land that is lovingly known as Long Island.

It is a beautiful place that boasts some of the nicest beaches and prime tourist attractions along the East Coast; it even hosts some budding universities.

It can also be classified as a mosh pit of people (without the accompanying fun music) and a location where traffic is so utterly painful that it will lead you to want to cry and lean on the horn for the duration of your commute.

I am a born and bred Long Islander — and proud of it. I love the small beach town where I grew up and will always appreciate the hometown feel with which it fills me when I return.

However, those who aren't from Long Island often fail to understand the magic that we, LIers, know and love. These foreigners are often the first to cast judgment on the people who live here and have, thereby, caused rampant generalizations of us to traverse the county.

For example, months ago, I went out on a date with someone who lived on Long Island but was originally from California.

For a solid 45 minutes, the conversation was anchored in how he hated all Long Islanders (despite my having mentioned that I was born and raised there). "What an insensitive prick," I thought, "Don't insult my people! He's definitely just jealous of everyone who lives here."

That seems to be the honest truth: People who are not from the Island do not understand Long Islanders. Here are the top four Long Island stereotypes that do not [wholly] ring true, despite how many people believe them.

1. All Guys Are Douchey Meatheads

Don't be fooled; it's not like there aren't douchey meatheads who reside on Long Island. To make a blanket statement and designate this accusatory label to all guys, however, is just completely wrong and out of line. Many simply go to the gym because they like to stay fit.

Just because you're wearing your headphones, have a Gatorade in your right hand and an oxygen mask is on your face doesn't automatically mean you're a douche. Furthermore, if you have some muscle, more power to you.

You lift? Most girls think that's awesome, unless your biceps are bigger than the size of your head. There are plenty of educated, amazing guys who live on Long Island, and the wide majority of them are not at Planet Fitness 24/7, acting like arrogant jerks to the general public.

2. All Girls Are Bitchy Princesses

Guess again. We are not all prancing around on Tuesday afternoons at 3 pm in our Christian Louboutins while casually sipping espresso. We are not in our Oscar de la Renta LBDs, cradling glasses of Merlot in our hands while the wait staff feeds us gluten-free pasta.

Most importantly, we do not always get what we want. Girls on Long Island are of all kinds: fashionistas, gym buffs, skater chicks, collared professionals, etc.

We do not hold little bells in our hands to ring for the butler when we want our shoes taken off or eyeliner fixed. We don't pull a Cher Horowitz and say "as if" to every guy whose interest we pique. Some may be high-maintenance, but that exists everywhere.

3. We Are All Rich

When I told people in college that I was from Long Island, they automatically assumed I was a rich bitch from the Hamptons. I seriously cannot tell you how many people said, "Oh, you're from Long Island? You must be loaded. Are you from the Hamptons?" No, no and no.

Long Island is certainly dotted with very affluent people, but it is not busting at the seams with rich affluence. It is full of respectable, upper-middle class and middle-class working families.

Yes, we may live in one of the most expensive places in the United States of America, but that doesn't mean we are spoiled or don't work hard for what we have. Some people have to juggle two or three jobs to afford life here. It's all about saving and sacrifice.

All of us aren't rich; we aren't all living in mansions, speeding down Northern State Parkway in Lamborghinis, setting our million-dollar yachts to sail in the Peconic Bay.

We don't all play tennis on Sunday mornings at our country clubs, own summer homes on Dune Road or have Mommy and Daddy give us $1000 per week for allowance. It doesn't rain dollar bills in Suffolk and Nassau counties, but people do bust their asses to live comfortable lives. Don't get it twisted.

4. All We Do Is Club On Weekends

This one is my favorite. Once you hit 18, apparently, life becomes one constant club party. Forget buying lottery tickets; every Friday and Saturday night, we are assumed to be giddy with anticipation to start power hour and get to Dizzy's, Nachos, Amnesia or Emporium by 11:30 pm to get the party started.

No, we don't go out to restaurants, hang out at bars or go shopping, right? We all bump and grind constantly, according to so many non-LIers. If you don't meet anyone one weekend, what do you do? You go back the next weekend and get your buzz, grind and A-game on, once again, right?

No. Some people actually work on weekends and some are at home, reading books.

Those who do not pledge allegiance to LI are the ones who hold these stereotypes against the rest of us. Is it due to jealousy? Maybe. Aside from all of the cliché and unorthodox associations, however, some things are true, for sure.

We have the best bagels; we have the best pizza; 3:00 am diner trips are nothing less than; we put the "aw" in "cawfee," like nobody else, and our beaches blow everyone else's out of the water.

We have Fire Island, Montauk Point, Boardy Barn, and we're a stone's throw away from one of the greatest cities in the world. We are the most legit people in the United States of America; we are Strong Island, and we don't take crap from anybody.


Photo Courtesy: Tumblr