Saturday, January 14, 2023

Still Life with Robin: Attention, Chevy Chasers....Is That What You Really Would Like to Be Called?

by Peggy Robin

So I was reading the Chevy Chase Community Listserv a few days ago and I was struck by the subject line of this message: "What Chevy Chasers Have Said They Want in a Community Center" -- not because of topic itself, but because of the term used for the residents of Chevy Chase:"Chevy Chasers" ?? Sounds to me like people running after a Malibu or a Camaro. Right away I'm thinking of some equivalents for other makes of cars besides a Chevy -- like a "Pontiac Pursuer" or maybe "Honda Herder." 

But who am I to tell the people of another neighborhood what they should call themselves? I'm secure in the knowledge that we residents of Cleveland Park all identify ourselves as Cleveland Parkers -- as indeed, anyone who lives in any neighborhood ending in "Park" would do. There are Woodley Parkers, Glover Parkers, AU Parkers,  Michigan Parkers, Manor Parkers, etc., etc.

But that started me thinking about all the other neighborhoods where it's not so clear what you would call yourself when you are identifying yourself by the part of town you call home. In some cases, you might have a choice of terms. Take Tenleytown, You could be a Tenleytowner, or you could be a Tenleytownsman or townswomen, or collectively, Tenleytownspeople. If you wanted to sound more folksy, you could be Tenleytownfolk. 

Georgetown residents, on the other hand, have always been called Georgetowners; they just don't seem like they'd ever be called Georgetownfolk.

Casting around at other DC neighborhoods, I see so many neighborhoods whose residents need a moniker. Happy to oblige!

Forest Hills. Forest Hillyers. Or maybe Forest Hillspeople. Or Foresters of the Hills.
Dupont Circle. Dupont Circlers. Dupont Circlites.
Spring Valley. Spring Valleyites. Or they could be Springers of the Valley.
Adams Morgan. Adams Morganites. Or Adams Morganians.
U Street. U Streeters.
West End. West Enders.
Brookland. Brooklanders
Petworth. Petworthers. But if I lived there, I would go for Petworthies.
Federal Triangle. Federal Triangulators.
Shaw. They could be Shawians, but, alternatively, they could adopt the term used by scholars of the works and philosophy of the playwright and essayist George Bernard Shaw: Shavian. If you think that sounds pretentious, yes, it probably does. But I still like it.
Swampoodle. I wouldn't put an "R" at the end but just would call myself a Swampoodle, like a boggy version of the French dog breed, which I'm sure can be found in abundance in the neighborhood. Is it insulting to call someone a poodle? Depends on whether you think of poodles as a smart, elegant breed, or a silly, over-sheared, fusspot of a breed.
Capitol Hill. Capitol Hillyers or Hillers.
Hill East. Well, they can't be called Hill Easters --especially if they don't celebrate that holiday-- so I guess they'll have to be Easterners. Maybe Easties, for short.
Naylor Gardens. They could be Naylor Gardeners or Naylor Gardenians.
Barry Farm. Barry Farmers, of course.
Washington Highlands. Washington Highlanders.
Southwest Waterfront. Southwest Waterfronters, or maybe Southwest Watermen and Waterwomen or Waterfolk. 
Palisades. Palisaders, Palisadians. Palisadists?
Foggy Bottom. I'm sure they don't want to be called Foggy Bottomers. Maybe Foggy Bottomites? No, that's even worse. Foggy Bums? Now we're going from bad to terrible. And now that I'm stumped, I think I'll quite while I'm behind!
Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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