I’ve seen visions of Atlanta as a goddess, and I am in love. Lady ATL, you are beautiful, intelligent, sexy, compassionate, and possess no shortage of personality. You’re gracious when you need to be but also know how to hold your ground if we push too far. You’re glowing, you’re fancy, you’re crazy, and you’re beautiful. I love you. We love you. When you get off work tonight and put on your favorite Jagged Edge or 112 ballad, read this letter just so you’ll know of all the ways.
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John Mayer made himself when he lived with you. Organized Noize came from East Point and College Park and changed hip-hop music forever with OutKast, Goodie Mob, Joi, and other charter members of The Dungeon Family. You gave us Ying Yang Twins, Indigo Girls, Kris Kross, Young Jeezy, Freak Nasty, Gucci Mane, and even Lil Scrappy! Word to Coca-Cola -- you taught the world to sing.
Your unmatched dance moves
Nobody’s mastered the art of taking musically motivated body movements and sending them viral like you have. Even NPR’s Robert Siegel had to recognize: when a 20-year-old song can come right back and enter the top 10 singles on the Billboard 100 chart, it’s because Atlanta music is just so damn danceable. You taught us how to Dougie and gave us modern moves like the Whip/Nae Nae and the Dab, but you’ve been training us to teach the rest of Earth how to do the Soulja Boy, the Bankhead Bounce, and if you’re a true ATLien, “ragtop.” YEET!
You’re country in all the right ways
As sophisticated as you are, with all that city slickness, you have an accent that makes people from England wonder if you have a proper education. They see you wearing flip-flops with socks, hear your drawn-out, syrupy vowels, and they think you’ve survived solely on Merle Haggard songs and a diet of fried meats, boiled vegetables & peanuts, and sweet cornbread. They don’t know that you’re universal and worldly. Maybe it’s because of your toes. Whatever it is, just keep sipping that over-sweet tea like a country Kermit the Frog meme, and pay those carpetbagging haters no nevermind.
Your food. Your incredible food.
The entire planet came out of the culinary closet in the past few years, admitting that they weren’t just addicted to Southern food, but they refuse rehab. And you can’t blame them. Your food is at once traditional and intercontinental. You’ve found a way to take the diversity of your residents and turn their kitchen talents into something internationally recognizable yet completely unique. Sometimes it’s Korean, Mexican, or all the other ethnic restaurants on Buford Hwy. Other times it’s chicken and waffles, or shrimp and grits (always with salt, not sugar -- let the debate end here), and sweet tea with vodka. And the shit tastes great!
Your ability to teach us patience on a daily basis
The traffic on your streets and highways has the ability to severely depress all who are forced to commute daily during rush hours. Whenever those of us who get caught in senseless stalls reach the point where the road finally reopens for speed limit driving, we find that our fellow travelers were usually just texting, or farting, or contemplating a quick and painless death with too much seriousness to actually get themselves moving. We threaten these people with violence -- or just seriously nasty faces and fist-shakes. But with each day of endurance, we learn a little more about humanity -- that is, that humans suck and are generally stupid, and my God, please be a self-driving Prius. This eventually allows for forgiveness of your fellow idiot. Thank you, Atlanta. And thanks, Obama.
You’re a mini-Mother Earth
Everybody’s seen those artists’ prints you can purchase at any summertime ATL festival: some green-hued, flowing-haired female deity, with leafy trees, vines, and other flora sprouting from her fingers to her feet. The sexy Incredible Hulk. That’s you and your urban forest, which blends with your skyline to create a new industrial aesthetic with a natural feel. The whole city sometimes looks like a metropolitan campsite... but hey, that’s much better than what’s available in Florida.
Your open arms that take us in when we’re broke
Though the gap of wealth inequality is ridiculously wide in Atlanta, everybody knows that you can get by on much less money than you could in one of America’s other major cities. “Fake it ‘til you make it” isn’t just a phrase people throw around here; it’s an anthem -- a rallying cry -- for all who have aspirations to live in a metropolitan area with access to great restaurants, art and culture, and with career opportunities from medicine to film and entertainment. We had nothing, Atlanta, but you let us crash on your proverbial couch for months until we finally found that dream job. We’ll pay you back... once we’ve gone through bankruptcy.
You’re a model for tolerance
In the south, at least. Georgia ain’t always the most progressive place. But, Miss Lady, you’re so accepting and unafraid of people who aren’t like you, that you help balance out the whole state. Just a few weeks ago you kept us from looking like North Carolina’s wretched, biased, segregationist aunt, as well as Texas’ toothless, trigger-happy cousin, when you told the governor you wouldn’t be sharing any more of your sweet love (well, money) with the rest of the state if he allowed discrimination in public bathrooms and guns on college campuses. You made a good Deal.
Your seduction techniques that got us the Super Bowl
Sure, the Falcons -- bless their hearts -- are players (in the literal sense only, it sometimes seems). But it was you who played the bigger game and got us the biggest sports event in America. We will have a new stadium, which nobody’s really sure we needed, but oh man, it’ll have a retractable ceiling! And will be see through! And there’s all sorts of development going on in Vine City because of the construction and economic impact a stadium hosting the big game might have! The question is: how close we can get to actually playing in the championship? Maybe that’s a dream too soon dreamt.
Your style, which is finally good now
Atlantans are dressing so much cuter since moving on from our first decade of the millennium. Not that we were as bad off as our cousins in Cobb County with their tractor couture, but we definitely needed to grow up a bit and expand beyond our former range of ultra-prep Polo to white tees and Jordans. Our pants definitely got slimmer, but at least they fit now. And our color schemes have gone from radioactive pastel to stuff that better matches our hairstyles and beards. You styled us because you love us, and because you knew we’d immediately look out of place if we ever left the city looking so incredibly bizarre.
Even with three-hour waits at the security gates, it’s hard to hate on Hartsfield-Jackson. Sure, some people refer to it with a corny nickname, but you’ve kept it classy by shouting out two highly influential Atlanta mayors with our airport’s name, putting billions of dollars up to expand and continue to upgrade concourses, runways and terminals, and you can put us in many major cities in a single flight. Not to mention, your sophisticated palate set such a standard for the term “airport food” that we don’t even mind arriving several hours early. More time to enjoy One Flew South. You’re so damn fly.
Your language that no one else in the world can speak
You taught us to think of “trapping” as not just something you do with a hound. When you talk about the “bando,” you mean an abandoned house (used for trapping), not a Burmese martial art or some form of yoga, which we’re sure you’d look just as lovely doing. “Twelve” is not just a fancy hotel in Atlantic Station. And we don’t even have to mention “skeet,” but we will -- multiple times in a row. Atlanta, shawty, you that fie.
You’re naked. A lot.
Even with fewer strip clubs than you had back in the ‘90s, and even with these new incorporated “cities” popping up and trying to force long-standing shoe-modeling institutions out of town, everyone knows who wears the strip club crown. There’s only one Magic City, and it sure as hell isn’t Miami.
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Mike Jordan has cheated on Atlanta with a few other hot markets since first moving here in 1995, but is ready to renew his vows with ATL, via Twitter, at @michaelbjordan.