I just read a quote that said, “…every city has a sex and an age that has nothing to do with demography…” I think that’s true.
Chicago is a strong, no nonsense, woman, who ages well, even if she is frustrated, some of the time. She’s caring and protective and about thirty-seven. She’s all about education and beauty. The lake is part of her and keeps her grounded and in place, even though I think she would like to travel, now and then. I think she has a sense of humor, or else she’d kill all of us, but she has to keep an eye on us so we don’t kill ourselves. She likes flowers and the lions in front of the Art Institute. She loves skyscrapers and recognizes those of us she considers hers, being born in her arms. She’s nurturing, but she can be strict and you don’t want to get her angry, or the storms she creates, while exciting and energetic, can wear you out. I don’t think she’s grateful, since she thinks that’s silly and a waste of time. She expects us to do the right thing. She’s filled with life and unbound joy, but she doesn’t mess around. Chicago is hard, it doesn’t bend easily. It teaches us to keep our eyes open and to take care of ourselves. It’s a tough city.
Paris, on the other hand, is soft and loves pleasure, in all it’s forms. Food, sex, art, everything. It’s all about beauty and white buildings, open space and gardens. Everything is there to touch our senses. It’s a delicious place to be. Definitely female, around forty, so she has experience but isn’t jaded. She loves the finer things in life and thinks leisure is for everyone. She’s a party girl, who will try anything. Eclairs, desserts, and beautiful delicacies. Love locks. Passion. Paris is the center of the world.
Rome, definitely male around forty-five. Close, thick buildings, earth tones, earthy. The fields and food, straight from someone’s hands. Competition, churches, art and beauty, religion. The David. Di Vinci, Michelangelo, fountains. Heavy food, red, sauces, delicious, fresh, hearty. Louder. Messier. People are alive, not holding back but living larger. More open.
Florence, female, a mature woman, more refined and chic, than Rome. Tidy. Beautiful and smart.
These are the biggest cities I’ve ever been in. This is how I see them. Paris really does capture a person’s heart. You hardly notice it, at first, but then, when you’re ready to leave, you know that not all of you will be going home. Part of you stays in Paris forever. That’s just the way she is. You fall in love with her and never fully recover. She takes your heart, as her due, and adds it to the collection of every other heart left behind by others.