Chicago's Manhood in the Tank

Chicago grabs the 46th spot out of 50

Results of a recent study that rank the "manliness" of major American cities may have some Chicagoans running to the store to buy more power tools, high speed fishing boats and checkered shirts that authentic lumberjacks might wear.

When the final tally was in, Chicago found itself at spot 46 on the list of the 50 most manly cities in the nation.  While larger cities like Los Angeles and New York found themselves at even less masculine spots, the list of cities that bested Chicago is almost as embarrassing for some as the fact that both the Cubs and the Sox were wiped out of the playoffs in the first round in 2008.

The survey found Nashville, Tenn., was fit to receive the title of the manliest city in the nation with runner up Charlotte, NC, right behind it, the Associated Press reported.  Second runner up Oklahoma City was last seen calculating how many places back it is if it's listed as "second runner up."  Cincinnati, Denver, St. Louis, Columbus, Ohio, Kansas City, Missouri, Indianapolis, and Toledo, Ohio rounded out the top ten.

But before anyone gets upset, it should be noted Chicago has gotten its fair share of positive notoriety recently from very reputable sources.  In December 2008, Chicago was named City of the Year by GQ magazine. In early March of this year, the EPA granted the Windy City the title of the nation's sixth greenest city.   Cooler titles than "manliest?"  You be the judge. 

The research behind the list of manliest cities, meanwhile, was conducted by Sperling's BestPlaces and commissioned by the people who make Combos.  That's right, Combos.  It's a snack that's both a pretzel and a filling.

Sure, Combos may be tasty, but are they really that manly that they can determine what's good for the non-cheese-filled part of the country?  Have you ever seen a lumberjack eating Combos?  Or how about one of those World's Strongest Man contestants?  They probably just skip snack foods all together and go straight to biting the heads off livestock for sustenance.

The survey results were released on Friday, but a Web search of the Sperling Web site's "recent studies" this afternoon did not have the study results listed.  The site did list other studies they had conducted, however. Four of the 10 "most manly" cities found places on another pair of Sperling lists: the Healthiest Cities list and its least healthy counterpart.  Denver managed to stay in the 10 healthiest, but on the flip side, the power tool loving cities of Indianapolis, Columbus and Cincinnati were on the least healthy list.

There was a time once when manliness and meaningless statistics both stood for something in this nation.  Now that these two staples in American society have been forcibly mixed together like some commonplace, two-in-one snack food for people who could never cut it as a lumberjack, Chicago should probably feel happy it wasn’t placed any higher on the list than it was.

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