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Am I a Sensitive Softie?

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I came across this survey study in the newspaper tonight. First, let me preface to say that I live on Staten Island – been living here for over twenty years – and that Staten Island is not actually a city but a borough of New York City. We are the smallest borough and definitely less famous than say the boroughs of Manhattan or Brooklyn or even the Bronx. Still at a population of over 450,000 Staten Island is roughly the spread of a medium size city.

From today’s New York Post. (

Hey, ladies, the perfect mate may be just a short orange ferry ride away!
Against all odds, Staten Island has been ranked the 10th-most sensitive city in the United States in a new survey — which apparently missed the fact that the borough is not actually a city unto itself.
For those that might not know, the ferry ride that’s being referred is the Staten Island ferry, which crosses the harbor from Staten Island to Manhattan. It’s relatively well known. As you can see, the author of the article is somewhat shocked (“against all odds” – I tell you, we get no respect) as are the men around here.

As with most of these “studies,” there’s a lot of psychobabble that gets thrown around.

The survey author,’s “chief scientific adviser,” Dr. Helen Fisher claimed each of the winning cities features a specific type of man she calls “builders.”
“They are men who express a constellation of personality traits linked with the serotonin system in the brain,” she said.
I wonder what Dr. Helen Fisher got her degree in, astrology? Anyway, what exactly does this mean? “Builder”? What exactly is a sensitive man, I wondered?

“Sensitive men are traditional,” Fisher said. “They deeply value loyalty, duty, respectability and proper moral conduct.
These mushy men want to do the “right’ thing,” Fisher said. “It’s these chivalrous qualities that make a sensitive man.”
Now here I was expecting a sort of metrosexual type, one that pampers his hair or shaves his underarms (or elsewhere) or tweezes his eyebrows. Never did I expect they would be referring to a traditional male. Hey that is me! Loyal, certainly; sense of duty, obviously; respectful, most of the time; proper moral conduct – I would say so. Hmm.

That article wasn’t very long, so I searched around to see if any other media covered it, and our local news website had it(, but without much more information. However they did ask some locals what they thought.

"I think Staten Island men are sensitive because our mothers raised us right," said Dennis Carregal, 23, New Dorp. "We were brought up to be respectful, even if sometimes we come off as if we are rough around the edges."
Hmm, good point. We have mothers that weren’t shy about smacking us across the face.

"I have male customers come in daily wanting to discuss their relationship issues, or how they should go about getting a mate," said William Reischour, 28, co-owner of Next Level Barber Shop, Grant City. " I tell them go with what they know and to be themselves, regardless of how sensitive they might be perceived."
Hmm, I’ve had the same barber for thirty-something years, a conservative, old Italian who thinks the minimum jail time should be 20 years – and that’s for jay walking! – and I would never, ever, EVER talk to him about relationships. Talking to your barber about getting a mate? Oh, I would be so embarrassed. You don’t talk to your barber about sh*t like that. It’s gotta be politics or football or crime.

Here’s the top ten list of cities if you’re interested:
1. Pompano Beach, Fla.
2. Roanoke, Va.
3. West Hollywood, Calif.
4. Nashville, Tenn.
5. Buffalo, N.Y.
6. Sarasota, Fla.
7. Greenville, S.C.
8. Wilmington, N.C.
9. Indianapolis, Ind.
10. Staten Island, N.Y.

Oh well, truth be told, I may have lived on Staten Island for twenty years, but I grew up and lived in Brooklyn for over twenty-five, and those are the formative years. Brooklyn would never make a sensitive guy list. No f’n way.


  1. qimissung's Avatar
    I read an article about those articles that propose a city to be or have the most of something. I gather they pull statistcs or numbers on whatever it is they are examining. If they are looking at "the saddest city" then they look at numbers of people who have committed suicide in that city, etc. In other words, the way they arrive at conclusions doesn't really hold up, as you suspected.

    Although I do think, Virgil, that you are the last boy scout. What does pussnboots think?

    I've never been to NYC. Is Staten Island as bland as it's made out to be? The "suburbia" of the big apple?
  2. mtpspur's Avatar
    Buffalo NY--sigh. I am originally born in Rochester NY and Buffalo was looked down on for years growing up. Also took the oath there upon entering the Air Force after sleeping on the floor all night at the Hotel Layfayette because those recruiter idiots overbooked the room. Ever once in awhile I'll get a AAA member or employee who has been there and I ask them if the place has burned down yet. Hmmmm---maybe Indianapolis IN would be better--much better memories of THAT city--went to a wedding there. Come to think of it other then my own guttersnipes that was the last wedding I have been too. Sorry Virgil--was too lazy to blog tonight so getting it out of my system this way.
    Updated 01-14-2012 at 07:42 PM by mtpspur (extra really bad typing then usual)
  3. Buh4Bee's Avatar
    haha! mtp- I do that too sometimes.

    Well, Virgil, I agree with Qimi about the stats. The data doesn't sound overly valid, knowing what NYC is like- more precisely Staten Island. But knowing you, as little as I do, seem to be a sensitive guy, at least, some of the time.
  4. pussnboots's Avatar
    Qimi: I think I'll pass on saying anything LOL
  5. qimissung's Avatar
    Probably a wise move.
  6. Buh4Bee's Avatar
    LOL ladies!

    Virgil, Mr. Jersea says cheers to you over his beer tonight for being a softie!
    Updated 01-14-2012 at 09:21 PM by Buh4Bee
  7. Virgil's Avatar
    Thank you ladies and Rich. After thinking this over a bit, I've come to the conclusion I'm not sensitive, perhaps not in the least. I consider myself compassionate and there is a significant difference. The explanation that Dr. Fisher makes that sensitive is traditional is rather hokey. It's meaningless.
  8. Virgil's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by qimissung
    I've never been to NYC. Is Staten Island as bland as it's made out to be? The "suburbia" of the big apple?
    We are residential, almost exclusively so. It's mostly houses with back yards. If anything in the big apple is suburbia, I guess Staten Island is it, but house to house distance is much more compressed than say real suburbia. We are compressed tighter than what you probably are used to in Texas. 450,000 in population on a small island is still a high population density, though not anywhere near Manhattan's.

    As to bland, well I don't know. I guess life is more bland here than on Manhattan. It's mostly family life here. But our county (which makes up the whole island) has the distinction of having the highest concentration of Italian-Americans in the whole country. When you have that many guidos (google "guido slang" if you're not familiar) in one place, it can't be bland.

    When I was blogging regularly I had thought about doing a photo essay of Staten Island. Perhaps I'll do that when spring comes around. Spring is definitely our best season.
  9. LadyLuck's Avatar
    Where do I find one of these You are compassionate, but I would have to agree and say not sensitive. When I think of a "sensitive" man, I think the weepy whiny kind. That said... I'm not really sensitive either if the above are the qualifications for a man, and I don't fit these. I don't find it likely that I can be characterized as a sensitive woman either
  10. Virgil's Avatar
    Thanks LL.