Every week, our Anonymous Lobbyist answers your questions about how laws get made and why they probably shouldn't. If you have a question about the dirty business of doing business in Washington, ask her.

This week: why you will hate it here, if you don't already.

So...just how bad is D.C., really? I'm not yet thirty but I'm certainly not fresh out of college. I'm getting too old to drink my way through a shitty underpaid job, plus I've done it already. I kind of like my job here in Small Town, and I don't know anyone in D.C. But...it's D.C.! It's bigger so it must be better right? And the guys surely more plentiful? In closing to what has become a really girlie question, is it better to be a medium-sized fish in a small pond, or plankton in the ocean (but with more hot, single plankton around)?

Not to be too terribly cruel, but, by the time I (and the rest of single, female D.C.) got to the end of your email, I wasn't sure whether to laugh, or cry.

I don't personally think D.C.'s too bad. I mean, it's certainly not New York or Hotlanta or LA or San Francisco -- don't get me wrong. Those cities all have some kind of unique culture, decent professional sports teams, really tall buildings, extremely attractive people, awesome night life and insane real estate prices. It's not even Chicago, which aspires to those things but still has, you know, Midwesterners and the Bears and shitty weather but also has interesting architecture and some culture and good nightlife and insane real estate. D.C., well... 40 percent of the land here is owned by the federal government and is, by and large, covered by squat, drab and uninteresting (and, at night, uninhabited) federal buildings. Fewer than 600,000 people live in D.C. proper. Real estate is expensive like a real city, but you're basically buying shares in a drained swamp. This time of year, it's hot and nearly unbearably humid, filled with tourists in fanny packs who never seem to know where they're going and interns out looking for their next free meal and a bar that can't tell their IDs are fake. The cultural events are mostly imported Broadway shows and local productions of Shakespeare because we all think that we're all so fucking smart. The local music scene can be really good (if you don't mind the risk of getting shot) or is otherwise dominated by cover bands destined to play at least one shitty song by Bon Jovi before you're drunk enough not to care. The Nats are destined to suck nearly as bad as they did when they were the Expos, and the Redskins are owned by a guy seeking to maximize profits rather than wins. But, it's not a particularly intimidating city to move to from a small town, there's plenty of job mobility, people move in and out enough that it's not terribly hard to make friends if you try, and the salaries off the Hill/outside the terribly important non-profits aren't bad compared to the (non-real-estate) cost of living.

But, men are another story. According to the Census Bureau, the ratio of men to women is 47-53. Those aren't great odds, considering the (fabulous) gay population and the number of marrieds, let alone the short ones with Napoleonic complexes (D.C. tends to attract a disproportionate number of men eager, for some "unknown" reason, to wield some kind of power), the old ones who severely overestimate their attractiveness to younger women and the hot ones who don't even bother making an effort to get into your pants.

So, in answer to your last question, I guess I would point out that medium sized fish in ponds get caught, while plankton in the ocean get eaten by fish that get eaten by bigger fish. Are you looking to get caught, or get eaten? Because if you want to be a catch, the small town might be better. If you're looking to eat or get eaten, come on down to the shark tank and get to measuring whose is bigger than whose.

And I don't drink my way through a shitty underpaid job, I drink my way through shitty, overpaid jobs to compensate for my utter lack of interest or enthusiasm.

What is the most immoral issue being lobbied in Washington right now?

You know, I actually held onto this question for a while, waiting to be truly outraged by something (which, as I have previously mentioned, doesn't happen particular often). But, just yesterday, I finally found something. The Grocery Manufacturers Association is petitioning the FDA to be able to make and then sell me shitty chocolate. Seriously. Oh, they wrap it in all kinds of technical standards and incomprehensible language, as good lobbyists always do, but the intent is, to someone who reads this sort of crap Federal Register docket stuff regularly, clear. They want to take the delicious cocoa fatty goodness away and replace it with other, less chocolatey delicious fats that are cheaper and probably even less healthy (and then, presumably, sell it to me at the same price). Fuck those motherfuckers. I couldn't be more horrified if someone were lobbying to bring Prohibition back.


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