As anyone who's lived in St. Louis for more than a year can attest, ours is a town obsessed with its national ranking. First in crime? Over here! Fourth most courteous drivers in the land? Just keeping pace with traffic!
Sinister or spurious, we're suckers when it comes to polls purporting to tell us how we stack up. Usually there's a certain intuitive logic to our ranking: Heart disease, crime and obesity? Look for us near the airy top. Fashion sense? We probably don't even make the cut.
In this month's issue of Men's Health, the editors inform us that of 50 cities surveyed, St. Louis ranks a rank 43rd when it comes to being "dog-friendly."
So what? Do we really think that the editors at Cosmo-For-Guys, as it's known around the steam room, really have anything to tell us about our own canine-philia?
But scratch the surface and you'll find that this assault on the Lou is but the latest in a long-running smear campaign the magazine has been waging against the city.
Simply type "St. Louis" into the search box on the Guy's Vogue Web site and you'll find that, according to the magazine, St. Louis is "The Worst City for Men."
"If Missouri is our nation's heartland," writes Mike "Buns of Steel" Zimmerman, "then St. Louis is its laboring left ventricle."
You get the idea: "Cities with the Best Abs, Worst Flab"? We outjiggle fleshpots like Cleveland and Memphis, breaking the scale as the country's flabbiest city.
But the editors at Electrolysis Today don't stop there. They give us the distinction of being the city with the twentieth worst air in the U.S., they call us the second most crime-ridden burg (clearly, they are fools; everyone knows that we are the most dangerous city out there), they tout us as the 69th most couch-bound and cower at the notion that we are the tenth angriest.
These measures are hardly objective. After all, this is a magazine that monthly asks its readers questions like "Do Your Fantasies Measure Up?" and "Can you perform the Spartan workout used by the movie cast?"