'Yinz Are World-Class Rude!'

Foursquare reports that potty-mouthed Pittsburgh is the third-most improper city in the English-speaking world. Locals react.

On what must have been an especially slow day at the office, the engineers at foursquare crunched their numbers to find the 20 rudest cities in the English-speaking world. Their lone criterion? Using a curse word in “check-in tips,” the tidbits of advice that users of the location-based mobile platform leave when visiting a restaurant, club, salon, wherever. 

The result of foursquare’s computerized calculations: Pittsburgh is the third rudest city—right behind the global leader in offensiveness, Manchester, England, and America’s champ, El Paso, Texas. 

Really? … Little ol’ us? And all because instead of saying something like, “The waiter was a tad ill-tempered, and I found the cuisine wanting,” we apparently say, “The waiter was an #@*, and the food tasted like !*&#.”

So much for telling it like it is.

But we probably should watch our language a bit. After all, foursquare says the percentage of our profanity-laced check-ins is a whopping … 0.014 percent? Clearly we’re not trying hard enough. 

We asked Pittsburghers what they thought of foursquare’s assessment. Simply put, most felt the ranking was bull … uh, sorry. They thought it was preposterous.

“I’ve usually said ‘%&^@ foursquare!’ any time someone’s mentioned it,” says Becky, a West End resident. “Swearing does not equal rudeness, nor does it reflect on the intelligence of the speaker. And I’ll say it again—&#@# foursquare!”

Wow, Pittsburghers really don’t mince words. After one interview, we were already blushing.

Bill from the North Side had a thoughtful approach: “Based on the number of people I see who hold doors [open] or give unsolicited directions to folks who just seem lost, I’d say Pittsburghers are outgoing, friendly and polite. I think expletives are just part of our blue-collar heritage. We may be loose with language, but our actions speak volumes.”

Locals deserve to use a little profanity, says Laynie from Monroeville. “It’s not surprising. You’d use expletives if you had to deal with the tunnel traffic that we do. 

Personally, after living abroad for five months, [I learned] just how kind the people of Pittsburgh are. Maybe foursquare is just confusing rudeness with pride.”

Lauren from Blawnox uses foursquare regularly but says the service got this one wrong. “I think basing the ‘rudeness’ of a city on nothing but what’s written when you check in has no basis in any sort of real communication. If you want to know the true personality of a city, ride its buses, sit in its bars, go to its restaurants and talk to its people face to face!”

James, a young foursquare user from Wilkinsburg, said the difference might be generational. “We’re a big college town, and it’s just the way we talk. We’ll swear even if it’s positive. If a place is great we’ll say, ‘This place is the *&@%.’  But it’s not rude—it’s a compliment.”

And Carl, a Mt. Washington resident who’s originally from Cleveland, agrees that James is right on track. “Swearing doesn’t necessarily make you rude. I could say some place is %@*&-ing awesome. So, swearing doesn’t mean Pittsburgh is rude. It means we’re %@*&-ing awesome.”

Hmm. Thanks to foursquare, it sounds like Pittsburgh has a new marketing slogan: “Pittsburgh: %@*&-ing awesome!”

Categories: Community Feature, Hot Reads