City Desk

Spring In Georgetown: Students Sunbathe, Some Neighbors Angry

The battle against students living in residential parts of Georgetown continues with this salvo to a Georgetown email list from a resident whose sensibilities are offended by students sunbathing on their own steps:

The joy of these recent beautiful, sunny days have been somewhat mitigated for me by the sight of bare-chested, boxer-shorted GU students sunbathing on their front stoop right out on the sidewalk. To add insult to injury, these men are sprawled out on old beat up lawn chairs. I am not talking about a real porch here, but rather the top stair of the front entrance of their run down student house. The sight is very down-market, low rent, college dorm and affects the property values of our homes in this section of Georgetown, as well as the pleasure of walking our charming streets. These people have a back yard! Let them use it for their sunbathing activities.

It is bad enough that the neighbors have to put up with the students' relentless drunken and disorderly conduct, but to host a slew of Dewey Beach antics on our Georgetown streets is too much! They were recently flipping burgers on a barbecue grill out there, too!!

I hope that the off campus life office at GU requires their students to follow the rules of conduct required for living in a community of permanent residents and remind them that they ARE NOT LIVING ON CAMPUS!!!

One thing I didn't mention in my story is that property values in the neighborhoods around Georgetown bounced back from the recession fairly quickly, and it's strange that fears about property values are a talking point in the argument against students. Students in the neighborhood may mean that different kinds of people would find the area appealing—young professionals and other people with more active lives—but there's no evidence yet that housing prices are down.

So what's the real beef here? Well, "the sight is very down-market" gets at the heart of the problem. Longtime residents don't like looking at shirtless college men sitting outside their own homes. But while it may not be pleasant for some residents, as far as we're aware, it's also not illegal.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • JS

    Wow-is there any more rich-person-entitlement that resident would like to throw into their rant? Dewey Beach, as in the slightly less exepnsive cousin to the neighboring Rehobbeth Beach where the classy Georgetown residents prefer to go? And they're in old lawn chairs instead of expensive patio furniture? Good grief. Why not whine about them driving older cars instead a of a new BMW or Mercedes while you're at it?

    It is perfectly legal for men to sunbath in a shirt and boxers. It's perfectly legal and acceptable to be on an older chair. What sort of rules of conduct does that resident suggest? Genuflecting whenever passing by one of their social betters and thank them for allowing them to continue to exist in their presence?

    Disorderly conduct, drunk driving, drug use, etc., these are things that Georgetown residents have every right to be upset about and work to prevent. Complaining about legal conduct like sunbathing, however, just makes you sound like a grumpy old man complaining about kids walking near your lawn.

  • Mrs. D

    Could not agree more, JS. Oh, the horror, they sit on lawn chairs and eat burgers! I bet those burgers aren't even fairtraderainforestfriendlyorganicbioorganicgrassfed! I kinda want to find this person and go do something horrific - like wear flip flops - while I walk persistently up and down their street.

  • Well…

    If Pissy Pants doesn't want them around, shirtless college boys are more than welcome to come and sunbathe on my street!

  • drez

    I once lived in an area of DC where long time resident socially conservative African American residents asked me to speak with new resident young whites about sunbathing on their porch.
    This is to say that there may be a broader social conservatism at work. Sunbathing in boxers in the backyard okay. On street-side, not so much. Probably similar in concept to where folks hang cloths to dry.
    Just saying.

  • Montemalone

    Pictures! Where are the pictures? How am I to know if these shirtless boys in boxer shorts are really that disruptive?

  • Shani Hilton

    @Well.../Montemalone: You both need to settle down right now!

    @drez: it's surely borne of conservatism, but that doesn't mean it's not worth pointing out as silly. And I'm curious: did you speak to the sunbathers?

  • drez

    @Shani-
    I honestly don't recall. I do recall that both the newcomers and the oldtimers were struggling together to address some shared larger issues of mutual concern, and that the sunbathing folks really didn't pay too much attention to anything beyond their own front porch.
    For whatever that is worth.

  • huh?

    Let me get this straight... they adamantly oppose shirtless college boys sunbathing in plain sight. OPPOSE?! I'm thinking their priorities are vastly different than mine....

  • Michael

    Oh sweetie, get a grip. Did one of those boys turn you down?

  • Mike

    If THAT is the only complaint, then you have a bunch of old farts that have nothing better to do. If you have dope dealers and child molesters living there, THEN you have a problem. Bring on the BBQ and maybe a few beers and leave those kids the HELL alone!!!

  • michael

    send them to my house. i have beer in the fridge and a nice sunny patio and dont have a prob. with shirtless college students.
    but seriously folks, i know it looks a little ghetto, but as long as they are not destroying, damaging or getting out of hand, whats the big deal.

  • michael

    oh, btw...im in phoenix where its always sunny and summer

  • Jes sayin’

    So what is wrong with shirtless, hairless boys?

  • Shea

    I agree with everyone--Gtown residents need to get their heads out of their rears and enjoy the beautiful views that are being afforded to them! As Well ... said, they can come and sunbathe on my street!

  • Eustice Worthington III

    "College students sunbathing in public? In Georgetown!? In their boxers?!! Oh, heavens!" (faints dead away, monocle falls to the floor and shatters)

  • Bill McKenney

    PULEEEEZE!
    I've seen more fashion faux pas among the landed gentry in Georgetown than Joan Rivers has on all the Oscar red carpets! In her entire life! And if instead of flipping burgers, they were flipping that complaining G'town b**ch off, would that make a difference?
    Students have always shared the turf in Georgetown, if you can't deal with that, MOVE AWAY. They are likely just barely affording their living quarters, trying their best to get through their courses and out of DC to a more welcoming place. And since as far as I can tell, they are breaking no laws, just what is the issue, anyway? Being decently clothed and handsome on your front stoop is no crime, in fact, it is something I admire.
    NEW THOUGHT: Has it occured to you that you might catch more flies with honey? Like, if you struck up a conversation with some of these folks and then invited them over to your place for your burgers, they might not cook out on their front stoops? And you might possibly meet some interesting and mind-expanding young persons? And you might actually stop being such a crotchety old fart? A little generosity might go a long way. Give it some thought.

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  • mk

    Typical NIMBY behavior by the pampered and prissy Georgetown set. They really are too precious in their constant griping about living in proximity to a university that is the largest private sector employer in Washington, D.C.

  • maibaby523

    I really don't consider myself conservative, and I have to agree that sunbathing on the front steps isn't the worst thing I can think of -- but it does bring up the question as exactly WHERE do we draw a line with regard to propriety? I gotta admit -- I'm driven just a little crazy by the number of young people who go out shopping in pajamas and slippers these days. I mean, it looks as though they've literally just rolled out of bed and jumped in the car, which leads me to believe they haven't so much as brushed their teeth or washed off the drool yet! I get that things change, and that's all good. But I'm just curious as to where some people would draw the line ...

  • DCist

    Perhaps the boys are not good looking?

  • Barrie Daneker

    I say we all show up on the next sunny day in speedos, boxers, thongs and have a party!

  • Craig Howell

    Message to those shameless shirtless college dudes: Lose the boxers, too!

  • JB

    The university has been there since 1789.

    While it sounds like this hag was born in 1789, I doubt it.

    If she doesn't like it, she can move. She knew she was close to a university when she moved in.

    Old people find things to complain about because they have nothing better to do. Get a hobby.

  • http://www.glaaforum.org 17thStRic

    I want to thank everyone for the hilarious comments.

  • richard

    here's the response to my response on this incredibly silly issue

    Dear Mr. H:
    Although we clearly differ on the propriety of students sunbathing on the sidewalks of Georgetown, I must take issue with one of your remarks. As a real estate professional, I can attest to the fact that property values in west Georgetown are robust and that many non-University affiliated buyers prefer it to the east village for various reasons.
    Michelle

    On Feb 29, 2012, at 8:25 PM, richard h. wrote:

    Really, sunbathing, I mean really, this is what you are upset about?! For crimminy's sake get some perspective and stop being such a nancypants fussbudget. Equating sunbathing with drunken parties, really? Shirtless teenagers and 20-somehthings lying about on old chaise lounges, really, WHAT A SCANDAL. Start a rental conseccion like at the beaches -- youn offer chairs and beacfh umbrellas. I agree with my friend and neighbor Michael what a nuisicance it is that so many people of all stripes and ages dare to enjoy public spaces; quelle OUTRAGE! And by the way, your property value, if you live in west georgetown, is already in the tank because of the university. Jeeeesh.

  • Joseph

    If the students are flipping burgers on a grill which is on the front stoop that DOES happen to be illegal because the DC Code prohibits grills from being closer than 10 feet to a structure.

  • Jefferson

    Sounds like the NIMBY people need to organize walking tours of Georgetown for Dupont Circle residents.

    Problem solved!

    :-)

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