Worst or First! St. Louis' showings in a plethora of nationwide rankings.

Worst or First! St. Louis' showings in a plethora of nationwide rankings.

Dozens of rankings comparing St. Louis to other American cities have been published over the past twelve months. Aside from the U.S. Census, the one about penis size was probably the most accurate.

An online prophylactic emporium called condomania.com published the study on its website. The company sells custom-fitted condoms that require men to measure their little buddy's length and girth "down to the centimeter" and choose from one of 76 different sizes. Condomania has sold 27,000 such rubbers since 2004, in the process accumulating a unique cache of data about the American male anatomy.

"It's extremely accurate," boasts Condomania CEO Adam Glickman. "These men were measuring not for bragging rights but because they want the absolute best-fitting condom. Other studies that ask what size it is, the guys are more likely to fudge."

When the company's statisticians graphed the penile percentages in March, they found that our nation's dongs form a near-perfect bell curve. A quarter of the population is less than five inches in length when erect, half are between five and six inches, and the rest are, ahem, bigger.

New Orleans emerged as the most well-endowed metropolis, while Dallas/Fort Worth brought up the rear of the twenty cities included in the study. Los Angeles, home of countless disproportionately proportioned porn stars, finished a weenie seventeenth. Tiny New Hampshire is the top-ranked state. Go figure.

How did St. Louis measure up? While the U.S. Census Bureau estimates St. Louis is the fifteenth-largest metro area, Condomania says we rank tenth. Statewide, Missouri ranked 36th out of 50; it doesn't take a genius to point out that the Show-Me State's average urban male is likely to pack more heat than his rural counterpart.

But whereas the dick-study ranking was, shall we say, respectable, St. Louis takes the short end of the stick (as it were) in far too many other evaluations. In the past year, we've been called the sixth-most miserable city in America, the eighth-worst city for men, the sixth-drunkest city and...wait for it...the 96th-best baseball town.

Unreal refused to stand idly by as our city's good name is sullied by pseudoscientific number crunching.

We are, by any measure, at least the second- or third-drunkest city in America.

So it was that Unreal elected to undertake a campaign of the utmost civic urgency: to make St. Louis No. 1 in every survey published in print, blogged online or aired on TV in the coming year. Best Place to Live? Top spot, baby! Sexually transmitted diseases? We've won that one before; we can do it again!

We mounted a multi-pronged attack. We phoned the writers at several prominent list-producing publications and asked what St. Louis could do to improve. We demanded action at city hall. And we contacted a statistics expert at Washington University who informed us of a popular saying in his field:

"Figures don't lie, but liars figure."

"Amen," Unreal replied, "and pass the ammunition."

Armed with a skeptical statistician and the firmly held belief that our fair city is ranker (for want of a better term) than the media makes it out to be, we set out to ensure once and for all that St. Louis is No. 1.

In everything.


We're happy to report that the city has managed to come out on top a few times without Unreal's assistance. The restaurant experts at Zagat say the area is home to America's most generous tippers. A Lundberg Survey determined that our cars are typically filled with the cheapest gas in all the land.

Men's Health noted that we have the "Worst Flab." Huffington Post honored us as the "WORST city for the newly graduated." (Worst is just as good as first in our book, especially when it's in all caps.)

But sadly, more often than not mediocrity is our middle name. Consider the evidence:

• According to AutoVantage.com's annual road-rage survey, we had the seventh-most courteous drivers in 2009. (Many middle fingers must have risen in the midst of the Highway 40 closure; we ranked fourth back in 2007.)

• Reusable bottle maker Nalgene noted that only two cities in America love leftovers more than St. Louis but named us only the 23rd-least wasteful city because of our thirst for bottled water and apathy toward sustainability.

Travel + Leisure considers our residents the 29th-most attractive in the United States. (That wouldn't be so bad if more than 30 cities had been included in the ranking.)

• The Daily Beast, a popular news and culture website based in New York, determined that we are the 21st-craziest city, falling between Columbus, Ohio, and San Diego on the loon-bag scale. (Cincinnati was awarded the top slot in the crazy ranking partially on the merits of a man named Jim Bonaminio, who erected a structure on a public street that was described as "a grubby port-a-potty on the outside...[and] a 10-stall restroom replete with flowers, marble, soft tile and tropical pictures" within.)

That last study was based on a variety of factors, including number of psychiatrists per capita, stress levels based on responses to a 2008 survey, the number of alcoholic drinks consumed per day per resident, and each city's level of eccentricity as perceived by a travel writer.

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