Are you your postcode? How to do live in a LCOL without shame.

"Where do you live?", I'm starting to suspect it's the new "what do you do?". This clever question is a conversational speed dating exploit. If answered unsatisfactorily it signals the quick end. Why? Well, your postcode gives away your life story:

  • What is your Net worth (rich, poor, middle)?
  • What lifestyles and\or culture do you prioritise (beach\health, trees\nature, schools, cafes, religion, mainstream\null)?
  • What are your political views (conservative or progressive)?

Overall "are you one of my people ?" can be told in one simple question.

When I moved from the "prestigious" sub-fringe (inner city, see notes) to the fringe, I found both locations provoke a response, neither particularly favourable. But living in a fringe that no one has heard of, well I can tell you, its not a conversation sparker.

I've found this exploit is used by all social groups. It's no longer the first question to ask about jobs or career. Most people don't want to talk about their bullshit job but could talk a leg off an iron pot about their postcode. Plus it doesn't matter if you own or rent either, its the occupiers lifestyle intent that matters.

Even people who claim to be above conventional status seeking consumption are usually the biggest postcode droppers. Every art or comedy gig I go to these guys can't hold back to tell you where they live, be it Brunswick, Byron Bay, Brighton or Brixton. I'm starting to wonder if they have been paid off by developers. Doing the groundwork of the gentrifiers they despise.

So here's my counter pitch for 2020. Right now the fringe has the superior Return on Investment (ROI). It offers humbleness, space, clean air, quiet, peace and low traffic at a cheap price. At some point, the non-fringe had a better value proposition (amenity and low cost) but that has long past. Yes, the fringe doesn't look glamorous and suffers from higher commutes and perception issues. Do you want to impress wankers, or give yourself the option to change careers, be a stay-at-home parent or stop working?

It doesn't matter where you live, it doesn't define you but it could enslave you.

If you live or are thinking of living in the fringes please do yourself a favour and reject the language of the wankers. Here are some of my suggestions.
  • Suburban - the term is derogatory - as I don't literally or figuratively regard where I live "under" the city. Therefore I reject this term. Neighbourhood, locale, environs, burrow, surround etc are more neutral.
  • Outer - out from what? A house from the occupants perspective is quite inner.
  • Fringe - I like this term and claim it. Sub-fringe or sub-surrounds is what to call the so-called "inner" areas.
  • McMansions - I cannot defend oversized wasteful houses but I can only assume the anger comes from jealousy of those who are a little tired of another party upstairs.
  • Sprawl = growth. There is likely to be an anti-property slant here.
  • Return on Investment (ROI) - is never static. Right now the fringe and regional are more likely to have it. In the future it could go back to the sub-fringe.


  1. Is Your Dream House Costing You Your Freedom?
  2. Here is a shout out to all the renters.

This article was updated on April 29, 2019