I think it short-sighted and a bit snobbish to exclude consideration of all imports for a newbie.
Exactly 50 Spydies ago -- I just counted, dupes included -- my first was a Persistence.
It's still one of my favorite shapes and sizes.
And, yes, it's one of my dupes. Even after I began buying more expensive models, I still liked it enough to buy a second.
Spydies: Caly Jr.; Caly 3; Michael Walker CF; Dragonfly FRN, Dragonfly 2 and Dragonfly G10; Delica 4 FRN, Delica FFG, Delica G10, Delica Wave; Endura G10, Endura Wave; Rookie; Ambitious, Persistence, Tenacious; Sage 1, 2, 3; CAT CF, CAT G10; Chicago CF; Ladybug; Gayle Bradley CF; Manix 2, Blue Manix; Native 4 CF; Balance; Rescue; Salt I, Pacific Salt; D'Allara; Junior; PPT; SuperLeaf; Urban Safety Orange; Para 2 S30V; Matriarch 2, Lil' Matriarch; Techno; Southard; Tuffthumbz Sage 2, Para 2 mods;