ok, now, where to begin. I used to think that Seattle and Portland weren't so very different. I've heard Portland compared to Seattle of twenty years ago, that's PDX is SEA's little brother. It's definitely not the city I remember from a few short trips there over the years. And it's not Seattle.
Immediate reactions: It's white. REALLY white. The official figures say that PDX is about 97% white and that the 3% racial diversity exists in just one or two neighborhoods.
It's a social city. There are probably more bars and restaurants per capita in the city than any I've been to. They are for the most part very new or remodeled, with interesting food but similar style choices.
Seattle is by it's nature a casual city. Polar fleece is an acceptable accessories in all seasons and nearly all venues. REI probably sells as many articles of clothing as JC Penneys. Gortex is a necessity, if not a sleek clothing choice. I usually feel a bit overdressed when I go out, but I'm ok with that. I would rather be the most put together person in the bar than another disastrous hiker/biker/Seattle action figure who forgot to change after the days outing. Portland takes casual and poorly dressed to a new level. They don't make the small but important distinction between functional wear and appropriate wear. Seattleites are guilty of going out in clothing that was meant for a purpose - rock climbing, camping - not for fashion. Portlanders either don't realize there's a difference or scoff at it in wearing clothing who's purpose was to clothe a college student when they couldn't afford anything better or know any better. Oh wait. . . that doesn't quite work since they spent more on their ironic t-shirt and poorly fitting skinny jeans than I did on my work-sleek Calvin Klein dress and heels.
Hipsters all think they are unique and different. What they don't see is that they are all minutely different versions of the same. Is this what the "you can do anything, you are a special flower" parenting books have lead to?
Select any three (I think three is enough, four is a definite minimum though) of the following list and you have a hipster:
- skinny jeans, double points for skinny colored pants.
- Unnecessary wide belt with big buckle. The pants are already so tight you had to have help getting them on. I know your butt is hanging out but the belt won't help with that.
- An "ironic/funny" t-shirt. They are never either. Double points of it's seriously worn.
- A Jason Mraz hat
- Homeless lumberjack beard. It could be housing a chipmunk (not the Alvin persuasion), last week's pizza leftovers or the axe you'll use to murder me.
- A bad haircut or lack of haircut. I have trouble seeing the difference between the dirty hippie folks who haven't cut their hair because they don't care and the hipsters who spent $65 to look the same way. Triple points for homeless lumberjack beard and long stringy Kurt Cobain-esque hair. Or alternately, Justin Bieber hair on a male over the age of 17.
- Super high waisted colored super short shorts. I've only seen them on females, but who knows what's possibly. Double points if they are short enough her ass is trying to escape out the bottom.
- A long hippie, flowing skirt that you then decide is too long and too flowy so it's tied up at the knee.
- A plaid button up shirt. In a concert sea of bodies, plaid is plaid is all the same plaid.
- BCGs. These are the black, chunky rimmed glasses. A friend from the military told me they call them BCGs - birth control glasses - because they are the only style the military will pay for and you ain't getting laid if you wear em. Now the caveat might be that you'll get laid, but by another hipster. You've been warned.
- Flat billed ballcap. Break that sh*t in. And don't wear it high on your head, like Heather, this girl I went to junior high with. She'd spray her bangs up big, like Kelly Kapowski in SBTB and then put the hat on behind it. (if you do not understand this reference, stop reading now. You can go google it and still not really understand or you are under 25 and will never understand either). As an aside here, also no super flimsy, 80's style, windbreaker material ballcaps.
- Neon anything. Again, I feel like this could easily segue into a Saved by the Bell reference.The brighter the better, especially tops, hats or accessories.
- Keds on men. This isn't Europe and you aren't Swedish.
- Old school raybans. You know the ones I mean that are really in, again. Like they were twenty years ago.
- A mustache. Now this is a tricky one to write. I like a good mustache. Good being the pivotal word in that sentence. This is where my new motto comes in to play. JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESNT MEAN YOU SHOULD*. Sure, you can grow a mustache. It looks ridiculous on you, your face is rejecting it and you haven't realized it. We are all shaking our heads and chuckling. Waxing it out Rolly Fingers style (again, google it) doesn't make it look less ridiculous. Now there are a few folks that can pull it off. There was a fill-in Seattleite guitarist for the band The Heavy at Bumbershoot. He looked fantastic, plaid shirt, waxed mustache and all. *Apply motto to aforementioned beards, skinny jeans and buying a Hummer.
- Tom's. ick.
For the sake of your sanity and mine, I'll cap today's blog there and allow my rant to spill over to tomorrow. Look for more scathing hipster don't, don't and why do they's tomorrow.
**Do I need to include googled photos of all this stuff? I'd imagine a fair number of you know and can picture exactly what I'm referencing. If photos are requested, I'll add some.