Thursday, January 29, 2015


So I just finished my second stint in the last 7 years in Seattle.  This time only lasted six months, whereas the first was for a full year.  I think Seattle is quite possibly the US's prettiest city, both at the macro and micro levels.  I think it gets the nod over San Diego or San Diego because it has a much better skyline than San Diego and smells a lot less like pee than San Francisco.  You can't help but stumble onto a stunning view in most parts of the city proper.  And there's just so many trees.  It's goddamn gorgeous.

My favorite weekday lunch spot.

It's also filled with an aggressively miserable population of homogenous white people.  Seattle exists as if a every trust-funder named Brayden and MacKenzie went to San Francisco to see a Belle and Sebastian concert and thought, "You know, this whole San Francisco thing is alright.  I like that there are no black or brown people on this side of the Bay, but there's still a lot of Asians.  What this town needs is even more white tech bros and hipsters!  A city free of gluten, and overflowing with farmers' markets, mediocre craft beer, and overpriced cocktails served exclusively in mason jars!  I have a dream!  Who's with me!?"

Thus inspired, they got someone to take over their shared lease in the Mission District, headed to REI to buy up all the North Face jackets they could find, and headed north.  Once there, they planted a Whole Foods seedling and it sprouted into an entire city of scofflaw cyclists, hipsters with a weird lumberjack fetish, and people addicted to pilates and brunch.  Nary a GMO food in sight!

Dating in Seattle sucks.  Well, I guess it's fine if you're a young WASP with Amazon money, but if you're a slightly pudgy, bisexual, swarthy Latino man working in construction, the dating pool is considerably smaller.  I did learn a few things about dating there that might come in handy, though.

Lesson 1:  Even if you hate camping (as I do), DO NOT, under any circumstances, admit that you hate camping. This applies primarily to dating straight or bi women in the Seattle area.  Gay and bi guys are slightly more diverse in their feelings on the subject, but they'll all still have a picture of themselves rock-climbing, hiking, or camping because it's some sort of Seattle law to include one.  It's the Seattle version of the usual code words:  "active" and "healthy" and "I want someone who takes care of his mind AND body".  All just code for "Look, I workout.  Therefore, no fatties". 

Seattle women, on the other hand, are in some sort of pissing contest about who's the most outdoorsy:  "No, really, I love camping."  "No, I literally would live in the woods if I could."  "No, I'M the OUDOORSIEST!"  "I'm so much more outdoorsy than the rest of these bitches!  Look at all of my hiking photos!"  "Look at all of my rock-climbing photos!"  "I don't even go home after work, I just go straight to the nearest wooded area and take mark my territory, I'm that outdoorsy!" "Motherfucker, I will gut you like that fucking fish I caught in my pictures!"  "I SHIT Gore-Tex!" 

Camping is stupid.  We spent centuries honing our technology so we wouldn't have to sleep outside next to a fire.  We have beds now that conform to your body and adjust in temperature for maximum comfort.  The experience is now completely bear, bug and poison ivy free because we won at evolution.  Yet these assholes want to sleep on the ground--voluntarily!  It might be fun once every few years or so...maybe.  Get out into nature and away from the hustle and bustle of city life, maybe do a little hiking and fishing, etc.  But Jesus Christ in a free trade cup of coffee, these people are way too militant about it.  I guess it's because so many straight guys in Seattle are such yuppie weenies that they crave these superficial shows of masculinity on a regular basis.  "No, growing that beard and wearing flannel just isn't good enough, Brayden--you're gonna have to shit in the woods."

His underlying masculinity is betrayed by a jaunty bow tie.       

 Lesson 2:  Don't call Seattlites out for their shitty driving.  I know, I know, they really suck at it.  Apparently, Seattlites think Subaru is Japanese for "slow and inept".  Save yourself the headache, though, they're never gonna figure it out and they'll just get all defensive.

Lesson 3:  Despite the fact that Seattlites drive most of the time, you're still expected to ride a bike because reasons.  I don't know, it's a thing.  Again, we've developed awesome car and transit technology so we wouldn't have to put our lives on the line by riding bikes in the street.  Seattle certainly doesn't have adequate infrastructure to accommodate all the cars and buses let alone goddamn bikes, but here you are on this bit of antiquated technology, dealing with shitty drivers and idiot pedestrians.  Only now you're doing it without a one and a half ton metal cocoon of air-conditioned crumple-zone protection.  Up hills.  In the rain.  Voluntarily.  Fuck if I know why.  Traffic in Seattle is pretty horrible and parking is really expensive, I guess that's why.  I do know that if you don't ride a bike AND you don't go camping...well, you may as well just move to a different city altogether and start over.  Actually, that doesn't sound like such a bad idea at all.

Lesson 4:  Just eat the salmon.  Again, you'll get looks if you say you don't like salmon.  Yes, salmon sucks.  It's not something anyone wants to eat, outside of Seattle anyway.  You eat it because your doctor says you need to "raise your good cholesterol".  No one outside of Seattle, in the history of ever, has said, "Shit, you know what I'm craving right now?  Salmon."  Elsewhere, that sort of thing is reserved for yummy food like pizza, or cheeseburgers, or donuts. 

Lesson 5:  "Seattle Chill" is a real phenomenon.  If you thought you could start up a random conversation with strangers in, say, a bar, well think again.  Even the bartenders are pretty stand-offish and tend to stick to established customers.  It's weird and really unlike any place else I've ever been.  Seriously, don't even bother.  If you go out by yourself, then you need to just put on your best resting bitch face, nurse your drink, and play with the dating app of your choice on your phone.  Because if you don't have an in, you're not gonna talk to anyone.

Seattle:  Home of the Sour Puss.