Fluffing In Portland

January 1, 2016 — 87 Comments



It should come as no surprise to anyone that freaky-deaky Portland is the first place that I felt like I fit in since I left New York.

While in Portland,  I was chatting with Beth, and I mentioned that I wasn’t able to get together with Ned, who lives in Oregon, because of the flooding.
She replied, “I didn’t realize it was still fluffing!”



Girl, it’s ALWAYS fluffing in Portland.

I traditionally spend Christmas with my college bestie and her family. Her oldest daughter lives in Portland, and this year, ten of us traveled there for the holidays.

We stayed at an Airbnb. For the uninitiated, an Airbnb is when you pay to stay in someone’s house, and pray they’re not a meth head with a vermin problem.

There was one other person there, a thirty-something dude who blazed up and coded with Java script all day. Every morning, while we ate breakfast, we watched Java Man do his 10 am bong hits on the terrace.

Little Dude got to see some of Portland’s coolest stuff, like the OMSI, (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), where we toured an actual submarine. That went splendidly, especially the part where I clawed the tour guide for air and screamed “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE DOWN HERE!!!”

Afterwards, I had to soothe myself with a trip to the famous Voodoo Doughnuts, and purchase a Cock-N-Balls doughnut.

Little Dude also had quite the unofficial sightseeing experience. He spent an entire week with my wacky wonderful friends, who were inebriated most of the time. The very first night, F-bombs and dick jokes were flying. Christmas night, ten of us played Cards Against Humanity, where my 12-year-old was treated to such phrases as “coughed into a vagina.”

I’m blaming it all on Portland.



Ahhh, the Elixir of the Gods. Portlanders take their coffee seriously. They go nuts for obscure beans, like Formosan Rock Monkey coffee. They brew it in state of the art machinery that looks like it belongs in a steampunk sex dungeon.

Nobody goes to Starbucks for evil corporate caffeine. Portland residents frequent independent coffee shops staffed by skinny white dudes with full sleeve tattoos and plaid western shirts who listen to Neutral Milk Hotel.



Portlanders are not thrilled by the influx of misfits from all over the country. Portland is like the nerdy girl in those hackneyed teen movies who never gets asked out, because she wears glasses and has her hair in a bun. Then, she lets down her bun (only not if she’s a guy, manbuns are cool) and takes off her glasses (except glasses are sexy in Portland…)

Okay, that was a bad example.

Portland is the skinny girl who sprouted breasts over summer vacation and becomes suddenly popular. Naturally, they’re a little suspicious. Twenty years ago, no one gave a half a fuck about Portland and now the entire country has a boner for Oregon.

Portlanders are generally super friendly, but I did wander into a few places where I felt distinctly unwelcome. One coffeehouse, housed in a raw industrial warehouse, had a discernibly restrictive vibe.

You know that vibe? Where you feel as if you’ve  wandered into a rural cult compound and everyone celebrates the arrival of an outsider by tying you to a banquet table, putting on their ceremonial animal masks, and drinking your blood from a chalice? THAT.



You’re surrounded by Hipster Apple fanboys with 2% body fat, who didn’t get the memo that mutton chops are only sexy on Confederate generals. Did you know that plaid is scary? Yes, I know you think of it as innocuous little pattern of perpendicular strips and bands, but when worn in a cluster? It’s positively frightening.

No one has clear-cut occupations in Portland. Some do something vague and techy that leaves them a whole lot of time to hang out in jock straps while hot boxing weed. Others set up their laptops at the coffee shop down the street, where they divide their time between applying for odd jobs on Craigslist and writing (free) articles for Thought Catalog.

Everyone is an artist/intellectual. They write poetry or unicycle with flamethrower bagpipes or play the didgeridoo. There’s even an artsy intellectual sex toy store – She Bop. They offer sex education classes. If you’re in Portland, you can go there to learn about anal sex, cunnilingus, or how to give a more fabulous blow job.
You’re welcome.



The heart of Portland beats to an Artisanal beat. There are more yarn stores here per capita than any other city in the US, in case you want to take up knitting – a slow, frustrating, repetitive hobby that will enrage you.

There’s a reason Portland is so crafty. Aside from Hipsters, the city is teeming with regular ol’ hippies. They wake at the crack of noon, and have a full day of smoking pot, protesting progress and reason, playing hackey sack and seeing how long they can go without bathing before they become infested with ticks.

However, hippies without trust funds must do some sort of work in order to buy weed and overpriced organic hippie food. Hence, the craft markets. The hippies sell their hippie crap to tourists like me, because apparently I can’t visit the city and leave without a Dorodango mud ball and jewelry made of plastic baby heads.



Everyone walks everywhere, even though it ALWAYS RAINS.

No one in my suburban neighborhood walks. The only exercise I get is reverse cowgirl  reaching for things in the back seat of my car.

In New York City people walk, but there’s no rhyme or reason to the flow of sidewalk traffic. Groups of people walk five-abreast. They treat walking down the street like a struggle for pack dominance

Portland pedestrians are very civil. It’s the hipster dads pushing doublewide monster strollers you have to watch out for. There has to be a way to stack kids vertically. How about putting your favorite kid on top?

There are more people on bikes than on cars. I personally am not a cyclist. But I understand it’s part of their fanatic need to help the environment. Portlandians also ride out of a sense of community. Nekkid community. Portland hosts the annual “World Naked Bike Ride.” OW. Bicycle seats hurt my delicate smush mitten – and that’s clothed.

HOW do people get on those double-decker bikes, which are essentially two bikes welded together, one on top of the other? They usually ride with steampunk glasses and top hats, in case they don’t stand out enough.

Yep, Portland feels like home.

I plan to return this summer.
I’m a little concerned about the lack of central air conditioning in 90 degree weather. Who the DICKWOLF designed apartments without air conditioning?!! Apparently, in summer a Portland home become an oven in Satan’s tool shed.

On a positive note, I’ll be able to fill a growler with my own sweat and sell it at a crafts fair.


Have you ever lived in or visited Portland? What is up with all the weirdos? Do you live in a different weird city? 
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Join me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house. 

87 responses to Fluffing In Portland


    Well as a Londoner who has visited Portland many times and lived there briefly, I can honestly say that Portland has a very special place in my heart and I do have fond memories of my time there. I can relate to much of what is written here. But I can’t say it ever really felt like home which is why I left. On the whole I think Portlanders are very helpful, polite and friendly – much more so than in London – but I also came across many who were quite reserved, cliquey and difficult to make friends with – which came as quite a shock! I may visit again one day and I feel very privileged to have visited a place that most people outside of the US don’t even know about.

    And OMG! How good are Voodoo Donuts????


      SO GOOD!!

      Those reserved cliquey people made me nervous – like they were underground subversives, plotting against the government…

      Happy New Year, and welcome to my blog! Thanks for commenting!!


    Never been to Portland. The closest I’ve been is Seattle. I agree with Portland – I don’t care for Starbucks coffee anymore. Kansas City has a decent coffee scene. I became a coffee snob here, of all places.


    I went to a pretty hippie college, so if Portland is anything like that (and it sounds like it is), I’ll keep my distance from it, thanks. 🙂
    Happy New Year!


    I’m from Portland, so this resonated. Especially the “Welcome to Portland, now go home.” We’re really tired of people visiting, loving it, moving there, and then crowding up I-5 and complaining about the rain and opening bizarre outdoor malls as if it DOESN’T FUCKING RAIN.
    Portland is the ultimate fluffer for hipsters, that’s for sure.
    I love it here because it’s my home, but frankly after college I doubt I’ll move back. Something has ALWAYS been off to me, despite it being my hometown.


      What could be off about people climbing up ladders to mount a double decker bike with a day glow bike chain, dressed in steampunk regalia?

      Please say I can visit again, even though I wrote this. Pretty please? I loved it there! I’m finally NOT the weirdest person in the room!


    With all the news about the fluffing that’s going on in the Mississippi River system, I missed that Oregon had flooding too. Looking it up just now, I ran across this:
    which sums up my idea of Portland weather. Would love to visit there. Maybe wear plaid.
    You didn’t sneak off to join bong-boy, lol? Some of us can’t outgrow some of our college habits and would’ve joined in, wink wink. Or whatever.
    Can’t believe Ned went to all the trouble of dynamiting all the bridges between his town and Portland and blamed it on flooding. (Actually I’m more surprised he wouldn’t totally risk his life and take a boat to meet you, cuz NH is cool like that.) I would love nothing more than to take a tour of the world and meet all my “blogging buddies.”
    Are Oregon and Jersey really the only two places where you can’t pump your own gas?
    Happy 2016 to you.


    I loved this! I’ve never been to Portland, but I felt like I was there with you while reading this. ❤


    Sounds like an aggressive, American version of Brighton.

    I love hippies and vegans and artisan stuff (to look at, not to buy). I ADORE cycling (though NEVER nekkid) and I love Beth.

    And yes, I know what fluffing is 😉

    Glad, SO glad, you and LD had fun ❤


    “You’re surrounded by Hipster Apple fanboys with 2% body fat, who didn’t get the memo that mutton chops are only sexy on Confederate generals.” << this killed me! You have a way with words, Samara dear, and I love you for it. I was there with a friend in May to visit my fabulous-amazing cousin who's opening a badass wine bar (Mars Bar) in just a few months. Construction has been underway and he's super excited. ANYway, I've been DYING to see Portland and it lived up to its reputation in all respects, except I thought there would be more hot dudes. Jes saying'.
    My good friend, my cousin, and I had THE VERY BEST time ever. AND fuck yes, you're right, you walk everywhere! By the end of the trip, everytime my cousin said," it's just like two blocks away," I flipped him the bird and ordered a cab. hahaha


      I know you love beards, but mutton chops? Not so much, right?

      I WANT TO GO TO MARS BAR WITH YOU!! (And yes, by the end of the week I was Uber-ing it all over the damn place).
      Hmmm. Portland for the next SW meetup?


      BAH hahaha I just read this. And it’s true, we had to take a cab hahahahha. Samaraspeaks – great write-up; it’s why I love this city and am happy to call it home. When I’m mayor, you’ll have to say hi


    This is fascinating…I really want to visit there.


      Let’s do a SW meetup there! You would LOVE Portland. For a lot of reasons, many of which I will not write in the comment section.

      Happy New Year, gorgeous!!


    I’ve read about Portland for a few years, mostly in the context of bicycling, with everything else peripheral to that. It sounds to me like someone took State Street in Madison, Wisconsin and made a whole city out of it. Fun. Happy New Year!



    I lived in Springfield/Eugene for about a year and never made it to Portland – other than driving through it – but small town Oregon is pretty special too. Ned lives about 30 minutes from where I did, he knows the specialness (that is now a word) of small town Oregon.


      Ugh, I missed your comment!
      Yeah, when we go back we want to explore Oregon, the mountains and woods and stuff. We already experienced the specialness of Portland (that’s totally a word).


    Great read, I haven’t been to Portland yet, but that is in the plans. Just have to get out of the Northeast first!


    Thanks for making me laugh again. I grew up in the PNW, and you nailed it. I visited Austin, TX with my husband in May and loved it. It’s a cleaner, cooler version of Portland. Portlandia is a great show you can catch on Hulu if you haven’t seen it.


    Ah come on now, not everybody in Portland is a cool twenty-something hipster dude. They’ve all just invaded because they heard she sprouted a new pair of breasts they wanted to tickle with their handlebar mustaches. There’s plenty of conventional boring old dudes too, even if they do swing liberal. And BTW, Voodoo Donuts is mostly frequented by tourists, the locals know where the real gourmet donuts are.

    Now where did I put my damn animal mask?…


      Oh, there are plenty of older hipsters – they’re the ones who know about the GOOD donut shops!

      Hey, welcome to my blog! Happy New Year! Are you from Portland?


        Yep. Moved here in the late 70’s, before it was cool, before awful traffic, and when you could still buy a house without mortgaging body parts.

        BTW, I like the pic. I have seen that guy pedaling around, but without the Vader helmet, cape, and fire effects. Still pretty WTF.


        He’s the Portland welcoming committee!
        So, was it cool and artsy back in the 70’s?

    Gretchen Kellaway January 2, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Portland has always been on my list of places to go. It may be the coffee- I have a problem and I find my steeped, pressed or ground beverages to be an art form that is rare to find in New Jersey and I have lived here my whole life. It may be the idea of crafty- organic lifestyles. Or just the fact that I would like to travel outside the tri-state area before I die.

    I went to Massachusetts twice. That probably the farthest from home I have ever been- maybe. I can’t remember since most vacations happened during my angst, Shakespeare inspired teen years, that seem to be a blur of wanting a doomed love and dark makeup.

    Ah, my brain and it’s inner workings and how I just took up your comment section with my twitchy, mind wandering as I wait for my 2 year old boss to really be sleeping. Sorry for that!

    Once again Samara, you make me want to travel- with you. Or just get the heck out of Jersey for a bit and experience life that wasn’t completely created by my uterus.

    Opps, there I go babbling again!

    Someday Portland. Even if it’s when I reach my goal of severe purple wearing old age! 😉


      You make me want to kidnap you and stow you away on a plane…
      Traveling around the U.S. Is my passion. I go without a lot to make it happen.
      And I only have one kid, and he’s quite portable.

        Gretchen Kellaway January 6, 2016 at 8:45 am

        I would let you kidnap me! Is it kidnapping then? I am pretty sure my kids would be game- but there is four of them and only one, maybe two would fit in overhead storage!


    Portland sounds like fun, and quite the adventure for Little Dude!

    I have had the misfortune of twice being in a car driving through London while the naked bike ride was on, and quite frankly you just don’t want to see that going past your window, inches from your face. A lot of people were on the rental bikes that are all around London too – yeuch!


      Ewww. People rent bikes and ride them naked? That’s just nasty!
      Happy New Year, Vanessa! I always get a little giddy when you stop by.
      (Is it Vanessa, or Vanessa-Jane? Can I call you VJ?)


        Anything is fine! I do like VJ though 🙂 In the real world my name is just Vanessa, and Jane is my middle name so obviously nobody uses the Jane part. There’s a long and not very interesting reason why I hyphenated the Jane into it for the blog.


        Okay. Now you HAVE to give me the reason. Can you shorten it and make it more interesting


        I’ll give it a go! – I do a bit of acting and when I went to register for Spotlight (the main UK actors database), there was another actress called Vanessa Chapman, so I decided to make myself Vanessa-Jane Chapman instead. And then I figured if I was doing it for that, then I might as well use that as my public name for the blog and Twitter and whatever. Well it wasn’t too long, but I couldn’t make it more interesting.

    Jen @ Driftwood Gardens January 2, 2016 at 9:13 am

    I’m dying! This is SO funny. I went to Portland once when I was 8 years old. It was different then. I would love to experience it (and all of Oregon) as an adult. I hear there is a vegan mall in Portland, which sounds positively dreamy.


    It’s official – I’m moving there. I am the only one in my household that thinks Portlandia is HIGHLARIOUS. I think I’d love it there – I love weird and IDGAF about making friends with cliquey hipster twats. I’m also friendly despite the IDGAF back there… Sounds fabulous (especially the weed part!) 😀


    PS – “Fluffing”!? Also hilarious… and a useful skill for sure, but I’d pass on that job fair. 😉


    I’ve lived in Seattle, was raised in a city in Oregon near Portland. Growing up I thought hipsters and snooty coffee were normal (matcha tea and alpaca yarn should be staples, right?). I eventually visited the midwest and East coast and my first thought was, “everyone here looks so sharply dressed, and the men are so clean shaven! And where’s all the mountains?”


    I lived in Portland during the hippie hay days . . . 69- 71 . . . OMG as close to Nirvana as I will ever get. girls/sex/ rock and roll/ cheap pot . . . clean acid. It was there I mets the loves of my life . . . then I got busted and jailed and sent back to Ohio with my tail between my legs . . . I wanna go back ever since . . . but there is no going back . . . ever . . . but I remember and some nights I sit in the dark and light up a joint and fly up, up, and away . . . back to my personal paradise.


    wait… I thought fluffing was a term used on porno sets to… never mind…


    I’ve never been to Portland (hell, I’ve never been north of San Francisco when it comes to West Coast travels) but I HAVE watched Portlandia.
    Does that count?
    I love to travel but moving back to the US with hella-strict school absence rules and ridiculous soccer schedules for the boy have put a damper on our escapades.


    Yay that you, L.D. and everyone had fun. Boo for not being able to see Ned. Thanks Portland for making my inner juvenile laugh…Gives new meaning to “Time to make the doughnuts…”


    I so need to hit Portland and get my freak on! Sounds like a cool city to visit.

    It’s been a great blogging year! Looking forward to reading more in 2016. Happy New Year!


    Hubby and I went to Portland a few years ago July 4th weekend for our anniversary. It was incredible and one of my all time favorite trips! OMG! NO bugs!! Seriously?
    We went for the wine… the Willamette Valley has over 260 wineries in that ONE VALLEY! OH my! Some of the best Pinot Noir wine you will ever drink will come from OR. I loved it there and would move there tomorrow if it weren’t for the fact all of our family is in Kentucky and Texas. A little too far to be away…
    Thanks for sharing the other bits! Will have to make sure I try some of THOSE places the next time we go! 😉
    Happy New Year Samara!!!!


    Really funny. Never been to Portland, but think I want to have a look based on your post. I can totally relate to your story of the submarine and clawing the tour guide’s face saying you can’t breathe. I could never take such a tour. Too claustrophobic.


    Beyond tired of my own long comments, esp. here, because I missed the main thing I intended to say. I went back to look for the paragraph that had made me LOL so much, thinking even that it was on another blog. This is hilarious:
    “The heart of Portland beats to an Artisanal beat. There are more yarn stores here per capita than any other city in the US, in case you want to take up knitting – a slow, frustrating, repetitive hobby that will enrage you.”


    ha,ha here another bike lover. I drive for coming fast to work – the fastest way, through the park and because it costs nothing and gives me rocket legs. But then again, in Europe everybody drives a bike.


    You had me at “reverse cowgirl.” As always this was funny and brilliant.


    The fluffing was relentless. Things are just now starting to go down after nearly reaching a state of emergency. Even the governor came to look at the fluffing in my area. Needless to say, I was totally bummed we weren’t able to meet up because of my fluffing. Definitely this summer, which will be swell.


    I used to go to Eugene like twice a year on business trips back in the 90’s. I was told Portland had more strip joints per-capita than any other place in the United States. Sadly, I never got there which – in hindsight – was probably a pretty good thing because I once spent $700 in one night at a Eugene strip joint.

    The place was called “The Office” which is the greatest name for a strip joint in the history of ever.

    “Oh, honey. I’m gonna be at The Office late tonight.”
    “Sorry. Still at The Office.”

    Wife: Yeah, he’s been spending a lot of time at the office lately. You’d think he’d get a promotion or we’d have more money.


    Oh, that’s hilarious! WordPress just notified me now about a bunch of comments & replies from all the way back to January. Must be the new phone.

    Anyway, State Street in Madison, WI is an open-air 8 or 10-block long pedestrian mall that runs from the State capitol building all the way to the University of Wisconsin main campus. The UW campus was 19 square city blocks in the 1970’s, and was serving about 30-40k students per year back then. I doubt it’s gotten smaller. There are several ethnic restaurants, a couple of bars, coffee shops, and some mom-n-pop gift shops. Chains have slowly been invading, but with a lot of local resistance. There is a theather, a huge public library, a public art gallery that is three floors, and buskers all up and down the street. There’s an ice cream parlor too. I’ve gone as many summers as I can. I went to high school in Madison. Madison is one of the most liberal / progressive cities in the country, and is situated on an isthmus between two lakes. It’s very bicycle-friendly as well. One of the longest-running buskers on State Street was my best friend in high school. His music is so horrible it’s funny with lyrics to match. He is a local legend fondly-remembered by thousands of UW grads around the world. Art Paul Schlosser. It’s a fun, fun place – when the snow is not flying.


      WordPress has gremlins! I swear, it has a mind of its own when it comes to comments.

      I know Madison is wild! University of Wisconsin, Madison, is the number one party school in the country!

      It sounds like a lot of fun. Wish I could go back to college.


        All tech has gremlins. I have been working in one form of tech or another since I was 17…there is no escape from the gremlins, there is only the cleaning up after. Lol


    Glad you had a great visit. Winter is coming. Get ready for the fluffing.

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    […] become even more non-filtered when I’m feeling socially anxious. While in Portland with my college bestie, I was doing my best wingman for her while some dude chatted her up at a coffee bar/drug […]

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