A Satirical (Yet Loving) List of Portland, Maine's Varying Demographics and Stereotypes: Abridged Version
Oh, Portland, Maine... You lovable beast, you. You equally provide me with deep disdain and true affection for your streets that are flooded with so many varying demographics. This love/hate relationship (mostly love, though) has sparked a bit of a sociological experiment. It is an observation of sorts pertaining to the myriad of cultural stereotypes that we witness everyday as we walk down Congress Street with the wind whipping in our hair and scowls on our faces.
P.S. I hope that you're not here for the other Portland. We're just as much of a Portland as they are! (Actually, they stole our name... so there.)
The "Hip" Parents
These guys are just so cool. Dads wear converse and a band t-shirt from the first time he saw Iron & Wine (he's seen them three times since.) Moms wear flowing dresses and patterned head scarves. They most likely tote around their toddler by attaching a baby carriage to the back of their bicycle. When they actually do drive their car (usually a Volvo or if they are super fancy, a Subaru Outback) the back door is plastered with bumper stickers telling other drivers to BUY LOCAL. They love NPR and PBS. Their favorite hobbies are recycling and hiking. They are well educated and aren't afraid to heavily imply this in conversation. They usually give their kids pretentious names like "Soloman" or "Juniper". When little Soloman and Juniper have a babysitter you can find these hip parents out getting a micro brew and eating at a restaurant that serves kale.
Likes: indie films, the farmer's market, One Longfellow
Dislikes: when you don't buy local
The Portland Hipster
Portland has a very special breed of hipster that is uniquely it's own. This breed is also divided into three categories:
1. The hipster who was born and raised in Portland.
2. The hipster who left Portland to live in New York for a brief spell and came back with a heightened sense of false superiority.
3. The transplant hipsters from other New England states who came to work on a farm during their gap year and ended up falling in love with Portland (see: New Hampshire, Vermont)
They are all pretty insufferable. True story: one time I saw a guy with a handle bar mustache, a sleeve tattoo, holding an iced coffee and trying to light a cigarette all the while attempting to ride his bike up India Street. Impressive skills, dude... (but you're still an arrogant bastard.)
Likes: shopping at Find, judging your outfit, cold brew coffee
Dislikes: forgetting to look vacant, flared jeans, when you try to relate to them musically
Thanks to my friend, Chris, for this incredibly accurate title. These folks live in the city but appear to have grown up in a trailer park somewhere outside of Lewiston-Auburn. They are straight up rednecks who enjoy being loud and doing hard drugs.
Likes: yelling at their kids in public, listening to Godsmack
Dislikes: not being able to sell their stolen Xbox 360 at Bull Moose
The Record Store Loiterer
Speaking of Bull Moose... I saw my fair share of these folks when I worked there. The typical Record Store Loiterer enjoys asking if you've heard of bands and then chuckling in dismissive mockery when you say that you have not. These are the same people who act like they don't enjoy a band that you try to share and then a month later you see them at the same artist's show at The State, singing along to every word with a Baxter's in their hand. Good grief. (Also file under: the aforementioned "Portland Hipster")
Likes: buying jazz records to give them a sense of elitism, vinyl in general, judging your taste in music
Dislikes: the fact that ABBA is their secret guilty pleasure
These are the kind of people who exclusively drink microbrews and judge those who order a High Life at the bar (aka people like me...) Hey, guys, I'd be ordering a fancy beer too if I could afford it!
Likes: Novare Res, homebrewing
Dislikes: Miller High Life, PBR, people who order either
Teenage White Boy Street Musicians
There are many talented street musicians in Portland... and then there are some who aren't so great. There is a vast array of mediocre musicians littered around the Old Port who seem to only know three chords. Expect to hear a lot of off key versions of Wonderwall and maybe a Death Cab song or two... or five.
Likes: spare change, singing with "emotion", actually being a wealthy kid from Cape Elizabeth but not telling anyone
Dislikes: singing songs that weren't featured on an OC soundtrack.
Manic Pixie Dream Girls
You know the type; tiny girls with pretty dresses and perfect hair. The object of affection for every Portland Hipster. They tend to float around on a cloud of perfection while all the boys stare and fantasize.
Likes: Urban Outfitters, being baristas, making me look like a scrub
Dislikes: all of the Portland Hipsters who are in love with them
This group likes to hang around street corners and random stoops in various states of insobriety. They are usually homeless and do not hesitate to ask you for a cigarette or booze. For the most part, they seem to be harmless even if they are obnoxious at times.
Likes: beer, having disjointed conversations that involve yelling across the street for extended periods of time, making me feel nervous about parking my car in the street
Dislikes: Portland Police Department
Bankers, executives, lawyers; you name it. They wear fancy suits and have iPhones constantly glued to their faces. They enjoy having business meetings in cafes and judging everyone who is around them who is in casual wear on a weekday.
Likes: their boat, money, judging you for not having money
Dislikes: leaving good tips
There Are So Many More...
... maybe there will be a Part 2 some day!