Portland is really gay. Our metro area houses the second highest population of LGBT adults in the country. And it shows: the equal sign is seen more frequently here on car bumpers than on math tests.
If you're a gay male transplant, you're probably familiar with the stats. It also helps that you might like vintage clothes, hairstyles that are becoming increasingly popular in Pakistan and ironic (?!) tattoos of religious insignia. Portland is rich with all of that, and it ain't fool's gold.
But unless you already have friends or a boyfriend, you're going to be lonely, tipsy and horny. That's real. So below, we offer you eight pro-tips on what to do and how to do him–errr, them.
Download Grindr….for friends
Grindr is great for finding long-term relationships. Friendships, that is. Realistically, the guys whom you're excitedly chatting up because they're "kinda cute" and "so close" will still be there three years from now. So, when you're 29, would you rather scroll your finger over that pic of them kneeling with a husky and cringe, or would you rather think "I wonder if Mark wants to try that new fried chicken donut place tonight after the gym?" You can't go to Blow Pony alone.
Visit queer dance parties
If you want to get laid, utilize gay bars for pregaming. For the main event, attend LGBT-themed dance parties like Blow Pony, S1 (if you recently graduated from college), a drag night at Lovecraft or Judy on Duty at the High Water Mark. People in bars are awkward (everybody has phones now), and you probably don't smoke. Dancing is cool because you don't have to talk and somebody will make eyes at you at 1 am before walking right into your warm embrace. Queer dance parties are also comfortably co-ed, and it won't be weird if you bring your female roommate.
Go to punk dives
Portland has a large queer population, including people who don't identify as one gender or sexual orientation. Other cities tend to be more black-and-white: there's gay, straight, bi, etc. This means there are a lot of people who will fail your gaydar test. Bars like The Nest, Alleyway and Lovecraft are not specifically gay bars, but they tend to draw a queer clientele. And if you generally find gay bars overwhelming, these bars tend to produce less anxiety as they are not specifically LGBT.
Taking your clothes off is a great way to initiate a hookup. There are three clothing optional places that gay men–of all ages–love to frequent: Rooster Rock, Sauvie Island (a sliver of Collins Beach) and bathhouses like Hawks or Steam, Portland's only gay bathhouse. Especially during the summer months, for obvious reasons, gays tend to flock to nude beaches for BBQs and warm Hamms. Parts of Rooster Rock are more surefire for a hookup than Collins Beach, with bathhouses being, by far, the most straightforward.
Workout from home
Toto, we're not in L.A. anymore. Let's face it: big, brand name gyms in Portland's city center that aren't exclusively available within a condominium are scarce. On the east side, for example, there's only one LA Fitness between the river and 80th. And for whatever reason, having a hot bod is part of the gay experience. (Mostly because cruel guys on Grindr remind us that we don't get laid without one.) So, you might try investing in some weights and a fold-up bench for your living room.
Be nice to your exes
Santa's watching. Or, in this case, your ex's ex's ex. If you're the type who likes to slam the door on your way out, think again. The gay population in Portland is big but Portland is small, and you will see your ex, people who have slept with your ex, people you've slept with who are now sleeping with your ex and two of your exes at the same time. And don't physically run away from your ex when you see him outside of S1 like me, as you will match on Tinder someday.
Break out the sage and clay coyote skulls. Witches tend to be badass queer people—and witch culture is ripe in Portland. This means friends who meddle in the dark arts might just supply you with a love potion, after all, if you hang around long enough to meet a few of their acquaintances.
Have kids here
Gay people from around the world flock to Oregon to have kids. Portland, as it happens, is one of the few spots in the world where LGBT (and straight) couples have easy access to surrogacy, IUI, IUF and egg donation. And while we know you're only getting intimate with that PBR inside your new craftsmen tonight, you might consider sticking around for the long haul.