I work graveyard, and my days off are Monday through Wednesday. Where can I meet folks with the same work hours? Is there some special place they meet, like a coffee shop or gym, or do they just stay home all the friggin' time?

—The Quirky Midwesterner

I sympathize with your difficulties—I also have trouble meeting new people, though in my case the problem is that I meet them all the time and I hate it. But I'm sure you don't want to be told to count your blessings, so let's get to it.

First, I'm always a bit concerned when people self-identify as "quirky." Theoretically this could describe someone who likes Martin Denny records or puts mayonnaise on french fries, but in practice it often means the guy is walking around in a crotchless Barney the Dinosaur costume eating lint.

Still, let's assume for the sake of argument that it's your schedule and not your facial tattoos that are cramping your social style. I'm guessing from your handle that you're new in town, which is probably why you're making the mistake of looking for Portlanders at the gym. The truth is that if anyone wants us, we'll be in the bar.

I recommend you explore "Service Industry Night," a weekly tradition at many taverns. They're usually held on off-nights early in the week for the benefit of bar and restaurant employees who have to work weekends. The Portland Restaurant Workers Association (pdxrwa.org) has a list.

This won't help you if you're looking to party after work at 7 am (for that, there's always My Father's Place on Southeast Grand Avenue). But on your days off, it should throw you in among a crowd that is largely young, single and attractive—or at least, not so unattractive as to cause a person to lose his appetite.

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