The Portland section of craigslist.org, the community bulletin-board website, is where I find some of my most unusual story ideas--especially on the "men seeking men" page.
That's where I hit on this item: "Justlike [sic] a gay boy who live [sic] in the Pearl District is called a Pearl Girl...a bunch of gay boys walking down the street...is called a 'String a Pearls.'" A wise poster responded by tweaking this new term to the punk-sounding "Pearl Gyrls." He went on to describe the dreaded PG's as "Pretentious Asses...cut from the same cloth: nylon."
For some reason, I thought I was the last catty queer to pepper the Rainbow Nation with unfair stereotypes. But according to craigslist, it looks like I've got lots of company among local homos who not only pigeonhole our queer brethren by age and beauty, but also by where we choose to live.
What a great idea! In the tradition of adopting dumb names for areas where you-once-didn't-want-to-live-but-now-can't-afford, I offer the following categories to help identify queer-o-sapiens by the 'hoods they call homo.
Uptown Gyrls: Fareless Square and the West Hills. These downtown-obsessed shopaholics would never be caught dead in a mall--or wearing anything without a designer label. Like their beloved Pearl Gyrl brethren--but with even more money--these stuck-in-last-century boys blow their wads on Saucebox cocktails, Silverado strippers and penthouses with breathtaking views. How Wall Street can you get?
Twenty-Ate-Hers: North- and Southeast 28 Avenue. Not ones to pussy around, these gals and their dyke-loving pals like to hang out at one of the various upscale eateries dotting this street. They pound foie gras mini-towers at hotspots like Tabla and Navarre while discussing the uncomfortable nature of natural fibers and the fact that futon feathers get stuck in your mouth during cunnilingus. Giveaway: leg stubble, bike-helmet hair and an unquenchable thirst for clear beer.
Miss-a-Sissies: The length of North Mississippi Avenue. These omnisexual queers look for their role models in the racks of the voyeuristic Video Vérité. Unable to navigate the street without stopping by Fresh Pot for a cup of joe, these hard-working souls (who swing their hammers both ways) spend most of their downtime scouring the aisles of the Rebuilding Center for mid-century toilet seats and tattooed carpenters.
NoMos: North Portland from I-5 to the St. Johns Bridge. Queer pioneers attracted by once-low house prices (and, well, that's about it), these well-intentioned folks have the market cornered on easy-access greenspaces perfect for children, pets and yard sales.
Beaver-trons (a.k.a. Fresh Meat): Beyond the Vista Bridge Tunnel. These dudes are the easiest to figure out and hardest to find. Look for buff guys with big eyes, hungry mouths and a pup tent in their pants. Not ones to roam the street on foot, these gays are likely to be either tethered to their computer (on craigslist, of course) or under the hood of their GTO. Score one for the suburbs.
Happy hunting! Let me know if you spot--or are--one.