Anxiety is high in the Hawthorne/Belmont districts of Southeast Portland, as increasing reports of a so far unidentified beardless man are flooding newspaper tiplines and trendy bars alike.
“Look,” said minimalist visual artist Hector “Scoobs” McClatchy, 31, of Hawthorne, “I didn’t move here from Santa Monica to be surrounded by clones like this. It makes me want to puke. …But, but, I don’t mean that in any kind of a way that trivializes eating disorders.”
McClatchy says that the man’s presence is a serious and alarming challenge to the values of the very unique Portland district.
Sightings have been reported in the hardware section of the Fred Meyer at SE Hawthorne and SE Cesar Chavez, all the way to a bar–whose name patrons pleaded with Portland Bugle not to publish for respect of cultural credibility preservation–near SE Hawthorne and SE 18th.
The first reports of a man that witnesses describe as wearing some bull-[expletive] college athletics fleece pullover, having the wrong kind of tattoos, and probably in his mid-to-late twenties, began in the second week of October.
“You think you know your own neighborhood until something like this happens,” said Belmont-resident El Perry.
The cut is deep for Perry, a Newport Beach native, who described the sacrifices he has made to maintain his own image and the neighborhood’s environment. Before his beard was growing as full as he felt necessary to maintain his personal credibility in the community, Perry would fill it out with keratin hair fibers designed for balding men’s scalps. He explained the process as taking minutes.
“I spent an evening peering down at all the happy people milling about Hawthorne from behind a curtain, stroking my patchy-haired face waiting for that product to ship next day air. It was brutally depressing. I felt less than human,” Perry said. “Then this guy comes along, and he clearly has no respect for the struggle some of us have been through.”
McClatchy describes his own, similar sacrifices for the same purpose as Perry.
“Do you think I like wearing jeans this tight?” McClatchy said. “Have you ever had one buttock fall asleep? One? No one likes wearing skinny jeans.”
“I was walking to my yoga class, and this gigantic truck drove by,” said employed in uncategorical ways, thank you very much, but definitely minimalist, and she guesses if you have to write something, write ‘candle and hand soap maker,’ Greta Teller, 27, of Hawthorne. “It was playing some buttrock song rather loudly and unironically. It’s upsetting.”
Teller, like many interviewed witnesses, worries that this isn’t an aberration, and is a “message in the fair trade, single source tea leaves” that this area of Portland has reached its cultural and stylistic peak.
McClatchy is also exploring his options.
“There’s [old guard] credibility in Austin. It was Portland before Portland was Portland, and maybe it will be Portland after Portland is Portland and you see guys like this are all over the place.”