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So just because you did not say "hello" he is going to move back to Portland.
I think there's a bit more happening in his life and this was just his way of lashing out at "Seattle" by being an asshole to you.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 26, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Shit howdy! He got a smile!! That in itself is an accomplishment. Walking by and trying to make eye contact with most folks around here and they instantly look the other way faster than a Home Depot employee. It's exasperating.
Posted by Bean on September 26, 2012 at 11:18 AM · Report this
Jessica 3
GOD, Megan, you know that as a woman, your sole purpose in life is to live up to strange men's visual expectations of you. How else can you give him an erection if you aren't smiling?
Posted by Jessica on September 26, 2012 at 11:18 AM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 4
hello and good morning asshole unclefucker maybe he'll stay.
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on September 26, 2012 at 11:20 AM · Report this
pinksoda 5
Oh, yeah, let the "Seattle Freeze" shit-storm begin!!!

The comments to come will make my day!
Posted by pinksoda on September 26, 2012 at 11:22 AM · Report this
ryanayr 6
Sounds like a Freaky Friday scenario where that guy's 13-year old depressed woe-is-me middle schooler got his mind switched with his dad.
Posted by ryanayr on September 26, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Right on #2. I don't get Seattlites. Ive lived here 23 years and its always bern like that. Not so in even NYC. Hell Ive had more converstaions on NYC subways, Chicago "El" trains and the tube in London than I have on Metro here or on the street. Its onky gotten worse with the advent of Ipods and everyo e plugged in. Ive never understood why this is in Seattle...folks are so isolated, insulat, cold, aloof. What is it here?
Posted by HMRBEAR on September 26, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
As a native of The Rose City, I just want to point out that not ALL Portlanders are like this self-absorbed, neurotic asshole.

As for those of you with your "oh God, people in Seattle are SO unfriendly" bullshit - go fuck yourselves. If you're so goddamned emotionally stunted that you need some act of personal validation from every fucking stranger you walk by on the street, then maybe YOU are the one with the problem, not the rest of us, dumbass.

How's THAT "for a New Yorker"?
Posted by COMTE on September 26, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Rotten666 9
You might feel better had you said these things to the guy at the time.

@5 The Seattle freeze is an excuse losers use to make themselves feel better about not having friends. Doesn't exist.
Posted by Rotten666 on September 26, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 10
It is best to smile and just keep walking. Especially when they try to provoke you. Strangers can have ulterior, nefarious motives. That's my very long experience on the streets.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on September 26, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
Original Andrew 11
There's nothing to do in Portland.
Posted by Original Andrew on September 26, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
s.maxim 12
Why should anyone feel pressured to say hello to a stranger? I don't get it.
Posted by s.maxim on September 26, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Bad moods spread like a virus. Clearly he was feeling shitty about something. And now you are.

@2 That is the truth. It's like an entire city of autistic adults.

Posted by tkc on September 26, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Report this
My #7 comment....Damn I hate typing on an Iphone! "Only" gotten worse...."everyone" plugged in and "insulated"... Sigh. Sorry for the errors
Posted by HMRBEAR on September 26, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Report this
jnmend 15
It's definitely Seattle and not because he's a overreacting, self-righteous douchebag that can't think outside of himself.

...oh god he's right, he should be in Portland.
Posted by jnmend on September 26, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 16
You should be in bed with tea, not going out for coffee young lady!! See what happens...

Posted by ArtBasketSara on September 26, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
Keister Button 17
The only people in Seattle who say hi to me in Capitol Hill or downtown are those who have clipboards and hope I will shell out $ for their cause, or people asking for $ at bus stops. He must have escaped those. Come to think of it, maybe the reason I get a hello from fellow flaneurs and flaneuses is because I don't have a clipboard or look like I am trying to get cash from them.
Posted by Keister Button on September 26, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
Zebes 18
What a cock. If being a part of the "Seattle Freeze" means not having to deal with entitled shitheads like this, then I will gladly awkwardly ignore every motherfucker out there.
Posted by Zebes on September 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
When my kid and his girlfriend were here with me this summer, we made a game out of smiling and saying hi to people when we walked down the street. It was so much fun. Most people, when engaged directly like that responded and actually probably got what we were doing. Some though... oh boy...

And to you jackasses calling people losers or that we need some sort of validation? You can soooo fuck off yerself. When you come from places where people are friendly, this place just seems odd. A good thing the WHOLE city isn't this way.
Posted by Bean on September 26, 2012 at 11:35 AM · Report this
@14 For your errors no one is Seattle will say "Hello" to you for the next six months!
Posted by Spike1382 on September 26, 2012 at 11:35 AM · Report this
derek_erdman 21
I literally have a stick up my butt.
Posted by derek_erdman on September 26, 2012 at 11:37 AM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 22
He's right about Seattle...
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on September 26, 2012 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Earlier this week I got a Dad's stink eye for saying "Hi!" back to his toddler who was saying "Hi!" to everybody and everything.

Can't win in Seattle...
Posted by SoSea Resident on September 26, 2012 at 11:38 AM · Report this
CMRz 24
Posted by CMRz on September 26, 2012 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Y'all are a bunch of f*cking whiners.
Posted by dak7e on September 26, 2012 at 11:40 AM · Report this
My favorite part of this thread is how everybody is responding to being called unfriendly by going on hostile rants and telling each other to "go fuck them selves."
Posted by tkc on September 26, 2012 at 11:40 AM · Report this
If a person is going to get all shouty at a stranger (in front of their kid, no less), then I feel pretty confident that they're missing the whole freaking point of a sincere smile/nod/hello on the street.
Posted by pony on September 26, 2012 at 11:40 AM · Report this
"I was in awe that a stranger would be so demanding of another stranger over something so inconsequential, and then not only criticize that person..."

Oh, male privilege.
Posted by kersy on September 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
GAR this is one of those times when you think of the perfect comeback... 30 minutes too late.
Posted by matt! on September 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
I've been approached by too many weird/creepy people over the course my life who think that a smile and a "hello" is an invitation to a ten minute conversation about Jesus/Traffic/Those Voices That Won't Shut Up. I give them out sparingly now.
Posted by j.lee on September 26, 2012 at 11:44 AM · Report this
Skeptika 31
This guys is a dick, but can I add how much is sucks to say hello to a person and not get a hello back? I've been the hello'er on many an occasion when my hello was met with a frozen face or I-can't-see-you look. Especially when you actually met the person, but it's been four years since we exchanged words, and here they are pretending they don't know you. This happens a lot in the grad student-heavy neighborhood I live in. Also, I'm a woman. And I hello the guys I met four years ago. And some give me the frozen face.
Posted by Skeptika on September 26, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this
Who farted in this guy's oatmeal?
Posted by johnjjeeves on September 26, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
That's not so bad. When I lived in Atlanta a random man passing me on the sidewalk screamed he would rape me because I did not respond to him saying "Hello" to me. Sorry dude, but from a block away I could tell you were nuts. I called the cops anyway and reported the threat.

Don't tell me to smile more either.
Posted by Lori D. on September 26, 2012 at 11:51 AM · Report this
ScienceNerd 34
I agree with @30. I come from a rather friendly place and learned quickly after moving here that I need to keep my eyes down and keep walking. Almost every person I have noticed looking at me and so smiled at in this town turned out to be a little crazy or wanting me to sign something (which is illegal where I come from!).
Posted by ScienceNerd on September 26, 2012 at 11:51 AM · Report this
I live in Seattle, and I say hi to a lot of people I pass on the street. Some say hi back and some don't. It never occurred to me to get butthurt about the ones that don't. And even if I did decide to get butthurt about it, I can't imagine getting so butthurt about it that I was willing to harass someone whose friendliness crime was not being rude, but merely SMILING instead of smiling and saying hello. And especially not in front of my kid. Christ, what an asshole. That guy doesn't need to move to Portland, he needs to move to some small town in the south where everyone gives you a big grin and a "howdy do" as they lift their hat off their head. Or perhaps he should move to Tokyo where people act like you're a psychopath if you even make eye contact with strangers on the street, so he can learn to dial it back a little.
Posted by beef rallard on September 26, 2012 at 11:51 AM · Report this

I wouldn't go that far; at least you can get drunk in a strip-joint, if nothing else.
Posted by COMTE on September 26, 2012 at 11:53 AM · Report this
Mary P. Traverse 37
I have never thought the "Seattle freeze" is a real thing. (Maybe it's because I'm from Cleveland where we actually, physically freeze.) I was struck when I moved here years ago by how friendly people are. They'll say hello, they'll offer opinions on the menu, they'll joke with you in line. And now I'm comfortable saying "Cool tee shirt!" to people on the street, which is something I NEVER would have done in Cleveland. I seriously don't know what people are talking about.

And there is nothing more annoying than being told to smile when you are in a crappy mood. YOU DON'T KNOW ME! If I have a scowl on my face it's because I have a good reason for wanting to be left alone, and it's none of your business. I don't owe you anything, no matter what city I'm living in.
Posted by Mary P. Traverse on September 26, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
very bad homo 38
I walk everywhere, I pass hundreds of people a day. If I said hi to all of them, I would never get anyplace. Most of the people who say hi are about to ask for money, so I generally avoid everyone, and it is my right to do so.

Posted by very bad homo on September 26, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
My parents taught me not to talk to strangers.

I smile at people who intrigue me, or share an experience with; other ladies that seem fashionable or interesting. I actually make an effort to give compliments and share some good vibes.

I'd rather not invite the attention of the typical pervy/creepy guys that get that look in their eye, who always seem to ask for my number or if they could take me out on a date even when I make it obvious that I'm trying to avoid them.
Posted by erly on September 26, 2012 at 11:59 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 40
@28: Yep, only men are rude, and when they are, it is always because they think they have a right to be.

Keep on projectin'.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on September 26, 2012 at 11:59 AM · Report this
very bad homo 41
@37 Your last few sentences nailed it.
Posted by very bad homo on September 26, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
He was probably trying to use the little tyke to get some tang.
Posted by cliche on September 26, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 43
If that exchange had taken place in Boston, it would have ended with a body count.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on September 26, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
I think he's confusing the "Seattle freeze" with just being pissed that people are giving attention to his (probably first) kid and not to him. That happens everywhere. I'm sure it'll happen to him once he moves back to Portland, too.
Posted by hereiswheremynamegoes on September 26, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this
J. Burns 45
People talk about the "Seattle Freeze," but on the motherfucking real, you can't walk to the goddamn laundromat in this city without some crazy motherfucker stopping you and trying to tell you his entire life story. It happens to me every other time I leave the house. If I'm freezy, it's because I just don't have the juice to listen to a total stranger unbottle their neuroses at me for 25-goddamn-minutes straight every goddamn day of my motherfucking life.

I've got your freeze hanging right here. I feel like I need to take a stack of business cards with me that just say "COOL STORY BRO" and hand them out whenever some twitchy motherfucker wants to tell me about how they just moved here from Connecticut because their uncle is in a mental institution.
Posted by J. Burns on September 26, 2012 at 12:05 PM · Report this
internet_jen 46

You're too pretty to stab me in the face with that knife.…

I think the Seattle Freeze is caused by all the people who casually smoke pot and don't want to invite a new person over just in case they're not okay with it. When we play Settlers of Catan, often we play with the "rule of sevens": if you roll a 7 the first thing you have to do is take a hit, then move the robber.
Posted by internet_jen on September 26, 2012 at 12:07 PM · Report this
Every time I read about some beloved father being randomly killed in an accident, I imagine it's someone like this.
Posted by tiktok on September 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 48

I agree with you, but Megan did smile back at the guy and acknowledged the fact that he said hello, which is a reasonable response, especially since it seems like he wasn't trying very hard to get her attention. Mumbling "hello" under your breath is a good way to get ignored because *no one can hear you*.

I generally smile back when people say hello to me on the street, but many people mumble or say hello only after I pass them by. I'm willing to be relatively polite in public, but not enough to ask someone to repeat themselves or to make a 180 turn just to say hello to someone I've never so much as seen before.


To be fair, I do think Seattle has a higher than normal proportion of people who act like you just raped their mother if you say hello or smile at them. And I'm speaking as a young, middle class woman. Not someone who would come across as a perv or as someone who just wants money.
Posted by keshmeshi on September 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 49
Always amazed at guys that will try to pick a fight when they have their kids with them. (And that's what this guy was doing)

The person you pick the fight with may not think twice about snapping the kid in half. How does that inflate your ego?
Posted by Sir Vic on September 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
I'm a born and bred Seattlite (which is more than can be said for most in this town nowadays) and I agree that there is something inherent about this city and it's insular attitude. However, I've never been that way myself. I always smile at people on the street. I don't usually say "Hello" to random people, though. Does it matter that much? I'll start a conversation with someone occasionally whilst waiting for something. I'm not socially retarded, but I keep to myself mostly.

I find it ironic that people complain about this but at the same time move here by the millions and take root in this city. Maybe the true Seattlites, like myself, are perfectly friendly and open, but all of the imports are dick holes.

In any case, stop complaining and just be friendly if you want to city to be that way. Be what you wish for. Golden rule, suckas. I find that, by being friendly myself, I evoke it in others. Simple as that.
Posted by paulus22 on September 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
@45: Amen.
Posted by MLM on September 26, 2012 at 12:12 PM · Report this

I have been to lots of places where "people are friendly", namely, small towns where everybody knows everybody else, and the "friendliness" is generally held up as a justification for getting into each others' business. Mostly it's just a front; being nice, because you're going to put money in their cash register. Genuine hospitality is much rarer than most people imagine, because it comes without any need for reciprocation or validation. If you're one of those, then more power to you.

But, this incessant whinging from people who feel they're automatically entitled to a response, just because they engage in a vacuous, passive-aggressive game of social interaction ("I smiled at you, you MUST smile back or you're a douchebag"), are simply trying to get the rest of us to enable their pathological narcissistic personality disorder - and I for one have neither the time, patience, or inclination to get sucked into their pathetic, neurotic need for attention.

You want to be friendly, then BE friendly, without REQUIRING people to be friendly back. If you're just doing it because you NEED a response, then you ARE a loser, and the rest of us, who can smell your suck from 20 feet away, are under no obligation to play along.
Posted by COMTE on September 26, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
I have no idea why you're even justifying your behavior (you're sick, you did smile, etc.). Motherfuckers go out looking (and acting) like Dane Cook, they get what they get. That's not your problem.
Posted by Prettybetsy on September 26, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
care bear 54
Men who do this (and it's always men) can go right on ahead and fuck themselves and then die in a fire.
Posted by care bear on September 26, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
@9 nailed it. @45 explains it. Why do you need strangers to say hi to you? Especially in a busy place capital hill? I say hi on my lazy street in Wallingford. But doing it somewhere busy seems more autistic than contextualizing your interactions with your present environment.
Posted by CbytheSea on September 26, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
Foghorn Leghorn 56
I've never understood why people think the Seattle Freeze is a bad thing. I mean, I don't know you, why are you talking to me? Seriously, leave me in peace to go on about my proper daily business and I will leave you to yours.

Whenever someone is inordinately friendly to me for no reason I get a startled look. They don't realize that I'm seeing them as Homer Simpson in a jester cap, "Have no fear, the Cosmic Fool is here, to blow the lid off your conformist button-down world!" *shudder*
Posted by Foghorn Leghorn on September 26, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 57

That's often been my experience. It seems to be the transplants who are the rudest and most dismissive in social situations, and I'm talking parties and social events where people supposedly go specifically to *socialize*. And almost all my friends in this town are Washington state natives.
Posted by keshmeshi on September 26, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this

Sorry, this should have been addressed to @19...
Posted by COMTE on September 26, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Dougsf 59
One word: headphones. Most folks in San Francisco are pretty good at keeping to themselves, but holy fuck the endless stream of shit I hear from strangers on the days I forget my earbuds can be unrelenting. Don't take it personally, it's not really worth sweating over.

Seattleittes can be a little shy, but really... what COMTE said.
Posted by Dougsf on September 26, 2012 at 12:19 PM · Report this
@50 as a born in Seattle and lifer here. I agree. Maybe all the transplants are still in that new kid at school awkward quiet phase.
Posted by CbytheSea on September 26, 2012 at 12:19 PM · Report this
Hernandez 61
@9 Best response. You win.

Most of the time, the Seattle Freeze is a self-fulfilling prophecy. This jerk is case in point.

Posted by Hernandez on September 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM · Report this
Fnarf 62
The correct response is "fuck your mother". Don't look at him, don't break stride. "Eat shit" is good too.

The cure for the Seattle freeze, and the ridiculous opposition to it, is naked hostility.
Posted by Fnarf on September 26, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Report this
@40 Huh? You clearly didn't get what I was referencing.
Posted by kersy on September 26, 2012 at 12:31 PM · Report this
Michael of the Green 64
Naw, a New Yorker wouldn't have let this encounter make her scurry off to her blog to seek validation. Dude was just having a bad day. I'm sure you behave imperfectly now and then.
Posted by Michael of the Green on September 26, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Maybe all you people who complain about others not being nice enough to them are simply assholes that no one wants to talk to.
Posted by c on September 26, 2012 at 12:36 PM · Report this
ItsAllOverNow 66
Fact: The Seattle Freeze is nowhere near as real as the Portland Superiority Complex.
Posted by ItsAllOverNow on September 26, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
Y'know...I live in an unincorporated village of about 50 people, in the middle of nowhere. Our "town"--such as it is--is pretty tightly clustered together on one side of the highway and even though we're very rural, it's common to cross a neighbor's path while walking out into the woods or over to the park or something.

Sometimes we say "hi." Sometimes we wave. Sometimes we just smile. We're in the heart of midwestern friendliness and we feel no obligation to speak every time we see somebody.

If there's a city where every stranger I walk by feels obligated to speak to me, please tell me where it is so I can avoid it.
Posted by Zuulabelle on September 26, 2012 at 12:44 PM · Report this
Americans are so odd. Why would I talk to someone I don't know? A smille to a stranger is more than one can expect if raised well. A hello or pardon might be needed if the situation is awkward (e.g. the sidewalk is too narrow forcing the strangers too close together). But who is a stranger to me that I must speak with them, or even interact with them if we're just passing each other on the street, once, never to meet again?
Posted by TJ on September 26, 2012 at 12:48 PM · Report this
In the year I lived in Portland I made two friends outside of work. A year after moving to Seattle, the number is more like 20. In my experience the Seattle Freeze is bullshit. There's so much more to do here, you can't help but meet cool people.
Posted by wxPDX on September 26, 2012 at 12:50 PM · Report this
People in Seattle are quite friendly to strangers compared to other large city dwellers. My criticism of natives would be that they are adverse to controversy, which makes for conservative surroundings. Come on man, let it rip!
Posted by anon1256 on September 26, 2012 at 12:53 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 71
@ Comte, correct me if I'm wrong but I believe you said you came from Centralia. Or Chehalis. I always got those two mixed up. When did you move to Portland?

Anyway, as a person from a friendly city who spent eight years in Seattle, I can say that the "Seattle Freeze" is real in most settings (in line at the store or coffee shop, at shows, some other places) but it's easy to thaw when you're open, friendly, AND aware of whether some stranger really wants to talk to you or not. No, Seattleites aren't generally an open bunch, but I made a lot of friends there who are dear to my heart. Most of them were natives.

I blame all the cloudy weather. It makes people more introverted. But that's not the same as unfriendly or rude.
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 72
So why isn't it an issue in Portland or Vancouver, BC, then, @71?

Because it isn't.
Posted by Will in Seattle on September 26, 2012 at 12:58 PM · Report this
kim in portland 73
I'm always smiling. And, people almost always smile back. Some nod. Some do ask about why I am smiling, though. It's all good.
Posted by kim in portland on September 26, 2012 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Julie in Eugene 74
This @38
I walk everywhere, I pass hundreds of people a day. If I said hi to all of them, I would never get anyplace.

For real. People who live in large cities interact with so many people every day, it's ridiculous to expect a "Hello" from everyone you see. Minor interactions (e.g., going through a door at the same time, being in an elevator, waiting in line) might merit a smile, but every person you pass on the street? No way.
Posted by Julie in Eugene on September 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
thatsnotright 75
It was probably an animatronic baby and he was probably a rapist, you did the right thing.
Posted by thatsnotright on September 26, 2012 at 1:04 PM · Report this
Native Seattle girl here- I'm super friendly. I'm so damn smiley and nice that I've had people accuse me of not really being from here at all. That is some bullshit. People are people. Some want to talk, some don't. You really think it's a geographical thing?

I, personally, am a bus talker. I won't start a conversation, but if someone on the bus clearly wants to talk, who am I to deny them the company of a few minutes? I also work with the homeless and low income population, so maybe I'm less scurred of strangers than most, but come onnnnnn....they won't bite! I once had a lovely old drunk give me a flower in an airport bottle-cum-vase on the bus because I was the only person who'd talk to him. People get lonely. I don't find it a particular drain on my day to be pleasant for a few moments.

Now, the Seattle Freeze really is about folks being friendly in theory and then not folowing through with invitations to social outings or in to a circle of friends, right?- why people think they're entitled to instant friendship I just don't know. If I included every new person I met in to my group of friends, it would end up being live-action facebook, full of people with whom I have a passing connection but no real meat to sustain a personal friendship. That, to me, is weird and fake. Sometimes you hit it off with people, sometimes not!

And yeah, sometimes I'm super grumpy and don't feel like talking to anyone, or I'm sick, or someone just died, or I'm worried about the coming resource wars...and if someone calls me out on it, well, more fool you motherfucker, you're not my problem.
Posted by RainCityGlasses on September 26, 2012 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Irena 77
Refuse to smile, avert your gaze, even ignore my "hi" -- nothing is as offensive as being cussed out openly for not returning a greeting. Megan, you have my sympathy.

@28, 40, 54: This has happened to me quite a few times over the years, and it's always been a guy. Never once a woman. Of course male privilege plays into it. A big dose of batshittery, too (because, yay, most men are not assholes), but duh -- how often does a guy do this to another guy?
Posted by Irena on September 26, 2012 at 1:33 PM · Report this
@72 Actually, Vancouver, BC has something similar to the Seattle Freeze…
Posted by newintown on September 26, 2012 at 1:39 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 79
Megan: Perhaps it actually was Dane Cook, and he was butthurt that you didn't recognize him.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on September 26, 2012 at 1:47 PM · Report this
@72, Actually it is an issue in Portland and Vancouver as well. I've heard about it and read about it on Vancouver blogs especially.
Posted by isaidit on September 26, 2012 at 1:51 PM · Report this
I've been here 20 years. For the most part, I'd say New Yorkers are way friendlier to strangers. But Seattlites aren't really rude, mostly just confused and/or frightened, like they are worried someone might want to raid the stash of dried cod and potatoes they are counting on to get through the winter. I'd say as a rule, west coasters north of San Jose all think they are friendlier as a culture than they are, with Seattlites being particular offenders.

On the other hand, I last week talked to a guy visiting Seattle from BC who told me how much he liked Americans and what unfriendly ungenerous people Canadians were. That didn't match my preconceived notion, especially since he himself was so friendly.
Posted by cracked on September 26, 2012 at 2:13 PM · Report this
I was born in Tillamook, but only because my dad was on overseas duty at the time and my mom happened to be visiting her parents on the coast when I decided to pop out. Lived in Portland & Lake Oswego until I was 11, when I moved in with my mom & her 2nd husband who lived in Kelso. Still have lots of relatives in both places, but PDX is what I consider my hometown, since that's where I did the bulk of my grow upping.
Posted by COMTE on September 26, 2012 at 2:23 PM · Report this
And that was, of course, directed @71...
Posted by COMTE on September 26, 2012 at 2:24 PM · Report this
seandr 84
The dude is right. I wish more people would stand up to the tyranny of Seattle's lonely, introverted, avoidant bullshit.
Posted by seandr on September 26, 2012 at 2:38 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 85
Thanks @ 82. Where did I get the idea you were from Centralia?

@ 84, it's not Seattle, it's you.
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 26, 2012 at 2:40 PM · Report this
my takeaways from this story are:

1) Megan is willing to stay away from work when she's sick but not from a coffee shop where she could infect lots of people she doesn't know.

2) Passive aggressive staring is SO SEATTLE! pml

3) People who complain about strangers not smiling enough, or saying hello, or generally not acting the way they want random people on the street to act, are idiotic jerks and not worth anyone's time worrying about.

4) It sucks when you feel like crap and people out in the world give you shit when you're just trying to do what you need to and get back home. Feel better soon.
Posted by genevieve on September 26, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 87
You know Portland installed a smug-o-meter to count bicycles, right? They need one to count hellos too.

(These are Portland transplant hipsters by the way. Native Portlanders are fucking animals. Courtney Love? Portland girl. Tonya Harding? Portland girl. They'll kneecap you with a fucking bat before they say "hello". But the transplant hipsters don't know shit about Portland.)
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on September 26, 2012 at 3:09 PM · Report this

Well, Centralia is just up the road from Kelso, so geographically they're not that far apart.
Posted by COMTE on September 26, 2012 at 3:21 PM · Report this

But Seattlites aren't really rude, mostly just confused and/or frightened, like they are worried someone might want to raid the stash of dried cod and potatoes they are counting on to get through the winter.

I gotta admit, that's a good one. (Lifelong Seattle native here.)
Posted by MLM on September 26, 2012 at 3:21 PM · Report this
stirwise 90
I never thought of the Seattle Freeze as being rude to strangers. This town is probably the nicest place for strangers I've ever been to. In Chicago, the one time I smiled at a stranger on the street he pointed a gun at me and took all my money and jewelry (I am genuinely not shitting you. This really happened). Here strangers make eye contact, want to know your dog's name (and your name), and are generally very nice. The "freeze" bit is when you try to form any kind of a relationship beyond the smile & nod phase. Adult friendships can be hard everywhere, but I do feel like they're even harder here than other places I've lived.

That said, this guy was a grade A piece of shit, and you should have yelled at him. And told his cute kid that his dad is an asshole.
Posted by stirwise on September 26, 2012 at 3:36 PM · Report this
McGee 91
If you feel like you're getting the Seattle Freeze it is probably because you're intolerable.
Posted by McGee on September 26, 2012 at 3:54 PM · Report this
People on the street not smiling or saying hi is one thing, but I've lived in my condo building for five years and see the same people in the hall all the time and they never say hi or smile back, and THAT'S fucking annoying as hell. You are my neighbors, people. I am a youngish, well dressed woman, not a creepy dude. Give me something!
Posted by virginia mason on September 26, 2012 at 4:30 PM · Report this
Michael of the Green 93
Megan, if you get this worked up, call people assholes, write enraged blog posts, and wish them to get the hell out of your city whenever they think (even mistakenly) that you behaved rudely, you will be a very unhappy person. It was a misunderstanding of dialect. Grow some empathy.

And get well soon!
Posted by Michael of the Green on September 26, 2012 at 4:30 PM · Report this
@93 Nice mansplaining.
Posted by ridia on September 26, 2012 at 5:28 PM · Report this
Megan Seling, good on you for smiling! Good on you for acknowledging this man and child and for not cowering away, while also not jumping into the same escalated crazy that this twitchy, little man apparently thought was somehow acceptable. I hope it doesn’t stop you from making eye contact and/or smiling the next time…..

Because, while I’m certainly no merry sunshine, many comments here sadden me. I constantly walk around Seattle, and I make eye contact with everybody I pass on the sidewalk, when it’s one-on-one as described. Yes, I even try to get in a smile. It’s a small space, and, well, it’s social courtesy. Social. That thing when you are with people. In person. It doesn’t seem too inconvenient to walk with your head up and be aware of your surroundings – including other pedestrians. Granted, most people these days make great efforts to look down or away – straining not to make actual human contact. The younger the person, the more dramatic the avoidance as a general rule. Mere acknowledgement of the other person is sufficient, and yet even that has become so scarce. But, like all aspects of life in society, there is good and there is bad in the reactions you may get. Truth be told, the bad is rarely that horrible. (Ms. Seling’s experience notwithstanding.) Sure, it may be annoying, and it may require you to say something to that other person in response. God forbid, our little personal bubbles are not so sanitized at all times.

If you want your “social contact” to always be online and involve a screen, that is your prerogative. But then please stay there, since you are admitting here that you don’t have the social skills to do something as simple as walk down the street. Again, that is sad commentary.

Ok, bring on the ire……
Posted by lawgeek on September 26, 2012 at 6:10 PM · Report this
Coupla things.

This guy is NOT from Portland. His shoulder-chip is too big. He must be one of those people that move from burg to burg, never liking anything he finds, or giving the burg of the moment a chance.
In Portland, we accept smiles-sans-greetings as conversational all know "we're out there," so we like intuitive connections. We like grocery store conversations that start in the middle. We always assume that everyone we meet is just as nice as we are. Yeah, I fucking love Portland.
Grumbel-dor is an unhappy fellow. Sounds like Seattle is making him sad, but it's his own fault. I think maybe you missed his hello, so the non-verbal greeting you gave was unacceptable change for the under-his-breath perfunctory salutation.
Hey, maybe he'll read this and be so thrilled that he made the big time that he'll change his life and be a better citizen and role model for his yet-unspoiled kid.
Posted by portland scribe on September 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM · Report this
That kid has no chance in hell.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on September 26, 2012 at 7:55 PM · Report this
stirwise 99
Also, I'm starting to wonder if this is the same shitball who yelled at me on the street a couple years ago. My dog barked at him -- once! one bark! -- and he fucking lost it. While he yelled at me I went from apologizing to assuring him my dog had been formally trained to telling him she had been formally trained as an asshole detector and was just doing her job. Jesus fuck, they (or he?) must have way more going on to warrant such behavior. Or he's just an unrepentant asshole.
Posted by stirwise on September 26, 2012 at 9:07 PM · Report this
aimistrue 100
@52: Completely agree with you
Posted by aimistrue on September 26, 2012 at 9:46 PM · Report this
Soupytwist 101
COMTE, you are a treasure and I want to be just like you.
Posted by Soupytwist on September 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 102

What I find striking is that from a few isolated incidents, the basic idea you are asserting is that these few people speak for all males. This is the basis of all racim/sexism/stereotyping.

No considerations for the fact that he is maybe just an asshole, having a shitty day, or is a sociopath, it is just right to, "It is because he has a dick, lol."

The other night I had an issue with my credit card. The representative on the other end was unhelpful, rude, and curt. Also happened to be a woman. Now, if I came on here and was like "geez, damn bitchy women, they are always bitches" I would be rightfully reamed out for being sexist. You are doing the exact same thing, just with the tables turned.

I understand that the basic argument I get back here is that it is ok to be sexist towards men because of a myriad of reasons. I understand the history of this logic. What baffles me is that you do not grasp that when you deem sexism towards one group the be ok, you create a confrontational environment where all sexism is deemed to be ok. "Fire with fire" does not work here.

Posted by Theodore Gorath on September 27, 2012 at 6:22 AM · Report this
Irena 103
@102: Calling something out as an example of male privilege is no more sexist than calling out an example of white privilege is racist. I have no problem acknowledging my white privilege, and it's ridiculous to say that makes me a victim of racism.

Being cussed out by a strange man for not smiling or engaging with him is something lots of women experience, and we deserve the chance to holler back at it. To accuse us of sexism for that is just thick.
Posted by Irena on September 27, 2012 at 9:11 AM · Report this
@101: you gotta go and squeeze my stringy old cynical heart...
Posted by COMTE on September 27, 2012 at 9:57 AM · Report this
Someone else may have already pointed this out, but this guy ONLY did this because you are a woman, and he knows he can "safely" pick on you. If it had been a man that had "merely" smiled, he would have NEVER been confrontational. So not only is he a bitter, mean ass, he's a bully, too. Fuck that fucker (not literally) and move on.
Posted by mitten on September 27, 2012 at 10:38 AM · Report this
I'm with 13: "Bad moods spread like a virus. Clearly he was feeling shitty about something. And now you are."

And 86: "It sucks when you feel like crap and people out in the world give you shit when you're just trying to do what you need to and get back home. Feel better soon."

Especially that last bit.
Posted by EricaP on September 27, 2012 at 10:52 AM · Report this
I visit Portland a couple times a year. No-one says hello to me on the street there either. Which, is par for the course in the many cities I've lived in or visited.
Posted by tiktok on September 27, 2012 at 11:23 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 108

Claiming that he is acting like this because he is a man, without knowing anything else, and claiming that only men act this way is a sexist comment, regardless of who makes it. When you decide apropos of nothing that one man is acting a certain way just because he has a penis, you are being sexist.

Look, if you think it is ok to be sexist towards men due to social inbalances, it is fine with me, I have no desire to tell you how to think or express yourself. However, you should understand that claiming that sexism is wrong if directed at your tribe, and ok if directed towards another tribe is self-serving, ethically and philosophically bankrupt toddler logic with no integrity.

Posted by Theodore Gorath on September 27, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 109
I also would like to point out that you guys are not even using the term "male privilege" correctly. It refers to a general and repeated power dynamic, not a few incidents or individuals. It is a nice buzzword when used to describe stuff like this, but it has an actual meaning. Women being denied CEO positions is male privilege, a guy yelling at you on the street is not.

By this same token, you are claiming that the right to be a confrontational asshole is a privilege denied to women, and only afforded to men. I do not see where women are denied the ability to act exactly like this guy did, with the same consequences.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on September 27, 2012 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Irena 110

Theodore, let's recap:

carebear said: "Men who do this (and it's always men)..."
Please note: "Men who do this, not "Men do this"

I said: "This has happened to me quite a few times over the years, and it's always been a guy. Never once a woman." I also noted that this sort of thing necessarily involves "a big dose of batshittery, too (because, yay, most men are not assholes)."
Please note: "most men are not assholes"

From which you drew the conclusion: "the basic idea you are asserting is that these few people speak for all males."

You also say that we claim "only men act this way."
Please note: "always men/always been a guy." Not "only men/only guys."

You see how you are just making shit up?
Posted by Irena on September 27, 2012 at 1:27 PM · Report this
Years ago I was sitting on a bench with not much expression on my face because my boyfriend had just died. A man was passing by; he turned to me and said, "Smile!". I wish I had had the wherewithal to punch him in the nose, or at least flip him off. Instead I just smiled and felt like shit.
Posted by Drusilla on September 27, 2012 at 2:03 PM · Report this
mtnlion 112
This is weird. Sometimes I feel friendly, sometimes I don't. I'll always respond if someone says "hello," but I don't always have the time or desire to go into much greater interaction. Sometimes I'll be in a great mood and chat up people on the elevator or in the locker room at the gym; sometimes I don't feel like it. That shit's human, right? You're not *supposed* to be a chipper cheery hello-saying chap all day every day right? Then we'd all be phonies. I understand that about other people, too. It's all good. Calm down, everyone who has different expectations.
Posted by mtnlion on September 27, 2012 at 2:41 PM · Report this
Wait, he thinks that he'll get more social interaction in Portland? Maybe it's because I grew up in Seattle and hate social interaction in the first place, but I don't really notice significantly more conversation among strangers around here.

Also, I wouldn't have said "hello" because I wouldn't have wanted to give him an "in" to a conversation. Eye contact or even a smile doesn't obligate anyone for anything more.
Posted by daisy on September 27, 2012 at 4:37 PM · Report this
@lll: I'm really sorry about your boyfriend and if I'd been there I would have wanted to punch the guy in the nose, too.

Just when I started to get really bitter about guys I'd never seen before saying "smile," (and, yes, it was ALWAYS a man, NEVER a woman; fortunately, MOST men do not do this) and thought of some really snappy comebacks for people who think it's OK to tell a total stranger what expression she should have on her face or what she should be feeling, with the implicit assumption that making myself appealing or attractive to them was more important than genuine expression of emotion, and/or that whatever I felt serious about couldn't possibly be that stopped happening to me.

I'm really not sure why. Now that I'm older and look it, is being short and round and female no longer quite enough to tip the condescension scale? Does being a genuinely happier person at this time in my life show in my face? Does my face now look SO bad-tempered and formidable at rest that people are scared to approach me and give me random, offensive orders?

If I could answer these questions, I might be able to get the woman who gives out A.M. New York on the subway to stop calling me, "Sweetie."
Posted by SAH on September 27, 2012 at 8:31 PM · Report this
115 comments bickering over the usual red herring bullshit. For fuck's sake...

Yes, Seattlites are more socially withdrawn than people in most parts of the country.

No, this is not because people don't say hello on the street. In fact, having lived in other places I can attest that Seattlites make more of an effort to greet passing strangers than people in other towns.

Yes, there is a Seattle Freeze but no, the Seattle Freeze is not that people don't make an effort to meet others and socialize. This is a common misconception. The Seattle Freeze, actually, is that people here are very socially conservative: They don't open up to people easily and are very, very guarded about how much of themselves they share with others. And they are often averse to people who behave gregariously, unless it's within the context of close friends/colleagues and other very familiar people, within the context of an event, or they're doing it to harass strangers.

And, though it should go without saying, Megan's actions are not in any way indicative of this social phenomenon or any other problems outsiders typically have with Seattle's culture. This guy is just mad about 1000 other things and Megan was just a convenient opportunity for him to vent.
Posted by Gomez on September 28, 2012 at 9:36 AM · Report this
pfffter 117
Getting butthurt over a guy getting butthurt that you didn't say hello and then running to a blog to vent over your respective butthurts. Very Seattle.
Posted by pfffter on September 28, 2012 at 10:48 AM · Report this
Nothing makes me want to go exercise my "male privilege" more than people (ever noticed it's always women?) breathlessly clinging to claims of "male privilege" any time a guy does something douchebaggy. Yep - a guy did something shitty... now let's quickly pivot and make this about how men, as a group, are brainless assholes who don't even know they're assholes. Because, y'know, that's such an instructive way to look at the world. Try this on for size: don't take your female anger out on me.
Posted by pheeeew!crack!boom! on September 28, 2012 at 1:12 PM · Report this
anarchy burger 119
@118 you sound like a delightful, non-douchebaggy, totally laid-back friendly guy who we would all love to hang out with! Sorry about all the mean angry ladies on this blog taking all their female anger out on YOU PERSONALLY.
Posted by anarchy burger on September 28, 2012 at 5:23 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 120
OK, this thread is just excessive.

@82 Cute gerund.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on September 29, 2012 at 6:00 AM · Report this
HellboundAlleee 121
Of course, an individual's attitude + confirmation bias has NOTHING to do with how "cold all you Seattleites are."

Confirmation bias:
"...refers to a type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one's beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one's beliefs."
Posted by HellboundAlleee on September 29, 2012 at 9:58 AM · Report this
The stranger you just encountered has a textbook case of narcissism. These losers constantly want attention and acknowledgement so much so that if you fail to give it to them, they will attack you verbally or physically out of nowhere. Don't feed their neurotic need for attention. Ignore these people. This is one reason I never say hello to strangers or make small talk with them. No one is entitled to bow down and kiss the feet of some random loser who wants constant acknowledgment. This is not about being friendly. A true friendly stranger will never go berserk just because someone didn't say hello back. This is all about their constant need for attention. The world will be a better place if everyone minded their own damn business.
Posted by helenjia on September 29, 2012 at 2:19 PM · Report this

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