The claims I make in this essay are not intended to be scientific, but based on
my years of meticulous observations and experiences in Bellingham. Though others may have
differing views and experiences (such as shown in the addendum of this
article), so far no one has been able to prove my assertions wrong, and
certainly not by the hands-on interactive experiments I offer readers to do
to verify my claims*, such as the message board forum and shopping mall
experiments. I also don’t mean to overgeneralize in this essay either,
but at the same time, one cannot deny that different PATTERNS do exist between
regions and cultures.
After being in and out of Bellingham, WA
for 6 years, there are many words I would describe it with:
closed, cliquish, anti-social, reclusive, secluded,
isolating, trapped, remote, anti-stranger, uptight, stuck up, boring, dull,
stagnating, suffocating, mind-numbing, a closed shell, a pain in the ass to
drive to the nearest city to do anything, lonely, gloomy, dead, lifeless,
devoid of any energy, passion, character, etc., devoid of EVERYTHING - social
life, fun, jobs, dating scene, etc., depressing, anal-retentive, unapproachable
girls with an anti-stranger femnazi “all men are creeps” mentality, anti-men,
the only place in the world where flirting is a crime, worst dating scene/nightmare
for single men, the “Hades of social life”, full of sadists and masochists who
love loneliness and boredom, negative repressed vibe, energy vampire,
energy/life force sucking, energy vacuum, black hole that sucks people in and
those who try to leave, vortex that sucks the life force out of you and turns
you into a vegetable, vibe/energy on a polarity opposite to mine, poison to my
life force and aura, a TOTAL WASTE OF LIFE, a place where time just drags on
and on with no purpose, a dead burial ground for your life, a place where
people live and think with a narrow tunnel-vision and live in a tight “box”
isolated from the rest of the world, etc.
Many like to say that Bellingham
is a nice place. Sure, it might be a nice place if you have no sexual desires,
don’t like to meet beautiful women, are anti-social, reclusive, isolationist,
or a hermit. If not, it can be a living nightmare.
Obviously, your next instinct would be to ask why I am here
then. Well that's what I ask myself everyday. Of course I don’t
want to be here and never did. It is the topic I am trying to explore in
this essay, but I will go over my story later of why I keep getting trapped in
the worst place to live in the world. What might surprise you though if you’ve
never been here, is that in spite of how I described Bellingham
above, almost everyone here LOVES it and never leaves! That is so
freaking odd to me, that everyday I feel like I’m in the “Twilight Zone” here.
In fact, most people who have lived here one time or
another, don't seem to ever leave, at least not permanently. Many years
after I arrived, I continue to see most of the same people working the same
dead end jobs there.
You see, in this town, there is
a legendary "curse of Bellingham"
where once you live here, you are destined (or doomed perhaps) to stay.
Those who attempt to leave are often brought back by a series of circumstances,
sometimes against their own will. It's a phenomenon so common and
frequent among Bellingham
residents, that it earned itself the reputation of being a “curse.” It’s
not known how or why such an alleged curse works, only that its effects seem
eerily real, as well as a noticeable pattern.
I’m not saying that no one has ever lived and left Bellingham
for good of course, for some have. But there is such an unusual high
percentage of folks young and old, who come and never leave, or who leave and
are brought back somehow, way above normal, that people can’t help but notice
this pattern. Other towns in the world that are of Bellingham’s
size don’t usually have this reputation. Even places with a foresty damp
northern climate and environment similar to Bellingham
do not have this odd phenomenon, but instead have a normal migration and
de-migration rate. That’s what makes Bellingham
unique compared to areas similar to it in appearance, which defies rational
Therefore, this alleged curse wouldn’t apply to everyone,
only certain people it chooses to put a stranglehold on. Perhaps it has a
mind of its own and selects those whom it chooses (kind of like how God in
Calvinistic doctrine pre-selects those he wishes to become saved through
predestination). Who knows? But whatever the case, life in Bellingham
for many feels like an over-extended series of Gilligan’s Island
episodes where the crew is never able to leave.
First though, before we continue, for those of you who don’t
know where Bellingham is, it’s
situated in the northwestern part of Washington
state in the Pacific Northwest of America. It’s located right off highway
Interstate 5 (which runs through Washington, Oregon,
and California) about 30 minutes
below the Canadian border. I would not call it a small town, for in a
small town almost everyone knows each other and are very sociable toward one
another, but Bellingham residents
are anything but (which will be explained later). And I would not say
it’s a suburb either, as no major cities are near it, though it does have a
suburban type environment and atmosphere. Rather, I’d describe it as a
remote isolated spread out town in the middle of nowhere, far and estranged
from any interesting action. Its terrain consists of forests, trees,
lakes, and hills. With a population of only about 67,000 (as of year 2000
census) the town is spread out over a vast area, giving it a larger land area
than you might expect for its population. And of course giving everyone a
lot of privacy, seclusion and isolation (which certain type of people like in
abundance). You can see pictures of the Bellingham and Whatcom County area
here: http://whatcom.kulshan.com/ , http://whatcom.kulshan.com/Washington/Whatcom_County/Bellingham/default.htm,
and http://www.bellingham.org/ (Note:
Don’t let the nice scenery fool you though; most of the time, it’s cloudy and
gloomy, and the vibe is dead and depressing).
Now don’t get me wrong here. The town is situated in
pretty scenery. However, like a hot airhead blonde girl, its beauty is
only skin deep, totally devoid of any depth, substance, personality, energy,
life, or anything of worth, which soon becomes apparent to any normal
person. Of course, no doubt the town is peaceful, but if peaceful is all
you need in your simple life, and nothing else, then perhaps the town would
suit you. But for the ambitious, no frickin way!
I would say that Bellingham
and Washington state in general
is good for a week vacation, but that’s it. Living there is suffocating
to your mind, body, and soul, to the point of causing insanity and wasting
years of your life.
Now here are some examples of the workings of this alleged
From a case that transpired in my life, back in 2001, I went
to Virginia City, Nevada,
a touristy Old West town near Reno.
For 6-7 months, I had a great time, a great job and girlfriend. Suddenly,
before my last month there, it all came down suddenly. I lost it all and
reached such a dead end, in conjunction with a faltering economy there, that I
couldn’t even get a job at a 7-11 cause I had to be put on the waiting list for
it! With nowhere else to turn, I went home to Bellingham
for Christmas, where my parents were. While there, a good government job
I applied for a year before suddenly became available and was offered to
me. Though I preferred to stay in Nevada,
with a dead end there, I felt that the only door was back to Bellingham
for that job. So, conveniently, the doors closed and opened for me
without my control, all the way to Bellingham
(poo hooh). Like a zombie, I followed the curse’s shaping of my destiny,
back to my nemesis town of Bellingham!
So you see, this is an example from my own life of the way the curse works,
causing “circumstances to bring you back to Bellingham”.
It seemed ominous how all the circumstances on both sides
were exactly timed to bring me back to Bellingham.
It was as if God or the universe opened and closed doors in a way to bring me
back to Bellingham.
There are, I hear, many such stories from those who have
tried to leave Bellingham before.
One guy I worked with at a temp job told me that he once
moved away to San Diego to seek a
better life, but after he was laid off, he described, “I felt like I just
had to leave San Diego
for some reason! But I’ve been miserable ever since I came back to Bellingham.”
An actor and singer I met who calls himself by the pseudonym
“Johnny Midnite”, said that he liked staying in Bellingham
because he liked being “a big fish in a small pond”. But later on, when
he read my other essay detailing the deficiencies of Bellingham (an earlier
version of this one), he said that what I wrote was true and should be
published in the local papers here, which he promised to help do (but never
did). What’s odd here is that if he agreed with my extreme
anti-Bellingham views, then why the heck would he be here still, especially
since he’s divorced, jobless (when I met him), and therefore has no obligations
here? It makes no sense.
This “curse of Bellingham”
not only applies to mundane accounts, but to unusual ones as well. For
instance, I heard about this couple driving through Washington
on their way to Alaska, when
their car broke down while passing through Bellingham.
When they tried to get it fixed, a series of events happened to make them
stay. And years since, they’ve remained in Bellingham,
never having made it to Alaska.
Such accounts are chilly and creepy, and attest to the unusual, perhaps supernatural
nature of this “curse of Bellingham”,
whatever it is.
Similarly, two Finnish backpackers I know traveling the
world ran out of funds and ended up in Bellingham,
not at the same time though, about a week apart. One of them I met
through couchsurfing.com, a free accommodation site, whom I hosted in my
home. What’s uncanny is that they both ran out of money exactly as they
approached Bellingham (apparently
this curse has the power to drain funds as well?). Ironically, their plan
is to work there and save up money to continue their travels (which is how some
permanently ended up there! <spooky music playing in the background>),
and they somehow chose to do so in one of the towns with the least opportunity
and worst job market in America!
Now isn’t that a bit fishy? Of course, they will say that “circumstances”
seem to have timed it that way and brought it about like that. Uh huh,
now where have we heard that before? The one that I hosted even tried to
cross the border into Vancouver, Canada (which is a big city, so again it makes
no sense why one would seek work in an economically repressed small town rather
than a big city, which is eerie) but was rejected by the customs officials, who
cited him as having too little cash to insure himself from becoming a homeless
vagabond in their country. So he was forced to turn around, back to you
know where. Creepy isn’t it?
And to top it off, my Finnish friend got offered a rent-free
room here to stay in for a few months, which is amazing and lucky, while he
seeks work. Though he may consider that to be a great blessing and
helping hand from above, the way things go in this eerie Bellingham,
who knows. It could in fact, be the beginning of the Bellingham
curse’s stranglehold on his life as well! God only knows how long they
will be forced to remain in Bellingham,
the eternal black hole.
Later on, I met the other Finnish backpacker, and he too
told me that after 2 weeks in Bellingham,
he can understand how I feel about it. He also described it as “dead” and
that rather than a town, it was more like a “burial ground”. And he
advised that I leave the town or else my “life will die”. So you see, I’m
not alone in my views, despite the opinion of the majority of Bellinghaminions.
So like I said, the Bellingham
curse is like a bad but real life horror movie.
(Update: At the end of December 2005, they finally
left Bellingham and headed to South
America. I guess they got away. Hurray! More
power to them!)
I would describe this phenomenon as a “force”, “energy” or “disease” that
possesses people there and makes them stay for no logical reason, or that sucks
their energy or life force to the point where they have neither the will,
motivation, or desire to leave, even if their life is totally stagnated
there. Either way, there is something unnatural about it.
I am immune to the strange affliction of so many who want to
stay here perpetually, that I often feel that I am in the Twilight Zone or the
only uninhabited human in the old sci fi horror flick Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Whatever the case, Bellinghammers, Washingtonians, and Northwest people in
general are definitely the people on earth I least have a “kindred spirit”
with. They are like from a different dimension or planet, devoid of
passion, intensity, or extremes. In social situations with them, I feel
totally awkward and unnatural, not resonating with anyone.
Various theories have been presented to try to explain this
“curse” in Bellingham. Some
say that a tragic accident over a century ago in which Chinese workers were
killed in mining caves, left disembodied spirits roaming around the town who
inhabit its residents and compel them to stay. Another theory is that the
Chinese coal workers were murdered by local white settlers, and that just
before they died, they put a curse on Bellingham,
condemning it with bad karma. However, the latter theory doesn’t seem to
make sense since murder victims have no motivation to create a curse to make
people stay there forever; wouldn’t they prefer the area to repel people from
the area instead? But nevertheless, there could be more to it, such as
the curse being an indirect effect of the victims’ condemnation?
In any case, here is how one Bellingham
resident described the Chinese coal workers story to me:
“So..... I didn't read your
whole page, but thought it interesting since I was raised in Bellingham, went
away for school, was not planning on coming back, then was planning on staying
for 1 year, and now I've been here for 1.5 years and have wanted to leave the
Have you heard about the ancient curse on Bellingham.
I have heard a few people over the years mention this ancient curse on Bellingham.
Do with it what you want.......
Goes something like this:
A long time ago when the first out of area "settlers" came to the
land that would later be called 'Bellingham' by ship, the land was so dense
with trees that people had to cut trees down to land. It seemed a place of much
opportunity and a huge abundance of natural resources. Logging, fishing,
hunting, and mining. What more could you ask for? The word got around and Bellingham
began to grow. It became slightly more diverse. As the story goes, a group of
people from China
sailed to Bellingham
to escape the imperialism of chinese dynasties. They were not met by friendly
open minded people and did not get along well with them. Bellingham
people were as you describe them.... anti-social, isolated, and uptight.
Nevertheless, the scenery was beautiful and the sky was the limit. This group
made good use of the land and worked in a mine in the lowlands of what is now WhatcomCounty for settlers
who had landed before them.
Life was well enough.......
Until one day they went to work like they did everyday and the mine collapsed
behind them. 15-20 Chinese workers were trapped. There was no instant worries
since no one was injured and there was plenty of machinery near the mine to
remove the rubble in their way. Much time went by and conditions worsened. They
began to fear for their lives. Why would no one save them?
After what they thought to be about 3 days they had given up and knew that they
would perish in the pitch black cold, damp, humid cave. It was dark and no one
had spoken a word for 24 hours. They were miserable, anti-social, lonely, and
depressed because they were going to die. On this 3rd day one of people
gathered the group together to say some last things. All felt betrayed by the
people of 'Bellingham.'
They knew that they could have been saved and these miserable fucks had decided
not to for economic reasons. The mine had not been producing. Together these
15-20 Chinese people placed a curse in their last hours of life. The set a
curse that apparently still lives on today. Through the powers of their
ancestors and their gods they wished that none of these people in Bellingham
would ever leave and would sit in this damp, humid, unfriendly place. That they
could not leave and neither would their children as well as their children and
so forth. Even if they did leave they would find themselves sucked back into
this miserable place. The rain and clouds would drive the depression and no one
would ever try to leave again. Their children would be so depressed that they
would just sit around and think....'what's wrong with me'? While never
mustering up enough energy to do anything about it. To live miserably like this
Chinese group died.....When they didn't have to...........
So here we are. The children of parents whose parents parents parents let these
people die because it was not financially smart to save them. Stuck in this
town wondering why we can't leave. It's not our choice it's the wish of people
long before us who have more reason for us to stay than for us to
And another girl related a similar version in a nutshell:
“I wanted to write to talk
about the curse because other than my long lost friend Beth who
told me about it I have never met another person who's heard of it. The
story I got was that the imported Chinese laborers (who weren't allowed to
cross the line of demarcation into Fairhaven unless to go the mines) were
striking for various reasons and (this is where it gets fuzzy) so scab
workers were brought in and the original group were all mysteriously
trapped in a mine when it collapsed and no one dug them out and so, they
put a curse on Bellingham that no one would be able to truly leave the
place until they had accomplished what they came for. The catch is that no
body really knows what they came for and those of us who came for college,
graduate and then dont leave have no explanation... we just.... stay. I
tried leaving at least 4 times and every time it didnt work out and so I
went back. Its strange, really truly strange and I support you in your
impending escape, if and when it comes.”
Another theory is that the ancient Native Americans who
lived in the region used the area that Bellingham
is situated on as their sacred burial area. So the settling of it caused
a curse to be brought upon its inhabitants.
Others have a more down-to-earth explanation, which is that
people simply love the area and want to stay.
You might think the last explanation is the most
sensible. However, there are several problems with it, for it doesn’t
account for certain things. First, as already mentioned, some who have
left and returned to Bellingham, do
so against their will and therefore do not fit the “I simply love it”
explanation. And it includes those who hate it. I’ve personally met
such folks, which includes me too. Second, Bellingham
is deficient in many areas, and has nothing to offer, at least not that you
couldn’t get anywhere else. It has virtually NO opportunity or social
scene/life, which will be elaborated on later. Therefore, there is no
logical reason to “to love it”, especially not to give up your precious life
for. After all, how can one “love” a town that is devoid of EVERYTHING -
social life, culture, fun, jobs, dating scene, etc!? Just WHY do people
stay in such a place devoid of everything and claim that they love it? It
totally beats me.
Though many claim they love Bellingham, it’s possible they
are just saying that due to the “Emperor’s New Clothes” phenomenon, where no
one admits to the truth out of fear of others thinking that there’s something
wrong with them. People don’t even look happy in Bellingham,
but rather repressed and numb. Also, understandably, if people hate where
they live, they don’t usually admit it until after they’ve left; then they feel
free to express their true feelings without the risk of offending others or
causing a conflict. For example, Californians who move out of California
often talk about how fake, shallow, and plastic the people and culture were in California,
something they dare not say out in the open until they’ve left.
The thing is, if one merely loves the foresty alpine
environment of Bellingham, there
are many areas of the world with the same foresty alpine environment and
terrain, yet with much better opportunity and social life. I can think of
many both in the US
and Europe. So it makes no sense to choose Bellingham
over other similar-looking places that are better.
In fact, many who stay there have no careers or
personal/social/love lives, yet they still stay and never leave for some
reason, though they have nothing going for them. It makes no sense and
makes this alleged curse so odd and suspicious.
Thus, I fail to see what those who love Bellingham
see exactly. It’s as mysterious to me as like when you take the most
boring and pointless movie you ever saw, and later find out that most movie
critics loved it and raved about it, leaving you scratching your head in
wonder. Then you find out that these critics see so many wonderful
subtleties in the movie that its makers probably never even intended, as if the
critics are merely seeing what they wanna see, perhaps in themselves.
Speaking of movies, if you’ve ever seen the 2004 flick Lost in Translation,
(which critics loved but I found boring and pointless) you might remember the
bored dragging expression on Bill Murray and Charlotte’s face throughout the
whole movie. Well that’s exactly how I feel everyday in Bellingham.
Therefore, though I cannot rightly say that there must be a
supernatural or paranormal cause to this curse, nevertheless the “they love it”
explanation seems insufficient as well, so I would at least consider it to be
“unexplained”. And this is especially so when there is nothing to love
about it and so much to hate about it, as described in the next few sections.
The first day I arrived in Bellingham back in 1998, I IMMEDIATELY felt DISLOCATED. It was
insular, empty, dull, and gloomy. Its cold, damp, dead, lifeless,
stagnating climate numbs and wilts the body, mind and soul. I constantly
felt tired, groggy and depressed. And there was nothing to expand my mind
or soul, but in fact impedes its growth and evolution.
There’s no energy or synergy
between me and its environment, people, vibe, etc. Its vibe is on a
polarity that conflicts with mine, draining me and making me feel the conflict
between who I am, the very essence of my life force, and what Bellingham is (whatever it is). Hence, meaningful
synchronicities and coincidences don’t happen for me, as my wavelength and its
wavelength are not in tune. Nothing good or bad happens to me there; time
just passes and life is wasted. There is no energy there which allows me
to grow, expand, or mature.
In Bellingham, I
feel weak, insecure, and somehow naked of my confidence, like how Superman
feels near Kryptonite. Bellingham,
and Washington state in general
are to me what Kryptonite is to Superman. I don’t know why, perhaps my
strength and confidence are a mismatch there? Even when I am with others,
most of the time I still feel lonely and estranged for some reason. Thus,
the DEFAULT conditional state for me there is one of isolation, estrangement
and loneliness. So it feels like a constant uphill struggle to overcome
the feeling of alienation, isolation, or loneliness.
In Bellingham, the natural growth and evolution of my mind, aura, soul
and persona are completely FROZEN, HALTED and rendered INERT! Time just
drags on and on without any purpose. The area is devoid of any energy, personality,
Even just a week in Russia/Europe
matures, evolves and enriches me more than ten years in a place like Bellingham. Every time I’m in Bellingham,
I have no love life, no social life, no opportunity, nothing. So I don’t
understand why a place like this exists.
people tend to have a tunnel vision mentality and think inside their little
bubble. You can feel it strongly in the vibe of the town, which to me
feels negative and repressed. Hence, even though I am outgoing and like
to go out, I don't in Bellingham
cause its negative repressed energy and feel doesn't bring out that part of me.
One of my best friends, who used to live in Bellingham,
told me that on the freeway when she approached the town, as soon as she passed
the “Samish Way” exit she
could immediately feel the negative vibe and energy of the town.
Not just Bellingham, but in the Northwest in general, I feel like the climate
is poison to my body, and the social environment vibe is poison to my soul.
Without a doubt, everywhere you go in Washington
state, not just in Bellingham,
there is this dominant isolation mentality that is the norm. In
fact, even the Seattle Times even ran an article on it when they did a story about the "Seattle Freeze", which corroborates my claims and experiences:
There is this boundary and social contract that you don't
talk to strangers or try to meet people. Instead, you are expected by the
collective unspoken law to mind your own business, leave everyone alone, keep
to yourself, and remain reclusive. You can feel this social contract all
around in the air, vibe, and aura of people everywhere in Washington.
Ick! It's very odd and unusual, since the rest of the world is not like
that at all. It's like you are supposed to love loneliness to fit into Washington
state. And if you don't then you are a freak. So for a social
person who thrives on meeting others, Washington
state is like the ultimate Murphy's Law. It's like an anti-matter
universe where all the normal laws are reversed, a sort of "Twilight
But for Washingtonians, they act like this is the
norm. Thank God I'm not one of them. Anyone who talks to strangers
or tries to meet people is considered a freak, psycho, or creep because he/she
is violating the social boundaries of the isolationism mentality and culture of
the bizarre state. All this makes me yearn to get back into the real
Even this pleasant looking fellow in Seattle
noticed this. He writes on a CouchSurfing Group forum:
“Re: Visual proof of anti-social WA public I shot on ferry
ride vs. opposite in Europe
Yes, unfortunately, you are right. The greater populous of WashingtonState in and around the greater Puget Sound can definitively be described as
social isolating. I live here and am also aware of it.
Within minutes, literally, of my visits to Seattle total strangers have approached me
and said, "You're not from around here, are you." - they speak it as
a statment, not a question. And it is in response to my
"non-isolationistic" behaviours, which in some cultures are simply
You are right, in my experience, that people are drowning in isolation here -
but most of them will accept a "friendly hand forward" for those
brave enough to do it - in fact, the people I meet, intentionally this way, are
GLADDENNED when someone, ANYONE, is willing to acknowledge that they exist, and
strike up a conversation with them.
Washington will never be Europe - however, we do have the power to
break through people's isolationism, and many are eager for that to happen.
Even at parties and social events, where it is more socially
acceptable to interact with strangers, while people converse there is still this
distant tone and posture in their voice, as well as an overly plastic polite
manner, as though the unnatural boundaries between people still apply.
It's as though you aren't allowed to really connect with others or get close to
them, only humor them with distant communication and over-politeness.
Weird weird weird.
In fact, this might be extreme, but I get this feeling that
Washingtonians, if they had their way, would erase the rest of the world to
make Washington all that exists
in the world. Ick! These people are sick creatures to me.
one of those towns in the US
that likes to pay LIP SERVICE to being friendly, but doesn't show it in
action/reality. Its residents, like most towns of Washington, lies and
tells the rest of the world that its inhabitants are "friendly", but
in fact, the people are generally snobby, exclusive, anti-social, love
isolation/being left alone, don't invite you places, and think you're a creep
if you talk to them. So much for their lies and lip service. As we
all know, actions speak louder than words, and this is one big hypocrisy on
Or maybe Northwesterners just live in a different world and
are their own species?
I've never felt any comfort zone interacting with
Bellinghammers and Washingtonians in general. But in fact, me being near
them feels like two magnets that repel each other. Even when I am just
doing a simple transaction with a store/supermarket clerk, or post office
clerk, it feels awkward and I sense an energy that repels us from each
other. I just don't fit into Washington
at all, period, and I am baffled as to why God/the universe put me there for so
many years. Some things just make no sense. (Such as why
capitalists like to claim that Christianity supports their ideology when it
clearly doesn't, as the Bible clearly condemns greed as sinful/leading to
destruction while capitalism teaches that greed is good and leads to progress/a
100 percent ANTI-SOCIAL and 100 percent BORING. Literally. There’s
no reason to go out there, since no one wants to meet you, and people are
extremely reclusive, unnaturally so. (Yuck!) Thus, I am forced to stay home
mostly. And that’s unacceptable and pure suffocation to someone like me
who is action-oriented, fun-oriented, and hot babe-oriented.
Contrast that to what I have in other countries, like the
Philippines, where I ALWAYS have ACTION going on ALL THE TIME everyday, where
I’m never bored, and where I have SO MANY hot girls to choose from who
constantly want to meet me, be with me, have fun with me, be wild with me, etc.
that I don’t have time for them all!
The thing I hate about Bellingham
is that it strongly feels ILLEGAL and inappropriate to talk to strangers.
I know it's not my imagination because out in public, people don't talk to
strangers unless it's business-related. You can see it anywhere you go
It is obvious that it is socially unacceptable to talk to
strangers in public, unless you need directions or have an innocent question
about something. Anything else is seen as a violation of the boundaries,
especially with women.
As a world traveler who’s traveled in a dozen countries,
lived in 4 US
states, and met thousands of people (literally), I can say that Bellingham
and Washington people are the
MOST closed, cliquish, anti-social, and dull folks I’ve ever met. To me,
it literally has the WORST social and dating scene in the universe.
Nowhere on Earth are people so uptight and anti-social as in this area. I
am wild and intense, while WhatcomCounty
folks are reserved and Puritanical. It's a total mismatch and
misfit. Thus, I constantly feel suffocated.
You can easily test this by approaching any woman in public
that you are attracted to. Just say "excuse me" and she will
automatically put up a "force field" toward strangers that says
"you are only allowed to talk to me if you need directions or have an
innocent question". Few guys have the guts to do this though, not
because they are cowards, but because they know that it's socially unacceptable
and inappropriate to meet girls this way (though Hollywood
sitcoms don't acknowledge this reality).
Instead, you are only allowed to meet people by introduction
through friends, or participation of an organizational activity that allows
interaction to take place between its members. That's how people meet in America.
Other socially acceptable places are bars, nightclubs, and
parties. But even in those places, people are still reluctant and uncomfortable
talking to new people, and you can feel it by the inhibition they show when
interacting with them, as well as the "boundaries" they put up.
I’ve never had such a hard time anywhere meeting quality
interesting sociable people as I do in Bellingham.
It’s hard to find anyone normal who is not reclusive and isolating. The
town’s vibe, atmosphere, and aura are dead too, deader than a cemetery
even. People are extremely reclusive, closed, cliquish, don’t like
talking to strangers, and have a hermit mentality. They humor others,
even those they’ve known a long time, in social situations with fake contrived
greetings and conversations. They are locked in their cliques
and routines, keep to themselves, and don’t like to meet new people or expand
themselves. How boring.
One married mom in Ferndale,
the town just north of Bellingham,
even wrote to me:
“Yeah, I hear that. Can't
tell you how many times I go through this crap on a daily basis here in
I'm originally from California and living here has
completely changed me. I have ONE real friend here who is from Nevada. The mothers at my
kid's school are complete jerks, if you try to strike up conversation with
ANYONE anywhere they look at you like you're an alien.
I'm sick of this shithole. And even more pissed at my husband for bringing us
here. It would explain why he's not so outgoing, for sure (he grew up here).
Don't get me wrong, I know I shouldn't be harping on B'ham, it's a beautiful
place. I love how outdoors it is, and how there is SO much you can do during
the summer...but the people here leave a lot more to be desired, you know?
And god forbid you have a differing opinion on bellingham...”
When asked why she agreed to come
here, she replied:
“I've had no choice. My husband is native to
here and moved us up here, so I have had to try to make friends in an area full
of isolationists. Being from California, I am/was an outgoing
person, never had any trouble making friends. People there are not at all like
people up here.”
The women of the area are extremely unapproachable, stuck
up, hung up against talking to strangers and assume that every guy who tries to
meet them must be a creep or pervert. It’s so bad that you can’t even ask
a girl out to coffee without feeling like a creep or pervert. So a guy who has desires can't do anything to pursue them,
fulfill them, or express them.
This is all very apparent, unless you’ve never stepped
outside Bellingham in your life or
you are a closed reclusive uptight person yourself (after all, those of the
same kind do not see abnormality in each other).
It gets to the point where I don’t
even like to go out in Bellingham, though I usually love going out. Yes there are
clubs and activities to join in Bellingham, but the vibe doesn’t make me feel like going out.
It doesn’t bring the outgoingness in me. After all, what’s the point of
going out in a town where no one talks to strangers, and girls are
unapproachable? All that results is going home disappointed everyday.
What a pathetic waste.
In Washington, I often feel like I
am in that episode of the classic Twilight Zone "Eye of the
Beholder" where we see a disfigured lady removes her head bandages to
reveal that she looks perfectly normal while everyone else in the hospital look
like monsters, who in turn see her as a monster. Or like the sole person
uninfested by aliens in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (which in this case the sole person uninfected by the
anti-social disease of Bellingham).
Yet what’s odd is that most people there do not think others
there are anti-social, but quite friendly. I’ve never understood why
until recently, when I realized that if you are closed and cliquish yourself,
then you will not see anything wrong with others who are that way too.
That seems like a sensible explanation. (After all, anti-social reclusive
people don’t mind that others are that way, just like sharks don’t mind if
other sharks kill people, lions don’t mind if other lions kill their prey,
bacteria don’t mind if other bacteria spreads, etc.) It would also be
reasonable to assume that those that feel as I do, whose vibe also conflicts
with the polarity of Bellingham,
probably either converted or left, hence the few left who are alienated like
What I’ve noticed though, is that it’s not only with Bellingham,
but Northwest folks in general seem to be a different breed than the rest of
the world. There is something about them that makes them seem
transparent, like they aren’t even there. It’s hard to explain.
They just seem to lack any energy or qualities that most humans have.A
few others I talked to have noticed this too, but most Northwesterners probably
don’t cause after all, transparent people aren’t going to notice anything wrong
with other transparent people.
An acquaintance of mine from Nevada
once told me though that “wetland” people are different from “dry land” people,
and that I’m probably a “dry land” person. That certainly seems to be
true as I often feel that Northwest people have an alien soul to me. They
don’t relate to me and I don’t relate to them. I don’t see what they see,
and they don’t see what I see.
For most Bellinghaminions, a weird lot to me, “friendliness”
merely means smiling and waving hi to strangers and then ignoring them after
that. Those are some pretty damn low standards, if you ask me. To
me, being “friendly” isn’t merely being polite, but being sociable in ways such
as enjoying meeting new people, inviting them out to parties, places, events,
etc. arranging to meet, exchanging contact info, spending time together, etc.
not just walking by saying a quick fake contrived “hi” then walking on and
never seeing the person again! Sheesh.
In fact, Bellingham’s
energy-sucking environment makes me not even feeling like being social.
And with such closed cliquish people all around me that I don’t click with at
all, why even bother to try being sociable? The atmosphere there totally
discourages it, sapping all my natural motivation, blocking the best in me from
ever coming out. Whenever I try to meet people, it feels awkward and
inappropriate (especially with girls), as I’m violating some unofficial but
very real rule against interacting with strangers. Overwhelmingly, it
seems that you are only allowed to talk to a stranger if you need directions,
need help finding something from a staff in the store, or have a practical
situation that needs help with. Otherwise, it feels totally “out of
bounds” which is awkward because 95 percent of the world is NOT like that at
all, yet most Bellinghammers in their own little isolated insular box would
never know or care about that.
Unlike most of the world, it seems that in areas like
Bellingham (and much of the USA), meeting people is strictly limited to
organized social gatherings – parties, churches, school, work, group friend
outings, etc. (unlike most of the world’s social scene which isn’t as
limited). But even then, people in those situations tend to be overly
proper, distant, and communication is contrived and artificial. I don’t
usually do well in such scenes, as the girls all tell me about their
boyfriends/husbands, or that they are too busy to see me on any type of personal
level. In school or work situations, people just come, do their thing,
and leave. So social scenes in the US
are usually dead-end for me. And besides, trying to connect with people
who live in a tight box and have no inner life is awkward, as if I have to
lower myself to be on their level and fit their flow.
Even those who seem talkative and outgoing do so on a
“different wavelength” than those of the “normal world” (95 percent of it that
is); the way they talk and express themselves seem very contrived, insincere
and fake, so that truly outgoing people like me do not feel like being outgoing
The only way I can fathom someone thinking that Bellingham
has a good social scene is if they have never been anywhere else in their
life. Otherwise, those accustomed to the social scene in Italy,
Latin America, Russia,
then they will find the social scene in Bellingham
to be Hades by their standards. Suffice to say, this may surprise you,
but I have heard of people living in the remote woods in cabins along the path
toward Mt. Baker, east of Bellingham, who are in their 30’s and have never once
left Whatcom County even once in their life! (Perhaps ignorance is bliss?)
Though being closed to strangers and cliquish is prevalent
in much of America,
it is at its worst in Bellingham,
in my experience. In general, as in most of the world, people in northern
cold climate areas tend to be more reserved and quiet, while those in the
southern warmer climates tend to be more open, sociable, outgoing, lively,
expressive, etc. However, those in northern Europe
(e.g. Sweden, Finland,
are merely reserved in their nature, for once they get to know you, they are
very talkative and social. And in addition, they have a rich inner life
to balance their outer life, something most American young folks, especially in
Bellingham, are devoid of.
But in Bellingham, people aren’t
just reserved, but have this negative anti-social energy about them as well,
which makes me feel “icky”. Even when I get to know people, I still don’t
feel close to them, but like an acquaintance that merely humors each other once
in a while. Hence, the everlasting perpetual loneliness of Bellingham
and Washington state.
even the immigrant populations are closed, cliquish, and uptight whereas the
people in their home countries are the exact opposite. Take the
Ukrainian/Russian Pentecostals or the Dutch in Lynden (a small town north of Bellingham)
for example. Russians are among the friendliest, liveliest, most relaxed
and sociable people to strangers in the world. Yet the ones in Bellingham
are 100 percent different than in Russia,
except for the language. They are not free-spirited, lively, sociable,
and don’t invite me out like they do in Russia.
And it’s not just cause I’m not a novelty to them in Bellingham either, cause
many Russians in Russia who have traveled to the USA many times, whom I am not
a novelty to, invite me out and are interested in spending time with me.
(And plus keep in mind that the behavior of Americans, especially
Bellinghaminions, are NOT the default standard by which the world’s peoples
must be like, so just because a woman is not stuck up and unapproachable like
in the US, does NOT mean that she must have ulterior motives; no way.
People can be different geographically without having ulterior motives.)
Likewise, I’ve met many Dutch people around the world, and none of them are as
stuck up, closed, and uptight in their own world like the religious reclusive
small Dutch community in Lynden. It seems as though immigrants come to WhatcomCounty so they can be closed and
uptight. Go figure. Not my lot at all.
It seems as though the anti-social disease of Bellingham
has one benefit. It seems to cure its residents of loneliness and the
need for human companionship (except for me of course). Virtually no one
else there complains about loneliness or the anti-social people and vibe here,
which is odd since companionship and love are supposed basic human needs.
Hence, again Bellingham defies
explanation. (Or perhaps these are sadistic people who love being
lonely?) In fact, many seem to like being alone and not bothered.
But that’s the norm in Bellingham,
you don’t bother people and they don’t bother you. That’s ok if you don’t
want a social life and want to be a hermit, but not if you’re a social person
Since the anti-socialness and immunity to loneliness in the
Northwest has always been a mystery to me, I asked around about it, and one of
my foreign contacts who used to live here in the Northwest (not Bellingham)
offered this explanation:
most people are content to remain within 50 miles of their birthplace so most
people don't understand how outside of their "world" people function
differently. I think the weather and local cliques are probably the cause.
People just prefer to stay home because of the weather and don't go out as
much, if they do its with people they are familiar with. Warmer area places
usually always have friendlier people because everyone is out doing stuff and
more people run into each other, plus nice weather makes people friendlier and
in better moods to communicate with friends, or strangers.
grew up in New England and we are not much friendlier then the north west, but a bit louder.
However during the summer months people are friendlier and more
talkative. If you were to visit the southern states where it is warmer
you would notice a difference, you have heard of southern hospitality?
Well its actually true, southern states are typically friendlier then northern
you want to have a better social life and want to remain in the united states i suggest moving to any
of the following states:
Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico,
Nevada, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico (actually this would be a good location for a girl
friend, the girls are more open and friendly, latin decent, and technically
If you ever travel to a tropical, desert or semi-desert type climate, people
are more friendly,
Thats why so many people love the carribean, Mexico, central America, SE Asia,
South America, Mediterranean area, Even Arabs are quite nice and polite even
though our media portrays them as hating Americans, I never had a problem there
if you don't act like an idiot and disrespect them.”
Now, don't get me wrong. I need privacy too, but not
to the point where I am left with little or no social interaction.
Simply put, Washington
doesn't provide as much social interaction as I need. Its people (other
than progressive/eccentric/freespirit folks) generally prefer
isolation/privacy/being left alone over social interaction, and being
workaholics over having fun. I am the opposite of all that and don't fit
in. I just don't understand why most there are like this. It's like
they have become a different species than me and other freespirits.
In suburban apartment complexes, it sickens me to see how
cold and non-existent neighbors are to each other. They rarely interact
other than to say a quick polite artificial contrived "hi".
What makes them like this, I wonder? Is it mere imaginary paranoia, a
love of loneliness? Or are they just a different species from me and
other freespirited folks, or what?
Here are some interesting real life photos I took to illustrate my point about
the anti-social isolated reclusive Washingtonian public.
While I was on a ferry ride between Seattle
and Bremerton, I took these
pictures of passengers inside the ferry. As you can see, it's an obvious
example of how reclusive people are in public (well at least in the Northwest).
No one talks to strangers, and the passengers ignore everyone around them as
though they didn't exist. Instead, they prefer loneliness and isolation, which
depresses people like me who thrive on lively inclusive environments. Though
the scenery outside was nice, inside the atmosphere was gloomy and anti-social.
So lively and festive isn't it?
At the link above, contrast those
with the photos below them, that I took during a ferry ride in Riga, Latvia (in Eastern
Europe). Even though the
ride was in the late afternoon, people still knew how to party and dance.
You will see a mini-disco lounge on board the ferry being enjoyed by the
passengers even on this short routine ride! See what I mean?!
In fact, if you want to try an experiment right now that will
prove my claims, go to the Bellingham
internet community message board at www.barstop.com
(click on “chatterbox”). There, introduce yourself, say you are new in
town, and need some help or people to show you around. You will find that
people will give you info, but no one will offer to show you around. Many
newbies have done just that there, and received no offers to be shown
around. Since I’m immune to the anti-social disease of Bellingham
of course, I’ve offered to show the newbies around, but they don’t take me up
on my offer and contact me. Perhaps these newbies were already affected
by the Bellingham anti-social
disease already? I don’t know. I only know that Bellingham
makes no sense at all. In addition, I’ve suggested on the Bellingham
message board about ten times that we have an in person get together, and no
one even bothered to respond to that idea. How weird. In most of
the world, where people love meeting strangers, it would not be like that, I
guarantee you. In Bellingham,
meeting people seems to be “out of bounds”.
Finally, here is validation from Seattle’s
primary newspaper media that Seattle
is very anti-social and noninclusive in its social scene and general vibe, with
commentary from psychologists, sociologists, and university researchers.
I was right all along! See the story below.
In Bellingham, if you go out alone, you are almost guaranteed to be
alone, unless you get really lucky.
It's not the kind of place or society where you can go out by yourself and meet
people "just because" to hang out with. That's why people in Bellingham are so adamant about having friends to go out
with because deep down, they know that if they go out alone, they will stay
alone. And they fear that being alone will bring a feeling of detachment
and alienation, that leads to insecurity. That's just how it is
The social norms here dictate that people in public stay with the company
they are with. These are the unspoken but real rules and customs of
the social scene and public life in Bellingham. No one needs to mention it, because it's just how
people normally are out in public and socially. It's a mutual
understanding of the collective in Bellingham, one that we grow up with and assume is the norm.
Though it's far different from how other countries are, (which do not have
the inherent isolation mentality that Bellingham does) most Bellinghamminions don't know it, because the
rest of the world is not part of "their world".
Anyone can go out in public and see that this is so - those that are out alone,
stay alone (and strangely enough, they want to stay alone, especially if
they're female), and those that are out with their friends/family, stay hanging
around them. You can see this in any public place - cafes, restaurants,
Starbucks, grocery stores, parks, bus stops, malls, and even bars and
nightclubs. Attempting to violate this rule or change it is awkward
and against the flow, making you feel like a lone ant trying to change the
social rules of the whole ant colony.
In Bellingham, the bars are scant with few women and mostly men.
But even if you go to a crowded nightclub in town where there are many hot
college girls, where it is more socially acceptable to meet people (at least in
concept), the girls there only want to talk to their friends, rather than meet
any new people. And sadly, you can still feel the strong vibe that most
of the girls there don't want to talk to you. So even there, if you go
alone, you are likely to be alone. Either way, you lose. And if you
try to break that hard "ice" by saying hi to girls there that you
don't know to introduce yourself, you will feel guilty for violating "the
boundaries" and, unless there is something really special about you, they
will either look at you like you're a freak, ignore you, or say hi quickly and
then leave. I've always said, North
America is the only part of the
world where you can be in a room or area full of gorgeous women who are all
"unapproachable" (for various reasons). In other countries,
that is virtually impossible. I can personally attest to this.
Anyone who tries to deny this collective social contract is either lying,
deluded, or religiously against generalizing (the politically correct crowd)
that they will always play devil's advocate to anyone who makes observations
about people, no matter how true. It's just way too obvious, as obvious
as the big obesity epidemic is in America. So much so that I would only need 5 - 10
minutes out in public to show someone all this in person. People out in
public just don't approach people, so demonstrating that first hand would be
way too easy. In fact, it's easier to demonstrate than shooting fish in a
barrel. Surprisingly, even though I could prove all this in 5 minutes,
there are still those out there who try to deny that this is true!
On the other hand, in most of the world, not just in Europe/Russia, one can
easily go out alone without having to be alone. It is easy and natural to
meet people, find company to hang out with, someone interesting to spend your
time with, or even get a nice date with the opposite sex that same day or
night, if you just chat them up sincerely. Or sometimes of course, they
may chat you up as well. So in a sense, you don't even have to
"break the ice" because there is no "ice" to begin with!
You can see ample evidence of this, enough to convince anyone, in my Photojounals. And even if you remain
alone, you still know deep down in your intuition, soul, and gut instinct
that you don't have to be alone, because the vibe all around you in public is
far more inclusive and warm, which is inherently exclusive in its nature,
form, collective mentality and public behavior.
All this I can guarantee 100
percent beyond any doubt, and I give my word to it.
And even in nations which are
somewhat cliquish, such as Britain, France, Germany or Japan, it is still easier to meet people when you go out alone
(at least for those like me), comparatively speaking, than it is here.
Also, regarding internet communication, here’s an
interesting update. A few times recently, I sent form letters about
myself to people in town with AOL profiles, founds based on keywording some
common interests in the member directory. The thing is, back in 1998 when
I did this here, SOME people responded and were helpful or friendly. Now
though, virtually NO ONE in Bellingham
responds to emails from strangers anymore. It appears that
Bellinghaminions are more anti-social now than ever before. Some of my
mass mailings were to hundreds of recipients, and I got ZERO responses.
Occasionally, I get one short brief response from someone that was never wrote
back again. Now how’s that for the wonderful social life of Bellingham
that its supporters boast of?
In contrast, I tried the same thing for other states like Arizona
and Nevada, and got a lot of
wonderful interesting responses, from both sexes, of quality fascinating people
I had common interests and passions with.
the most stuck up girls I’ve ever met in the world. They are less
sociable and approachable than even in California
or New York, areas notorious for
stuck up uppity women. The young women of WhatcomCounty seem to live in a socially
closed insular shell, and are very defensive toward strangers. Trying to
meet girls there is a lose-lose situation for the most part - 1) They
don't like talking to strangers, and 2) if you try to meet them anyway, they
think you're a creep. Thus, it's a no-win situation most of the time.
EVERYWHERE in Bellingham
that I meet girls – bars, clubs, churches, libraries, coffee shops, streets,
bus stops, etc. they turn out to be the same. They are strongly stuck up,
anti-social, anti-stranger, paranoid, anti-flirtatious, etc. in high rigid
levels. And they project this cold, asexual, sterile vibe at me
personally. Ick. I can’t seem to find exceptions! It’s a town
of extremes in the worst way, making it the “Hades of social/dating life” for
I've approached THOUSANDS of girls (literally), and when I
greet them, they immediately put up this force field that says “unless you need
directions or have an innocent question”, you shouldn’t be talking to me –
those are the social boundaries. When I violate those boundaries,
virtually all of them tell me they have a boyfriend/husband or that they don't
talk to strangers. And they do so with a scaredy-cat defensive
posture. Or they make lame ass small talk for a short while and leave,
keeping a distant vibe in the process. Others give me their number and
screen out my calls, never returning my messages (I now have over 50 numbers
where this is the case). Or they give me a fake number. Extensive
replication has proven this time and time again. In most of the world,
almost no girls are ever stuck up like that, even if they look like
models. What a difference.
It gets to the point where there's no point in going out in
Bellingham anymore, because what's the point of wasting time, money, and gas
going out in a town where girls are so stuck up and unapproachable?
That's just the kind of shit social scene that this Bellingham
In fact, I’d say I have a better chance of walking on water
like Jesus, than of getting a date in Bellingham.
But in Russia,
I was able to get a date everyday if I wanted to. That’s a huge
difference, and just one of countless examples I could give that debunks the
“people are the same everywhere” ignorant line of thought.
To see exactly what I mean, view any of my 9 Photojournals or my Photo Collage.
They contain thousands of images that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that
women in other parts of the world are much more comfortable, inclusive and unparanoid
about meeting strangers and getting “hit on” by guys, something vilified by the
collective mentality of Washington
state. Ick. You can also view videos of my flirtations abroad in my
Foreign Female Encounters
videos. In addition, The difference is greater than you can imagine.
Even if you have friends/acquaintances among Bellingham
women that can introduce you to them, they still put up very strict and overly
proper boundaries, making you feel like asking them out or flirting with them
is “crossing the line”. They have all the power and call all the shots,
and you are not allowed to hit on them, flirt with them, or try to satisfy your
desires around them, or else you are a creep, villain, or bad person.
Those are the Bellingham social rules, which are unnatural and not to my
advantage because if I’m not attractive by the culture standards here, then
nothing will happen for me unless I try to make things happen, but in
Bellingham I am not even allowed to try to make things happen.
Hence, a lose-lose situation.
Everywhere you go in WA, 99 percent of the women walk around
as if they don’t need anything or anybody. I don’t see how you are
supposed to impress them, gain their interest, or even connect with them, as
they have no use for you, and act as if they hold all the cards and call all
the shots. And if you try to meet them or approach them, they think
you’re a creep. What is a normal single romeo guy supposed to do?
It’s a no-win situation.
For some reason, Washingtonian girls, like in much of America
nowadays, are never lonely or need men or companionship. Perhaps Bellingham’s
anti-social hermit disease has cured them of the need for human
companionship. Who knows.
They are a strange breed different from the rest of the
world. In one sense, they are strong because they are independent,
liberated (by their definition that is) from traditional feminine roles and
qualities, and do not need a man to function or be happy. But in another
way they are weak because they are uncomfortable talking to strangers, have a
paranoid mentality, and get "creeped out" way too easily, sometimes
over trivial things. And they are insecure about traveling alone or going
alone to a movie, restaurant, or party. European and Russian women don't
share such weaknesses, for example.
I have no idea why Bellingham
women are like this, so cold and sterile, when 95 percent of the world’s women
are not. So again, Bellingham
is a very weird place (but not weird in a good way).
Perhaps my personality, attitude, approach and style is
incompatible or badly mismatched with that of Bellingham
women. As mentioned before, some things don’t mix, such as oil and
water. After all, two people could be totally outgoing, expressive, and
passionate, yet be so in different ways, having nothing in common. Put
together, they can be like oil and water, rubbing each other in all the wrong
ways, their natural styles badly mismatched, and unintentionally stepping on
each other’s toes. That’s just how it is sometimes.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so let me give
you some real life visual examples from out in the field that demonstrate and
typify (the next best thing to being abroad in person or viewing my video footage)
how girls in non-US environments look at total strangers, especially men who
are “hitting on them” (something which is vilified by many American
women). Here are links to images of girls I randomly approached on the
street (I did NOT know them beforehand I promise you) in Russia
and Europe. They are photos and digital stills I
made from my video footage, which I can attest are representative of how girls
react in Russia/Europe when approached. Remember, these are NOT girls
that I had any PRIOR acquaintance with. They are total strangers to me
and I to them.
They say “the eyes are the window to the soul” which is very
true. As you can see in the images from their eyes, gaze, and expression,
they have a relaxed, enthusiastic, curious look about them, even though I’m a
total stranger flirting with them and trying to “pick them up”.
At the link above are many more examples of girls in Europe/Russia
that I just met or was newly acquainted with. Notice how unspoiled and
modest they look in their gaze, not just toward me, but in their general
aura. They are shy, sweet, relaxed, natural, modest, down-to-earth and
WITHOUT the “men are creeps” attitude instilled in them!
You see how unlike in the US (and especially in WA), they do
not have a PARANOID look of FEAR, defensive posture, force field vibe, and the
“men are creeps” attitude toward strangers (something so apparent that I
immediately notice it whenever I arrive in a US airport from Russia).
Take a close look again at the images above, and see if you can spot any
stranger-paranoia or fear in these women at all! And in addition, you can
see a rich inner life and inner happiness in them that is at peace and ease,
rather than the contrived fleeting feigned posture of America’s
young women. The difference is like fire and ice. And these
examples are by no means exceptions either, but in fact very TYPICAL.
Now, contrast that with the photos of typical American girls
at the link above. Notice how conceited, flighty, and empty they are in
their eyes and gaze, as if all they live for was yelling at parties
“Whooooooo!”. Also note their contrived artificial smiles and spoiled
Rather than getting offended by "pick up" attempts
by guys like American women tend to do, foreign women are usually amused by
them, and sometimes are flattered so much by it that it tickles their
"funny bone". What a refreshing difference indeed.
I would even venture to say that perhaps the extreme
paranoia of American women might be a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, where
they actually draw and attract that which they fear most.
Even with so called “friendly” girls in the US,
the look they would give is of a contrived, artificial, polite but very distant
smile. They have nowhere near the relaxed posture that the girls do in
the links above have, as you can easily see. The total approachability of
chicks in foreign countries makes one feel very comfortable in meeting them,
rather than emasculated like how American chicks make one feel.
Such striking differences make me wonder why most in the US
don’t know about them, but as one commentator of mine explained to me:
“Oh, yes, in the US women are sociopathic
for the most part. US men also never travel and they think that women all over
the world must be the same. It is called seeing the world through the prism of
your culture. Plus many think the US is the world and inside
of every ____ (put a nationality there) there is an American waiting to get
Not just in Bellingham, but Washington state is the only
place I've ever been to in the world where women freak when you flirt with them
or hit on them, as if a crime were about to be committed on them. Even in
California or New
York, where the women tend to be snobby, they do not
view flirting or "hitting on them" as a crime or violation; instead
they know how to play the game and accept it as a normal part of life.
Sheesh. But Washingtonian women seem to have the least social skills in
the world, or at least in the country. Perhaps the isolationist mentality
of the state contributes to this, as well as the overall paranoia of the
people. Either way, it's the worst place in the world for a
"player" or even a simple newcomer.
Washingtonian females harbor the most hatred and animosity
toward pick up artists and pick up lines that I’ve ever seen. In the rest
of the world, it is acceptable to TRY to flirt with them or hit on them.
Even if they blow you off, it is PERMISSIBLE to try at least. But
Washingtonian females vilify such attempts. And they will even call the
police or security on guys who flirt or "hit on" them. In a
sense, they are saying that it is illegal for men to have desires. What
the @#$%?! That’s just weak.
It’s no wonder that in Washington,
you rarely if ever see any guys approach women they don’t know. It’s just
not allowed here, and not the norm. So guys, even the confident ones, are
afraid to do so. They know that such behaviors are forbidden and are
socially conditioned by the repressed Washington
culture to fear repercussion.
Here’s another interactive experiment you can try. If
you are in Bellingham, you can go
to the shopping mall, Bellis Fair, or a crowded park like BoulevardPark. There, try to meet
girls. In the mall, you will find that the only girls who will talk to
you are the ones working there who are paid to help you find what you want to
buy. The rest will ignore you in a stuck up manner, acting as though it
were against the social rules to try to meet them. Even if you find girls
sitting by themselves in the food court, they will tell you that they prefer to
be alone, if you try to join them. How sadistically reclusive! Who
likes to be alone while they eat?! In the park, when you greet them, they
will put up a strong distant and defensive vibe toward you. They may humor
you for a while, or talk to you if you have something in common, but they will
cut the conversation short and make an excuse to withdraw and get back to their
own business, which doesn’t include you. After a while, it becomes
pointless to even try anymore.
Heck, if you’re not gutsy enough to talk to girls you don’t
know (such is the ill effect of being raised in America)
then I would be glad to do it for you while you witness the results.
The only place there where it’s slightly a bit more socially
acceptable to approach girls is in the bar/club scene. But there it’s
still so cliquish that it will feel awkward and out of line to try to meet
girls. Plus the men tend to way outnumber the women, leaving the few
women there surrounded by many men vying for her attention. What am I
supposed to do with that?!
The Western college campus is a conventional spot for
meeting people. But even then, the vibe there doesn’t fit mine and
doesn’t connect with my wavelength or allow me to thrive, so I’m hardly in a
condition to be sociable since it doesn’t bring out the best in me.
Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying that there are
only two constants in life, death and taxes. Likewise, I would say that
in Bellingham, the only two
constants that never change are BOREDOM and LONELINESS.
Since Bellingham women are all (nearly 100 percent, no joke)
totally stuck up, anti-stranger, anti-social, anti-men, anti-flirt, etc. and
make me feel like a creep, criminal or violator whenever I try to initiate
contact with them, how can I not be bored and lonely here? It’s simply
inevitable and inescapable. Everywhere here it's the same. I keep
looking for exceptions rigorously but can’t find any! It's inescapable,
and no one here seems to have any solution. It’s a dead end lose-lose
It seems loneliness is the norm in Bellingham.
You have to like loneliness to like Bellingham.
And if I try to do anything about it, then I am seen as an inappropriate
creep. That is one f***ed up situation alright.
Therefore, I'd say a place like this is worst than anything
in fiction. At least in fiction, when the good guy is cornered by foes
and obstacles, there is always a way around it all in the end. But in Bellingham,
there is no way out of boredom and loneliness, no matter where I look or how
hard I try, I am doomed to. Therefore, Bellingham
is like a "social life holocaust" for me with no escape or remedy,
worst than any horror story fiction.
In fact, I would like to offer anyone $1000 who can prove my
claims about Bellingham women
wrong, by showing or demonstrating to me that in any public place, at least 10%
of the girls are approachable, non-paranoid, and comfortable interacting with
strangers for non-business related purposes. But first though, the
challenger should watch some of my video footage of my meetings and flirtations
with women in Europe and Russia,
to get an idea of what I mean by “non-paranoid true friendliness and
approachability” of women, so they can get an idea of my standards of “un-stuck
up”. If you wish to accept this $1000 challenge, email me to negotiate
the terms and conditions, at WWu777us@yahoo.com.
So far, no one who claims that Bellingham
is friendly and has a good social life has been able to produce. When it
comes time to demonstrate that they can approach women who are unparanoid and
won’t put up a “force field” that says it is inappropriate to talk to me unless
you need directions or help, they chicken out, knowing full well that there are
some real boundaries here regarding talking to strangers. Unlike some, I
always put my money where my mouth is. However, I could easily meet this
challenge in Russia,
where the social environment in general is very open and inclusive, and people
are very comfortable and unparanoid about talking to strangers.
definitely not for those who have ambition. It has no opportunity in
virtually any area. Its unemployment rate is among the highest in Washington
state. And its job market consists mostly of dead end low paying jobs in
retail, manual labor, production line work, office work, etc. that go
nowhere. As a consequence, most of the young workers in the town job hop
for years, cause the jobs aren’t worth keeping (yet strangely enough, they stay
and don’t leave, or leave and come back). Thus, most of these young job
hoppers who stay here end up having lives that go nowhere, wasting years of
their life, all for nothing. It’s a sad state of affairs, and you have to
wonder how many of them are suffering silently inside.
As is apparent on the quiet streets of downtown Bellingham,
many of these youngsters sit around doing drugs and pretending to be hippies,
when they are merely deadbeat punks and bums with no culture or style in their
dress or mannerisms, other than the low-class grunge style. To me, it
seems many of them have somehow lost their will, passion, and personality, as
though something were possessing them or has zapped them of their “life
force”. From my well-traveled vantage point, they seem different
from normal human beings, having a different vibe and behavior that I don’t
resonate with at all. That’s why in social gatherings, I often feel
awkward and unnatural trying to fit in, trying to pretend that I’m as closed
and dull as them to try to connect with them on their level, when there’s
nothing to try to connect with anyway, degrading myself in the process, and
feeling estranged, alienated and lonely in the end. After all, what would
I have in common with grungy punks and bums? I would hate to have to
lower myself to try to fit their flow, and try to be something I’m not.
According to one source, Bellingham
seems to have a high suicide rate (not surprisingly):
"If I remember correctly, a young woman committed
suicide recently - 2
weeks ago in Bellingham. I read about it in the papers. She
drove the wrong way on the expressway to try and get herself killed. She
didn't kill anybody, but she did flip the car over or crash and killed
herself. Several months ago, she did the same thing and killed her
It is interesting that if I do a google search of suicide and Bellingham, ALOT of hiits get returned.
Pretty amazing for a city of only 67,000 people
My friend Katrina was pretty shaken up by it all.
The car crash happened in front of her."
Now, I would even venture to say that probably many here
don’t really like it, even though they will publicly say they do. After
all, people don’t exactly look alive and happy here, not just in Bellingham,
but in the Northwest in general. So, either 1) they have never lived
anywhere else so they have nothing to compare it to, or 2) deep down they feel
miserable, repressed, and suffocated here, but are afraid to admit it in public
because a) they do not wish to appear negative but positive instead, b) they
are afraid that if they admit it, others will think there is something wrong
with them, c) it will make them seem like losers if they don’t like where they
live, d) they are afraid of offending others who like it here, and e) since
humans are conformists by nature, they naturally try to fit in with the party
line and are afraid to go against the crowd, (unlike me) regardless of how they
feel deep down. Instead, they merely tolerate it.
So perhaps it’s a case of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, with
many being afraid of admitting how they feel due to the fear of others thinking
that there’s something wrong with them. Conformity reduces such fears,
but at the same time, it can feel imprisoning too.
In addition, it's too easy to develop a "comfort
zone" where you live, so it's often difficult to change your situation or
location, even if you hate it. It's human nature to prefer inertia and
inaction rather than to take risks to change an undesirable situation.
Of course, the lone dissident often faces an uphill battle
all the way, even if he speaks the truth, as the ancient story of Socrates
goes. And often, our plight seems futile, as a local boy wrote me:
"I've enjoyed your postings and have just posted one of
my own. I think we might have a lot in common - especially, perhaps, our
experiences in the former Soviet union. The mistake you make is however
assuming you can get through to people who have only experienced one variety of
life and who are entrenched in hippsterdom. See, the hipster has a scene.
The scene dictates the ideology, and individuality is frowned upon.
It's amazing to me how old knowledge about the human
race rings true. The individualist always goes against the group and is often
rightabout important things
where the group is usually wrong. This is how
it has always been, but I, like you, often make these attempts atgetting through to others who have usually large
social supportnetworks that are too
powerful to negate.
There are lots of pretty girls here too but perhaps they aren't forpeople like you and I. They are into their careers, their small
townlives, and don't ask for more. It's painful for me to know that I have nothing on that jackass frat
boy at the next table, but I havelearned to observe. Perhaps
observation and irony can make life inBellingham tolerable. Living in small towns in the states is, however, just as confining as small
towns in the former Soviet Union. Confining in a different ideologically based way, but the
hippy ideology is, as you say, just as delusional."
There are some who will try to claim that if most people in Bellingham
do not feel as I do about it, then the problem must be me. It’s a typical
reaction from those with a “victim-blaming” mentality, who derive their
self-worth foundation from identification with the majority. However,
there are several problems with this.
2) This “victim-blaming” mentality is based on the
fallacy that the majority is always right. History rarely records cases
where the majority were right, and if anything, the majority rarely rules; it’s
those in power who really rule and set the propaganda and social mores.
3) Even if one believes in the opinion of the
majority, the question becomes what to do when the majority of different areas
or regions don’t agree. For example, most people in France
consider the US
to be cultureless, bland, barbaric, primitive, and without style or taste.
However, most in the US
consider their country to be the land of opportunity and freedom, and to be the
greatest country in the world. So who is right then, in such
situations? In different regions, people are different and have different
4) Not everything is meant to mix or fit
together. For example, ketchup and milk mixed together tastes bad, but
ketchup and fries mixed together, or milk and cereal put together, are good
mixtures. Therefore, just because some things don’t mix well together
doesn’t mean that one of them is “the problem”. Only the intellectually
lazy and ignorant like to point to one side as “the problem”. Some things
put together simply have bad chemistry or synergy, but with other things might
have better chemistry or synergy.
Therefore, those with such “victim-blaming” mantras do not
take these into account and do not see the broader picture. And since I
have been to 10 countries and know or met about 3000 people, I have a very
broad range of reference to compare Bellingham
and its people to, to make these claims.
Now to answer the question you’ve probably been
wondering: “Why are you in Bellingham
then? I don’t get it.” Well, to be honest, I don’t get it
either. Here’s my story and situation.
I came to Bellingham
in 1998 from California, with my
ex-girlfriend who was from another part of the state. She was going to
college there, and we were a new couple. As I didn’t have a girlfriend
for almost two years before I met her, I didn’t want to not move there and
break our relationship, which possibly meant waiting another few years to have
a girlfriend again. I didn’t want the loneliness and deprivation of
desires again, which to me is extreme suffering. So I reluctantly moved
to Bellingham with her, a town I knew nothing about, only heard that it was
pretty but with no much opportunity (but I had no idea back then how horrible
it would be, wasting so many precious years of my life). Right on the
first day, I immediately felt dislocated, and never felt at home there
After we broke up a few years later, my parents had retired
and moved to Bellingham too (they were drawn and infested by the Bellingham
disease or curse), so I had no place to go back to in California though I
preferred to be there than in Bellingham.
When I was finally free to leave the town, I first went to Virginia
City, Nevada, where I had a lot
of fun and opportunity for 7-8 months. People there were much more
friendly, open, and natural, and I had a hot girlfriend too. But
eventually, things dried up for me, and a job opened up for me in Bellingham,
so those circumstances brought me back. Hence, the “curse of Bellingham”,
as described earlier, seemed to be at work in my life.
After that job ended, I began taking trips to Russia
and Europe in search of love and opportunity. I
spent a lot of time there, about half a year for a few years, and I was never
bored, but my results were mostly short term for one reason or another.
During each trip though, I eventually became depleted of resources or
exhausted, which threw me back to Bellingham again to try to work dead end temp
jobs to try to replenish my funds, boring me to death again in the process,
putting me with the least compatible environment and people again.
So you see, I have left Bellingham a few times, during my
trips and search for opportunity, but circumstances one way or another threw me
back each time. Hence, the “curse of Bellingham”
as mentioned before.
In addition to all this, as mentioned before, there is also
something in Bellingham that sucks
up my energy, motivation, and will to leave, as if a magnet is holding me
there. It’s difficult to explain, and a bit bizarre, but very real
nonetheless. It’s as if every will, desire, plan and intention I try to
muster to leave Bellingham and get
on with my life is somehow subdued or quelled by “something”! It’s like
though I may think I have free will here, I don’t. (Perhaps it has to do
with something of another dimension connected to the Bellingham
region? We can’t completely rule it out of course, as there is much we
still don’t know about time, space, dimensions, and quantum physics)
Hence given the oddity and absurdity of all this, I consider Bellingham to be a
bad horror movie or a sort of “Twilight Zone”.
The absurdity is that within a few months of arriving in Bellingham
in 1998, I already knew that it was the wrong place for me, and I wanted out so
I could be free to pursue my career aspirations again. Yet here I am back
again. And believe me, coming back to Bellingham
again and again, and hating it again and again, has been like beating a dead
horse for 5-6 years, which is frustrating as hell as well as humiliating.
It’s gotten to the point where my hatred of Bellingham
has brought me to near insanity, and to where the mere sound of “Bellingham”
fills me with utter hatred and resentment beyond comprehension. I would even
go on to say that after years of hatred buildup, I now hate Bellingham
as much as the Jews hate the Nazis.
would say, is the kind of place you can be stuck in and eventually die of
boredom or hatred. It’s just that bad, to be honest.
But I won’t ever give up trying to leave Bellingham.
I am very strong willed, and refuse to waste my life there, as there are so
many other things I want to do with my life. I want to try to be an actor
in Hollywood, and explore more of Europe,
as well as other countries where women are easy to meet and get, not waste my
life in Bellingham.
For my next attempt to leave Bellingham
soon, I am planning to go to the Southwest USA, an area
I love and resonate with, for a while to see how it works out. Whatever
happens, I will never give up trying to be free of this “curse of Bellingham”
which has leeched so much of my life. I refuse to let this unknown
“force”, “phenomenon” or whatever it is, continue to control me, possess me,
and make me stay. I am intent on taking control of my life and destiny
The simple bottom line is: Bellingham has NOTHING
going for it – social life, love life, dating field, opportunity, fun, etc. (at
least if you have normal standards) Living there is simply a COMPLETE WASTE OF
To sum it up, the reasons I don't like Bellingham
1) It has the worst social and dating scene I've ever seen or
2) There is a dominant isolation mentality. People don't talk to
strangers unless its business related, and girls are unapproachable. Any
violation of these boundaries and you are considered a freak or creep.
3) The Northwest climate and humidity make me feel icky and unhealthy.
4) The local job market is repressed, with nothing but dead end jobs to
offer, and sometimes, it’s hard to even get that.
By the way, to anyone who thinks that I am a negative
person, let me say that I am not. The reason my comments and attitude
toward Bellingham and
are so negative, is because I feel nothing but negative repressed vibes and
energy from Bellingham
From the very first day I entered Bellingham,
I sensed a repressed negative vibe there. Simply put, I give back and express
what I receive or feel. If the area gave me positive vibes like Lithuania
does, then my attitude and comments would be positive. It's that simple.
I realize that some might think that my claims about the
“curse” or “force” of Bellingham to
be the mere silly, superstitious mumbo jumbo of a whiner. However, one
must keep an open mind without dismissing or discounting what doesn’t fit into
our world view. I am not some fool who jumps to irrational
conclusions. Consider how little we know about the nature of
reality. Many credible people have experienced ESP, ghosts, UFO’s, Alien
Abductions, Bigfoot, etc. and string theory in quantum physics has opened the
doors for 11 or more dimensions to exist, all suggesting inexplicable
possibilities that there may be more dimensions to reality than we ever
though. After all, there are so many unexplained mysteries that our
current understanding of the world can’t explain. An open-minded skeptic
should take all this into consideration.
Perhaps this “curse”, “force”, “jinx”, “phenomenon”,
whatever it is, is something of a nature that does not fit anything we can
understand, something beyond our comprehension. It’s easy to dismiss it
all, take the easy way out, and just simply say “People stay in Bellingham
because they love it.” But as I said, that does not explain many things,
and there seems to be more to it than that.
Also, a chilling thought is that this “curse” or “power”
that compels people to irrationally stay in Bellingham
does so by making them think it is their own free will that is choosing to stay
there. If it has the power to give people such an illusion that their own
free will is at work, then this “curse” or “power” is invincible, for those
people could never see anything wrong with it.
I know that to a scientific mind, I have not made a
convincing case that there is something of a supernatural or paranormal nature
to this alleged “curse of Bellingham”,
and I don’t claim to either. The logical rational part of my mind knows
this. Even if I presented many more examples similar to the ones above
(which I could easily obtain), it would still not prove a paranormal element to
all this. However, taken as a whole, I hope that everything presented so
far might make you raise and eyebrow and think “maybe”. Though I myself
am reluctant to ascribe any supernatural or paranormal cause to the Bellingham
curse, I would at least put it in the realm of “The Unexplained.” (Don’t we
I just know what I myself have experienced, which I am reporting
honestly. And that is that when I have left Bellingham
before, God or the universe has a way of opening and closing doors in such a
sequence as to draw me back here, for whatever reason I don’t know. I
know that this conflicts with our popular belief that we create our own destiny
and are the masters of our fate, but of course, popular views are not always
In spite of all that I’ve said, there are many in Bellingham
who claim to be happy there, which I can never understand. I guess if you
are a person with few needs, no ambitions, and no need for social stimulation
and fun, reclusive and closed, perhaps Bellingham
suits you. But not me. No way. Like they say, “different
strokes for different folks”. In my experience, I’ve noticed that
those who are intense, ambitious or have extreme emotions, tend to dislike
living in Bellingham, finding it suffocating, while those who are laid back and
nonchalant are the ones that tend to have an affinity for it.
My departure from Bellingham
has been years overdue, and hence a lot of baggage has built up inside me cause
of it. I decided Bellingham
wasn’t for me, feeling immediately dislocated on the first day, and wanted to
leave after my first month there back in 1998. Yet here we are in 2005 and
I’m wondering why I’m here again?! What the F@#$?! Can you imagine
a 7 year buildup of frustration and anger? As you can see, it runs deeper
than just merely hating a town. It’s about being imprisoned and stagnated
in a town I don’t belong in for years, due to some weird curse or jinx and
circumstances, wasting so much of my life. At times, the frustration of
this situation drives me to near insanity and tears. I often feel like
lamenting and releasing my anger by yelling out, designing a t-shirt that says
“I HATE BELLINGHAM! GET ME
THE F@#$ OUT OF HERE!” out in public for all to see, hoping to draw reactions,
disgusted faces, or even fights without people, anything to relieve the boredom
here. That’s how bad it is.
I should also say that much of what I have said here in this
article applies to the whole of Washington
state as well. Therefore I offer this warning to anyone considering
moving to Washington.
Though it’s obvious that Washington is a beautiful state from all the photos,
brochures, videos, and postcards, like an airhead hot blonde, its beauty is
only skin deep, so don’t be fooled. Washington
is nice for a one or two week vacation, due to its breathtaking beauty.
But once you live here, its ugliness soon becomes apparent, infesting your
life, mind and soul. Its insularity, tunnel-vision thinking, repressed
Puritanical mores, uptightness, and sterile coldness start to manifest and sink
So, unless you like solitude, require very little social
interaction, and are basically content with what you have rather than seeking
more in life, I’d advise against moving here. Or else, once you do, you
may regret it, and circumstances or situations may tie you here, wasting years
of your life, putting you in a prison that you wish you could escape
from. And you will ask “Why did I ever come here?!” The mysterious
force known as the “curse of Bellingham”
has its ways, believe me.
Though most in Bellingham
do not share my view, there are a few who understand and relate to my inner
turmoil. In fact, this one offers some advice too.
am not sure WHEN you posted about Russia on Daves Cafe but I just read most of it now.
I don't know if you are in Bellingham
now or where but there's one thing that I really wanted to point out. I
agree with EVERYTHING. It's a shock when you realize how other places
flow socially. Then you realize, that's all it really takes to make
yourself actually happy. HOWEVER, I'm in Portland now, after having lived abroad off and on for years
(Brazil and Mexico), and in Chicago, California and also Ashland, Oregon, I've noticed that people from the Northwest
generally have the BEST time abroad. Why? Because the Northwest
it to other parts of just the US? ....Work place environment is more anal here,
weather is shitty that makes people totally paranoid, there's sooo many clicks
and crap like that....even when you are older. I know it's all over the US to some extent but I'm telling you, it's horrible
here. I'm so pist I moved back here and wish to god I were in California or anywhere with a friendlier, higher energy going
around. I LOVE people and am really social. You can put out and put
out all that energy in the NW and get little or NONE of it back. My god, Yakima, Washington has more to offer in that department. How
pathetic is THAT?
if you are back in the states, get OUT of the northwest. Move to the Carolinas or even NYC! California, New
Mexico, Arizona...god, anywhere but up here.
friends that come to visit me here are like "shit, it's amazing how
depressed and sick everyone looks here....I'm so glad I don't live here
I'm movin on even though i have the best job ever here. A good job
doesn't make up for a lame social scene and wasted energy. I'm only 30
and I am not ready to cave up in my apartment, smoke all day and PAINT.
I'll do that when I'm 85.
For those completely happy in this town, nothing I’ve said
here is relevant to them. But for others in Bellingham
who are like me and feel the same way I do, I can only offer some
suggestions. If you too are trapped in the drudgery of life in Bellingham,
and feel you just can’t leave for some reason, then focus on the following.
1) View your life, goals, dreams, and plans for a
larger perspective. Though something may be keeping you from leaving at
the moment, viewing your life plans from a long-term perspective may help you
to see clearer, beyond the influence of whatever is keeping you in Bellingham.
Perhaps then, some sense will be shaken into you to take action.
2) If you remain in Bellingham
despite being miserable there, become aware of this “curse” or mysterious force
that holds people there. By becoming aware of it, you are in a better
position to combat it, rather than continue to let its influence control you
day to day.
3) It may be that you ought not to even think about
leaving Bellingham, for such
thinking creates frustration which can lead to anger, which in turn can
generate hate. And hate seems to feed this “force” that compels people to
stay in Bellingham, making it even
stronger and giving more power to it. Instead, you might have to DO IT
subtlely. Go and leave Bellingham
without letting this “force” plant doubt and fear in you against leaving Bellingham.
Remember that despite any practical obstacles that may be in
your way, that “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. Even if you don’t
have a car or money, you can still leave Bellingham.
Hitchhike if you have to (despite the negative connotation of hitchhiking in America,
it is actually very safe and works well. I’ve known many with little
money who do it and successfully travel the world for years, so it can be done,
I promise you). Or look for someone on the internet (craig’s list
perhaps, www.craigslist.com) for a
rideshare, or travel companion. One way or another, YOU CAN DO IT!
KNOW IT! The curse of Bellingham
is conquerable with the power of the human spirit. Remember that.
You simply must summon the deepest aspects within you. Persistence will
pay off in the resistance, no matter how powerless you feel.
Suffice to say, even the crew on Gilligan’s Island
eventually made it off the island at the end of the series. J (Although, I hate to say it, but they
were better off than me cause they at least had the company of Ginger and
In conclusion, I’d like to close with an analogy from the
movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In this lighthearted flick,
an unknown alien probe ship is sucking the Earth of all its energy, as well as
all space ships that come within its proximity. In an emergency
interstellar broadcast, the President of Starfleet Command warns, “Avoid the
planet Earth at all costs!” Likewise, I would like to send a similar
SOS warning message out to all who intend on coming to Bellingham
for whatever reason: “Avoid the town of Bellingham
at all costs!” It’s all I and others in Bellingham
who have been doomed there can do for outsiders to save them from our fate,
lest they come and risk coming under its curse, which will render their lives
totally inert, possessing them with something unnatural that will subdue their
freewill and won’t allow them to leave.
Finally, as inspiration, you might want to watch or rent the
original Star Trek series episode This Side of Paradise(I
don’t mean to sound like a Star Trek geek again, but this episode is a perfect analogy
to the Bellingham
phenomenon). In it, the entire crew of the Enterprise
becomes inhabited by these alien spores from plants brought on board the ship.
(Perhaps there are Bellingham
spores too?) The spores make them feel at one with the planet below, as if it
were the perfect paradise, brainwashing their mind and soul into giving up
their lives to live a simple life on the planet. Even the logical
unemotional Mr. Spock is totally converted, and in fact is one of the first to
be. The whole crew goes down to the planet surface to join the colonists
to live simply in paradise, all except Captain Kirk, the only one left who is
still “normal” and sees life on the planet as boring and a waste of human
potential. Eventually though, the plant spores hit Kirk too, and he
becomes infested with them, making him a convert as well. But just before
he beams down to join the rest of the crew, a disturbance begins in his
conscience, creating a state of inner conflict until his strong resolute
willpower takes over and breaks him free of the influence of the spores.
During the deconversion, he mutters, “No……. noooooo…….. NO!!!!!!!........
I …….. can’t…………. LEAVE!” (the ship) and pounds the transporter control console
with all his will and might, breaking free. This scene is very dramatic,
intense, and believable, demonstrating the power of sheer will. Like
Kirk, one must have a firm sense of inner conviction, conscience, and will to
break free of Bellingham if one
wishes to stop wasting their life there.
Now, to bring a balanced view to this article, here are some
opinions from those who love Bellingham,
in their own words. I will response with comments under each. You
can draw your own conclusions here.
From Tina, a girl from a Bellingham
list who wrote me a summary of how she left Bellingham
and was brought back, but loves it:
“Well, after college I moved back to my hometown
of Longview, WA and a few years later I moved in with a friend in the Seattle
area that was in 2000 and for 4 years moved around seattle and then I lost my
job and moved in with a friend because she needed someone to move in with her.
She preceded to not pay rent and got us evicted (I wasn't on the lease so I
didn't get penalized for that) so I had nowhere else to go My
Boyfriend at the time lived in Bellingham so I moved in with him up there.
So it wasn't my choice but I don't regret it. I
loved Bellingham when I was living here
while I was going to school and I still love it and now I am engaged to the
boyfriend that allowed me to move in with him so there are definitely no
regrets. I plan to settle in Bellingham or somewhere else in WhatcomCounty. It is breathtakingly
You can use my story in your article :)
let me know if you need more information
Response: It is apparent from Tina’s words that
she is happy about returning to Bellingham
to live again long-term. Though I don’t deny that many and probably most
in Bellingham claim to love it, nevertheless the “circumstances” that Tina
described which brought her back to Bellingham exist, are too common, and
eerily familiar, to warrant the legend of the “curse”, so one has to
wonder. Perhaps if one desires to or is destined to live somewhere, their
“higher self” arranges the circumstances to lead them there? Who knows.
From Nathan, a friend of mine who is a bubbly, sweet and
“Here you go Winston, real quickly. Don't have
Bellingham, like all places is full of humans with
souls. Souls that need nurture, compassion, and inspiration. One great thing
about Bellingham is there are so many
people here that are full of compassion and a heart of giving. For example,
there's the Whatcom Peace and Justice center that works to educate and activate
community members. There's Food Not Lawns and Small Potato Gleaning Project that
work to make sure no one goes hungry in WhatcomCounty. There's the ReStore
and ReSources that work to recycle building material. There's also a plethora
of organizations that work to keep the water clean, the parks green, and the
quality of life healthy in Bellingham. Oh, and lets not forget the amazing
amount of music and nightlife that exists here. Almost any night of the week
you can find live music, and coming soon all the bars will be smoke-free.
There's not very many places in the world where you can you find that.
Perhaps, Bellingham doesn't do enough to
pull people who choose to dwell on the negative out of their shells, but for
those who wish to volunteer and participate in the community there are plenty
of opportunities. With a little initiative, motivation, and a heart of giving,
you might see something in return. While many people in Bellingham may never see gratitude
for their work, they continue nonetheless.
Beyond the human aspect of Bellingham. There's ample amounts
of space to be alone, to find get lost in the woods and find yourself.
Waterfalls, rivers, creeks, birds, islands, and hiking trails that can bring
simple smiles when enjoyed. And that in a nutshell, is why I love Bellingham.
Hope that fulfills your request. Take it easy Winston,
Response: Like anywhere, no doubt Bellingham
has some compassionate caring people that support charitable causes. And
of course, doing volunteer charitable work is good for the soul, reuniting one
to their universal source. And no doubt there are many environmentalists
here, which some call “tree huggers”. However, this does little to change
the huge major deficiencies that I described about the area. After all,
none of my criticisms of Bellingham
had to do with lack of environmental consciousness, though I do support such
endeavors and I commend Nathan for doing so as well. The people are still
overwhelming cliquish, anti-stranger (especially at the strip mall areas) and
the girls are very unapproachable, anti-flirt, and hate men who try to pick
them up. That much can’t be denied.
As to the variety of nightlife in Bellingham,
for a US town
of this size, it might be plenty, but by worldwide standards, it’s nothing to
boast about, especially compared to Europe. But
nevertheless, even with many bars, clubs, and music venues here, I still don’t
get the relaxed warm approachable social scene as in most of the world.
It is not free-spirited, lively and uninhibited like in Europe/Russia, but very
closed, rigid, and stiff in comparison. And as mentioned before, the men
far outnumber the women, making it a nightmare for the single man looking to
hook up, especially in an area where “picking up” women is vilified and
As to dwelling on the negative out of a shell, I would say
that my life in Bellingham is in
fact like a shell, so to speak, but not by choice; rather, the circumstances
put me into one. Out in public, I am not appreciated, am ignored, get no
attention, can’t find anyone to connect with (partly cause people want to be
left alone and not connect with others anyway), and of course, the girls are
unapproachable and if I say anything to them, they give me the look that says
“I have no business talking to strangers unless they need directions.” So
with all that, what else can I do other than be in a shell? As Kari
mentioned earlier, you can put out lots of social energy here and get nothing
back. So what’s the point of wasting time, energy, and effort trying to
be social here? Sure I could go out by myself here, but there just isn’t
the energy or vibe here that makes me feel like doing that.
Again, see the images I linked above in the section about
stuck up girls, and you will see how much more approachable and less paranoid
girls abroad are toward strangers. Here they are again:
Finally, as to the nature and woods where one can lose or
find oneself in, that is obvious and abundant throughout Western
Washington. However, to me, those things – forests, trails,
parks, lakes, snow capped mountain ranges, etc. - are nice only for a week or
two, though they are indeed a pretty sight. I realize that it’s
“different strokes for different folks” but I’ve never been one to find
spirituality in forests, as some do; instead, I feel an immediate sense of
seclusion, isolation, reclusiveness, isolation, and claustrophobia among
foresty environments. If you are from California,
they are a nice nature break from the barren golden hills I admit (as I grew up
in CA), but I wouldn’t thrive living constantly in them; instead I’d feel
depleted, stagnated, and blocked energy-wise. For me, I find more energy
and stimulation in desert terrain (e.g. Arizona,
Mexico) or cultured European environments (OldTown architecture).
Whatever the case, nice foresty nature doesn’t make up for
all the scores of deficiencies outlined above about Bellingham – its
energy-sucking stagnating isolating environment/vibe, people that don’t like socializing
with strangers, girls that are unapproachable, its perpetual boredom and
loneliness, and a repressed dead end job market.
a community message board of Bellingham,
this poster gives a list of ten reasons to love Bellingham:
”I agree that Bellingham rules. In so many ways:
1. chicks galore that love to party and do the nasty.
2. ton's of young people that enjoy each other.
3. older folks that actually like and respect the youngins.
4. proximity to Canada and it's errr... imports.
5. cheap cost of living (compared to the south end)
6. dog friendly
7. recreational parks up the ying yang
8. mt. baker - nuff said
9. nice cops
10. casa que pasa
WWu, please just go kill yourself. No really - PLEASE DO so I don't have the
chance to run into you someday.”
Response: Many comments can be made about the
ten points listed above.
As to #1, sure chicks love to party. Most young American
girls do, especially airhead and valley girl types. But what good does
that do me? They party in cliquish ways, only with their closest friends
and all whom they consider to be “cool” (which doesn’t include me). They
aren’t approachable to me, aren’t interested in me, don’t like me, don’t hang
out with me, and dist me, etc. so what good is that to me and my
objectives? As to doing the nasty, they may be nasty in private with
those they like or are intimate, but that is not something they will show in
the Puritan culture of this town, and believe me, most of the single guys here
are NOT getting laid regularly. In fact, if you ask them, they will admit
that it’s a single man’s nightmare here, and that they do not have a great
dating life here at all, though some do not depend on that for happiness, while
others so (such as me). Nevertheless, chicks in Bellingham
do not like to flirt much or meet new people. To do so just doesn’t fit
in with the closed, cliquish nature of the vibe. Instead, they like to
lock themselves up into their routines and cliques. For the most part, if
they don’t know you, they don’t acknowledge your existence. (How fun!)
Regarding #2, there are tons of young people, especially the
college crowd, but “enjoy each other” is a vague phrase subject to relative
personal opinion. I’m sure the cliques in town enjoy each other’s casual
company, to the exclusion of others. But I’ve never been one who fits
into cliques nor do I have a clique mentality, so they aren’t even really my thing.
But I do not see young people enjoying others, meeting others, or being as
relaxed as say, youngsters in Europe or Russia
do in comparison, not at all.
In response to #3, it is common for old folks in America
to be very open and talkative to everyone, especially young folks. They
are often lonely, like to share their life wisdom so they can feel useful to
those less experienced, and they like having someone listen to them.
However, I would say that the old folks of Bellingham
tend to be less outgoing and sociable than nationwide, but instead are more
closed, reclusive, and want to be left alone. That’s just the nature and
vibe of Bellingham as well as those
who want to live here.
To address #4, Vancouver, Canada,
on the other side of the border, is a lot more fun and active than Bellingham
of course. But it’s about a 35 minute drive to the Canadian border from Bellingham,
which though close, isn’t close enough to be going there everyday, especially
with gas prices these days at $20 a fill! Therefore, if one enjoys Canada,
they should just go live there, rather than try to regularly commute there from
a desolate town like Bellingham.
In regards to #5, sure it’s cheaper to live here than down
south in the Seattle/King County area. But so what? What is the
point of cheap living in a place devoid of every major important thing?
Also, the Seattle/King County area has much more jobs and opportunity to offer
does, and those who have moved down there said they get job offers there
immediately, whereas here you often have to wait weeks or months just to get a
low paying dead end job that you probably wouldn’t want to keep anyway.
#6 though is irrelevant here so I have no comment about it,
though it isn’t clear exactly how the town is “dog friendly” but whatever it
is, I don’t think it applies to me personally since I don’t even have a dog.
In #7, “recreational parks up the ying yang” (an interesting
way to phrase it), what I said above in my commentary to Nathan’s letter about
nature and woods, applies here as well.
As to the Mt.Baker
feature in #8, first of all, it’s a mountainous region popular with skiers and
snowboarders, which I’m not into, so it wouldn’t apply to me. Second, Mt.Baker is in such a remote isolated
wilderness area that even the drive there begins to make me feel secluded,
lonely, and lost, totally disconnected. Though I love nature, it’s not
the kind of nature I would “lose” or “find” myself in, or find any spirituality
in. Instead, it makes me merely feel lonely and remote. And it’s
not just me, for the residents that live in the tiny towns along the way to Mt.Baker are very reclusive type of
people. Around them, it’s like I don’t even exist to them, nor they to
me. Weird. In fact, I heard that many of them are in their 30’s and
have never in their life left WhatcomCounty! Now, um, ignorance
may be bliss, but these folks are probably a different species than me. lol
As for the nice cops issue #9, unless I get often get in
trouble with the law, it’s not much of an issue for me. I will say
though, that it’s good to have nice cops when they are called by girls that you
flirt with who see such behavior as crimes, that’s for sure. Lol
Otherwise, the angry feminist powers could do you in for good.
About #10 Casa que pasa, well it’s just a cheap eatery with
Mexican food that some consider a great hang out place. Big deal.
There are places like that everywhere in the US.
Plus, the food isn’t even that great, but mediocre. In fact, the Mexican
food in Mexico,
I hear, is way better than in the US.
So as you see, none of these ten reasons given by the poster
invalidate nor compensate for the huge major negatives and deficiencies of Bellingham
- its energy-sucking stagnating isolating environment/vibe, people that don’t
like socializing with strangers, girls that are unapproachable, its perpetual
boredom and loneliness, and a repressed dead end job market.
Finally, as to the last line of the poster above, I
shouldn’t even acknowledge such an immature juvenile suggestion, though I hope
for heaven’s sake that no one takes the words of such a person too
literally. Suffice to say, this person does not seem to fit Nathan’s
description of those caring compassionate people in Bellingham
obviously. Let’s just hope he’s not representative of Bellingham
folks in general.
Does Washington state have a
mysterious force that keeps people in it?
For some reason, Washingtonians
think that anyone who doesn't like their state or area do so because of the
rainy/cloudy weather. How one dimensional can they be?! It just
shows the lack of depth and variety of the typical Washingtonian
view/mentality. There are many reasons and factors to like/dislike a
place other than the weather, which is just one of many factors that I listed
in this article in fact. Another reason, I could say, is the simple
mindedness of Washingtonians that think that weather makes or breaks whether
someone likes an area or not.
In fact, Bellingham, Seattle, and Washington state are not even part of the real world. Now, I
don't mind if something is not part of the real world as long as it has
something interesting to offer. But Washington doesn't, all it is is a closed box of blandness.
Though its scenery is nice for a
week vacation, living there is boring and depressing. There is this
negative/anti-social energy field everywhere there. It makes me even have
trouble going to the post office or grocery store. That's how bad it is.
Washington folks, in my view, are definitely the most anti-social and
paranoid lot I’ve ever met, without a doubt. Nothing even comes
close. The people seem to LOVE isolation and loneliness, and HATE social
interaction. It’s very exemplified by their behavior everywhere; they
don’t talk to anyone they don’t know unless it’s business-related. The
anti-social paranoid vibe is all around me everywhere I go. It makes me,
a fun-loving outgoing person, cringe and never want to go out. What is
the point of going out in Washington with that anti-social paranoid vibe everywhere in the
air? Ick. Yuck.
I simply can't bear to live in a
state where 99 percent of the population are freaks, and they in turn think
that I'm the freak. The Twilight Zone episode "Eye of the
Beholder", where the perfect-looking gorgeous woman is considered
deformed and hideous by the grotesque pig-nosed majority, depicts superbly how
I feel in Washington state. Ick. I see everyone as freaks, while
they in turn see me as a freak.
Me and Washingtonians are on a different wavelength. They don't see what
I see, and I don't see what they see. We don't jive at all. To me
they are like distant zombies, transparent, numb, deathly pale, anal-retentive,
anti-social, and devoid of social skills when it comes to meeting people.
It’s almost like they aren’t even there! And that’s freaky.
I don’t jive with Northwest
culture or environment either. None of its coffee culture, grunge rock,
contempo jazz, or lame ass wannabe art appeals to me in anyway.
It's one thing to be unable to get
dates with hot women here, but it's another to not even be able to make basic
friends whom you connect with and have things in common with. I think
that Washingtonians subconsciously pick up that I'm not one of them, which
makes them feel a bit awkward, so they avoid me.
Of course, anyone reading this might want to yell to me "JUST GET THE HELL
OUT OF THERE!!!!!!!!" which I also yell to myself everyday. But you
see, it isn't as simple as you think. Believe it or not, as mentioned
before, there is some force or consciousness here, not just in Bellingham but the whole state, which infests people to force them to
stay and traps them within circumstances that bind them.
Recently I spoke by phone to a lady in Arizona who grew up in the Seattle area, and she noticed the same thing. She described
it as a "grip" that Washington tries to place on you. But, she added, once you
leave Washington and live somewhere out in the real world, your eyes will
be open and you won't wanna go back.
Also, she observed while
growing up there that many people there complain about the gloomy winter
weather, yet never leave because they know nothing else outside the state,
and assume that their only path is to settle there for life. It's
all part of the tunnel-vision of the Washingtonian world. You kind of
feel sorry for them when you've tasted the richness and splendor of the world
outside their little repressed "matrix".
That reminds me of what the ESL
teacher Kari, quoted earlier, said about her friend who was visiting saying
that people here look so "depressed and sick". Based on that, I
might postulate the following. Perhaps people look so "depressed and
sick" in Washington because their subconscious mind hates and despises it
there, but their conscious mind is fooled into staying. Maybe deep down
they feel miserable, but they think they like it there, or they just see no
other option. It's so sad.
It's as if the force or
will of the area will do anything to keep you here. It might offer you a
good job, get you into a relationship, commitment, bring your family here, or
simply sap your life force energy down to the point where you don't have enough
willpower left to leave. To accomplish that, it may even instill doubt,
worry and fear in you about leaving.
If that's so, then one who is trying to leave would be well advised not to
think about leaving lest the consciousness of the area psychologically infest
doubt, worry, and discouragement against leaving. But once you recognize
this, you achieve more power over its influence. You can recognize it for
what it is, and what it's doing to you, and thereby not give it a chance to
trick you with illusory thoughts and concerns against leaving. That's the
key to a successful escape from Washington! You've got to go through the motions and planning
of leaving the state, without paying attention to the thoughts, worries, and
obligations that your mind will give you to make you stay (if you know that's
what you should do that is). And know that once you are out, it's
influence on you is gone, and you will be able to think clearly once
again. Only then can you laugh and realize that its hold on your life and
the doubts and fears it instilled into your mind, were just an illusion.
As they say, once you are out of something, you view it more clearly than when
you are within it.
Now, you might think that the
concept of a force or consciousness keeping people in Washington is outlandish. However, if you consider the genuine
paranormal nature of areas like Mystery
Spot in Santa Cruz, CA, then it might just seem a bit more plausible. Open
to the public, Mystery Spot is an area in which the laws of gravity
are bent. Objects roll upward on a plank, pendulums do not behave in the
normal laws of gravity, and height can be changed by simply switching
positions on a level plank (proven by a level measuring instrument).
I've personally been there many times and can attest that it is not some
optical illusion. No one really knows the answer, but a NASA
team that investigated surmised that there might be a crashed
meteor under the ground that causes the gravity anomalies. Whatever the
explanation, it seems to be a genuine paranormal phenomena.
Now, if something under the ground
can cause real gravity anomalies, then it becomes more feasible that something
under or in the area of Washington could be gripping people in its hold to stay there.
Whatever the case, no one place or
thing is right for everyone, even if it works for many. For instance, the
Christian religion works for millions of people, bringing them hope, peace,
purpose, truth and joy. But for others, it is repressed,
closed-minded, judgmental, ridiculous, and conflicts with their values,
beliefs, and goals. And for some who turned away from the faith, it's
left such a chip on their shoulder that they've become die hard Bible critics
(e.g. the writers of articles at Secularweb.org).
Similarly, joining the army works for many people, giving them purpose and
value, but for others it's a hell hole where you lose every freedom that you've
ever known. Likewise, Washington may work for many, but doesn't work for many others, and
not all its residents would be happy living elsewhere either.
As for me, Washington simply has a gloomy environment, weather, and vibe.
It's people are stuck up, uptight, and freak at having to talk to
strangers. And anyone who talks to strangers here is considered a freak,
as well as anyone who isn’t reclusive, loves isolation and solitude, and
doesn’t talk to people only when its necessary. Women here don't even
need men, leaving men to feel unneeded and unacknowledged, like there is
nothing they could add to the woman's life. The area is also repressed
and non-progressive; for example everyone complains about the horrible
gridlocked traffic problems in the Seattle and KingCounty area, yet nothing is ever done about them. Things
just always stay the same, leaving you to complain in futility. In
addition, the road signs are sloppy and rife with errors, which also never get
fixed either. Sure the state is beautiful and has some advantages, but
without any culture (coffee is not a culture you NW folks!), energy, social
scene or normal people, the area sucks.
Also, the lady in Arizona who grew up here also noticed that while the artists in Washington tend to be closed snobs, the artists in Arizona tend to be true freespirits. And the new
age/metaphysical community is much more mainstream down there as well, whereas
in Washington they are confined to a few fringe older folks.
There are just so many things to
hate about Washington that eventually erode your mental health and sanity, yet
the consciousness of the state won't let you leave either, making it the
ultimate perpetual frustration that never ends. And when
you've tasted places and areas of the world which are much better,
you constantly ask yourself "Why should I have to put up with
Seattle resident on Craig’s List wrote in
response to the above which I posted there:
“I transplanted here many years ago and yes the
majority of people here are f-up and sadly can not see it. Coming from east
coast the very first thing i noticed is how lazy people are here, they can not
get out of there car for coffee. There are more drive thru's here than normal.
Not to mention everyone is always in a hurry (self included)to go everywhere, even
if no real fire to speak of. I believe we slowly are conditioned to blend in
somehow to this way of life here. I have lived everywhere in this country and
traveled in europe while in military and yes Seattle is isolate mind set.
Perhaps it is lack of sun light, i do not know. Here is proof too, in rainy
season everyone is mellow, polite while driving, hell, somehow we will even
stay behind that gay liberal person driving in the left lane 5 mph under speed
limit usually driving they're volkswagon bus(speed nazis should die!!!). We
don't care we follow matching speed. Then now that the sun is out watch all the
road rage starts to begin, you try this time of year now that the sun is out
someone WILL follow you home and beat your ass in your driveway for it. if you
think i am joking watch we are getting into road rage season watch the news. We
go all rainy season driving mellow then when the sun comes out we wake up here
and some become violent. I am only very sensitive to noticing all the changes
here because i will never call this home. I try very hard not to incorporate
into this system. Not to mention the few of you snobby as U.W. graduates who
think they are superior to all, even thou you are ugly, fat even worse is your
outlook towards less fortunate people. Lets not pick on the women here that
have 3-4 different fathers all of different races. I own a home here and this
will never be my home if you understand what i mean. Speaking for myself i am
only here like many, it is simple. Seattle-tacoma have the shipyards then
everything else in the country trickles down job wise because of shipyard ie
rail road, trucks, services etc.so on so on Anyone want to move to chicago or
tampa-miami where the ports are sunnier?.”
And another guy I wrote to on Craig’s
Well I guessed I stirred up the water a little
as I have actually received feedback from people who agree with me.
This is a silently angry little hippie town
where no one has the guts to stand up to the mic when it comes
time to make changes.But you have heard all this
rhetoric time and time again.
I enjoyed your article and relate to it whole
I will take east coasters over the b.s. here and
in OR any given day. Just because the weather is bad doesn’t give anyone the
right to act so god damn anti social.
Im moving back this year and may I never return
to live here period. Nice state, bad people!
Thanks for the email! Made my day!”
Or perhaps there is a more down-to-earth explanation for the
“mysterious force” that prevents those that dislike Washington
from leaving, such as this one that an overseas expat gave me:
“Getting out of any place ( or situation)is difficult because
of basic human laziness and inertia more than
anything else. People would rather complain than take courageous action. It
takes either unbearable pain (emotional or physical) or an incredibly big
reward to spur people into action.
Plus there is the comfort zone factor. Washington may be bad but it is bearable and
you have learned to live with all the problems. There are also some advantages
so you got used to the situation.
My saving grace is that I learned early on in life how sweet life can be and I
had to restore a similar
situation for myself. Anything less than that was simply not acceptable. It
caused horrible depression
and pain. So I had to act.
Most people would just put up and complain than take action. Mostly because of
the inertia inherent in
human nature itself. Complaining is only good if it serves as a description of
suffering and its verbal
crystallization so that, later it could spur people into action. Otherwise it
I was lucky in that I had serious problems that spurred me into action- a
forced military draft, a near bankruptcy, horniness so bad I was crying my eyes
out, unemployment so bad I had no food.
If I had been in a so-so, not good but bearable environment, I would also be
talking about some strange "force".
Bellingham is part of the Northwest, an area
geographically isolated and within itself isolated by the rain. It has always
been a place of solitude and that gets to a lot of people. Not a good thing or
a bad thing, just a thing that doesn't match your interactive mode.
The isolation and solitude are good for
creativity, which by definition is apart from the known. But living here is
An important factor is your age. I am older, so
live at a more relaxed pace. If you're college age, there are things connected
with the University. But, if you are inbetween, say from ages 24-55, this can
be a living hell where one spends most of the time sleeping. There are active
sports things to be sure, OUTSIDE of Bellingham, but not too far. One
doesn't do those things if sports and such are not their cup of tea. The
downtown is dead. Fairhaven is limited in terms of
casual meetings. There is not even a REAL coffee shop where people play chess,
visit, interact, and have a home away from home.
But I want to ask you, how do you know who
"the people of Bellingham" are? There are
folks streaming in here from all over the place. How do you know the
"people" who do not respond to you are not just off the plane from New York?
This area is different, solitary and isolated.
But people are people everywhere, and respond to positive vibrations in others.
I don't think you are giving those off.
And "the curse" of any place is when
the vibrations don't jive. Nothing is wrong with that, except if you stay where
you are miserable. Find somewhere you are in sync with and enjoy your life.
this is in or around Sehome
Re:Why are Bellingham people so anti-social,
stuck up, and shy?!
I have also lived in many different areas, and travel all over this world. I
consider myself to be lucky on that regard.
I didn't "come back" but more of kind
of got stuck here- details would only bore you.
But..I can agree to some of what Winston here is saying, I think he takes it a
little OB at times.
Whenever I'm out, at a coffee shop, bar what
have you I can almost always tell who the people are that aren't from here
originally are, they are the ones that respond to polite chatter( for lack of a
A lot of people here do appear to be stuck up,
but Im not sure it is stuck up as much as it is uneducated in dealing with
others, manners seem to be missing around here. People here tend to keep to
yourselves here and don;t allow outsiders into your little circles very easily.
But the thing that really bugs me,( I can deal
with the buttheads here, as there are some cool people as well) is you all come
off so freaking "environmental" this endless self indulging
"Beautiful area, we dont want cell towers-no more building- stay out of my
neighborhood " talk, but yet you LITTER EVERYWHERE!!??
What is up with that, I swear in all my travels I think this place has the most
people who dump their trash out of their windows than anywhere else.
I own a home on a fairly well traveled road and
am constantly having to pick up the trash that YOU throw out your window..next
time you drive down any road, look around, pay attention to the sidewalks or
easements, you will see what I mean..
Just wanted to say that!
the OP has taken issue with the attitude of people n Bellingham, yet after
living in Bellingham, Kirkland, and Seattle I can attest to the attitude is
strictly Washingtonian.....I have also lived in Portland, OR and strangely
enough once I cross the bridge and enter Portland, the scarlet letter vanishes
from me and people I have never met speak to me as we pass in grocery aisles as
if we are old friends. Bellingham is better than Seattle (one expensive hell
hole with no soul), and both are better than Kirkland/Bellevue (expensive hell
hole, no soul, no quality of life, you will soon consider antidepressants or
suicide as you sit parked on the 405...). None compare to Oregon, ALL OVER Oregon...the people are much
more open and friendly outside of Washington. Smiling, friendly,
gracious, interested...this is Portland, and Oregon in general.
i am only mentioning these places that I have lived, but too I have visited
most states in the union and honestly, the OP has a point...there is a cold,
sterile, arrogance about people around here. If they actually DO make eye
contact with you, it's to make sure your not a pedophile checking out their
kids. (Before you go there, I am a mom with an 8 year old and an 8 month
old....not exactly pedophile material). .....sigh.....
I'm not sure...maybe it's the Canadians making everyone cranky up here, or all
of the R.E. I. fleece they inhale but it is definitely a different attitude,
and not necessarily a positive difference.
Land of Subdued Excitement? More likely, Land of Subdued Personality. Check out
some of the cragislists for other cities. You will see that witty banter, salty
chat, crassness, intelligen t exchange, actually DO exist outside of
Belling-Oz, and IT'S OKAY TO SPEAK TO EACH OTHER EVEN IF YOU THINK IT's ICKY!!!
(I've heard of so my people flagged here for no reason that I can only imagine
some weird puritanical post police locally.....)
And before you tell me to "get out" (yawn)...trust me, my ten year
plan is in place and I am counting the days until I can live in the outside
world once again. Go ahead and flame me, I could use the entertainment.
My husband grew up here but I am originally from
California. I've noticed that people are generally
cliquish here (at least here in Ferndale) and if they don't know
you, they want nothing to do with you. Some of the moms at the school my kids
attend are nice, but the majority are very rude and if you try to strike up
conversation with them, forget it.
I'm from Northern California and it was never that
way, so it's a bit of culture shock (among many other things, like the amount
of RACISM I see up here) to me. We've been here 3 years now but it's still
taking some adjusting to. we moved up here to be closer to my husband's family
and that's great, but the general atmosphere is completely different up here.
I guess people just want to keep to themselves,
and I can understand that, but being blatantly rude?? There's no need for that.
There's a lot of judgment going on here where
judgment is not due... of course the people in the NW are different than in
Latvia, you really can't be all that surprised by this??? The way Northwesterners
behave socially involves a lot of complex confounding factors- and it's not
right, it's not wrong, it just IS. Bellingham is not for everyone,
just like everyone in Bellingham would not be happy
living in a different place. It's really important to personal happiness to
love where you live, if you don't love Bellingham, you need to find the
place that brings you happiness. There are plenty of people here who are happy.
I'm a native Washingtonian and have lived in Bellingham for nearly 15 years. I
admit, it was VERY hard to make lasting, true friends and it took a long time.
I know several people, all men, who have lived here for years and feel starved
for human contact. I've no doubt we do things differently here, but you
shouldn't judge that and say something is wrong with the way things are done,
because there are thousands of people here for whom it works. It just doesn't
work for you... so instead of bitching about it on a web forum (or several, it
seems) put your energy into finding the place where it does.
I'd like to suggest you do some research into
how climate affects social behavior as the two are inextricably linked. The
closer you get to the equator, the warmer and more socially open people are. It
simply makes no sense to compare the social behavior of Washingtonians to
Californians, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans etc etc... humans adapt to their external
environment to survive and what you are experiencing is the way Northwesterners
have adapted- again, it's not right, it's not wrong, it just IS.
Of course if you're in the media business such
as Deb it helps!
Seriously though, I think there are a lot of
people here that simply couldn't be bothered to show courtesy to others. I've
lived here along time and can certainly see what Winston is complaining about,
but I just don't care!
Anyone that does take the time to show me
kindness I remember, the ones that don't..F'em!
You, Winston, are a loser. Just because of your
profound inability to get laid, don't blame it on an entire community. I have
only lived here for four months, and I, too, have lived all over the country.
It's amazing to me how nice people are here. I am in my mid thirties, and after
going on a couple of pleasant dates with a couple of different people, I have a
very nice girlfriend who is just awesome.
If you need to borrow a gun, I will gladly lend
you one as long as you promptly use it to paint the ceiling with your brains.
You'll be doing yourself, and the community, a huge favor since you don't have
the BALLS to live your life the way you want to and GET THE FUCK OUT OF
Really, there is nothing worse than a fucking
(Note: Again, if people like
this, who encourage me to blow my brains out with a gun, are the type of people
who love Bellingham, then I am sure glad that I’m not one of them!)
Re: Bellingham People
Reply to: email@example.com
Winston raises a very fair and accurate point
and anyone honest with themselves will agree with him. Maybe you think you like
it here but if you are between the ages of 28 and 46, you don't. You just don't
If you are between these ages you should leave
immediately if you ever wish to feel alive again.
Why am I here, seeing as how I am 30 years old,
you ask? I came here because I needed time not to feel or think anything at
all. Such an environment has been provided. I thank you, whatever is that makes
Bellingham this way. When I need to be a zombie
again I'll be back. That is if I can manage to get out again to be albe to come
RE: Bellingham, unfriendly
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
About making eye contact, and being friendly,
yes. I have always been an outgoing and friendly person. I get occasional
"hi's" and "hello's" from my fellow Ferndalians, but for
the most part, I have encountered people who just look at me like I came off a spaceship.
I was sharing some commiseration in what the
original poster (Winston?) had posted. But in no way am I bashing Ferndale or WhatcomCounty or Washington. It's just a different
atmosphere, like I said. I don't think anyone is "miserable" here, I just
think that people anywhere you go are different. Chalk it up to however someone
was raised too. No one place is "miserable", just different is all.
My take: large and
shallow social networks
to come across, as I've been doing a lot of thinking about the local social
scene lately after not a small amount of frustration after 4+ years here.
What I've noticed is
that many of the people who ARE sociable around these parts try to maintain
large, but very shallow, social networks. I have friends, but hardly any I
would consider close. I see these friends maybe once per week each, as they
chop their precious free time up among many other friends who don't necessarily
know each other.
Ideally I would like to
cultivate a close circle of 6-10 friends, who all know each other and hang out
together, but this is difficult as it seems like young folks don't want to
invest the time in such a small group of people.
This gives the effect of
skimming along socially on a bunch of friendships that are actually friendly
acquaitances. Not very fulfilling.
If we leave Winston out of this discussion we
can better focus.And I don't think he should be flagged just because some don't
agree with him.
I have been in Bellingham over 4 years. Yes, it
is friendly, yet difficult to break into socially. There are so many diverse
groups here for such a small town. There are the college kids, who I work with.
They have a hard time meeting people for dates. I am sometimes tempted to play
cupid. But they are just a temporary segment of the society. There are the
affluent upper middle class and retirees. They are usaully married and or not
particularly looking to meet friends. The locals my age, baby boomers, are very
stuck on the way things used to be. Their term is "Back in the Day".
I swear sometimes I want to shout, " This Is The Day"!
I am from Montana, and I am very
friendly. But Bellingham is a difficult town to
break into. There seem to be very few single people my age. I don't golf, or
hike or ski. I have joined a variety of groups, yet haven't yet found my niche.
I am considering moving to Portland. I love Bellingham, but it is a gloomey
town to be alone in. Probably my age. Too old to skateboard, to young for
Winstonedion is right on with many points taken
up, but a bit over the top on some of his rants. The fact that he can't stand
to be out in nature by himself, says alot! That I can be alone and autonomous
is one of the main draws for me to this region, and is probally one of the
personality traits that W does not like about this envior makeup.
About the cliqueyness, uptight women, general
snobbery, and shallow relationships being discussed here; I find pretty
accurate from my experiance.
I had more fun and frienships (women and men) in
Alaska then I have for the 10 freakn years I
have lived here by far.
Oh I don't have dreds not a vegan and I guess
just not hip or mystical enough! Just your common joe schmuck tyring to create
and live life.
B'ham is probally a paradise for a 20-ish
The oldtime alternatives (fairhaven grads) are the real
ubermench though. I do'nt know how many people I have meet and when I see them
on the latter act as If I am from another planet like LA or something.
Just my rant and bitter musings.
Maybe we will SEE each other at the Bagelry I
won't expect much else!!
I absolutely loved Winston's initial posting,
where he included his photo's of Europe, described the happiness he felt over
there while traveling and his frustration/culture shock coming back to the
United States where the culture is decidedly more conservative. Do any of us
dispute the fact that our culture is, for good or for ill, more conservative
than Europe's? Isn't this common knowledge? And wouldn't it
be better if we could loosen up a bit in a certain regard? The really
remarkable thing is that Winston is saying something real, theorizing, is often
times wrong, but struggles nevertheless, to pose some kind of hypothesis for
his feelings, his nation, his Bellingham. You guys, however, don't seem to like
this. Maybe it's just not cool to express yourself? That is, unless the
expression occurs while stoned, over an addition of Lao Tzu or someone's idea
for a cool tatoo. Don't you recognize the eternal conflict between the
individual and the group where you represent the group? Same as it ever was.
The irony, is if your best friend brought you a crappy water color painting you
would be like, "Oh my God, it's the most beauitful thing I've ever
Meanwhile, I found the objections posted to
Winston's malcontent, naive perhaps but honest and accurate characterization of
life in the States to be absolutely specious and often times sleazy and unkind,
as in, "You gotta play the game man," or, "I wouldn't go out
with you if I met you in a bar." It made me think about all you cool folks
who say less than rocks and ski more miles than Finnish patrol scouts. Do any
of you ever doubt? Do any of you ever want more or search in a way or perhaps
think that life could be better if we only siezed the day? Are all your ideas
someone else's, or did you once come up with something on your own? Perhaps you
boring people out there could do less hiking, biking, ocean kyaking, paying lip
service to your own delusional life-style imperatives, and a little bit more,
dare I say it, reading?
But then again, maybe I should just stop
thinking and buy some hiking products. Maybe what I really need are some
carabiners and a good pair of cramp-ons.
The self-effacing “Normal Guy” who has published
below illustrates perfectly hypocritical groupthink. Let’s go over it. First,
he encounters Winston’s postings as an aberration – something unusual – and so
he set’s himself up with the group opinion that Winston is, for expressing
beliefs that are beyond the fringe abnormal, if not, perhaps, crazy? I quote,
“First, damn Winston you really need to see a counselor.” Perhaps the Normal
Guy is himself qualified to judge someone’s mental condition, but I tend to
think that he would rather simply take a pot shot at someone who isn’t like
him, doesn’t think like him, and would rather not. The others constitute a
threat for good ol fashion normal Joes. But wait! Stop the presses! It’s not
simply that he’s different – he has Bellingham folks all wrong. The
Normal Guy says, “They have compassion and so they tolerate a lot of lesser
behavior in the name of peace and equality,” certainly –just like- you are
‘tolerating’ Winston’s ‘lesser behavior’ by suggesting that he see a counselor.
So perhaps the normal Joe is just being a kindly neighbor and not a hypocrite.
Tough love, right Mr. Average? Certainly wouldn't want to go out a limb and
start tolerating some of that lesser behavior.
The fact is, people in general simply don’t like
dissent from popular opinion. Conservative, Liberal, it doesn't make a
different. However, I think that those literal minded normal Joe’s should know
that they are being every ounce just as judgmental than those that dare to be
different. Moreover, they are basking in the warmth of there successfull
assimilation at the expense of people who’s role in society is as every way
vital if not more vital. How would you feel, Mr. Normal, if I told you that feeling
the need to express an improbable ‘normalcy’ smacks of psychosis? Maybe you
should see a counselor? Shouldn’t we give of our uniqueness, even if some of
that uniqueness is pain and loneliness? We must use colors - not simply a blank
canvas ornimented with self-approbation.
We all know there is something weird and creepy
about Bellingham. I think the thing to
do is stop lying to ourselves and face it. Bellingham is beautiful which
makes us think we should be happy here, but we're not. If you truly are then
you represent about 5% of the population and you should just go hang out in
your eco-friendly four story house over looking the bay and leave the rest of
us to our misery. Because that's what we're in. Not a serious misery. Not
enough to make us get off our asses and leave. Just a steady, mind-numbing,
isolating misery that once in a while gets forgotten when we happen to remember
that we live by the bay and catch a sunset once every three months. No, I don't
care that you hang out every third night with a large group of aging hipsters
playing your acoustic guitar. That doesn't exclude you from the isolation.
Then again, this could be all about me and the
we I speak of is just the many disgruntled folks inside of me. Either way, lets
admit Bellingham is creepy already and
move on from there shall we?
Much of what Winston accurately describes (and
he is correct, just look at the responses he is evoking!!) can be attributed to
"40 years of cloudy skies".
Hate to say it folks, but the weather has
greater effect than we wish to admit. Cloudy skies make most people sleepy, non
responsive, de-energized leading to the results Winston observes.
We get a LOT of grey here.
RE: Does Washington have a mysterious force
that keeps people in it?
Reply to: email@example.com
Yah know what? I think your right! I've tried to
leave this place quite a few times, and it keeps sucking me back in! And all
the freaks. Just because I take care of my body and care about the way I look
I'm considered a freak. Tell me where else in the world an attractive woman is
considered a freak? That's just wrong!
Re: What's Bellingham Like?
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For starters, Bellingham is very white. White in
many ways. Let me just preface by saying that I am a Caucazoid myself so I know
white fairly well I think. The music here is white (folk, some tame jazz, local
indie bands). The people here are mostly white (self-explanatory) and the
attitude is mostly white (white being a sort of blank, dull non-color. By which
I mean, there is not a whole lot to do here unless you are REALLY serious about
kayaking. But, if you are an introverted fellow or gal who doesn't mind a
general sort of blank, dull community, then you will do just fine.) It is very
scenic after all and there is little to no traffic and you can always find a
quiet, nice place to sit outside and think about whiteness and afterward be
able to go straight to a restaurant and eat some white food without waiting too
long for a table.
In short, bring your own entertainment. Or, be
able to entertain yourself or die.
Which brings me to my next point. I've never
been to Houston, but I do know that
when I travel to the east coast (yes, I am aware Houston is not located on the
east coast) I am suddenly overwhelmed with new acquaintances. People say hello.
They invite me to their barbeques, out to dinner, for a walk, etc. When I come
home I crawl back into my tiny social bubble. It's just not like that here
(friendly in that way). I'm not arguing which is better or worse-so stay off my
back Bham R&Rs- it's just the way it is. People aren't going to flock to
you and try to be your friend because they're afraid their own limited circle
of friends might like you better and stop calling them.
Again, bring your own entertainment or a really
cool accent to get you in the door.
The weather: The weather is great if you don't
like real seasons. Enough said. It doesn't rain here as much as people say. It
also doesn't snow much, sunshine hard much or thunder much. Again, a sort of
dull, blank whiteness.
Jobs: Like an earlier poster said, bring your
own or prepare to live in poverty unless you work in a highly specialized field
which happens to offer work in this area. Even then, get a job before you come.
For convincing and awe-inspiring proof that my life is
infinitely better outside Bellingham
and the USA,
see this photo collage and slide show of what my life is like and what I’ve
become outside of that dreadful place.