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Reader Responses to

The ?Curse of Bellingham? Washington


(Sorted in ascending order, newest at the top)




 I read your article about Washington and couldnt agree more. I came to Washington from California and as a child, I was outgoing and friendly. After 25 years of living here, I always have to suppress the joyful side of me. Not very many people get that here. I have never had loyal friends and its impossible to meet new ones unless they moved from another state. Something is obviously wrong here.I thought at one time it was the weather, but there are many cities/countries,with the same climate, that do not act this way. Very Adams family:) I would move, but my husband works at Boeing. I still try to hold on to myself though, I dont act the same way. That could be why I am lonely here. Thank you for your article, at least now I know Im not going crazy.  



I'm from Bellingham WA born and raised and am 30 years old and very good looking in very good athletic shape and have house and make good money and I am still a virgin! You are right  this place is so anti social it is making me lonely and depressed. I go out shopping and people act like Im an alien or something because Im alone and everyone else has friends or family. The girls I have ask out say im too busy with school and all that bull shit. I am a shy guy but still they dont give me a chance to get to know them. Fuck this town! If you would see a picture of me you would shit .I look like a celebrity. 



Hello Winston, I'm about halfway through your essay about shitty Bellingham is and I would first like to say thank you. Thank you for writing this. I lived in/around the Bellingham area on and off for 15 years (2 months old - 10 years old, 18 years old - 23 years old) and the entire time I was there I always though there was something wrong with me but now I know for sure this isn't true. I was born in anchorage alaska and my mother took me to Bellingham (she was born in Washington and lived in Bellingham, went back because of life circumstances) so I'm not technically a Washingtonian and I'm pretty sure they could sense that in me. I was alienated by everyone around me, even my own family treated me like an outcast. While attending WCC it was the same, I was still an outcast and no one wanted anything to do with me. I don't smell, I'm not ugly, or stupid. I was only approached one time and it was by religious nut bags trying to get me to join their cult. I of course declined. I decided to test the waters one day with a guy from my class that I thought was nice. I asked him if he wanted to hang out sometime. He looked at me like I was a freak. He said maybe and I offered my number and then he shouted at me that he said no (wtf???) I didn't really care if we actually hung out, I just wanted to confirm my suspicions. Bellingham people are cold, shallow, self absorbed, fucking assholes. While I was attending WCC I worked in a salon. After two years I had maybe 5 loyal customers if that. I moved to Florida two years ago from Bellingham. I have since made friends, developed a much larger clientele, gone back to college where people are actually and want to meet up with me, and I love it!! If you reply, I look forward to it. I feel like we have much in common based on our similar experiences in the dump hole that is Bellingham. 




Hey Winston,


I just read parts of your online writings about Bellingham, I've lived there on and off for a few years, and also many other areas of the country and I completely agree that women are generally unapproachable, and it's anti social and stuck up. Thanks for your writing, I thought I was the only one who thought this way about Bellingham. I need to get my upgraded dl so i can go hang up in vancouver!





See the many viewer comments to this video about The Seattle Freeze that confirm the video?s claim about the area being anti-social.




starchild2047 (7/7/10 11:56 PM): 

I remenber Railroad Ave and the baglery. The women were so uptight in Bellingham. There were women that would walk out or not come in the Baglery when I was there because I was too friendly with the ladys. Even in New Jersey where it,s known to be very materialistic and very uptight. It,s not anywhere,s near as severe as Bellingham.


A few years ago, I lived in Tacoma for a few months, and had the chance to roam through most of the greater Sea-Tac region. I grew up in the Midwest, and have lived in the Carolinas, near New Orleans, and in various places in the Northeast, but my God, I've never encountered a group of people so dedicated to the notion of antisocial behavior as those who live in the Pacific Northwest.

I enjoyed watching 'Frasier' during its run on TV, but when I visited some of the coffee shops in Tacoma, I thought to myself "Well, surprise, surprise - I've been lied to." Instead of sitting in small groups and conversing with each other, as they do in Frasier's Cafe Nervosa, half of the people had their noses stuck in books or magazines, and the other half were glued to their laptops. Those individuals who were ostensibly socializing with someone else did not make an effort to chat up their 'friends', instead being content to listen to music on their IPods or doing whatever else was necessary to make certain everyone else around them realize "Buzz off! I'm in my own little world, and no, you can't land on it."

Any wonder why the Seattle area has been home to so many whack jobs such as Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway?



?Ya I've noticed that, especially since I live in western washington. We're about the coldest sons of bitches in the world up here. They call the effect "the Seattle Chill" but it applies to most of the state.
Oh well it's not a total loss. I hang out with my fellow geeks and have a D&D game twice a month. I find it funny that my geeky friends and I actually tend to have more friends than the cooler, socially accepted people.?


?Washington State has produced some of the most vicious serial killers in America's history. Yes, I am sure it's not a friendly place to be. But I am not assuming all people are that extreme. It's just that people are cliquish, and if you're not a part of their little tribe, you may as well not exist. Isn't it funny how people can collectively cheer on the same team in a stadium filled with 80,000 people, yet go home alone and be disconnected from these same people? Amazing!?



Dear Winston,

I read what you wrote about Bellingham, and I can say that it made me genuinely smile which doesn't happen much since I moved to this parallel dimension of the chaos realm,

God's purgatory beta gone wrong and forgotten. I hate this place so much it makes me feel sick with rage just thinking about it. I agree with everything you say and more. I feel

alone most of the time in my hatred for this town because everyone FROM here has the most raging fucking hard-on for this God forsaken shithole; and no one seems to agree with


I have a personal story about this place that I think you might be interested in. A story about me trying to leave here and the ridiculous things that have kept me here, like almost

dying a couple times, catastrophic car failures, losing jobs, getting screwed out of thousands of dollars from employers, etc.

Anyway, if you are still here, as am I, maybe we could help eachother leave, or at least be an anti-B'ham alliance and work together to kick this place in the fucking balls and tear it's "curse" a new asshole.



Winston, You are right on. I have lived in many parts of the country as a former military wife. I have observed the populations in the different parts of the country. The statements made "depressed job market, no opportunity, dead end low paying jobs (with no opportunity to advance), dead beats (and panhandlers abound), lack of culture (oh yeah)" and more. But woe to the person that points out all the minuses to someone who is from that arrid land. They get very defensive. The comments I got were "This a beautiful area" (granted) but you can't live on "beautiful" or pay your bills or provide adequately for your children. As far as beautiful is concerned-Have you seen Montana, upstate New York, Vermont, Virginia, Kentucky, Oregan coastline, the Hatteras in N.Carolina, Eastern Texas, Alaska, and least but not last Hawaiian Islands? Lets talk beautiful. But I can almost guess the majority of Bellinghamites have not seen the rest of their own country.
My former was from Bellingham and I followed him back to his home against my better judgement after his departure from the military.


WARNING! This site is complete bullshit and it's author has been diagnosed with several mental disorders. Just take a look at the forums if you don't believe me.


Bellingham is a pretty kick ass place, and it has plenty of beautiful girls who will rock your world. Don't listen to this guy or his narcissistic bullshit. He can't get laid because he is a worthless piece of shit and he knows it. That's why he currently uses the funds he makes from this website to pay for prostitutes overseas.

Go smoke a blunt and forget any of this bullshit he may have inputted into your minds. Peace.

- A true bellinghammer.


Winston, I for one can relate to your situation. I finally broke free from the curse of Bellingham recently and am happily married in So Cali. Something that never would have happened if I had stayed as the dating scene there is just as you describe it. Also, don't let those here who put you down for dating outside this country get to you. Most of them have probably never even traveled outside the US much less dated someone foreign so how would they know what they are like? I have travelled abroad and there is a difference...believe me! Good luck to you in your travels and maybe you'll find that special someone J



Hi Winston!


I was born in Southern Calif and lived there most of my life.  I also spent some time in Houston, Texas and Nevada.  All the people there were *normal*, friendly, and I had no problem making friends.  The people had manners, too, like returning phone calls.


Anyway, we moved to Aloha/Beaverton, OR which are suburbs of Portland.  At first everything seemed okay.  Then we adopted two children from China.  May I ask if you feel any of the discrimination you experienced in Bellingham was due to being Asian?  I noticed many friends "disappear" after we adopted our children.  When we moved to a new neighborhood, no one lets their kids play with ours.


I *so* want my kids to experience what "normal" "friendly" people are like and what true "friends" are like.  The people here are so not any of that.  What they consider "friendship" is so shallow and unable to be relied upon in a time of need.  Heaven forbid you actually ask for some help in a time of need.


So all this to say, I agree with your writings about Bellingham and Washington, but would add Oregon to the list of "anti-social", unfriendly, and everything else you said.  And yes, people here actually do consider themselves "friendly". 


We bought a lot to build on in Ocean Shores, WA near the beach.  Now I am wondering if we should really move much further away, either to the south or abroad.  We can't afford to move back to southern california, or I would in a heartbeat.  Where people are normal and friendly.


So where are you living now?  I hope you have found happiness and normal people.


Looking forward to your reply,



The Pacific Northwest for me was horrible.  I don't generally fit (accept for among artists, free thinkers, dreamers, a select breed certainly) yet I've never been anyplace quite as obviously depressed as the Pacific Northwest.

I can never quite get my finger on it - the thing I find so annoying.  I mean, there are lots of things I find annoying - the lack of culture, the corporatism, the discussions on coffee, the tons and tons of sports enthusiasts who live purely for sports.  There are even the intangibles, like a lack of basic manners people elsewhere take for granted, snobbishness, the ignorant prickishness of Seattle counter culture.  But there's one thing I really hate about it, and I think it's how Seattle conceives of the entire world after its own image. 


Hey there,

Just perused your piece on Bellingham. Don't agree
with everything you say of course. I mean, a real
dissertation would have statistics and would have more
empirical reasoning and background searches, etc. But,
I do get your point, having gone to high school and
college there. One thing I did want to say, though, is
that as a female living there, it was always drummed
into me how many serial killers were from Bellingham.
So, cut the ladies a break. When you live constantly
in weather that reflects the atmosphere in most horror
flicks, you're apt to really believe that people are
all out to get you, especially when people like Ted
Bundy really did live there.  Just a point I wanted to

Hope you're healthy and happy.

Take care,




Seattle is one of the few cities, which I have never visited. My uncle lives there. I have heard some really strange things about the place ... Everything from people having dogs instead of kids, to women trying to make hairy legs a fashion statement. It sounds like a really weird place. I must see it sometime! LOL! That Seattle social script sounds quite ironic. I also heard that the Seattle area has more millionaires/billionaires than any other city in the country.

I agree that it is ridiculous if it takes 2 years to make new friends when moving to a new place. Especially for young single people. People have communication needs, and can actually get very sick (mentally, emotionally and physically) when those needs are not met. Two years of social isolation ... It should be no surprise that Seattle ranks high in suicide (from last i read).



I lived in Belling ham circle 1999. Everything you wrote about it is very exact. Back in the late 90,s I lived several places in the pacific northwest. One thing for certain. The state Washington is one of the most uptight narrow minded places I have ever experiences. Bellingham was definitely the worse. When you say hi to most women there they look at you as if you were a cyclopes or something. although I did connect a few times with women there. I did not feel very comfortable with the energy,s all over in the state of Washington. The culture there seemed very anti individualism, anti free spirit. One thing that was real weird about the Puget sound region was. People get totally freaked out when I said hi by flashing the peace sign. Even on the east coast like the Delaware valley. Where it,s well known to be uptight even traditionally uptight. Even there they wouldn't have an issue with the peace sign or wearing brightly colored tie die tshirts or even cowboy hats. The Puget sound scene is weird. On the east coast. Even though it can be uptight. You know where you stand.  You know what element is appropriate for you and what isn,t. Depending on your personalty and taste. The Puget sound tends to be very passive aggressive and will discriminate against you in a very underhanded manor. During the time I lived in Puget sound region. It felt like there was some kind of cultural or social collective to coarse you to conform. If you don,t conform to the Puget sound collective. Bad things will mysteriously happen to you. I now live in Humboldt co, California. Most of northern California seems to be allot more open minded in many ways then the Puget sound region. One thing for sure. In Humboldt co, it,s not considered harassment to say hi or flash the peace sign to girls. inclosed is some pictures of me and of Humboldt co, I can see that you are a very visual person. I do want to ask. In your opinion why is the Puget sound region so narrow minded and allot of the women so unapproachable. For that reason the Puget sound region can have a very devastating affect on your self esteem. Especially if your a friendly free spirited nonconformist. I,m trying to have a more deeper understanding of what I went through up in Bellingham, Seattle and the rest of the Puget sound region. {{{Have a super awesome holiday}}}.   




My god your web site has truly shocked and opened my eyes to bellingham. I'm not from there Im from britain, essex to be precise (about 20 miles east of london) but my cousin is engaged to someone from bellingham. Although he is from bellingham I havent noticed any of the characteristics you describe about the people of bellingham in him although this could be due to the fact he was born in california and has spent a lot of his time away from there as he was in the army and has been to countries with different cultures such as germany, italy and britain. Although I have noticed that when I ask him about bellingham he tends to be negative and doesnt want to talk too much about it but he and my cousin are MOVING THERE FROM ITALY it seems crazy a place with so much oppurtunity and as you say `social life`  in italy to a place like bellingham although there is a reason for this that being because they both want to study there before going back to italy although my cousin had to go to the trouble of getting a student visa in order to study there as shes italian.
But my main concern is that as she'll be leaving there it may affect her too would it? and also being a 17 soon to be 18 year old male keen on travelling I myself may visit them in Bellingham or encounter people like that in other countries do you have any advice if such a situation were to arise?
Anyway I admire your work and keep it up feel free to reply any time.
                                                   Andy Miller


I agree with you everything you said about Bellingham. I have lived in Bellingham over a year. I have been experiencing here what really boredom is and also realizing it can make me depressed. I consider myself an attractive woman however, I am irritated by how the most men here do not have the courage to initiate conversation. Thanks to your writing, now I have some ideas about the reason they do not approach women. Also, I do not like the weather. Too much rain!!! Downtown is like a ghost town. Not much to do here, even I try best to cheer myself up. Fortunately, I am going to move out of this town for the great job I have found in Big Apple.



Dear fellow dislocation hell sufferer,


Naturally I am not happy to hear that you are so stagnant, miserable, and seemingly "stuck"here in Bellingham


However, I admit that finding your website has given me a series of wonderful heartfelt

belly laughs, as well as a sense of not being the "only one" in this bizarre place who knows there is a far better world out there with exciting potentialities, interesting jobs, truly beautiful landscape with actual blue sky, friendly people and, oh my God!, Sunlight! 


I use a blue-wave anti-depression light box, have full spectrum lights in the house, take energy supplements, meditate, and call friends in California and other states almost constantly. 


It still sucks to live here.  It is the weirdest thing.  I have been going through the desperate escape and consequent suction back into Bham cycle for 16 years.  I think most of the people here are seriously depressed, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and maybe chemical toxicity from the 30 years of Georgia Pacific operating in the downtown Bellingham Bay area.  You know what mercury, dioxins and other heavy metals can do to the nervous systems and personalities of residents.


I am doing it!  I am getting out this spring.  Life is too precious.  I am 54 now.  I am not going to waste any more time.  I want a different life with different social cultural and financial possibilities.


 I agree with you.  You are so right!  You are quite sane!


Thanks for the validation and for the laughs.   I like your site.





Nice writing.  Pretty much sums up my experience here so far.  Are you still in Bellingham?  I've been "here" for 1 1/2 years and am trying to decide where to move to now.  I'm originally from the East Coast, would like to go overseas but I don't know...  As you kow it's hard to have a real conversation with people here as I am an Outsider.  I have recognized changes in myself since I have been here, my being Assimilated into the zone.  I'm a 36 year old straight white guy so you know how females and careers here are lacking for me on many levels.  Several things are keeping me here for the moment, and you are spot on about the Curse keeping people from leaving.        


Anyway I could use someone with a soul to talk to if you wanna hang out sometime soon.  I am serious!  There's a new Woods Coffee in town.  Give me an email or friggin call me on my out-of-state (ha) phone. 






I'm not sure where to start so I'm just going to make a list. 1. your 
obsessed with hating Bellingham and need to G.T.F.O.A. (get the fuck 
out already) 2. your perfectly justified in your hatred of that town 
and I dont blame you in the least. 3. Its impossible to make real 
friends there, I think theres a window that's open for the first 2 
years but after that its gone and if you haven;'t made your friends by 
then your destined to a life of soggy loneliness. 3. I prefer to call 
it Howling-pig instead of Bellowing-ham. 4. No one between the ages of 
23 and 45 has any business being there. 5. When I moved to Bellingham 
from small town Alaska in 1999 to go to college, I smiled to strangers 
on the streets and I talked to everyone, EVERYONE until enough people 
convinced me that I was asking to get raped by doing this and 
eventually it was scared out of me. 6. I feel bad about this. 7. How 
many dingy shit-hole bars does one town honestly need or? 8. I think 
its the Newest California. 9. Its a wonderful place to live if you 
make over 6 figures a year and are self employed so you can afford 
your Subaru outback with a full suit of pastel North face gear in 
which to walk your purebred along the toxic bay trails. Otherwise your 
destined to live out your days in a shit hole rental on Garden while 
some fucking underage drinker pukes outside your bedroom window every 
single weekend 9. Thomas Mann should NOT be the unofficial-official 
artist of the town because he sucks. 10. The women in Bellingham are 
falsely cliquish to both women & men. 11. But this is probably because 
the men in the town just want to get laid and think that if you give 
them more than 10 seconds of your friendly time you will 
probably-definitely sleep with them. (that little doozy is a double 
edged sword I think). I'm done with the list now. 
 I finally escaped for the final and last time, it took me 8 years 
but I did it, last week, and theres no way in hell I'm ever going back 
there. I made one group of friends in the dorms who all graduated and 
left in 2004 and yet I stayed until last week for no reason in 
particular but because I just couldn't get out. I worked for minimum 
wage at Village Books for 4 years with an entire staff of under payed
over worked MBA's. I watched the same people all over town get older 
and stay dead ended at their various local, organic, sustainable, 
natural, free-range shops that also pay minimum wage and dont give 
benefits and now you've got me started and so I must stop. My 
apologies, I could go all day and frequently do. 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. Until then eat lots of green tea ice 
cream from Mallards and Eggenues at Avenue Bread, go hang out at 
MindPort and watch the nightly sunsets and take heart in the fact that 
it doesn't rain there as much as it does in Seattle. Heck, take heart 
in the fact that at least your not living in Seattle which seems to be 
just a bigger quick sandier version of Bellingham. Thanks for the 
website and the rant. Goodluck. -Krissy
p.s. A While ago there was an article in the Seattle Times by a 
visiting New Yorker (I think) who talked about the passive 
friendliness and how people will smile and make small talk and be very 
friendly but will never invite you to do anything, or how they'll stop 
to let you cross the street even though you dont want to and how 
they'll tell you all about their big plans to go skiing that weekend 
but wont invite you. It was a fantastic article. I wish I still had 
it to send you. 



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 whole time. 
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 from China made good use of the land and worked in a mine in the lowlands of what is now Whatcom County 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 go............... 



I don't really remember what I searched because I was just surfing the internet drunk that night. I think I was looking for a new job and thinking about leaving town and decided to search "Bellingham Curse" on Google. I was just curious if it was online. I just made that version up though. 
I work as a Transportation Engineer right now and want to leave town. I bet the Philippines are awesome. I just went to China last month and it was the coolest thing I've ever done. I'm thinking about Spain, Australia, Brazil, or some African Country next. We'll see. 
There are some social people in Bellingham, but I think most of them are more private then other people outside of the NW. They don't seem to open up. Anyway, it's a beautiful place to raise a family, but it's not a good place for a 27 year old single male. Actually, I think it's the worst place for that. Needless to say I need to get out. 
Take Care, 




I 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 vibe sucks.


Comparing 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?

Anyway, 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. 

My 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 anymore".

Yep, 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.

Just some thoughts.

Kari---fellow ESL teacher



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