The first thing one must learn about hipster parties is that it’s much easier to be too early than it is to be too late. I was particularly concerned about tardiness this evening because I had to drive directly to the party (in North Portland) from my day job (in Beaverton). Even so, after arriving my customary half-hour late, I was early enough to get the message that our host/guest of honor would be an additional hour late—for cosmetic reasons.

The party was held at a trendy bar (judging from the overworked staff) called, I believe, The Gentrification. The venue had everything you’d expect from New Portland: funk music spun by a white DJ sporting a wispy, red, handlebar mustache, a line winding from the bar to the patio where beautiful young people smoked and spoke candidly about world affairs, bartenders with full sleeve tattoos and underused degrees, and the obligatory wall of illuminated liquor kept at a height never meant to be reached by mere mortals, as a reminder that everything is out of your price range.

I’ve never exactly enjoyed the din of a crowded party, but it turns out standing in line for an extended period of time with an undeniably attractive partygoer is even more uncomfortable. Luckily, I’m skilled at small talk and related social courtesies, none of which stopped me from ordering mac ’n’ cheese with andouille sausage, just to test the dietary sensibilities of my fellow guests.

Outside, our host sat with a large entourage of friends, many of whom had flown all the way from the East Coast just to wish her a happy birthday. It was heartwarming and envy-inducing. My friends can rarely be bothered to take a MAX to a different part of town for my birthday, or any other life-changing event. Of course, as should be expected, all attendees were oversexed and overpaid (relative to my sub-par income) twenty-somethings.

As with any good hipster bar, seating took the form of communal picnic tables, allowing me to observe the party while sitting in on an unrelated comic’s dinner with a coworker. That last detail is only important because I feel the reader should know that once you start doing comedy in Portland, it becomes impossible to avoid other comedians. But this bar took it up a notch with an additional line, equal to the ones for the bar and restrooms, for an outdoor, auditory art installation... because Portland.

Being a traditionalist at heart, I stayed just long enough for an awkward hug from a colleague—who may or may not resent me for uncertain deeds I may or may not have committed. I can’t really say for sure.

Anyhow, the party scored 10 out of 10 points, based on the food and beverage, losing three points for how uneasy I feel around young hipsters, and earning one point back for being entirely brown and queer, for a final score of 8/10.

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