By JAMIE GRISWOLD
Turns out the man that puts pen to paper for the popular Uptight Seattleite column in Seattle Weekly doesn't in fact wear his hair in a ponytail.
Uptight Seattleite creator David Stoesz told KIRO Radio's Dave Ross that while he does write the column and he did author the new book, credited to the Uptight Seattleite, A Sensitive Liberal's Guide to Life: How to Banter with Your Barista, Hug Mindfully, and Relate to Friends Who Choose Kids Over Dogs, he's actually not the guy.
"It's confusing I know. I'm not him, which is not to say he doesn't exist. In fact if I talk about him as if he doesn't exist his feelings get hurt and he doesn't talk to me anymore and I don't have any material."
Stoesz is originally from Ohio and said it may have been his attempts to understand Seattle conventions that eventually led him to create the character.
"I think I developed the character...as a way for me to partially understand what's going on with the way Seattleites behave and the way they communicate or don't communicate."
In his new book Stoesz said they tried to go beyond the Uptight Seattleite character, which Stoesz describes as "this sort of typical latte drinking, NPR listening, left- wing type of guy," and expand to include more general observations from the Uptight Seattlite on proper rules of public engagement, "We try to go in a different direction and talk about things like the unspoken rules of public life."
Stoesz said where he comes from in Ohio "people chat. You go in you say some nonsense about the weather."
When he first arrived in Seattle Stoesz said he discovered that people in this area generally aren't open to strangers approaching them with chit-chat.
"When I would try to chat, they think either I'm trying to pick them up, I'm trying to sell them drugs, something really highly suspicious because I'm not someone they already know."
With his observance that people in Seattle would generally prefer not to engage, Stoesz offered up one illustration of a specific situation.
"If you're sitting in the window seat of a bus, and someone is sitting in the aisle seat it's like how do you signal [you need to get off] or how do you pick up on the signal? It seems to me you have to be very attune to people's body movements, because people here prefer not to talk to each other. You have to be very tuned into what they might be thinking."
These types of behavior descriptions fill A Sensitive Liberal's Guide to Life: How to Banter with Your Barista, Hug Mindfully, and Relate to Friends Who Choose Kids Over Dogs, illustrating many conventions that its liberal subjects may deny, but that clearly resonate with Seattle readers, at least gauging by the column's popularity.
Though Stoesz says he's not the Uptight Seattleite, the Uptight Seattleite drives a Prius, he drives a Subaru, the Seattelite characteristics he writes about are written today less from the perspective of an outsider as Stoesz observes his years in Seattle are making him more and more like the Seattleite voice he's created.
"I will freely admit that I'm part of the problem now. I've been here long enough where if someone talks to me now I sort of look at them like..."
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