1. You need to own at least two pairs of hiking shoes.
And expect to be tested on your outdoor athleticism on the very first date, no matter what time of year it is.
2. I root for the Blazers and I never mention that the Seahawks are based in Washington.
Portland has the basketball team, Seattle the football team, and we put aside our longstanding soccer rivalry anytime either team plays outside of Cascadia. Regional pride!
3. It helps to be acutely aware of the differences between Kurt Cobain and Elliot Smith.
Washington has the morose grunge and riot grrl scene, while Portland is the home of equally dour folk and indie bands. It’s always a good idea to stop by a vinyl store and pick up some Elliot Smith, The Decemberists, Exploding Hearts and Portugal. The Man to get the whole vibe of what Oregonians grew up with and into. Lay down some Esperanza Spalding or some Pink Martini if you really feel like showing off.
4. When it comes to camping, I defer to her.
Six years of outdoors school and nearly three decades of camping in the wilderness without a dry piece of timber for miles means she could set Crater Lake on fire with a flint and a couple of pine cones.
5. I do not ask about her collection of hoodies.
Oregon weather and fashion sensibilities require at least a dozen hoodies to survive, and many of them are relics from loves lost long ago.
6. My front yard works much better as a vegetable garden.
Tossing fresh cherry tomatoes, peppers, and basil in your pasta. Enough said.
7. I no longer judge low-emission vehicles.
It may not be able to go very far or very fast, but damn do those suckers save you a buck. Besides, we only use it for grocery shopping. We mainly get around via wicked 10-speeds that can take us to work and down the face of Mt. Hood.
8. I’ve gotten used to seeing the beach as a stage for sand castles adorned with sand dollars, driftwood, and puffin feathers.
It’s not about being a stereotypical whimsical Northwesterner so much as it is a way to avoid freezing one’s genitals off in the Pacific. Bouldering the cliff faces of mysterious coves filled with caves and shipwrecks is also a popular activity.
9. I have taken the time to learn which of her preferred whiskeys go with each of her preferred IPAs.
Map props if you can sync the double IPAs with an Old Fashioned in a way that doesn’t end in her belting out The Crane Wife on the side of I-5 at 3 AM.
10. I never, ever take her to the same place twice in the Pacific Northwest.
Between Fairbanks, Alaska to Redding, California, there are rainforests, high deserts, snow-capped mountains, volcanoes, thousands of beaches and thousands of rivers, beaches and waterfalls, and she is prepared to tackle every single one.