5 kinds of people you’ll meet at Tulsa’s Blue Dome District
8:00 AM EDT on March 27, 2012
Think of me as your resident Oklahoma anthropologist. Today's study is on the creatures of the Blue Dome District, an area downtown that was once a hot spot for both the intentionally and unintentionally unwashed crowd. Over the last five years, this place has underwent some major gentrification, and is now actually a nice smelling and non-scary place to hang out. Well, except that time a homeless lady knocked on my car window and caused me to collide with a construction barrel. That was sort of frightening.
Anyway, consider this as a sort of field guide for the next time you travel to good ole' Tulsey Downtown. I might not be able to personally greet you to my neck of the woods, but consider this a sort of welcoming gift.
1. The Young and Begrudging Professionals
I'd call these types yuppies if it were 1993 and I owned a car phone. They probably work for Williams, ONEOK, Samson, or BOK. This group may include your outdoorsy lawyer friend, your frat brother who played guitar every Friday at 3 am, your non-annoying colleagues, or your college friend that got a secret tattoo over spring break. They might be lawyers, consultants, or accountants. They may or may not live in a renovated apartment downtown. They're definitely wearing khaki pants and Sperrys right now.
The subtle difference between these kind of corporate beings and the breed that hangs out on Cherry Street or Brookside is the angst they've built up. While their counterparts are content with their jobs and would like to advance to upper management one day, many of the professionals you bump into downtown are busy plotting their escape. That docile-looking guy drinking a Guinness in the corner of McNellies, who's wearing a Columbia fishing shirt and has that far away look in his eyes? That's because he wasn't supposed to become a CPA. He was supposed to breed goats for children in Africa, or become the next mandolin player for the Polyphonic Spree.
Because of their discontentment with their lives, you'll see these people releasing their anger by drinking copiously, hurling skeeballs around at the Max, and kicking the jukebox at Fassler. People working 9 to 5's out at the Blue Dome District want to feel human again, and there's no faster way to do so than to choke down a few shots of Rumplemintz.
Learn about the other four types after the jump.
2. The Weekenders
This is a broad group, but an essential part of of any thriving nightlife scene. This group may include community college townies, middle-aged couples, or residents of Jenks and Broken Arrow. You can spot these people by their lack of cynicism, and enthusiasm for colorful beverages. They might be wearing Ugg boots, or bright striped dress shirts. They'll look a little out of place, but they don't really seem to mind. These are the people willing to pay $12 for a Red Bull vodka, and they'll actually order one of the venue's ridiculously named specialty drinks. The Weekenders are out, they got all gussied up, and they're ready to have a good time.
Some regulars in the area are angered by these sort of people. This is akin to an angsty teen who gets mad when their favorite band goes mainstream. You can bitch about your favorite bar becoming trendy, or you can recognize that success is the purpose of opening a business. Well, unless you're Blake Ewing and would rather your bars be filled with hipsters.
3. The New Kind of Gay Guy
Every well-rounded group of friends has one! However, the types you'll meet at the Blue Dome District are far from the caricatures you've gotten to know on Will and Grace or programming on E!. This new breed of gay man wears Wranglers and a Ralph Lauren Polo dress shirt. He drinks beer, and knows some ancillary football statistics. They're not ashamed of their sexual orientation by any means--they're out, they're proud, but they're just more Brokeback Mountain than Liberace.
New Kind of Gay Guys have mostly straight friends, and might even have straight roommates. This is 2012 here, and only downtown Tulsa has begun to fully embrace all of the new liberties society has to offer! This straight/gay brotherhood is becoming more and more popular as of late because it's pretty much a win-win; the straight guy gets to look cultured and progressive in front of those he wants to impress, and the manly gay guy gets company who doesn't want to bitch about the Real Housewives.
I'll warn you though: take this guy out of a work or mostly straight environment, and he'll 'mo out. The man you know at McNellie's is different from the one he'll become at Majestic.
4. Disgruntled Hipsters
You can spot these people by the scowl on their face, unkempt hair, and tiny t-shirts. They're probably on their way to Soundpony, but made a pit stop at Arnie's because their carbon monoxide-soaked lungs couldn't take in the oxygen needed for the bike ride. They go to the art shows at Dwelling Spaces. They have a radar for when Wayne Coyne's in town, but are too blase to ever ask Wayne for a photo when they see him.
To these angry hipsters: I'm sorry that people wearing pastel colors have taken over your quaint little nook. I'm sorry that the masses have discovered PBR, and I'm sorry that more than your tiny circle of friends catch the not-so-subtle pop culture references that liter the Max. But let's be honest here for a moment--until you remove your neck tattoo, I simply cannot take you seriously as a contributing member of society.
5. TU Students
I'll be the first to say that students of the University of Tulsa are um, a unique breed indeed. Most of my fun in college was derived from seeing friends out at the bar, walking home from Campus Corner, and pretending like I was poor. Well, there's maybe one bar that's walking distance from TU's campus, and tuition is over $30,000 a year. Unless they're partying in the luxury on-campus apartments or at one of their fraternity's open house parties, the student body is scattered across town.
You'll spot students by their bold moves, like buying a round of buttery nipple shots for their friends, or giving the bouncer a $20 to cut an eight person long line. Tucked-in shirts, males rocking David Yurman bracelets, and an affinity for sweet and sour mix are other tell-tale signs.
Follow Chelsea on Twitter at @xCawoodstock