Laundromats are for lovers

This weekend I paid a visit to the laundromat – or washeteria to you Texans – in my North Portland neighborhood. This is an old school joint with machines that are no less than 10 years. I’m pretty sure they all have the funk. The toothless owner, a dear man who shuffles around in slippers and spends much of his time filling out crossword puzzles, keeps a broken down dryer full of snack size bags of potatoe chips and baggies of laundry detergent for idiots like myself who go to a laundromat without their own. Usually, I try to get in out of out of laundromats as fast as possible but on this particular day I was in no hurry so sat down to take in the ambiance. I scanned the room and took note of the three men standing in front of their dryers, methodically pulling clothes out and dropping them in their baskets. Aside from one other woman at the far end of the row of dryers, I realized that everyone else was male and late middle-age. It got me thinking about the various laundromats I’d visit when I lived in L.A. The type of patrons varied from neighborhood to neighborhood. Say I wanted to meet someone for reasons other than sharing spot removal secrets, I might visit the laundromat where the ratio of men to women was in my favor. It also required a neighborhood that was less family friendly and close to bars. Laundromats near Trader Joe’s were always a good call, as were the mats in Hollywood – on weekdays, no earlier than 11:00 am.
I remember the laundromat/cafe/bar craze. Does anyone else?
So Portland, I’m curious to know if there is a laundromat culture here. What are the most popular mats for socializing? Where are they? And of course, if anyone has made a love connection during the spin cycle, let’s hear about it.

5 Comments so far

  1. dieselboi on April 28th, 2008 @ 7:33 am

    In our neighborhood, it use to be Soup and Soap, a combined old school lunch counter and laundromat. Now it is Thai Food and laundry, but they aren’t connected.
    One trend I have seen is huge advertisements for "Newest washers in town." Honestly, I hadn’t ever given it much thought as to the age of the washer.
    Welcome allybird.

  2. divebarwife on April 28th, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

    Back when I was in college my friend and I would go to ‘Duds and Suds’ every Friday afternoon… they served beer, had a pool table and a foosball table – and we would start our weekend with clean clothes and a nice buzz.

    I haven’t been to a laundromat in ages now – but that was by far the most fun I ever had doing laundry!

  3. Mike Burnett (mikeburnett) on April 28th, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

    This reminded me of The Sit ‘n Spin in Seattle’s Belltown. It was a bizarrely decorated cafĂ© / laundromat that served pizza and beer, and also housed a venue in the back. Mostly I just recall a lot of blue paint and a good jukebox. I think it’s no more, but correct me if I’m wrong!

  4. allybird621 on April 28th, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

    Does anyone else notice a trend here? Soup and Soap, Duds and Suds, Sit N Spin? And then of course, there is the "fluff and fold" and the "wash and dry."

  5. clackablog on April 28th, 2008 @ 10:26 pm

    I surely do not understand why Portland, home of the finest microbrews, doesn’t have washpubs in equivalent numbers. Back home, Tallahassee had several, and they were all more popular than The Love Line (#14) is here.

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