It has been called “America’s Skinniest City,” “Most Educated Metro Area” and “Foodiest Town” in the past three years and “Tree City U.S.A.” for almost 30 years in a row.
The “People’s Republic of Boulder” is home to a unique array of Homo sapiens that includes granola hippies, health nuts and big brains (CU has cranked out 14 astronauts). Love them or hate them, Boulder contains a distinct breed commonly called the “Boulderite.”
The problem, however, is that once a normal human has spent too much time in Boulder, they become Boulderites themselves and the laughable trademarks of the breed become the background of everyday life. Whether you’re new to Boulder or fear that you might have been absorbed into the culture, here is a list of features that can help you spot a Boulderite.
Someone walking around shoeless
In Colorado, not only it is entirely legal to forgo footwear in public places, but the Consumer Protection Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has left it up to individual restaurants to require shoes in their businesses.
According to the Society for Barefoot Living (it’s a real thing), going barefoot is good for you.
“[Being barefoot] is a spiritual experience in that you can commune with the earth and feel closer to nature,” testimony on the society’s website reads. “I feel more relaxed and happy when my feet are bare. I LOVE being a barefooted boy!”
Good for you, barefooted boy. Now go buy a Ped-Egg.
Sun’s out, guns out
Residents of Boulder love talking about the weather. This may seem boring or even socially inept to outsiders, but Boulder’s weather tends to be a pretty fascinating topic for discussion because, for example, the snow of a Tuesday can be melted by the 75 degree heat of Wednesday.
In Boulder, these bizarre weather patterns lead to a phenomenon known as “sun’s out, guns out,” especially popular among fraternity members and “bros” on campus. This phenomenon holds that, on any day with minimal cloud cover and temperatures reaching over 50 degrees (especially in the late winter/early spring months), public spaces become a sea of pasty, winter-weakened biceps, typically framed by neon tank tops.
“Is this fair trade or vegan, cage-free, organic?”
Boulder is notorious for its ever-burgeoning population of food activists. In many cases, an interest in food activism can be a noble pursuit, like in Boulder where it’s just another fad in the “go green” movement.
For several years, more and more vendors have given up on selling fair trade products after it was discovered that the Fairtrade Labeling Organization pays very little to their certified farmers. In fact, the Stanford Social Innovation Review found that the fair trade buying rate is so low that many fair trade farmers are choosing to break their contracts so they can earn an appropriate wage, which can often be two to three times the payment they would have received from fair trade buyers.
Boulder’s population of nutrition fanatics is not often without laughable ignorance, either. Next time you see someone drinking kombucha, just remember that the Mayo Clinic warns consumers should completely avoid the drink since there is no scientific evidence to support the tea’s health benefits. Even worse, the tea has been found to cause side effects ranging from toxic reactions and liver damage to death.
Someone complaining about Californians
Even though Boulder can still be considered a mecca for hippies that live by the laws of the “peace and love” generation, there will always be one group of people that true Boulderites will never welcome with open arms: Californians.
The top Urban Dictionary entry for “University of Colorado” includes the characteristic, “Too many Californians come here and think they own the place.” Apparently, Boulderites aren’t alone in their distaste for the “Best Coast:” last year, a poll from the Public Policy Polling firm discovered that California was the most unpopular state in the country, with an unfavorable rating of 44 percent.
Contact CU Independent Senior Staff Writer Sarah Elsea at Sarah.email@example.com.