URBANDICTIONARY.COM DEFINES the infamous Seattle Freeze as “a local public consensus that states the city of Seattle and/or its outlying suburbs are generally not friendly, asexual, introverted, socially aloof….”
What about the free-spirited hookups between city founder Henry Yesler and his Duwamish girlfriend, and his wife and her girlfriend? Or the frontier home wrecker for hire who seduced husbands to give women grounds for escaping bad marriages? She got her man every time. And don’t forget the Mercer girls, the boatload of husband hunters who landed in Seattle, got married straightaway, and went on to establish many of the city’s leading families.
Contrary to tired cliches about our chilly Nordic reserve, the tales of love and lust in this month’s cover story unequivocally prove we are anything but asexual. No, we’re way more hot-blooded than you might think.
Indeed, a river of passion courses through our history right up to the present. Twenty years before disgraced politicians like Eliot Spitzer and Mark Sanford made headlines, we had our own tawdry tale involving a U.S. senator. And there are many more examples of jealous lovers, vindictive spouses, and even a cradle-robbing schoolteacher who made headlines.
Alongside the lurid love affairs stand inspiring couples whose willingness to defy convention—and even change the world—does us proud. In the early twentieth century, even as California tightened its miscegenation law, Seattle was the only city on the West Coast to welcome the marriage of a Japanese immigrant and his Caucasian bride. From our corner of the country came Margarethe Cammermeyer, the National Guard colonel whose simple response during a routine security clearance led to a court ruling challenging the ban on gays in the military. And Bill and Melinda Gates in our own time have channeled their wealth into a global mission to promote health and fight poverty.
What’s more, we’ve got sex on the brain. We like to research it, think about it, and talk endlessly about it—in the open and in public. Just count up the number of nationally known experts in our town who study relationships, dispense advice to the lovelorn, and explain the gritty and graphic facts of life. Mary McCarthy’s girlhood memoir may have set the standard for clinical detail in her blow-by-blow account of her teenage deflowering—until Dan Savage’s sex column came along. Yes folks, Seattle is love guru central.
Maybe it’s Seattle’s rainy days that promote endless opportunities for intimate indoor sports, but, whatever the reason, we know what you’re up to behind those closed doors.