Why do Tourists Look like Dorks?

18 Aug

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Since ancient times tourists have looked like dorks.

There are many reasons for this and archeologists today are in heated debate as to the origin of the dorky tourist.

Was it Marco Polo, showing up with his puffy Italian flare in the court of Kublai Khan?

You’re a Mongolian warrior who has never seen a Venetian in a blouse, you’re thinking, ‘what a dork, where is his fox fur hat?’.

every year Seattle hosts 9.3 million tourists

On or near the Seattle waterfront, tourists trundle about in great endless herds. And darn near each one is dressed like a goofball, a dork, frumpy, dumpy and (generally) plump. Not that plump people are dorks.
You line up 100 tourists and 1 local I could single ’em out, why?

Tourists waddle in amused, slow moving packs, picking up trinkets, taking pictures of sailboats and looking for restrooms. They gawk, and squint and refill water bottles and change diapers. They try to save money by filling up on bread. Tourists perpetually teeter on the edge of being lost. This gives them a befuddled way as they seek their coordinates on the glossy chamber of commerce tourism map.

Tourists buy a new pair of pleated, acid washed denim jean shorts and forget to take the tag off. They buy bright floral tops and creased bottoms. They are wearing their ‘going out clothes’, which, unless they are young Parisians, falls far short of glamorous. A wedgie is not a fashion statement.

And backpacks and polarized sunglasses and white tennis shoes and braided leather belts. Tourists accessorize for functionality. They see their full Nalgene bottle and cargo pocket crammed with Clif bars and they imagine themselves some diluted breed of Golden Age explorer or Hollywood hero. Sanitizer goop, sunscreen, band aids, room keys, maps, extra diapers, light jackets and extremely expensive cameras dangle from limbs and fill pockets.

The tourists sets out, well outfitted and ready for anything.

My mom use to stuff my siblings and I in splashy handmade vests and pink turtlenecks then parade us shamelessly. Tourists dress with crests of their local sports teams and t-shirts acquired on other trips (Alaska).

Families and couples tend to generally mimic the same basic theme or color pattern when traveling. With exception of the brooding hipster tween, but even she is an expected cliche.

The khaki vest with all the pockets.



6 Responses to “Why do Tourists Look like Dorks?”

  1. Mrs. Cain August 18, 2010 at 1:11 am #

    HILARIOUS!!! I love it!

  2. JoAnna August 18, 2010 at 3:02 am #

    I have to disagree with you on this one. I think a lot of people look like dorks and definitely don’t think you can just pin this one on tourists. Some of those things you mention (like the matching color themes) are a matter of practicality.

    • joshywashington August 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

      Ha! I caught you, you dorky tourists sympathizer! How long have you been working for the dorks?! Talk! Oh, your dorky out-of-town friends can’t help you now…

  3. Nick Laborde August 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    I have to agree with Joanna, dorks are dorks no matter what they are.

    We all have some dorky characteristics, it’s just a matter of what degree.

  4. Kay August 25, 2010 at 4:20 am #

    Love your witty ways. So true…”Tourists accessorize for functionality.” When one doesn’t return until the end of the day to said hotel/motel/tent the boyscout pledge is paramount.

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