Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Reluctant Hipster

I have recently come to accept something about myself that I have denied for a long time. Something that makes me fall into a category. Fit a label. I am…a hipster. To those of you who know me this probably doesn’t seem like a revelation to you. I still have a hard time saying it.

Why have I resisted? What’s wrong with being a hipster? I like the clothes from Urban Outfitters. I wear cool hats - Sharp Cats Wear Cool Hats. Honestly, I’ve only known about the current use of the word for a few years now. I associate it closely with another label. It rhymes with “smoosh rag”. Ugh. I actually had to take a three minute break after writing that. A Get Up and Walk Around break. I’m going to have to learn to separate these two terms in my mind.

Historically hipsters have been those on the edge of knowing about and being into what’s cool before it becomes Cool. Jazz guys, beatniks. I thought it was just recently that the term has taken such a negative slant, but apparently people have been deriding hipsters since the mid 90s.

It became clear to me over Halloween what I was when my costume was a Hipster. I was so excited because I think of hipsters as easily mock-able characters. I mean, there’s a Web Site,, there’s a Facebook page dedicated to people mocking them. I would get the perfect costume and be totally in character; jaded, detached, pretentious. I had the costume part, but I couldn’t pull off the attitude convincingly. I thought that was bad, but I was wrong.

“Hey Thomas, what’s your costume?” friends asked.

“I’m a hipster!”


“How is this different from normal?”

“I don’t see a difference.”

/blank stares/


So instead of it being funny that I was mocking hipsters it became ironic that I was dressed as a hipster, but not actually in a costume, at least according to all present at the party.

In my mind hipsters are those guys that grow fuzzy beards, wear thrift store pants and t-shirts. They work hard at their image of Not Caring. Their attitudes suck. They’re indie record store employees as exemplified in the movie adaptation of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. It’s nothing I want to have associated to me. It’s like I told Daughter One when she asked me what a hipster was. I told her it was someone who thinks they’re cooler than they really are.

So I guess since I’ve decided to accept this label then what I need to do is reclaim it from those people I’ve been talking about. The bearded, PBR swilling, fixed-gear riding thugs. They’re not hipsters. They’re pseudsters.

But then again, doing that makes me just like them, and that was the problem initially. I don’t want to be like them. As Robert Lanham points out in his The Morning News piece, “The rage and self-loathing associated with hipsters has become more annoying, more naive, and more artificial than hipsters could ever hope to be.” That’s not what I want. So what now?

I’ll tell you what. I’m going to kick up my pretentiousness level about four notches. Not really. I’ve never thought of myself pretentious; although, I’m sure I have seemed that way to some. Dear Wife would probably say I am about The Beatles. I suppose I wouldn’t necessarily argue that. Also, I’m going to use my newly accepted label as an excuse to get more of my pants tapered and buy me some skinny jeans. Not the super skinny ones though. They don’t give a guy a lot of room to breathe or move around.

Here’s a link to Lanham’s article -

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