I live in the hipster Mecca of my city. That may not be a big deal to my West Coast friends, but it’s kind of a thing if you’re in the Midwest–we are into things like snowblowing and tater tot casserole. I did not move to this area intentionally. I did it because it’s a really cute apartment with nifty 1920’s period features and cheap rent that included free heat… But, nonetheless, I live in a place with quirky restaurants that cater to whatever weird diet you may have. (Vegan? No problem. Gluten free? Everything on the menu fits the bill. Something as blasé as vegetarianism or lactose intolerance doesn’t even warrant an honorable mention.) We have nary a big box store to be found, but I can think of three different vintage record shops off the top of my head. We are also known in our city for our hip dive bars where all the cool kids (so cool that we don’t bother with the “usual” party clubs, you see–we are hipsters here, after all…) like to go. There’s this one bar that is literally open randomly, and only when the owner feels like opening it–there are no posted hours. So it’s open now, randomly, on a Wednesday night, but there is a real possibility it will be closed when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around this Friday–go figure. I once saw a guy in a purple leisure suit ride past on his unicycle. I live in that kind of neighborhood.
My friends (especially the ones who got married in their twenties and now live in the suburbs with their SUV’s and 2.5 kids) have started telling me that I’m kind of a hipster. I used to deny it, but I’m beginning to think that maybe this would be false advertising. I wear a lot of leggings and the messy topknot is the my Saturday hair jam. I’m a big fan of baggy sweaters, scarves, and Converse. I even own a pair of fake Buddy Holly style glasses that I wear when I want to look smart and get people to take me seriously. My house is full of secondhand treasures and random retro kitsch that nobody really likes except for me. I own a picnic basket and use it on the regular in the summer months.
Right now, I am wearing a burnt orange puffy vest, circa 1974. I like old movies and classic red lipstick. I like to make stuff from scratch and have at various points tried to make my own: shaving cream, candles, lip balm, and face masks. I read poems. I have toyed with the idea of getting an old typewriter because it just sounds so romantic to write letters on a typewriter. (My mom talked me out of it because she said it hurts your wrists after a while. That, and I didn’t know where to get tape for one if I bought it…)
I feel like, though, hipster-dom has robbed me of my nerdiness. I liked all that stuff back before the hipster movement made it cool, and watching black and white movies and Glenn Miller were things only nerds like me did. I simply refuse to allow some early 20-somethings rob me of my nerd-dom! In the words of my sister, “Emily, you’re a natural born hipster–you always liked that stuff, so it doesn’t really count. You’re not being ironic. You’re just being you.”
Plus, I do have my little passive-aggressive, anti-hipster jibs. Let the record state that I absolutely despise quinoa. I think the texture is weird and it tastes like what I imagine prison food must taste like (i.e. like absolutely nothing.) And while we’re at it, I think kale is gross, too. (Unless its slathered in olive oil and sea salt and baked into kale chips, thereby completely nullifying any intrinsic health value…) I can’t get into the heavily made-up eye look. It’s just way too much work, let’s be real, here. I also hate beer as a general rule, so something crappy like P.B.R. is definitely not part of my world.
And at the end of the day, I’m just not ironic enough. And when I say “enough,” I mean, “at all.” I mean, I’m a child of the 1990’s who still associates the word “ironic” with Alanis Morissette. And, anyway, I actually really like all the weird hobbies I have and old clothes I wear, and I don’t really have enough cares to be bothered by what other people may think about it. If that makes me a hipster, well, then I’m in. I figure it just makes me “Me.” I’ll still be like that when hipsters go the way of Hammer Pants and The Rachel. And I’m good with it that way. And there’s nothing ironic about that…don’t ya think?