This week, I’m exploring the topic of nerd vs. hipster.  See Monday’s post on nerds here.

The ultimate hipster book - My own image
The ultimate hipster book – My own image

What is a hipster?

According to Urban Dictionary: “Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.”

Translation?  From my experience (and research on the topic), hipsters are people who are ahead of the game on all things trendy.  Their style often ironically references fashion/culture from the past (i.e. Rambo is cool! i.e. Retro rocks!)  They refuse to be mainstream, and pride themselves on discovering things first.  They have an aura of effortless “I Don’t Care What You Think,” but also put a great deal of thought, effort and money into their presentation (i.e. a collection of one-of-a-kind glasses is SO expensive!)  They generally look down on people who jump on the cool train too late (i.e. if you didn’t listen to this band since its inception, you aren’t worthy of loving it).

I WISH I could be this man - I WISH I COULD BE A HIPSTER (is what EVERYONE as they walked by) - Image from here
I WISH I could be this man – I WISH I COULD BE A HIPSTER (is what EVERYONE said as they walked by) – Image from here

Having lived in LA and met (and sometimes accidentally befriended hipsters, to their, and my, surprise!) I also know that hipsters are just people too.  They aren’t perfect or all-knowing, or even above following trends.  One time, I even made a hipster laugh (and let me just say, my jokes are CORNY).  I guess what I’m trying to say is that the hipster phenomenon just fascinates me.  And while I might sound like I’m lumping all hipsters together, what I really would like to do is get some sort of understanding of their culture and mindset.  And I probably will never truly understand…

So if you’re a hipster reading this: 1) I apologize for making you roll your eyes; and 2) I’m sure I’ve made some generalizations that will make you say, eugh, being a hipster is so misunderstood!  We’re SO SO SO much more than big glasses, mustaches and vintage shoes.  But I can only speak from what I’ve observed. I’m an introvert, so I really enjoy observing people and overanalyzing them.  So again, sorry for being my guinea pigs.

The Hipster: A Case Study

I love observing hipsters in their natural habitat because I admire their brazenness in taking fashion risks.  While I do think hipsters do care what you think –they like to make a statement – I also love that they want us to see that they don’t care if we like what they’re wearing.  In some ways, they enjoy being misunderstood.  And for someone who hates being misunderstood, I think it’s fascinating to prefer to be above others’ opinions.

This being said, I know that I have never and will never be a hipster.  I love seeing what hipsters wear.  I love hearing their opinions about new bands (although I generally need a notepad and pencil to write down, erase and rescribble names of bands their favorite bands).

A Culture Shift – Hipsters Here, Hipsters There, Hipsters, Hipsters EVERYWHERE!

Ironically, hipsters have become less singular, and it is a lot more typical to spot a hipster when you’re out. Today, our culture has been inundated with hipsters.

At first, hipsters were hidden gems in New York and Los Angeles.  You might have seen one on the street and be like, whoa, that person is probably way cool.  She probably knows about bands that will be big in ten years, and I bet she goes to music festivals.  I could never be that hip.

But slowly, and steadily, hipsters began popping up everywhere.  And they began to be less unique and more predictable.

Owning this t-shirt might make you a bit of a hipster - my own image
Owning this t-shirt might make you a bit of a hipster – my own image

It’s almost like everyone can be a hipster these days.  Of course, true hipsters change to refrain from conforming to trends.  Once they’ve set a trend, they distance themselves from it as soon as everyone else jumps on the bandwagon.

So is being hipster still even hipster?  If someone as un-ironic and untrendly as me can even have hope that she can attain hipsterdom, is it hipsterly for hipsters to be hipsters anymore?

I know I’ve wondered if I can ever be a hipster.  Thankfully for the future of the hipster movement, I am never going to be a true hipster.  My humor is more goofy than ironic, and my taste in clothing and venues is more mainstream, or quirky, than trendy or underground.

Here’s a great guide to being a hipster – and as you can see, I will NEVER be a  hipster…

But I can be faux-hip once in a while…  Here are some questions I like to ask myself:

Do you have access to big glasses?  (Check).  Can you wear a topknot?  (Check).  Do you have a plaid shirt?  (Check).  Do you listen to underground/Indie bands?  (Possibly check).  Do you dwell at music festivals and obscure bookshops?  (Again, depending on my wallet, check?)  Do you love 80’s and 90’s movies? (OUI OUI OUI!  Love them!  But more rom-coms and action flicks, and less obscure, cool ones like Edward Scissorhands, Rambo and Donnie Darko).  Are you cynical or good at being ironic? (Ruh-oh!  Definitely not.)  Do you wear vintage or do you shop Banana Republic?  (Again, fail!  I never had luck at consignment shops – I usually walk out of there empty-handed with lots of pictures of myself trying out fur coats).  Are you vegan?  (Definitely wish I could be, but I really REALLY love food, especially cheese!)  Do you love everything mustache-related (YES!! But I kind of just think it’s funny).

Now your baby can be a hipster too - the mustachifier!!! - my own pic
Now your baby can be a hipster too – the mustachifier!!! – my own pic

What do you think?  Did I totally miss the definition of a hipster?  Are you bored by the topic, or as fascinated by hipsters as I am?  (Or is this fascination, like, so old?)  If you’re a hipster, PLEASE, please share some of your music suggestions with me!  I’m always looking for new bands.  Thanks!  And HAPPY St. Patrick’s Day this weekend.  :)  (I’m not celebrating because I already wear green most days).

Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think.  Please help me keep this a positive forum, though.  I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please.  I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts.  Thanks in advance!

2 thoughts on “Why I Wish I Could Be A Hipster…

  1. I was completely confused on this topic. I thought a hipster was a hippie until I visited a friend in Philadelphia this fall. I now understand that a hipster is more like a walking pinterest board. Thanks for the insight!

    1. Oh Natalie, hipsters are coming up everywhere. Look for plaid, big glasses, red lipstick, and attempts to be one-of-a-kind. I’m sure you’ll see more of them wherever you live! Send us pics of your hipster spottings 😛

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