The term hipster has become relatively mainstream, but it should be noted that its primary origin (I believe) to be in the borough of Brooklyn. Its numbers have multiplied so much so that there is a site devoted to the absurdity of this group. It is hysterical, and a tad spiteful...but but so spot on. I didn’t realize it was more than a fashion statement until I moved back here and witnessed it first hand.
Upon initially moving back to the city, I was afforded a very unique experience: I was a wall flower, a voyeur. I went to different neighborhoods, walked around, ordered food at the bar and enjoyed truly amazing experiences unfolding before my eyes.
One such night I stopped into a lovely local boite (I.couldn’t.help.myself.) to enjoy a crisp beer with a childhood favorite: grilled cheese. Happily immersed in my caloric binge, a dude sat himself down beside me and ordered 3 neat whiskeys and a rolling rock. Seriously? All at once, dude? Sure, whatever. As soon as his neat-shmeat bullshit was delivered, the can of rolling rock cracked open, he drew from his Freitag messenger bag a book about 3 inches thick with a title on the spine boldly claiming its name: Existence. What the fuck? I looked around me, seeing if anyone else was laughing, or paying attention. I was silently shaking, and the people around me just kept on living their lives—but all I got was crickets! What the fuck! I promptly texted a friend in Boston who was quick to respond: Strike up a conversation. Tell him you train iguanas. Hipsters love that shit. I openly howled at this bar, by myself unable to contain my laughter. She was spot on, but due to such incredible comedic timing, I made an ass of myself. Eh, I didn’t care that much, as I ordered one last beer to continue observing.
Another evening, I ventured to another spot by my apartment. The bartenders were friendly and welcoming, and I felt like I’d found my spot, you know, like, the Cheers cliché. Next thing I know I’m witnessing what I think may be a first date. Guy: So, what exactly do you do? Girl: I’m a poet. (She said this dead serious.) Guy (a little bewildered): like, for a job? That’s how you make money? Girl: Yes. Guy: Uh, ok, like what’s one of your poems? Girl: Life. Grey. Your eyes: Grey. Your shirt: Grey.
I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.
I think the reason I find these exchanges so fascinating and truly comedic is that this new strain of speices take themselves so goddamn seriously. They are the equivalent of Boston Yuppies, but with a disdain for polo shirts and a love for plaid. It’s as if they never stayed in on New Year’s Eve watching the Three Stooges. They seemingly were out creating woven quilts with frozen blades of grass only to watch it melt away with the dawn of the new day, sun—whatever the fuck it is they did as kids on New Year’s Eve.
So I’m enjoying my meal, chatting with the bartenders and the poet up and leaves her conversation only to come back gleefully 35 minutes later with a tattoo on her wrist in American Typewriter font with the German words: Seig Nein. Which I don’t even think is grammatically correct. She left the date to get a tattoo.
These instances happen all over the place, everywhere you turn when you live and hang out in Brooklyn. It’s rich with metallic hued Doc Martens, men sporting loose striped tank tops (which is a fad that men should NEVER under any circumstances participate in, yet all too frequently they do) and everything is local. I got an overwhelming urge to shove a snickers bar into the porcelain face of a 20 something as she was eating a bag of kale chips while riding the F the other day.
Hipsters (or almost neo-hipsters, actually) even compete differently. At a dive bar in Williamsburg with the words Country Club in the title, a group of intellectuals were circled together drinking PBR’s on a grimy run down mini-golf course in the back (it’s too much, I know) singing happy birthday to their friend. Not to be out done, another cluster NOT sitting on the fake grass closer to the bar entrance in plastic lawn chairs started singing happy birthday seconds after the first group, only louder and with a trace of snarky elitism gleaming in their eyes.
It was a new age Jets and Sharks rivalry, but with thick rimmed glasses and opinions regarding the latest documentaries.
Make no mistake, I am part of this weird mix of people, but have enough sense to realize I’m a fucking moron. Hopefully they’ll catch on as well, but in the mean time, I’ll continue watching this interesting breed and be sure not to laugh too loud.