Hipsters. You’ve heard of them, you may have been called one, but what are they? To be truly hipster may be far more difficult a feat than one might think. Thankfully (or regrettably), it is unnecessary to know the answer to this question. Some seek hipsterdom, some are born hipsters, and some have it thrust upon them. At least I assume so. If you think you have met a hipster recently, you probably haven’t. The contrarian nature of hipsters negates the possibility of telltale signs helping in their identification.
For a time, the definition of what many call hipsters revolved around music. I would give you suggestions of what bands a hipster might listen to, but that would give up the game – if I told you, you would have heard of them. I don’t need to tell you how disastrous that would be. The poor fools would have to discard their interest in the band posthaste, burn all the memorabilia, and be set back to square one.
A few years ago, to be a hipster might have been specifically to be interested in Americana music. Now, Mumford and all his sons with their pet Fleet Foxes are commonplace and dull (that is not to say they weren’t dull before, but that’s neither here nor there). But this is what a hipster once was, this does not answer what one is now.
Though the very act of trying to make oneself a hipster is to become a poseur, this has not stopped many from trying. Perhaps the would-be hipster will start small, vowing to forever pay a higher price for his coffee and insisting others follow him. Do not be fooled, while it is possible that this is the first step on the path to enlightenment, there is no way to be sure. Even if there was, coffee snobbery does not a hipster make. Before you ask, neither does being an Apple devotee.
The stages following coffee snobbery are deceptively benign, the fashion laws for the novice do not hinge on price. “Things are looking up!” he may say. He is painfully wrong. Not only has he not become a hipster, he has now sacrificed his fashion sense. His ordinary clothes will be replaced by a lumberjack costume at best and at worst, capris, a V-neck shirt, and a satchel. For those who may be confused, satchel is a euphemism for the less politically correct term, “man-purse.”
If all this were not bad enough, the latest trend among “hipster” men is to wear their hair in a miniature bun. What will these saps not do to be accepted into the club? I might have said deciding that a fermented substance described as a “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast” should be consumed by humans. But alas, kombucha is popular amongst those seeking hipsterdom.
This is madness of the highest order.
But even the “man-bun” is a recognizable trend. By default, it cannot be what it is to be a true hipster. It is one of the shadows on the wall of Plato’s cave, wrongly interpreted as a hairstyle suggestion. At this point, the enlightened man – the true hipster – is supposed to return to convince and free those still in the cave. It is hard to blame him for skipping this step. The alternative has proved far more amusing.
by Caleb Chandler