By Najib Aminy
Are you a twenty-something and still find yourself amused by outdated seventies sitcom shows? Would you travel to a neighboring town to buy your groceries in an organic market? Have you just watched Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and are riled up about the environment, but have no idea where to spark change? Well, grab a pack of some delectably imported Parliament cigarettes, button up a plaid jacket, and head to the nearest dive bar to join the passive aggressive fight against the establishment.
But before one can attend a dive bar, one must prepare to jump into the realm of hipsterdom, essentially signing one’s email address to receive Oxfam America spam or creating a Myspace page, with intense mental and physical preparation.
First, for one, Hipsters, according to the Nationmaster’s online Encyclopedia, originated in the 1940s Jazz era. Back then, most hipsters had been white jazz enthusiasts, and later in the fifties, they grew fond of African-American culture and avant-garde styled art. The sixties, sparked by pot-smoking, tree-hugging, non-bathing liberalism, resulted in the transformation of the word, “hipster,” into “hippies.”
Nearly fifty years later, hipsters have unintentionally hit the scene again. A socially accepted view, according to The Hipster Handbook, of a hipster is “one who possesses tastes, social attitudes, and opinions deemed as being cool by the cool. The hipster walks among the masses in daily life, but is not a part of them and must shun or reduce to kitsch anything held dear by the mainstream. A hipster ideally possesses no more than 2% body fat.”
Thus, one must appropriately dress, eat, think and act in a specific manner before raising one’s black glove against conglomerate America. The first step one must take before saving the environment or learning trivial information, such as the stepmother of Marilyn Monroe’s third hairstylist, is to get the look down. For one, kiss comfortable clothing goodbye; nut-chaffing jeans for males traditionally mark the look for any impartial hipster and potato sack dresses with spandex leggings for females. Wearing either presents the image of, “I am too busy scoffing at mainstream America to care if I stand out like a sore-thumb on any lunch line.”
Generally, to become a true hipster, one should refrain from wearing anything that represents the norm, Rather, they should create the norm and then abandon it like a bastard child as soon as it becomes a trend. One can find his or herself ahead of the curve by shopping at their local thrift store, closing their eyes, and selecting a wardrobe, of which hipster colleagues and associates will inevitably feel compelled to compliment. It is important to remember that being a hipster is not for everyone. One must sacrifice the comfort of breathing room for one’s genitals when wearing skin tight pants or adapt a new breathing style when accessorizing an 18th century French corset salvaged from the Bastille.
Aside from general clothing, accessories allow oneself to further express individuality and stamp “Anti-norm” on one’s style. For one, non-prescription thick-rimmed glasses allow one to look into their pocket mirror and remember the hipster revolutionaries, like Buddy Holly and Elvis Costello. With the resurgence of confidence, one may prevent a cool draft to their neck and cleavage area by sporting an unintended (or is it?) political statement called the keffiyeh.
Worn by Yasser Arafat, the late former leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the keffiyeh is a symbol of Palestinian struggles against Israeli oppression. Daytime television cooking host Rachel Ray caught headlines when she wore a white and black keffiyeh in a Dunkin Doughnuts commercial after Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin said the keffiyeh symbolized “murderous Palestinian jihad.” Dunkin Donuts retracted the ad, yet the keffiyeh has now become its own symbol of hipster douche-baggery. Whether in support of Palestine’s efforts against the puppet-controllers of America, Israel, or against the media baron Rupert Murdoch, the keffiyeh lets people know that you are well aware of current events and choose to express it by wearing a keffiyeh; and that you choose to prevent being cold around your neck area despite wearing an ironic graphic small-fit tee. Or perhaps it signifies that you, too, are the fashion bastard child of St. Mark’s Street and Beacon’s Closet.
With the look covered, the next step is becoming cultured and amused by only life’s most vintage and artistic cultures. Appreciation for art many years senior to one’s generation hits the message home that one enjoys only the finest things of life, such as avant-garde oil canvasses of umbrellas or polar bears. Shifting from art to television, one must become familiar with popular seventies and eighties pop-culture and sitcoms (if, as a hipster, you believe in television at all, given that many hipsters avoid TV altogether). A good idea would be to watch VH1’s I Love the 70’s and I Love the 80’s until there is no more valuable information left to saturate one’s brain, usually after the first five minutes. It is important to withhold such valuable knowledge as hipsters, despite knowing so much about nothing, tend to spend more time reading or knitting their own clothes than watching television.
Clothing, finger paint art and “Welcome Back Kotter” are just a few of the things that draw the outline of the hipster. Yet, musical tastes are the crayons of neon yellow and puke green that color in the substance of any hipster. If a band is well known, then one must refuse to listen to it and may bash the band for growing soft and mainstream. Of Montreal, whose song, “Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games” was used for a popular Outback Steakhouse commercial and quickly resulted to the decline of their popularity among hipsters. In the eyes of a hipster, listening to the radio is similar to pouring molten steel through one’s ears, unless it’s a college radio station that plays unknown Indie music. Popular hipster bands tend to have obscure names and will generally be unheard of forever. Every once in a blue moon will a hipster band go mainstream.
With the look and ideology set, it is important to have the mannerisms down. For one, everything that is controlled by Corporate America® is to be avoided at all costs. A fixed gear bicycle with a pad-lock should be the number one choice of travel, as this leaves the smallest carbon-footprint, with the second choice of travel being public transportation. When it comes to food, organic food is the purest form of nourishment.
After adhering to the hipster diet for a month, one will find nothing more appetizing than mashed-up chic peas with a side of dry lettuce three times of the day. Aside from eating, one should only smoke for social reasons rather than easing one’s stress for this presents the image that one has friends and looks important yet is very discreet about it.
Coffee is an essential part of daily existence that every hipster must accept. One thing that every hipster must have memorized, besides British Imperial history, is the menu at any local coffee shop. One can jeopardize his or her character when ordering a hazel-nut flavored cappuccino with a double shot of espresso on a hot summers day or making the mistake of having a blended mocha frappuccino during the winter time. Other than the menu, coffee shops allow hipsters to congregate and discuss very important issues such as the best vegan dessert at loud decibels among a chic atmosphere. If for some reason one is alone and in need of a third or fourth coffee a day, coffee shops are number one in accommodating room for hipsters. With enough elbow room for Queen Victoria and her twelve knights, tables in coffee shops allow one to work on their MacBook Pro or read the Styles section of The New York Times.
After spending one’s college loan on outlandish clothing, four copies of the Rosetta Stone to four different European languages, and album purchases of bands no one has heard of, one can find him or herself among completion of becoming a hipster. But how does one know if they have completed becoming a hipster?
Simple, if one is accused of being a hipster, one is a hipster. The common reply, “I am not a hipster, those people are hipsters, not me,” warrants that you are in the first stage of denial and have successfully transformed into becoming a hipster. If one’s reply is yes, one would be considered a hipster amongst others, but is considered less of a hipster than the hipster who says he or she is not a hipster.
Through hipster practice, one inevitably acquires distinguished self-absorbing perception of oneself and knowingly expresses menacing glares at those deemed unworthy, essentially everyone outside one’s circle of hipster friends. Upon gaining this enlightened vision of thinking, one may enter a dive bar, drink some Pabst Blue Ribbon and have intercourse. Afterwards, one can discuss it over coffee before entering another dive bar and experience the Hipster cycle. Periods of time between drinking coffee and attending dive bars can be filled with listening to no-name Indie music, attending some liberal arts class, or getting high.
But before you commit yourself to being the poster boy/girl for stuffwhitepeoplelike.com, realize that you may one day find yourself wandering Williamsburg or the lower east side, starving and alone, with naught to comfort you but an empty trust fund and an ironic but useless chip on your shoulder.