I was listening to Jian Ghomeshi on CBC Radio this morning on my way to my workout.
He was talking about hipsters in Brooklyn—apparently this has become a thing lately. (So lately that you probably haven’t heard about it. That’s okay. It’s kind of obscure.) As Jian and his guest discussed some of the tell-tale symptoms of hipsterism, I started getting a little nervous, and had to pull over to compose myself.
Because as they talked about indie bands and DIY culture and organic vegetables and such, I had the startling and horrifying realization that they were talking about me.
When I got home, I immediately ran to my computer (not a Mac, phew! though I do own an iPhone…and an iPad) and Googled “signs you might be a hipster.”
Wendy, the results were not encouraging.
For starters, it’s well known that Canadian hipsters (no, that’s not an oxymoron, thankyouverymuch) have pretty much acclaimed Jian Ghomeshi, the very one I was listening to, as their annointed king. Strike one.
Also, I drink
massive generous amounts of coffee. Yes, I grind my own beans. In a vintage burr grinder that I got second-hand. Yes, I always buy fair-trade certified beans, and yes, usually organic.
When I do buy pre-made coffee, I patronize obscure indie coffee shops in out-of-the-way locations. Starbucks is my supplier of last resort, and I’d rather drink lukewarm dishwater than Tim Hortons. I have never in my entire life ordered a double-double, nor do I plan to.
This is starting to sound serious, agreed?
As for the DIY ethic, I’m right there, baby. Not only do I knit my own clothing (and the clothing of pretty much anyone nearby who stands still long enough), not only do I insist on using only natural fibres, but I prefer spinning my own yarn.
In fact, I’ve been known to take an entire fleece (just sheared off a locally raised sheep), wash it, card it, spin it, dye it, and knit it, using patterns I make up in my head. Because I can.
On the plus side, I’m not vegetarian or vegan, but I do buy organic vegetables, and when the farmer’s markets are open here, you’ll find me perusing the stalls and carrying off cartons of free-range eggs and burgers made from organically raised free range elk. Look, it just tastes better, okay? Plus I like knowing where my food comes from.
Oh, and I use Purple Urchin soap…and their solid shampoo, which is amazing and contains no sulphates and is made by these really cool people with a store in a little house in Chinatown…right near the Bridgehead coffee roastery. And Raw Sugar, my favourite coffee hangout.
My favourite PU soap? You got it: Patchouli & Lime.
Wait—hang on. Possible mitigating factor: I don’t shop in thrift stores! That’s got to count in my favour. Aren’t hipsters renowned for their thrift-shop chic? Oh! And I’m not skinny. Nor do I wear skinny jeans. That’s a required part of Hipster Regalia, right?
On the other hand, I do have totally rad glasses.
And yes, I just used the word “rad.” Ironically, of course.
Also, I hate wearing clothes with identifiable (especially designer) labels—I figure if I’m going to provide some multi-national corporation with free advertising, they should be paying me to wear their clothes. I refuse to buy from stores that hype their own labels, especially since most of their stuff is made from non-sustainable materials, in Asian sweatshops. (Plus, I could make it better myself, see above.)
Oh, shit. This is just going from bad to worse, isn’t it?
As for music…well, I’ve always liked kind of obscure bands. Remember my Steeleye Span phase? I liked them back when all the other high schoolers were rocking out to Kiss and Elton John. Whom I reviled for being so mainstream. Gah! And I started listening to The Decemberists and Of Monsters and Men before my kids did. Oh, plus I own a whole bunch of vinyl albums (which I would never think of calling “records”), and a very nice turntable.
I have an Instagram account. And I use it. I mean, seriously, dude.
I think I’m pretty much doomed.
I wouldn’t be so concerned about all this if hipsters weren’t such a universally reviled group. (Even more so than baby boomers, which I also am.) Because really, who wants to be associated with a bunch of smug, self-indulgent, self-righteous, self-consciously hip individuals? Not me, that’s for sure.
And yet…I guess I just have to face facts. Despite my lack of skinny jeans (or skinny anything, actually), my relatively scrupulous personal hygiene, and the fact that I drive a car rather than riding my Amsterdam-style bike everywhere, I am pretty sure I’m a middle-aged hipster.
Oh, the shame of it all. I’m thinking we should just keep this between you and me, okay? I’d hate for word to get out—after all, I have kids, a husband, a family.
Maybe if we keep it on the QT, no one will catch on. Maybe I’ll be able to keep passing as a middle-class, middle-aged bourgeois woman with odd glasses, who’s just a wee bit eccentric when it comes to wool. So listen, if anyone asks you if your sister’s a hipster, just smile and say, “No, we prefer to think of her as ‘just a little bit unconventional.'”
Thanks. I owe you one.
- Real Hipsters of Vancouver – Open Casting Call (lookingoodvancity.wordpress.com)
- Why I won’t be shopping on Black Friday. Or Cyber Monday (afterthekidsleave.wordpress.com)
- I Have a Major Confession to Make (foodandwinehedonist.com)