5 Things Hipsters Are Right About, According To An Accidental Hipster
Linguists estimate the word "hipster" lost almost all of its meaning around 2010, when people stopped using it to refer to "white people who live in Brooklyn or Portland" and started to use it in place of "people who do things I don't like."
However, there are still certain things that will forever be associated with "hipsters" no matter how overused it becomes -- for example, the ironic mustache or impractically bushy beard sported by the person who probably came to mind when you read the word.
I make money by making fun of things, so hipsters provided me with an incredible amount of material as I spent more time writing stupid things online than I did writing papers in college.
That was before I graduated, moved to New York and accidentally became one.
It didn't happen overnight, but at some point I looked into the mirror of my exposed-brick apartment in Brooklyn and saw a walking cliché in a flannel shirt staring back at me.
Had I become a hipster, or had I just appropriated their culture like they've done to so many others?
After a few months of self-reflection, I decided I hadn't actually made the transition -- my almost crippling sense of self-awareness and decidedly unfashionable wardrobe would make it impossible for me to truly belong in the hipster world.
During that time, I also realized many of the things I had once mocked hipsters for fawning over had now become staples in my life. They don't have bad taste, but the way they approach the things they enjoy is so insufferable it leaves a bad taste in everyone else's mouth.
Here are a few aspects of the hipster culture that are actually pretty great, along with aspects of those aspects that are objectively terrible things we should definitely all make fun of.
I never intended to grow a beard, I just didn't feel like shaving for a few weeks and accidentally got a sunburn while sitting outside a bar for three hours during an unusually hot couple of weeks in May. After realizing how ridiculous I'd look if I shaved, I decided to ride it out.
Once I reached this point of no return, I realized there was a reason so many people were embracing the beard life. I don't even know how much time, money and blood I've saved in the past couple of years by not really having to shave, plus it's easier to convince myself other people I'm handsome and masculine.
The best part? You don't have to constantly worry about how many chins you have.
What They'll Never Be Right About: Mustaches of any kind. If you're going to put in the effort required to shave, there's no reason to leave a lip toupée.
Hipsters have a reputation for obsessing over hop forward pale ales and flavored Russian Imperials and refusing to touch the flavorless yellow lagers peddled by bigger breweries -- unless that brewery's name is Pabst.
They also have a reputation for making sure everyone else knows about that obsession. When you remove the superiority complex that too often accompanies it, there aren't too many bad things to say about craft beer.
It might cost more, but it's probably going to have almost twice the amount of alcohol than the beers you drank in college and you won't have flashbacks to crowded basement parties after every sip. However, if I ever want to do that, tall boys of Narragansett are $3 at a bar I go to too often.
What They'll Never Be Right About: Cider. It's just an excuse to start a conversation about going gluten free.
Bikes have always served a central role in hipster culture, from the bike messengers who use them to afford a mattress in a loft somewhere to the bartenders who insist on wearing those stupid hats even though they're not on a bicycle.
However, I'm the kind of person who looks at a 20-minute walk as the equivalent of Sam and Frodo's journey to Mordor. I also hate cardio as much I enjoy going to that aforementioned bar, which spurred me to buy a bike before the start of the summer.
After purchasing the only model in a store that could accommodate a 6' 10" person, I soon discovered the real reason hipsters love bikes so much: They make your butt look great. I guess it's also practical and there are health benefits and other stuff, but those all pale in comparison to the butt thing.
What They'll Never Be Right About: Unicycles. I shouldn't have to explain any further.
I spent the majority of my first year in New York living in Manhattan, where I routinely dodged rats after taking the subway to my apartment in Harlem while struggling to come up with reasons to justify the absurd amount of money I was paying for the privilege to live there.
I eventually had the opportunity to move to Brooklyn and ended up in a neighborhood where people who were hipsters when it was still considered "cool" moved once they got married and decided to have a kid.
It has everything you'd expect in your prototypical Brooklyn neighborhood -- a farmers market, too many wine shops, a store that only sells things from Vermont -- in addition to everything you'd find in Manhattan.
The only difference is you don't have to deal with constant claustrophobia, prices that make you physically ill and tourists stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to stare at a map because their phones don't work in America.
What They'll Never Be Right About: Williamsburg. It is a silly place.
A few weeks after moving to Brooklyn, I discovered my apartment was located a couple of blocks from the only Whole Foods in the borough. I can assure you every single assumption you have about that place is correct (assuming those assumptions include "unnecessary hats" and "cool moms").
However, I soon learned the "greenest supermarket in New York state" also had a rooftop bar with one of the best happy hours I've come across (along with a view of what I assume is the state's filthiest canal and largest pile of scrap metal).
I know every dad reading this saw the words "Whole Foods" and instinctively yelled, "More like Whole Paycheck!," and they have a point. But if you don't mind being limited to the items on sale (and can avoid the beer section), you can actually walk out with at least half of your paycheck intact.
What They'll Never Be Right About: Asparagus water.