You can’t do anything without being categorized. If you listen to a certain type of music, wear various clothing articles, enjoy artsy-fartsy films or drink your coffee black, it is inevitable that someone out there is going to place you in a social category.
Apparently, for the past few years of my existence, I have been labeled the recently popularized, “hipster.” I don’t know or understand how I became a hipster. I didn’t go to a special initiation ceremony, I didn’t pledge, carve my name in blood on a piece of wood or perform any tabooed sexual favors. People at my work call me their “hipster co-worker” and apparently, all my friends think I’m a hipster.
A hipster refers to a subculture of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers who associate with independent music, non-mainstream fashion, liberal or independent political views and alternative spirituality such as atheism or agnosticism. According to the rest of the world, my physical appearance and tastes in film, music or whatever, puts me in the hipster subcategory.
An Urban Dictionary definition for “hipster” says: “Definitions are too mainstream. Hipster’s can’t be defined because then they’d fit in a category, and thus be too mainstream.”
There is nothing more hipster than complaining about being stigmatized or complaining about being labeled a hipster. So, I’m going to break new ground and become the world’s first proud hipster who embraces his title. In the words of John Candy, “I like me. My wife likes me.” I was so hipster, that I didn’t even realize it. So don’t let these definitions convince you, let my pride inspire other hipsters to come out of their vintage shells and not get their skinny jeans in a bunch.
Where clothing is concerned, my fashion taste stems from growing up with skateboarding. I wore beat up clothes (because I couldn’t afford real clothes), flannels and beanies because that’s what I thought I had to do. Years down the line, baggy pants turned into skinny jeans and let’s be honest; I’m 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds. If I still wore baggy pants, it would look like someone let the air out of my legs.
Eventually, my skater look transcended into the whole hipster look, so I am guilty. I recently had to ditch my contacts for glasses because of an eye gland problem, so of course, no hipster package is complete without those specks that help me see. I have a homemade beanie to go with those glasses so come on world, label me because I know how to dress and appear like I don’t care.
When I was skateboarding as a young kid, there was no Internet service for discovering new music. Any bands or music I grew to like all came from my favorite skate videos. The first time I heard The Who was on Zero’s “Misled Youth.” My punk taste in music led to searching for other punk bands, many of which are on independent labels and not too popular in the mainstream.
Aside from a few mainstream bands, you haven’t heard most of my music — and dammit, I’m proud of it. Forgive me for believing that electronica and dubstep are tools for exploiting people’s stupidity, and sound like robot sex. I collect vinyls for no other reason than that they are a delight; and CDs are cheaply manufactured circles that break within a week. Record companies can make millions off of them without having to put any real money into the creative process.
I could go on for days about how my idiosyncrasies technically make me a hipster to the world, but there is no point. In 10 years time, I will still like vinyls, skating, hockey, black coffee and Del Taco. I’ve learned not to fight the labels but just embrace them because, let’s be honest, I’m going to have a new label in a few years that is reflective of the subculture at that time.