I have a couple of long-time phobias, both of which involve groups of people: geniuses and hipsters. (Were I to run into a genius hipster, I might have to just hurl myself in front of a Metra train.) Geniuses are probably the more problematic category for me (logic being I could possibly impersonate a hipster, but my genius level is gonna stay whatever it is), so I'll deal with that another day. Cute hipster girls in particular have caused me the most "I'll never be that cool" type angst. Today, I want to work through my fear of hipsters with you, because I think I'm finally coming to understand a few things.
I picked up a copy of Caboose zine (#5) at Quimby's last week (I'm all about zines - okay I've read two or three), written by Liz Mason, who works there. It was a whole dollar, so I figured what the hell. Inside were a few essays that were surprisingly entertaining and of particular interest to me, one called "I Was On A Reality Show," and another about her fandom for Madonna. So here's the thing. First of all, I knew she had been on this reality show, as I had seen it myself, and didn't spend much time wresting with the decision not to mention it, because, well, my assumption was that in spite of the fact that she was on it, it would not be cool to mention that I actually watched it. I may not be a hipster, but I do have a so-called literary reputation to maintain. But anyway, the piece was a really fun read on many levels, first of all with regard to the minutiae of what goes into a reality show - we all know at this point that they're edited and that a substantial amount of the "reality" is contrived - but she goes into some hilarious detail about it. But what I found most engaging about it was her honesty about briefly getting sort of sucked into that "I'm gonna be on TV!" mentality, worrying about what to wear, and how her hair looked and all that. It was really funny, and the revealing thing for me was (shhh, I'm sure no one knows this secret - actually now I realize everyone but me knows this secret): in spite of the appearance to the contrary that hipsters don't care what you think, it turns out that hipsters are people too, and that their carefully mussed hair and vintage clothes are thought about, and that some of them even - gasp! - go to the gym. (There's another essay about that in this issue.) Further, in the next piece, she reveals her love of Madonna (albeit with some criticism) - Madonna! I may be just on the cool side of VH-1 in my musical taste (if that's possible), but even I would hesitate to mention that I too, have seen Madonna in concert (about a gagillion years ago, I think it was that tour where she had the pointy gold Gaultier boob outfit) and that it was in fact a highly entertaining show. After all this, I ran into Liz on the street and mention how much I enjoyed her zine and she was really excited. All apologies if I'm blowing her cool cover, I still think she's cool, but see, I'd had it in my mind that hipster code did not allow such emotive displays of anything other than utter disdain or extreme coolness.
What's ridiculous about all this is that I know some people consider me to be a hipster (I have tattoos! I wear vintage! I like old stuff! but - my musical taste alone puts me decidedly outside the group - and at one time in my life I read Tiger Beat), my husband is something of a hipster, we both have hipster and non-hipster friends (they're all extremely cool, don't get me wrong), but as always - it's not advanced psychology here - in junior high and high school, although hipsters hadn't even come into existence, I was decidedly uncool. My best friend was also uncool, although she did become popular around ninth grade, after which I coasted on her glory until graduation. So, my conclusion, which you readers have come to long ago I am sure: hipsters (and probably even geniuses) are people too. (Not movie stars though, that's a myth. They start out human, but are highly susceptible to becoming pod people, and only a select few of them are immune to sheets with lower than a 400 thread count. This is why I love my friend Bob, because he's on a TV show but he's the kind of guy who won?t hire a housekeeper because the house "Howwsse!" is too dirty.)