I thought I would close out Hipster Week with a more personal reflection on the hipster movement. Despite my position as not-a-hipster, I noticed an amazing coincidence:
A little over a year ago in celebration of my birthday I was roasted by a bunch of my fellow comedians. I was surprised by how many times I was called a hipster.
I was awestruck. It took me a long time to recover from the accusation. I knew I had a critical attitude and I suppose I had been “over” a lot of things, but I never imagined people might suggest I was a hipster! How on earth could they have come to such a conclusion as I never went out of my way to create any particular style; I was always just me.
Then I thought more about it.
It turns out that in many ways I do dress like a hipster. I wear black rimmed glasses, hats, plaid shirts, and Doc Martins. I tend to own a lot of t-shirts that have 80’s and 90’s nerdy references on them… which I don’t wear ironically, but who’s to know? I suppose from the outside I do dress like a hipster, albeit one who’s way out of shape I can’t wear skinny jeans anymore, but I do have a similar look. I would like to claim I dressed this way first, and so I will claim exactly that in this article. Take that hipsters, you Sax Carr poseurs!
My Black Glasses:
I have this powerful desire to claim I wear my black glasses to support my nerd roots, or because I love Buddy Holly, or I love Bo Diddley, or any of a million reasons that are not the simple, hard, facts. The fact is I have bad eyesight, and these were the first glasses that didn’t make my head look like a cantaloupe with a beard. The more I think about it the less I understand the whole nerds and glasses thing. Being a nerd didn’t ruin my eyes (I can’t write enough masturbation jokes here). I will say video games and Dungeons & Dragons isn’t exactly bow hunting, but it’s still not responsible for my need for glasses. I honestly think in the 40’s or whenever the idea of “nerds” came into being it was simple to single out glasses wearing types because they probably weren’t jocks.
So, while I sport my glasses with nerd pride, it’s all tacked on. I happen to be a nerd by coincidence as well as having vision not unlike a star-nosed mole. Mostly I wear them so I stop doing a Robert DeNiro impression whenever I read a menu in a restaurant.
So what’s the hipsters excuse? Affecting glasses you don’t need is arguably the same as rocking an unnecessary wheel chair. Or metal in your teeth (hip-hopsters?). I can’t wait until the hipsters are rocking ironic eye patches or leg braces. I’m not saying wearing glasses is tantamount to a handicap, but it’s not fashion, it’s practical and I won’t be lumped into whatever group is currently rocking them. I just need to see street signs before I wrap my car around them. Also they look great on me.
My Plaid Shirts:
When I got off the turnip truck in Hollywood from my home state of Maine I had a pretty impressive collection of plaid shirts. Not just plaid shirts, mind you, DICKIES plaid shirts. I was pretty happy with my wardrobe until I realized that in LA, and most of the world, DICKIES and plaid shirts are the unofficial uniform of Hipsters and Day Laborers. I should have realized that when I saw a DICKIES store next to a Gap!
Back in Maine a good DICKIES shirt is the kind of thing you can wear to a bar and pick up ladies. Here if I rock one in a bar I’m either getting served Pabst Blue Ribbon (the official beer of the Hipster) which I didn’t order or I am expected to clean the kitchen. It’s strange. I think we find comfort in “looks” we’ve gotten used to. I simply like the way I look in plaid, and I haven’t seen fit to give them up just because I tend to shop elbow to elbow with janitors and people who are only in the store ironically. Wasn’t this a grunge look first? (Kurt Cobain would shoot himself in the head if someone called him a Hipster.. oh, wait. Nevermind.) I mean if I’m going to be lumped with hipsters for sporting plaid, can’t we all just admit the Seattle folks got here first? I had a Nirvana album in my teens, and owned it without irony. I don’t think I bought my first plaid shirt until years after, but still.
My “Ironic” T-Shirts:
I have no ironic t-shirts. I rock my comic book logos, 80’s television references, and smart ass phrases because I like them. There is no irony, which, in itself, is ironic, but still. I just spent an hour looking for Santini Air shirts to support my love of Airwolf, and I’d spend another hour to find a shirt for Auto-Man. “Auto-Man?” you say! You don’t even know what that is. I do, because I am a geek and I wear my obsessions on my shirt, and this is the way of things.
I swear, if it wasn’t for the desire to keep some amount of civility I’d go around punching anyone wearing a shirt of something I like who couldn’t answer direct questions about it. (That, and I am horribly out of shape and once I got punched back, the irony would win.) I met a girl once, one of the most beautiful girls I have ever had a chance to meet, and she had a giant tattoo on her chest of the Triforce. I could have stared down the cleavage of this woman for days. I asked her to name the 3 pieces of the Triforce. She asked me what I was talking about. Instantly the beautiful woman in front of me morphed into a repulsive creature. She never looked good to me again. It’s amazing how insulting and ugly being disingenuous about things people are passionate about can be.
I’m so over her.
Later I met another girl at a convention with a similar Triforce tattoo and she was happy to shout out Wisdom, Courage, and Power without a moment to think. Redemption was had for women that day. And she made me breakfast.
I also met a girl recently who had the Zelda heart bar tattooed over her heart. It’s looking up in the universe if I do say so myself. Also this image:
My Hats and Dock Martins:
I look good in hats, I have a full head of hair so I don’t need to cover anything, and Docs are damn comfortable shoes. Just ask any lesbian. Furthermore, I don’t have a lot of money, so I drink the cheapest beer I can find which is often, coincidentally, Pabst Blue Ribbon.
So maybe I look like a Hipster from time to time. It’s basically a strange coincidence of overlapping looks. Honestly I think I just dress like me. And THEY do, too! Take that! I doubt many people who know me well would argue I have a personal style. I don’t care to dress in any way but the way I choose. That’s pretty much the Hipster mantra they never really get behind because they’re too busy conforming and consuming. How can any of them be individuals if they dress in such a way as to have obviously track-able patterns? Being yourself was never so easy to buy. So, do I ever consider adopting more of a hipster look? Well if American Apparel would admit people my size exists maybe I would consider it. And they keep looking at me funny when I walk into Torrid at the mall.
The good news is I look great. Or I think I do… I can’t find my glasses.