As I hope you heard today, the Colin McEnroe Show explored the world of (f*cking) hipsters. I, of course, tried to prepare him by sending him a link to my exploration of the nefarious world of New London hipsters. I also tried to call in but apparently CT was anxious to talk about the subject because I kept getting a busy signal — so I’ll share my insights here.
Obviously I’m the arbiter of all that is cool in Connecticut, but you’d never guess it to look at me… because I look eternally un-hip. From one day to the next you can’t guess if I’ll look like a frumpy librarian, a slutty librarian, a yachting enthusiast, or someone who just finished cleaning houses (complete with bleach stains and old ugly t-shirts). One thing is clear no matter what style I’m adopting that day: I own cats. So, it’s safe to say, I am not a hipster.
I reluctantly bought a pair of skinny jeans this winter when I realized my winter boots weren’t doing me any good in the 6 feet of snow because I couldn’t tuck my pants into them. So I squeezed my ass (which tends more toward Beyonce territory than Rilo Kiley territory) into some skinny jeans and reluctantly took my first real foray into the world of hipsterdom. And I say this realizing full well that I lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in a shitty apartment on the 7th floor of an old warehouse and drank a lot of Pabst Blue Ribbon and cheap well drinks at Anytime.
Every morning when I got dressed up and headed to the subway looking like an actual professional adult, I felt the judgmental eyes of the tragically hip upon me… that and the eyes of thousands of Hasidic Jews. I walked past people who somehow made a living as glass blowers (that shit was beautiful) and people who somehow managed to survive on cocaine and crappy beer. Getting off the train in mid-town was a relief. All the Nutmeggers and Jerseyites on their way to work have a way of making you feel way less lame.
But imagine my chagrin when I moved back to CT and saw that the virus was spreading.
I have two main problems with hipsters. As someone who grew up in a very working-class family, I find the way they’ve co-opted working class looks as fashion incredibly annoying. As someone who is chronically lazy when it comes to making myself look presentable, I loathe all fashion that takes hours to look effortless. When I look like I just rolled out of bed, it’s because I did, in fact, just roll out of bed.
Despite the occasional sighting, it seemed that all the real CT hipsters were flocking to Brooklyn. My friends who had once been hardcore kids and had morphed into thin-framed, skinny jean wearing, mustachioed flannel-wearers were certainly leaving the state (and for the record, as far as I know, none are trust fund babies and are supporting themselves like actual adults). Some of them wear jeans so tight, and scarves so pointless, that they make me fear for their childbearing future. Some are the same wacky fellas I knew in high school, only with silly mustaches. And one, who returned to his home state, is wandering the streets of New Haven with a crazy haircut, looking more like the local eccentric recluse than an actual hipster (now that’s what I call “cool”).
Just as I was starting to think the hipsters — who are defined by their endless pursuit of “cool” and “individuality” which inevitably ends in the exact opposite — were all leaving in search of greener pastures, I encountered New London. Littered with dive bars, artist communities, and actual working class neighborhoods ripe for gentrification, New London is the perfect place for a certain kind of hipster. I just can’t figure out which type.
Either the true individuals among the hipster subculture are carving out a niche away from their more urbane brethren, where rents are cheap and there are no apartment brokers, or hipsters who just aren’t up for facing the rigors of life in a bustling metroplis that they’ll eventually leave for life in a quiet CT town anyway are making a weird compromise. I’d investigate this more, but then I’d have to talk to them…and I just don’t want to do that.