What is a Hipster, Anyway?

This one’s kind of an embarrassing topic, but it’s been on my mind since the whole yuccie thing so I’m gonna do what I’m good at: obsessively self-analyze.

I’ve been identified as a hipster a few times in the past. I mean, nobody’s thrown anything at me while pointing and screaming HIPSTER! HIPSTER! but here and there I get the label and I’m not sure what to make of it. It certainly seems to be used derogatorily, at least across any internet comment board I’ve ever come across. So should I be offended? Should I be defensive? Frankly I’m just wondering what actually makes a hipster–at least outside of Portland or Seattle.

I’ve got a beard, and that’s a big one these days. Worse, the corners of my mustache naturally curl at a certain length. No wax or twist for me, but it happens. But I look better with a beard, or so I’m told, so I keep it.

Glasses! I wear glasses despite not desperately needing them to see. But my eyes aren’t that great so I use them to see better when driving at night, or when reading a whiteboard across a classroom. That said, I’m told they look good on me, so I wear them sometimes when not necessary. Another red flag?

Let’s see. I’m a writer–does that automatically count? I use a Macbook Air, but I’ve never brought it to a coffee shop. I don’t like thinking that people might think I’m a writer. That seems counter-hipster. But hipsters are all bout counterculture! So I don’t know anymore. Anyway, I also write longhand sometimes, and once even on a typewriter, which is a definite flag. But then mostly as an experiment, enjoying the physical process of writing as a break from normal keyboard-tappin’.

Clothing. I wear pin dots/polka dots on things–generally socks, underwear, and shirts. In the winter I wear cardigans. Otherwise it’s all t-shirts (some with graphics, some without), jeans (not too tight), and plaid. I care about my shoes, and generally get complimented on them, but I never pay more than $100 for them. Patterned shirts can lean towards hipster, but I don’t think I stand out all that much from most non-hipsters my age, clothing-wise.

There’s music, too, I guess. I listen to old rock, some folk, some mellow indie stuff, a lot of instrumental, a lot of video game soundtracks, and jigs/shanties. I barely keep up with music, though–which of these is hipster?

Okay, those are all the reasons I may be a hipster. Here’s all the hipstery things I don’t do: I don’t care about organic or gluten-free or farmers markets or any of that stuff. I don’t own a bicycle, although now that it’s summer I’ve got an itch. I don’t ever take pictures of my food–ever. I almost never post on Instagram. I’ve never worn a bowtie or wanted to. I hate scarves. I don’t have tattoos. I don’t roll up my jeans. I never wear hats. I don’t “craft” anything, nor buy specially-crafted stuff. I’m not a wine or beer or coffee snob. I’m not a foodie. I don’t own a camera other than my phone. I really don’t care who does or doesn’t listen to my music. I don’t wear hoodies or tight jeans or really low v-necks. I don’t have anything pierced or wear any accessories like necklaces or bracelets. I don’t play any musical instrument especially well. I wouldn’t call my hairstyle trendy. I don’t have an iPhone.

I wonder if anybody actually self-identifies as hipster. Hm.

– H.

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