Culture Magazine

Who Are Hipsters, Really?

By Lucasmcmillan @LucasMcMillan

Hipster

I live in a city that’s teeming with hipsters. The city’s cup overfloweth with these people. Everywhere you turn, there’s a guy with a curly silent film-era moustache and leather work boots looking disinterested, or his girlfriend (not girlfriend, exactly, but whatever, they don’t like labels) with enough piercings and aggressively colored tattoos to stand out at Sturgis. They are everywhere, and I know nothing about them. Hipsters seem to exist in a vacuum outside of the rest of society. They don’t seem to work, but they have shitloads of disposable income. They’re considered cool, but they don’t really ever say much. They’re involved with art somehow, but they don’t create anything. They could be 18 years old or 38. I can’t tell.

What do hipsters exactly do? As far as I know, sitting on a fixed gear bicycle at a traffic light and smoking menthol cigarettes doesn’t pay well. Or pay anything, actually. Yet hipsters have money. They go out drinking all the time to maintain the “tortured artist with writer’s block” thing, and slam enough coffee to adequately replicate an amphetamine high. But even twentysomethings with perfectly-unperfectly coiffed hair still need money and a place to live, right? Hipsters’ facial hair, laissez-faire hygiene, tattoos and ridiculous wardrobes rule them out of any sort of professional or office environment, and their holier than thou attitudes are too shitty even for the service industry. In other words, who the fuck signs their paychecks?

We all see hipsters in the wild (their natural habitats being dive bars, coffee shops and brick walls to lean on aloofly), but there is more photographic evidence of Bigfoot than there is of a hipster home. What hole do they crawl back to at night after a long day of whatever it is that they do? We need a dedicated cadre of nature photographers to figure that one out. Presumably they’re not homeless, but maybe that’s “in” now. God knows looking like a homeless person is; the hipsters have got that one down pat. So who knows.

In an effort to figure out exactly who these people are and what they do, I’ve observed them for quite some time. Through my extensive research at overpriced coffee shops and outdoor festivals (doesn’t seem to matter to hipsters what the festival is celebrating, as long as it is outdoors), I’ve gathered a pretty rudimentary list of things hipsters seemingly enjoy (or at least enjoy as much as they allow themselves, what with The Man keeping them down and all). Here goes: coffee, thick-rimmed glasses, apathy, plaid, cigarettes, community college, antiquated facial hair, holding books in public, scarves regardless of weather, minimal eye contact, large watches, 1-2 black friends, bands they think you don’t know, movie theaters that serve alcohol (to be fair, everyone likes this), vintage whatever, the idea of the 1980s.

Am I missing anything? If we can collectively come up with more hipster traits, maybe, just maybe, we can zone in on who these people actually are.


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