Christy Wampole wrote an article for the New York Times a few weeks about living a life without irony. She talked about how the clothes people wear and hobbies they do are almost always done in jest and how that makes them seemingly cooler than everyone else. So, there I was, on the L train in Brooklyn when I looked around me and realized: shit, I look like literally everyone else on this train. Suddenly, the world started getting hazy around me. My super skinny Levi’s started choking the blood to my legs, my American Apparel hoodie was suffocating my torso, and my Urban Outfitters hat was strangling my brain. I took my black plastic Holga out from the pocket of my overcoat and snapped a selfie, knowing it could be the last picture of myself before my imminent demise. Wampole, you sly fox; turns out I’m a hipster. I own all Apple products, I’ve held a series of weird part-time jobs, and I carry around a Moleskine notebook in my stupid- ass jacket pocket.
Anyway, I got off the train and started walking to my destination; an off-the-beaten path little bar where they had a PBR + whiskey shot deal for only $4. Four dollars! Despite the jangling on change in my pocket, my thoughts were clear and concise: this was the life I had chosen.
It wasn’t always like this. I wasn’t always a hipster — I wasn’t even the weird emo/scene pre- ejaculate jizzum that was to be hipster before hipsters were hipsters. In high school, I was a total dandy punk. I’d wear studded belts, jackets with Operation Ivy patches, I’d try to cause as much disarray as a 16-year-old could cause, and I—you know…hated authority? I was the type of punk kid that cool people hated: straight-edge, judgemental, unwilling to listen to anything but pre-1990’s punk and thrash. Yep, I was a total dingleberry.
Why the change, you ask? Well, on a purely superficial level, I looked like a loser. Sure, I wore studs and patches - but they were bright and obnoxious. My pants were always three sizes too big for me (partially because I used to be fat as well), and every shirt I owned was purchased from a thrift store. I remember the first pair of tight jeans I bought; they were from the 1969 brand at the Gap. I remember being beat red the minute I stepped outside in them, something akin to a girl exposing her breasts for the first time. I swore I’d never wear tight pants again until I received my first compliment. From a girl. A pretty girl! It was all downhill from there. The pants got tight, the shirts got nicer, I started wearing brand names…I was slowly getting assimilated into the hipster lifestyle.
Once the change in clothing happened, music and hobbies were next. I expanded my palette into other territories: electronica, house, indie-rock, folk. I always maintained my original taste in punk (and still do) but I let other music in. I’d laugh to myself as I searched through my iPod, skipping over Bad Brains and going to Bowerbirds. Past me would hate current me, I’d always think to myself as I started getting into photography. I switched out my little point-and-shoot digital camera for a vintage Pentax film camera and felt the most intense combination of love and hate for the photos I took. People kept asking why I liked using film and I’d give a grandiose response about how I loved the idea of taking the perfect picture. I would think to myself, as I made this speech, that I should have just answered truthfully: because I look cool holding a film camera. There’s always truth in the funny tendencies which I know I exhibit. Like I said, I think I look cool holding a camera, but I actually like taking pictures too.
Christy Wampole, if only you could see me now. It seems like we’re into the same weird things:
“I find it difficult to give sincere gifts. Instead, I often give what in the past would have been accepted only at a White Elephant gift exchange: a kitschy painting from a thrift store, a coffee mug with flashy images of “Texas, the Lone Star State,” plastic Mexican wrestler figures.”
What’s wrong with cool gifts like that, Christy? You may think it’s tacky and weird, but what if I collected mugs? WHAT IF I COLLECTED MUGS?
So that about covers it. I’m a hipster doofus. I like every band you think I like, obviously I love Arrested Development, of course I enjoyed The Royal Tenenbaums, and yeah I own a bike. I’ll defend it all until the day I die, though. Part of me always thinks I’m doing it for fashion. But you know what? I think I look nice in tight pants, Neutral Milk Hotel is a great band, some pictures look way better on film, and American Apparel hoodies fit well.
I’m not mad at Christy and her article. I’m just saying that this whole weird scene where you think everyone hates the things that they are isn’t what it seems. Tight pants aren’t a crown of thorns.
- Jeremy Glass, Contributing Writer, www.candyandpizza.com