According to Urban Dictionary, a hipster is definied as “a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter”. They also like to wear clothes that were popular in the 1990s and glasses that were popular in the 1950s.
I’ve never considered myself to be a hipster. I wear glasses, but only because I have horrible eyesight and don’t like contacts. I got rid of all my flannel shirts in 1997, and I don’t own a Bon Iver album. I like Kelly Clarkson and superhero movies. I watch “Glee” for the music. I eat organic about 20% of the time, and I can’t stand the taste of coffee. I think Ryan Gosling was robbed in People Magazine’s Sexiest Man of the Year award.
I’m just like any other girl out there, right?
Well…no. I’m not. In fact, I strive to not be like anyone else. I like to wear snarky t-shirts that no one understands but me. I like to freak people out by listening to obscure film scores in my car. I like to whip out stories that start with, “So when I first started listening to Sarah McLachlan in 1994…” Unfortunately this can only mean one thing.
I am kinda…sorta…in a way…a little bit of a hipster. In a totally nerdy, subtle way.
Back in high school, I wasn’t exactly what you would call an outcast. I had a good group of friends, I didn’t get into any trouble, grades were average, and I didn’t get bullied or made fun of (except for comments about my bangs, which, YES, I totally get now). But I didn’t have any stand-out talent like some of my friends, so I felt this need to prove to people that I was cool and different because I didn’t want people to think I didn’t exist. So I started liking things that no one else did, and also hating what everyone else liked.
When everyone started listening to “alternative music”, ie, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, etc, I rebelled and listened to classical. When everyone was watching Chris Farley and Adam Sandler movies, I watched sci-fi and World War II movies.
And okay, I was a total Friends junkie just like the next person. But I also watched Homefront and Roundhouse, which I guarantee you none of my other friends (save one) was watching. Of course I pretended that I was totally NOT watching Party of Five, but that’s total crap. The stupid Salinger family made me cry every week.
I had subscriptions to Entertainment Weekly, US (before they came weekly), and Premiere magazines. When it came to movies and TV, I had to make sure that I knew everything before anyone else. I didn’t go around and broadcast all my knowledge of upcoming movies and shows in the works, but would subtley insert a random comment in conversations.
Random friend: “I want to see that new vampire movie with Tom Cruise in it.”
Me: “Oh, me, too. I remember last year when they cast the part of Lestat, the author Anne Rice was so upset about it because she didn’t think Tom Cruise would do it justice. I guess she’s okay with it now, though.”
Random friend: *obviously in awe of my knowledge*
See? I wasn’t really showing off, but I was letting them know that I was totally aware of this movie a whole year before them. Was I a know-it-all? Perhaps. But there’s a difference between someone who flaunts their knowledge in your face and one who shares little tidbits of information.
That’s me. A tid-bit sharer. Just enough tid-bit to let you know that I’m IN THE KNOW.
And you’re not.
I went through a bit of an information-gathering dry spell once I hit college. I guess that happens when you suddenly have a different group of friends with different interests. I started having different interests, too. I started liking ‘N Sync – but ONLY because it contained two members of The Mickey Mouse Club (Justin and JC) – and I was quick to tell people in conversation that I still had every single episode of MMC on video (still do). The same goes with Britney Spears.
Random Friend circa 1998: “Oh, I love that new song “Baby One More Time”. I’ve never heard of the singer, though.”
Me: (le sigh) “Her name is Britney Spears. I used to watch her on The Mickey Mouse Club way back in 1993.”
Random friend: *obviously in awe of my knowledge*
That’s sort of the mantra of a true hipster, this claim we make on finding certain things first, usually when it comes to music, but it can also apply to other things like movies and fashion.
I wore jelly shoes 25 years ago because they were a dollar, not because they were cool.
Joss Whedon assembled Buffy and the Scooby Gang before he assembled The Avengers.
I bought an iPod when people were still buying Discmans.
Twilight was just some vampire book when I first read it.
I wrote a letter to Christian Bale in 1993 AND got a handwritten response (it’s still framed).
I’ve been watching Star Wars since I was four.
I wore combat boots when I took my driving test in 1996.
Neil Patrick Harris is Doogie Howser.
Nathan Fillion was Captain Mal before he was Richard Castle.
I know all that kinda makes me sound like a snob or a know-it-all or A BIG OL’ HIPSTER, but I can’t help it. Like I said, it comes from a lack of confidence growing up and a need to feel superior to people who were way more popular than me in school. Like I pictured all them in twenty years going, “Oh my God, what’s-her-name was totally way ahead of her time. Who else predicted Ryan Gosling would become a huge star?”
But although I like to stand out with my knowledge of all things obscure, I do crave for interaction with someone who can keep up. It’s what attracted me to my husband all those years ago. He shared a love of movies with me, and we could spend hours talking about things that none of my friends knew about. And since then I have met people who are in the know, people who I can really get nitty-gritty with when it comes to weird stuff like young adult books and Disney animated movies and Battlestar Galactica.
I remember one year at Comic Con my husband and I were sitting in line (what a shock) and this one guy in front of us started talking to us about something random like Batman, or something. I quickly realized that this was a guy who knew his shiz, a guy with whom I could go toe-to-toe regarding things like the Spider-Man reboot controversy, which Doctor was the best from Doctor Who, why Joel Schumacher sucks, why Michael Bay stole our childhood, why casts from shows like Firefly and Freaks and Geeks will never be that perfect again. I didn’t know this guy from Adam (though it turned out that he was actually friends from Seamus Deaver from Castle, of which I’m thoroughly jealous), yet here we were for five hours debating about nerdy crap that no one but my husband gets to hear from me.
I felt powerful, like a nerdy lawyer. I didn’t feel like a hipster, I didn’t feel like I was bragging to someone about being knowledgable, I didn’t feel threatened that this guy might know more than me.
I felt like I fit in.
Now before you go and start judging me, please take into account that we are ALL hipsters to certain point. We all have that little thing we SWEAR we liked before everyone else did. I know there are people out there who got into Lord of the Rings before I did, or who started reading Harry Potter before I did. I will never be able to say that I listened to Nirvana before they got popular. I’ll never be able to say that I started going to Comic Con back when it was just comic books. I’ll never be able to say that I was one of the first people to ever play World of Warcraft.
And I don’t know a damn thing about football.
But to those people I say this:
Congratulations. You win round one.
But I’m still claiming discovery rights on Ryan Gosling.
I totally called that one.