Hipster than ever before

One of the characteristics of western society is its obsession with labels. Taking a cue from this individualist lifestyle, I have decided to self-identify as a Hipster.

2012-09-12a

It’s true. After almost six years in Canada, I have long outgrown any interest in Walmarts, Hard Rock cafes or places that smell like a big corporate entities in general. Instead, I am spotted in independent bars and cafes, discount stores, antique stores and farmer’s markets. This gets reflected in the way I spend my money and time, going to small coffee shops, visiting old clothing stores, cycling everywhere, seeing shows and concerts, and sporting an overall attitude that asserts individuality, independence and non-conformism.

“You are such a hipser, with a blog, a bike and an espresso addiction…”

The internet is filled with discussions on what exactly being a hipster means, and clearly there is no consensus on the definition. (It’s a good thing – the world is excessively filled with precise definitions.)

The subculture is associated with independent music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility, liberal or independent political views, alternative spirituality or atheism/agnosticism and alternative lifestyles.
- Wikipedia

In addition, hipsters are youngish (late 30s max), recently settled urbanites who tend to be educated, embrace multiculturalism and generally exhibit rebellious social attitudes. Unlike the hippie movement of the 60s, there isn’t any particular event that contemporary hipsters associate themselves with. However the subculture has really flourished in the internet age and the age of social media.

2012-09-12f
↑ Skinny jeans, flat shoes, leather jacket but an overall match-it-yourselves clothing style. If it doesn’t work, highlight the independent aspect and criticize others for being conformist. Carry a Macbook (ignoring the irony) to look genuine.

Let me give you a tour of my hipster lifestyle through pictures. It is safe to assume that no two hipsters are alike. It is also possible that hardcore hipsters may dispute my claim and association with that subculture. But one of the hipster characteristic is to ignore others who are critical of you for no reason.

2012-09-12b ↑ The urban, green and environmentalist hipster: Preferred mode of locomotion: cycling (often activist types) or public transit (always advocate types). Occasionally involved in yelling at cars.

2012-09-12c ↑ The nerdy hipster: Recreating exotic medieval lifestyle, sword fights, burning witches, trading virgins, etc., the usual stuff.

2012-09-12d 2012-09-12i

↑ The caffeinated hipster: Always on the hunt for independent cafes sometimes wearing knitted winter hats (even during summer), drinking more espressos and weird combinations like a herbal-tea latte with soya milk.

2012-09-12e ↑ The artsy hipster: Nondescript street bands rock. Cover bands are okay too. Your itunes subscription isn’t. i-pod is so last decade.

2012-09-12g ↑ The foodie hipster: Eating local food and exotic food, shopping in markets, often organic and vegan/vegetarian only. In any case, trying something ‘different’ from the person next door.

PS: It is assumed that you’d Yelp and/or Facebook your observations immediately. You’ll also start annoying grammar nerds by using proper nouns as intransitive verbs.

2012-09-12h ↑ The activist hipster: Parking is such a problem these days… Sign petitions for more bike posts / racks.

2012-09-12j ↑ The self confident hipster: Deceptively queer, and I am not (necessarily) talking about sexuality. Cycling = freedom. Freedom from car companies, insurance companies, oil companies, debt, etc. and let’s admit, it is also faster than cars for driving in the city.

2012-09-12k ↑ The social media hipster: Take pictures of quirky things, colour all pictures in a yellow, purple or green hue (or use instagram (which really annoys me)). Post every little thing on facebook and construct an identity around such behaviour.

2012-09-12l ↑ The trendy hipster: Ditch McDonalds, flock to salad bars and local markets. Eat junk food from an independent restaurant because it comes with extra parsley garnish and sweet potato fries. Comment on needing a carb-fix every few days (while adjusting oversized nerd-glasses) and not being able to resist it.

2012-09-12m ↑ The experimental hipster: Paleolithic diet is only a theory. A hipster will have a diverse palate and will experiment with a wide variety of foods. Often enjoying the tastes, but the foodie exercise is more symbolic than anything else.

2012-09-12n ↑ The vegan hipster: Make vegan baked goods taste extremely delicious, have salads and wraps washed down with a sip of ginger tea because caffeine is bad for you (huh?)…

So those were some of the characteristics that make me a hipster and I am really tempted to work on a followup post. I’ve only touched the surface; hope you enjoyed it!

14 thoughts on “Hipster than ever before

  1. Hahaha, this, chico, is perhaps the most amusing post you’ve had in a while.

    A few questions:

    1) What’s the difference between activist and advocate? You say there’s a correlation between mode of locomotion and activist/advocate. What if the city’s public transportation is so efficient that biking really is not that much better?

    2) You’re implying that being hipster means not only anti-bigcorp but also anti-meat and anti-caffeine. Is this true?

    3) You mentioned something about recreating exotic medieval lifestyle. Now it seems you’re blurring the line between nerds and hipsters. What’s your comment on this?

    • Hi Jeruen, thanks! I am a very shy person, as you know, so I don’t joke around on the blog. Let me try to answer your questions

      1. I assume you are not asking the difference between the definitions of an activist v/s an advocate. You pose a hypothetical question about which I have never thought of because (in my opinion) by the virtue of its very nature, public transit can never be superior or efficient to cycling. A bike gives you power to rebel against everything while public transit battles the car culture. The city may erect barriers and no-bicycle zones but that would be silly and counter to the whole sustainability argument that hipsters make. Let’s say that the hypothetical situation you describe does occur somewhere. A hipster, who cares more about individuality and independence, will likely not care about efficiency of public transit. Does that answer your question?
      2. Yes, you’ll hear people yap about caffeine being bad for you while ordering an espresso; but it’s so good.. sigh! It’s not so much anti-meat as it is anti-conformism. Vegans lifestyle is newish and exotic, so embrace it. I will eat a organic-fed turkey burger as well.
      3. haha, true. After I posted I thought of removing the picture. Afterall there are many kinds of hipsters and many kinds of nerds and it is likely that the two overlap. I should bring it to your attention that hipsters tend to be well educated in specialised areas so there you go.
  2. I’m almost the opposite, went from being a French anarchist to shopping at WalMart! :lol:

    Nah, just kidding (well, I do shop at Walmart, it’s only a 15 minute walk from my place and it’s new, cheap and clean) but I try to mix and think independently. I don’t identify with some parts of the mainstream culture, but at times I feel right in. So I eat my tofu but I also like meat, I listen to old rock but I can appreciate Eminem, I shop online for pop culture t-shirts at Threadless but I boycott Lululemon, I do yoga but I don’t have a yoga lifestyle… Life is fun!

    • Hi Zhu!
      Somehow I can’t picture you going to Walmart! Anarchist, yes absolutely… lol Lululemon is such a phenomenon now, it’s funny because the cult grew right before our eyes!

  3. I think I am hipster-ish. In India, you cannot go with brands all the time because you will lose all your salary within a day.
    And cycling? Here? Yes, if you want to die.
    I agree with going to streetside cafes here like – Pappu chat wala and Ramji ke special chole kulche.
    Well, I think we need to tweak this concept a bit for India.

    • Ofcourse you totally are! I actually had a nasty thought of starting one of those tagging games and asking you to customize it for India. Goodluck!

  4. I finally got done with devouring your personal blog. :P I’d been visiting for quite a while to face ‘no new posts’, but then I changed my email ID^ and so, missed out on any notification. :P

    Anyway, I could notice (through more than THIS post) that you are indeed a textbook example of an INTJ. Haha. :P

    • Hey Jai, sorry you didn’t get any updates.. I wonder what happened but anyway, glad you are back. Ofcourse I am INTJ template :)

  5. I noted with interest while visiting Tucson, Ariz., this summer that in their public transportation system, each bus has a front-loading bicycle rack to accommodate the two-wheeling segment of the population. A bike-friendly city such as Fort Lauderdale would be well served by equipping Broward County Transit buses with bike racks.`

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