I recently had a conversation with a friend about how I have a lot of hipster-style leanings and I tend to want to go to hipsterville locales. Despite this, I have a hard time proclaiming myself a hipster. In a Catch-22 way declaring you’re not a hipster but love hipster style or have always been into hipster style somehow makes you doubly a hipster. (Best hipster joke: Why did the hipster burn the roof of his mouth eating pizza? He ate it before it was cool.)
At the heart of negative feelings about hipsterism is a disdain for ironic usage of stuff and a lack of authenticity. The problem I have with calling myself a hipster is that I am actually fully in love with things old. My 1960s-ish hipster glasses are cool because they look old, not because they are so uncool they are cool. I pay my rent and feed my face thanks to history. I’m in painful depths of debt because of studying history in college (undergrad and grad). If my closet has vintage and my favorite places to go are old buildings, it’s not because I’m trying to be cool, but because old crap is my preferred way of life. I’ve just lucked out that retro is so in right now, which makes a lot of old leaning styles more accessible.
So I don’t live a life of irony, I live a life that is authentically me. That’s pretty much been my M.O. my entire life, and I’ve taken plenty of slack for it, so I’m just going to enjoy that what is me and what is hip decided to cross paths in my 20s. The only thing that’s really changed as an adult is that I have more freedom in making choices in what I purchase and where I go at any given point in time. I’d say my style has changed because I can actually go out and purchase old clothes and I’ve realized that particular decades look better on me. I wear a lot more 1950s and 1960s style stuff because it looks good on me, not because it’s trendy or ironic. (On a side note, can we kill the word ironic, along with literally and interesting, because these words have pretty much become so overused they’re meaningless. Everytime I use the word “interesting” I feel so lazy and disappointed in my vocab choice. Though maybe to everyone their own since someone told me they thought awesome was overused and I love awesome. Awesome is an awesome word.)
Now this all sort of leads to where I wanted to start in the beginning. I have an NRA poster in my living room. Now, to modern day readers this probably conjures up images of guns (whatever your political inclinations are then determines whether it’s a small child shot down at an unjust age or a bad ass looking hunter exercising his amendment rights). But to me, NRA = a love for things 1930s, an admiration of President Roosevelt, and an interest in the politics of the time. Because to me NRA means National Recovery Administration.
I had some hesistation about sticking this up in my living room. I don’t expect non-history people to have any association with NRA other than the often maligned/often celebrated group centered on gun issues. But it’s a cool original poster that makes me think of my favorite decade to study (and also makes me think of the Shanghai Lil musical number from Footlight Parade – all good things).
There is also a tiny part of me that thinks its pretty cool to have an inside joke on my wall (the inside being all the people into early 20th century history). I’ve already confused one non-history person, who was concerned I was a big National Rifle Association fan after seeing the poster in one room and an outline of Texas in another room. It’s the 1930s and where my brother lives – no guns involved at all. Does my pleasure in confusing people make me a hipster? It doesn’t matter because I love my old timey poster and the warm fuzzy history feelings that it conjures.
I might be a food hipster though. That I might agree with.