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Byron Shire
April 20, 2024

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox #195: How to be a Hipster

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How do you become a hipster? Is it by accident or design? Do you just wake up one day and realise that you’ve miraculously transformed from geeky nerd into Mr Cool?

Gone are the acid-wash jeans and the Gap t-shirts and low-rise Converse; you now belong to a tribe of über-trendy understatedly affluent groovers who just happen to wear the same shirts, get the same tattoos, wear the same glasses and grow the same beards.

Social trends puzzle me. Generally the trend is around being an individual, about breaking free from societal conventions. You know you have achieved individual trend status when there’s a large group of other individuals all doing exactly the same thing. The important thing about being a hipster is that you need to be able to identify each other in a cafe otherwise you won’t know which one is the hipster cafe and you might accidentally go to a cafe full of people who aren’t hipsters.

If you can get your toddler to grow a beard you will be king of hipster hill.

That is why they need the hipster uniform: tattoos, checked shirts, retro dresses, horn-rimmed glasses and kids. Oh yes, small children are amazing hipster accessories as long as they have hipster names like Bear, Scout or Chai Latte. Hipster babies must be attired in tiny hipster clothes like baby rock shirts with jeans and bandanas, otherwise they might forget to take them home. If you can get your toddler to grow a beard you will be king of hipster hill.

If you don’t have a hipster kid you have to get a hipster dog. It’s mandatory. Border collies, pit bulls, staffies, pugs and terriers are all hipster. Hipsters don’t have labradors or golden retrievers. I’m sorry, they’re just too obvious. If you have a wolf, you win; you don’t even need a beard – you get gold-card hipster status.

Not all dogs or kids suit the look, so if they can’t be styled into the understated ‘I fermented these shoes myself’ vibe, then they’ll be spending a whole lot of time at Grandma’s. Grandma is now missing her beloved laminex-and-vinyl table setting because her hipster kids talked her into substituting it for the one they bought her from IKEA because, unbeknown to Grandma, she’s sitting on a hipster retro goldmine.

How does this happen? Was there a hipster meeting I wasn’t invited to? I guess I shouldn’t have expected to be included, because at 47 I am too old to be a hipster. Also a bit too fat. I could however be the parent of a hipster but I don’t have anything groovy enough to be used in their new paleo cafes.

There definitely had to be a meeting; it was there that a few ground rules were established. Beards were voted in. Men without beards have to wear horn-rimmed black glasses. If you can wear a beard and glasses you’ve nailed it straight up. Clearly only menopausal women can grow beards and we’ve established they’ve been exempted from hipster membership owing to age and the fact a lot of them have labradors.

All hipster ladies need to wear glasses. Even if they don’t need them. Spend a few hours a day close to the TV and in a few weeks you should at least need glasses for short range. Otherwise fake it. Hipsters have to have tattoos. Lots of them. You don’t even have to like them. Just fill up those arms and legs with words and pictures, preferably tattoos of other people with beards. In fact the sleeve thing is a must. It’s an instant global hipster identifier.

While women can’t grow beards they are encouraged to welcome back the downstairs lady-beard, and armpit hair has also been voted in. Leg hair will have to wait because you can’t see hipster tattoos if they are covered in hair. There will be a lot of crafting. Knitting, crocheting, felting, you name it; if your kid doesn’t have a felt lunchbox you’ll be kicked out of the club. You can’t eat sugar – unless it’s got some sort of meat base.

At what point do ‘individuals’ who reject mainstream fashion realise they all look the same? I feel sorry for the blokes who wore flannies, had tatts, and had beards before the trend. These previously proud conscientious rejectors of fashion have had their ‘look’ stolen. But don’t worry, they will get it back, because all trends die out eventually. We’re almost at peak hipster and I predict that after a decade of parenthood all the hipsters will be fat and middle-aged with pattern baldness, pumping their trust funds through the pokies. Just like us.

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  1. Sounds like someone is stuck her whinging whining 47 year old rut. So passionate and so discriminating and yet so uninformed. I have a beard cause, well I’m a man, hair grows on my face and I have every right to grow it as I please. I eat well because I prefer to look after my body and support local organic producers. Tattoos, maybe you should get one , similar to the one I have of a mate who is recently deceased. Labradors are the cutest, infact my mother who I love dearly had one as a visual aid until recently. As for all the fashion advice you have, yeah fashion will change but let people have fun with self expression, even the 47, 57 and 87 year olds, they are all part of the club that perhaps you are too afraid to personally get to know.
    Until then, I suggest you stop eating white bread, shopping for “sensible slacks” and let your hair down, and please don’t pass your biased views onto your children and more importantly your Labrador.

  2. Yes Kaz it is Satire. I think bearded one is insecure about his own identity that he feels Mandy his having a dig at how he looks and people like him.
    I think Bearded one that Mandy feels very comfortable at who she is ( she might even be a individual ) and I am sure if she has kids they are doing just fine. They might even grow up not wanting tattoo’s.


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