The goatee and affinity for local beers don’t tell the story

A sliding scale of hipsterness

The look of universal equivocation
  • The look of universal equivocation

Dear Hipster:

Sadly, I must inform you that shrimp are crustaceans, not molluscs as you stated. I’m certain I’m not the only amateur marine biologist giving you crap about this. I enjoy your column, though. How old is “too old” to be a hipster? Is it just a state of mind or do you have to wear trendy plaid shirts and skinny jeans with chukka boots? I ride my bicycle, have a goatee, and enjoy local beers. Is that enough?

— Honzo

Given that you actually were the only person who wrote in, I wonder: does that make you feel better, or worse? Was it a joke you didn’t get or an oversight so slight that it escaped notice by all but the most observant?

Could honestly be either way. I’m not 100 percent sure myself.

I think you technically asked three questions, to which I answer: Never. Yes to both...and...maybe? While I answer your last question, try to picture me shrugging my shoulders and doing that thing with my eyebrows that people do when they equivocate; you know, kind of scrunching up my face like someone handed me a scrumptious bon-bon but it was actually a chocolate-covered brussels sprout.

Maybe it will be helpful to imagine a sliding scale of hipsterness. At one extreme, you have the undeniable hipster: the kale-munching, pour-over-coffee-slurping, obscure-music-listening freelance writer wearing skinny jeans and a vintage tweed jacket with sweet elbow patches. You know, me, more or less.

At the other extreme you have, like, the least hipster person imaginable; maybe an IRS tax auditor who drives one of those baby Hummers, lives for the weekend, and unironically listens to Nickelback.

Louis CK on racism and forklifts

Somewhere along the spectrum of hipsterness, nestled smugly between those two extremes, rests the threshold beyond which one is certifiably hipster. Unfortunately — much like the line separating that Louis C.K. joke about the forklift and that one white girl who wore Halloween blackface again this year — nobody knows where it is till it’s been crossed.

You know hipster when you see it.

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