I’ve recently moved into San Diego, and into my first apartment post-college that’s really mine. At least, it’s mine and my roommate’s because there’s no way I could afford a 1BR spot for myself. It’s straight up too expensive. I work as a barista (hence the anonymous message, as I don’t want my regulars to identify me), and I earn what I actually thought would be pretty good money, considering the relatively high minimum wage in California. As I adjust to the high cost of living a normal life, I have to say, my mind is completely boggled. How can so many hipsters hold down stereotypically “hipster” jobs (like mine!), yet still freely enjoy hipster extravagances like craft beer, $8 avocado toast, Polaroid photography, designer beard tonics, and vinyl records?
— Broke Bro in North Park
Irony of ironies when you can’t afford to live in the neighborhoods you’re constantly blamed for “ruining,” drink at the bars you allegedly love, or score sweet deals at thrift shops and yard sales because all the good stuff ends up on eBay, subject to low-rent arbitrage by resellers. Irony’s great till the joke’s on you.
Because this million-dollar question demands my best, twenty-eight thousand dollar answer, I’ve dedicated several weeks to this scenario. First, I suggested subsidizing a hipster lifestyle through selling the hipster lifestyle to others. Later, I instructed poverty-stricken hipsters to think long and hard about their life choices, and to prioritize only the hippest. This week, we’re getting cynical.
Step Three: Avoid Children
You could take this literally, and stay more than 100 feet from all children at all times; but that prescription is more often applied to terrible people. I mean you need to avoid bringing any children into your life unless strictly necessary.
For starters, children can really cramp a hipster lifestyle. Do you enjoy the ancient ritual of going out on Saturday night, drinking too much, sleeping in on Sunday, then going out for brunch (with ample recovery drinking) with the friends you went out with Saturday so you can talk about how drunk you all got the night before? Too bad. Soccer practice starts at 8 am sharp on Sunday, and the nice moms will Facebook shame you for arriving late and bleary eyed. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
What’s that you say? Willing to make minor lifestyle changes in order to experience the ultimate #lifegoal of producing tiny humans who look like you and make cute, gurgling noises? Think again! Most hipsters are too darn socially responsible and well educated to try bringing up baby in modern America without a six-figure salary and a 529 plan, both of which can be hard to accomplish if you’re keeping it real instead of selling out to corporate America. We’ve all read and internalized the cautionary tales. Modern life has rather unfortunately come to a point where, unless you’re born into the lap of luxury, you can live for yourself or live for someone else; not both.
The sad fact of the matter is, hipster life is made for D.I.N.K.s and single persons. Sometimes, the surest way to avoid becoming a trope on some blogger’s think-piece about the futility of supporting a family on minimum wage is to make sure there’s no family to support. I wish I had a more cheerful solution, but I warned you this would be cynical.