I keep going to Brooklyn and writing profound posts.
(Is irony contagious?)
This weekend, I went to Bushwick, which is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, to celebrate my sister Coco’s birthday 24 days early. We won’t be in the same city for a while, and she wanted to go to Roberta’s for pizza.
I learned three things:
1. Love means taking the L train on the weekend.
2. The world would be a sad place without hipsters.
3. There’s no definitive answer as to what shoe-flinging signifies, but there are many different interpretations, ranging from “announcing a drug deal” to “celebrating the end of school.”
Going to Bushwick, which is supposedly hipster heartland, was an exciting opportunity for me to reconsider some of my attitudes. For years, I’ve rolled my eyes at hipsters without really knowing why, or at what, I was rolling my eyes.
I remember once getting off the train in Williamsburg and being the only person not wearing a fedora or neon-colored sunglasses.
Why did I not find that cute and thrifty?
Do I hate irony, ironically without knowing it?
Was I jealous of their low body weight?
I think what I missed is the fact that not just anyone can be a hipster. It takes a special kind of person to pull it off.
Say you stuck me on a gearless Schwinn bike, got me to buy boots from Beacon’s Closet, and magically lowered my BMI to 11 … no one would look at me and think, “Now there’s a hipster!”
They might think, “I hope she knows how to ride her bike!”
So the definition has to be more profound. To borrow from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, maybe we all know a hipster when we see one.
It’s a mix of whimsy + joy + weirdness, doused in preciousness.
And being able to pull it off.
And you know what? All the good things in life are precious!
Maybe the hipsters have had it right all along.
Consider the alternatives to kitsch and whimsy and irony… aggression, impatience, and missing-the-joke.
Maybe I’ve rolled my eyes at them simply because I’m too old and grumpy and big to be one?
From now on, when people look so much cooler and alternativier than me, I’ll think: thanks for making the world a cuter place.
I’m being serious.