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Dear Hipster:

I was thinking about getting a waterbed. Is that cool?

— Bob

Will you not get a waterbed without the okay from yours truly? I would love to wield such absolute control over your somnolence, but be warned, asking another man to dictate the style and manufacture of your bed is risky business. You’re the one who has to sleep in it. That said, waterbeds lack coolness. Sorry to burst your giant vinyl sac of H2O. They belong heart and soul to the swingin’ ’70s. Disco, pet rocks, polyester leisure suits, and the other trappings of that forlorn decade cannot be cool. Want proof? Look at movies about the ’70s (not to be confused with ’70s movies, many of which are as good or better than Smoky and the Bandit). They’re either stupid, funny pastiche (e.g. Anchorman), or dark, serious commentaries about American life during the era of the oil embargo (American Hustle). Chuck Norris and mustaches are among the few popular things from the ’70s that have managed credibility with the 21st-century hipster, but you can consider them the exceptions that prove the rule.

Hipsters these days only venerate the ’80s and the ’60s. We like to borrow the best bits of those better decades, sewing them together into an ironic caricature of peace, love, folksy rock and roll, and hairstyles inspired by our coolest uncles. You know those uncles, they’re the ones who used to take us for Camaro rides and later snuck us a High Life or two at family get-togethers in the 1990s. That last decade, by the way, is not yet sufficiently enveloped in the foggy haze of nostalgia to merit ironic reappropriation. Give it time.

Don’t get me wrong, waterbeds are sexy as hell. Just be ready for your hipster cred to take a nosedive when you tell your friends you got one.

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