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Dear Hipster:

I think I have a rather unique problem. I am a member of a private, co-ed book club. We are mostly middle-agers, with a few younger and a few older people mixed in. We meet monthly, ostensibly to discuss a book, though I would say our get-togethers are about 95% social, 5% literary. To put it bluntly, the whole “book club” aspect of it is more of a tongue-in-cheek ruse over which we congregate. I don’t have a major problem with that. Though it would be nice to flex my intellectual muscles a bit more, I’m happy to just hang out with some great ladies and gentlemen. My hangup is over the choice of venue. Always, the group agrees to meet at some hipster cocktail bar where I never like the scene, if only because my tastes run elsewhere. This hampers my enjoying book-club nights. My friends relish the chance to collectively inspect a trendy new spot together, and I feel left out of the fun. We choose meetups by loose Facebook consensus, so my minority’s voice never gets heard. I would think I’m entitled to enjoy my share of our evenings together, so, will I alienate myself if I request an occasional change of venue to somewhere more suiting my personal tastes?

— Not Into It

You must feel like a hipster headed for Coachella who, through a laughable series of madcap misadventures, keeps ending up at Stagecoach: not necessarily having a bad time, but slightly fearing what would happen were you revealed as an imposter.

Wonderful as it is to feel special, stripping away the specifics of your situation, I doubt you’re the first to wrestle an incongruity between yourself and the members of a group into which you otherwise fit comfortably. Sorry, I shouldn’t minimize; but snark is the hipster way, and there’s useful perspective there. This is not an impossible social hurdle. As a supposedly equal member of the group, you have every right in feeling entitled to your 1/15th share of decision-making.

Video:

The Wrath of Khan

In reality, the facts may differ. Consensus, after all, is about protecting the best interests of a group, and sometimes the individual must sacrifice. It’s not The Wrath of Khan here, but if everyone else agrees over when and where to meet, then perhaps these are your lumps to take for the pleasure of your group’s company, which you admit to enjoying above all else. Perhaps if you augment your book-club activities (check with your local library), you’ll feel less pressure to extract maximum bookish intellectualism from your friends’ group.

Plus, let me just say, you are so missing out on a golden age of accessible epicurianism, and you don’t have to give up your own tastes to indulge your friends’.

Hipster foodie trends democratized a lifestyle formerly reserved for the 1 percent. Gone are the days when gastronomy came with strict prereqs, like knowing obscure French wine labels (with lots of “research” trips to back it up), a taste for foie gras, and standing reservations at the isolated temples of haute cuisine with their white-linen table cloths and mandatory sport coats. There’s something egalitarian about the idea that a bunch of book-clubbers meeting over gin and St. Germaine cocktails are following in the footsteps of the old guard, high-society types like M.F.K. Fischer and Craig Claiborne.

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Comments

goldtwh Aug. 10, 2016 @ 5:35 p.m.

Be happy you have a book club that actually meets every month. I joined one and 3 out of 6 months it was cancelled "at the last minute" , the book changed well into the month period (certainly after one would have purchased and begun reading the book), and meeting in less than an ideal location. It's sounds like you have a fun group of folks that just want to get together and visit, even if it is around the book club ruse. Enjoy your friends and read because you want to. JMHO

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