Photograph by David Shankbone
How are you qualified to be the authority on all things hipster? It’s not like one can go out and get a PhD in Hipsternomics from Stanford. Please don’t take this the wrong way, as my intent is not to impugn your credibility. I’m honestly curious.
The inability to acquire any degree in the arts and sciences of hipstering is what makes this such a difficult job to acquire in the first place, let alone hold down. Imagine if one could trot off to Harvard, spend six or nine years thanklessly student-teaching and researching for the benefit of full professors who take all the credit; polish off a quick dissertation on the correlation between organic food intake and jean skinniness (that few will read); enter a comically oversaturated job market; and ultimately face the choice between underemployment or moving to West Bumfart, Indiana for a job at the one institution that values your area of expertise enough to wildly underpay you. If it were that easy to become a hipster expert, anyone could do it!
I got my degree from a place called Life, a.k.a. the School of Hard Knocks, that, if I’m being perfectly honest, aren’t nearly as hard as I make them out to be when I’m talking up how hard the knocks are. If you want to this job, you need to sniff hops with craft beer neckbeards and master the zen of discovering a playable record at a Goodwill that isn’t by some long-forgotten soft-rock hasbeen. You must be able to unironically complete the sentence, “My favorite John Waters movie is…” and ironically rank the Twilight movies from Least to Most Likely to Make You Crave an Abusive Co-Dependent Relationship. These skills are not easily acquired. Most people are too busy raising families, developing successful careers, and contributing to their 401(k) plans.
I’m qualified for the same reason the Car Talk guys were qualified over other wisecracking auto shop owners. Sure, some other hipster could probably do the job, but they don’t, so here I am.
A few of my friends were discussing whether certain business establishments would survive the pandemic, or, more accurately, pandemic-related economic hardship. We all agreed that a local watering hole (I’ll let it remain anonymous) would probably join the list of business casualties, but I was perplexed when one of my friends said it was no big loss because the place was “a total old man bar.” I feel like she is making that up, but is that actually a thing? I figured you might know.
Old man bars are often mistaken for generic dive bars, because the difference between any old dive and a real old man bar is pretty subtle. The former is a place you go for lots of noise and unexpected good times that you will tell stories about for many years, while the latter is somewhere you go because it will be quiet enough for you to tell stories about all the unexpected good times you had when you were younger, but for which you no longer have the energy or the interest. Hipsters like to drink at old man bars sometimes, and they like to say they feel “welcome” there.
They’re not welcome there.