The Day I Realized I Was a Hipster

Not that long ago, I received an email from an Austin-based musician very eloquently sharing with me the day he realized he was a hipster. His words were poignant, describing his realization as though he was suddenly inflicted with an incurable disease- Hipstermystalacosis.

I related to his story and I think you will too.

When I was thirteen and running around in suspenders and non-prescription eyeglasses, I knew there was a name for me. For years I fought the label, but gave up my denial of being a hipster when I christened the name of my blog Hipstercrite.

Now when someone calls me a hipster, I shake my head in agreement. I am a hipster and probably always will be.

Hipsters, stand up tall! Unite!

Dear Lauren,

I’ve been an admirer of your page for a few months. I was linked through “TapeBombs,” a music blog run by an acquaintance of mine.

Like you, I am dangerously preoccupied with hipsterism and spend a good deal of my day confronting the issue. The reason I am mailing is because I think I represent an interesting case study: a person caught in the paralyzing fear of his latent hipsterism and shocked into his true identity by a harrowing event.

Here is my account:
I was riding my bike down Duval and the sun was out. At this point I believed firmly in my individuality. Of course, my handlebar wrap matched my brake housing, and the same with the metal cages that held my water bottles; all were red. I wore purple shoes and no helmet. The memory of a triumphant sexual encounter arose quickly, then left.

I was pleased with my performance and didn’t dwell on the details, didn’t analyze a thing. I only recalled the sensations and sounds that make good sex memorable. The day was warm. Readjusting my fingers on bar, I found them to be quite cool; I hadn’t begun to sweat. The best part of the ride.

In the first few seconds of what would be the minute and a half that changed my life, I didn’t recognize the origin of the rumble, growing closer, rapidly becoming a roar, like the slow onset of a far off thunderclap. The sound came from the twin tail pipes of a Chevy Diesel truck. Suddenly, they were upon me. As I turned down a steep hill near 51st and Lamar, I was forced against the curb. The huge wheels of the truck kicked up dust and rocks and I was struck by a few of them. A large white male leaned out of the passenger window, ejecting a thimble-full of spit across the front of my shirt. A beer bottle whizzed over my head. I felt like a frightened Russian Hussar riding against Napoleon, holding out my hand as if to protect myself from the zip of bullets and the whistle of passing artillery.

At this point, about a foot separated my handle-bars and the side of the truck. After a few more terrifying seconds, the truck sped up quickly, finishing the descent and pulling into a parking lot at the bottom of the hill.

I knew what they had in mind. But remember, I was not some pussy hipster. I was not androgynous. I was a man. That archaic sense of honor strengthened me. Four men stepped out (the type of men who buy their groceries at the county feed store). They came at me from thirty yards away, not running, but at a kind of a trot, like this was a leisure activity.

I lept off of my bike and approached them in the middle of the lot. I put my dukes up, lithely shifting from side to side with the assured stance of an experienced boxer.

I think they sensed my confidence, baseless as it was. They stopped about ten feet away. I held my ground. Each wore what looked to be an Ed Hardy tee. Only I didn’t sense the danger then. I was like a cornered puma, fiercer because death clears away the vale of fear. Underneath the decorated tees, the four mens limbs were taut and ready. One word, one altered expression would have uncapped that explosive energy. But there was silence.

The crack of bat, followed by childrens laughter, echoed from the top of the hill. We measured one another. It was the leader who broke the silence. His followers relaxed.
The engagement was apparently broken off, or at least postponed for a moment.

He said, ” Fuck you, limp dicked hipster.”
His friends didn’t laugh, but chimed in. “Pussy! Hipster! Faggot!”
I didn’t reply. I had relaxed my stance. The passenger side agitator spat at me again, but missed. Twenty seconds later the truck was gone and I was left alone in the bright sun.

My world view was completely fucking shattered. What passed through my mind as I gingerly pedaled home was not so much the glorious afterglow of a manly confrontation, but the providential nature of my lot in life. I knew that, so far as the outside world was concerned, I was a hipster. Whatever innate qualities I possessed were in dichotomous opposition to a certain portion of society, whose hatred of my “type” acted as a form of self-actualization. This tension was absolutely necessary, and in a larger sense, determined my ultimate role in history.

I still have not recovered, not fully. Now, when I listen to my own music, songs like “Don’t Try and Take My Guns,” “Burning Panties,” and “You Should Start A Band,” I do not hear the voice of myself, but someone who struggles to hide the mark of an old wound. And while I am ashamed and at times it all seems clownish and sad, I remember that this is what makes good art – that is, fear and its poignant beauty, like a shivering mouse you’ve caught in a beam of light.

My story is that of the reluctant hipster. In your word, “pretending we’re not hipsters is what we do best.” In this way, I am surely the most resourceful of hipsters. But, unlike so many others,
it has enriched my art and given me a new purpose; or more nearly, an enhanced clarity of vision.

Marshall Galactic
of The Frontier Brothers

Marshall Galatic is from the Austin-based band The Frontier Brothers.
You can catch them during SXSW at these shows:

Mar 16 2010 8:00P
Chupacabra Cantina – From the Mind of Adi Showcase w/Peter and the Wolf
Mar 18 2010 1:00P
21st St Co-op Dayparty w/Motel Aviv, Black Taxi, and Federal! State! Local!
Mar 18 2010 5:00P
Good Danny’s Dayparty @ Mi Casa Cantina w/Low Line Caller, Brass Bed
Mar 19 2010 9:00P
Hyde Park Grill South – CitizenMusic Presents: A NYC Mixer w/Outernational, The Bloodsugars
Mar 21 2010 2:00P
Domy Books – What by Whatever Party w/Eastern Sea, Black Taxi, and BLSH
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  • Reply Benny Paul March 15, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    In NYC, it's easy to kid yourself that you're not a hipster if you're not rich. You can say, "I shop at actual thrift stores instead of American Apparel." And that thought can distract you from the fact that you still use flannel shirts and sweaters to make statements.
    But in the rest of the world, a hipster is a hipster, no matter which scale of the hipster ladder you're on.
    Once, I was in my hometown and two of my friends and I were drunk and waiting on line in a pizza shop having some sort of conversation about the female brain. We probably said "feminism" somewhere in there. The guy behind us shouted "YOu have never talked to a woman! All you skinny guys with nice shirts talk so much! Youre all the same!" And he shouted more nonsense about our clothes and our sexuality, and we all shouted some nonsense back at him until a cop escorted him out of the store. Then, while we ate the pizza, we looked at ourselves and our outfits and said, "Damn. We're hipsters!"

  • Reply Juliette March 15, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    This was a really interesting and engaging post.

    I think we've all had that identity crisis of deciding whether or not we're a hipster. It's that innate feeling of wanting to be independent and different, and yet still being stuck to the same dress code and way of thinking. It scares us to think that we are all alike.
    So we lie to ourselves.


  • Reply starcakeastrology.blogspot.com March 15, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    i love reading the posts and comments at the blog!!!!! ^.^

  • Reply Alle March 15, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I agree I think we all have been through discovering ourselves. On the other hand I actually had to google what a hipster is… is that sad? I'm hoping it's the different parts of the US and is not because I'm getting old eek! =)

  • Reply Hipstercrite March 15, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    @Benny- That is a great story! You should write about it if you already haven't.

    @Juliette- Absolutely! I think "hipster" represents lots of people though. It is a good, quick term for describing someone who likes vintage clothing and 80's music though.

    @Starcakes- thanks!

    @Allie- I think the original hipsters were the 50's beatnik kids.

  • Reply inflammatory writ March 15, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I'm not actually a hipster, which I know is the first symptom of being a hipster, but I'm really not. I cannot stand Williamsburg. I avoid going there at all costs. I think Brooklyn is overrated in general. I don't wear trendy clothes (for the most part). I work in finance (day job). I'm married and live in the not cool borough (Queens). I do listen to indie music pretty much exclusively though, and I AM a writer, and I do have a blog, so it's confusing. WHAT AM I LAUREN? TELL ME! (a half-ster?)

  • Reply kisekae March 15, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    wow it is great to see people owning up to being hipsters! this is a very rare quality!

  • Reply Grant March 15, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    @Galatic are you sure you were not wearing your gold spandex onesy? That jumpsuit will enrage any redneck.

    Oh and by the way. I took pictures of you guys during SXSW last year. I wish I would have known who you were back then. I look forward to your show this year you fucking hipster. 😉 I have been rocking your album all year. Good stuff.

  • Reply Mark Rowan March 15, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    wait, hipsters are known for liking 80s music? maybe when yacht rock was ironically/post-ironically enjoyed a couple years ago (maybe still is? i don't know), but it seems "hipster bands are more from today. who else is buying all those Animal Collective records?

  • Reply Allie March 15, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I'm very confused with my hipster status. I'm always told that I'm a hipster, but I don't see it! Although I would like to, I definitely don't dress like one and I don't know if there's some hipster attitude I possess. It's all very messy.

    p.s. your blog is awesome.

  • Reply Ruthie March 16, 2010 at 12:19 am

    The good thing about turning 29 on Friday is that I'm way too old to be a hipster now. So I can't even front. Stay gold!!!!!

  • Reply Mel March 16, 2010 at 1:56 am

    Hm… now that I think about it, I'm not even sure what a hipster is, let alone if I am one. Which is hilarious, since I've blogged the term.

    Does anyone know if there are hipsters in Australia?

    I've been told I'm indie. Is that the same?

    If there was a hipster part of Sydney, it would be the part I'm in.

    I think I'm having an identity crisis. Off to wiki the crap out of "hipster".

  • Reply Marshall Galactic March 16, 2010 at 3:13 am

    I hope everyone enjoyed the post, but the truth is that no one should readily accept any kind of classification. In this way, the account is not meant to be taken seriously. We all have sort of our own souls, even if our friends see us nothing but the shortcomings that make us human and un-exceptional.

  • Reply Christopher March 16, 2010 at 4:02 am

    That was pretty funny. "Owning" the word is what I think they call it.

  • Reply T!nK March 16, 2010 at 6:07 am

    that's awesome. I never really knew what a hipster was until your blog. I like it lol

  • Reply Christine Macdonald March 16, 2010 at 6:09 am

    There's a name for the cure of your disease. More. 🙂

  • Reply Sunshine March 16, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Coming from a small town, I've had points where I was owning several seemingly contradictory labels at once (hippie, goth, nerd…cheerleader). It wasn't until I moved to the city a few months ago that I first heard the term "hipster" which I was simultaneously described as being. I fought it at first because I was clearly being insulted. However, I'm just too happy to find that the things I love are here found in clusters, and all those cute hipster boys are hard to resist…

    I think it's great to be able to define yourself as a certain style, as long you don't let that style start to define you. Classifications should help, not hinder us, in making our lives beautiful.

  • Reply bard March 17, 2010 at 3:08 am

    Your sexy mustache picture is giving me a sexual identity crisis.

  • Reply rvgulley March 17, 2010 at 5:46 am

    When I first moved to Portland, from rural Oregon, I was amazed at the welfare look. Previously, I thought only the working poor and high schoolers shopped at Goodwill and then I realized it's "cool" to buy tight '80s jeans, not wash them and slum it out in the city. I think it would be cool to have a hipster olympics. We could get the hipsters from NYC, Austin, Portland and where ever else they live and let them compete at Pac-Man, drinking Pabst and of course riding scooters. Nobody will have any money to pay for all of this but we can dream, can't we?

  • Reply Austin Eavesdropper March 18, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Marshall, I absolutely loved your story. Well-paced, thoughtful.

    The hipster/diesel-truck-driver is a uniquely Austin dichotomy, no? Other cities have it, surely (St. Louis, for example), but we've got such STRONG representatives from both ends of the spectrum here.

    Anyway, brava Lauren for re-posting. This one was really interesting, and timely too to read during SXSW.

  • Reply Andy March 22, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Aghhh. I still don't know what a hipster is. We don't have the word in England. How will I know if I am one :o?

  • Reply Anonymous January 29, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Is Bigfoot Actual or pseudo? For over 400 years, there have already been reporting’s of a guy like creature that is totally covered in hair.

  • Reply Anonymous July 21, 2011 at 5:24 am


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