Does the realm of hipsterdom have a maximum age limit? That’s a question I have often asked myself. Can someone like me, who soon will be facing the 40th high school reunion squarely in the face, really be considered a hipster? Or is that moniker tightly reserved solely for those in their 20s and 30s?
I wish I knew the answer, for, as one who came of age, so to speak, during that cultural wasteland known as disco, I would really like to know. Even today, I feel totally ripped-off that my youth was wedgied (yes, I meant that) in-between the iconic years of long-haired, peace-loving hippies and the big-hair era of the 1980s. Just the mere thought of disco being used to characterize the music of my late teens and early 20s makes me want to puke…on a pile of disco records.
Despite my age, I have found myself long identifying with many aspects of the hipster culture, ethos, and mystique, even before it was categorized. Here are my qualifications as a hipster wannabe:
- I regularly ride a folding bike to/from work and for errands whenever Lansing-East Lansing’s annoyingly long winters get out-of-the-way;
- I am and have been a passionate progressive in my social and political beliefs;
- I have worn plaid for many years, as if it were the one-and-only shirt option ever invented for men’s fashion;
- I maintain a goatee or a chinstrap of graying facial hair, which granted is not a long beard, but seems to fit the bill well enough – perhaps more beatnik in style than hipster;
- I enjoy wearing many types of headgear during most of the year, particularly Michigan’s own Stormy Kromer hat (preferably in plaid) for cooler weather and an Irish fisherman’s hat for other seasons;
- For as long as I remember, I have listened nearly exclusively to new, cutting edge indie and alternative music – exposure to a variety of music styles and genre is one of the great things about living in a college town. Little or no classic rock for this dude;
- I love beer, even the occasional PBR, but prefer craft beers – sure hope that is not an automatic disqualifier;
- I indulge in reading thought-provoking books and enjoy learning new cutting-edge theories, ideas, or theses;
- I love both witty banter and writing, particularly coming up with puns or similar wordplay and then driving friends and family crazy with them; and
- I have recently acquired the ultimate hipster fashion statement – thicker frame glasses (Ray-Ban’s no less).
So, knowing all those mundane details, does my AARP membership automatically disqualify me from joining the ranks of America’s hipster ethos? Or am I just a poster child example of a late middle-ager who simply won’t grow up…or grow old? No matter the answer, I do not plan to change my long-established ways. I was just wondering how to best classify myself on the modern periodic table of social hierarchies.