“Manhood is the defeat of childhood narcissism” – David Gilmore, Manhood in the Making
It’s interesting to see what each generation comes up with to express themselves and their take on the world. For my youthful days it was grunge and before me some horrible 80’s crap that society briefly tried to revisit (I don’t know why because as I previously stated it was horrible). Before that we had the hippies of the 60’s and 70’s and so on, back to the dawn of youth as a culture of significance. Keep in mind I am thinking of this from the perspective of a white guy, because not all of the cultural groups have been inclusive of every race. It’s my white-cultural heritage if you will. More on that later in the article.
The force dominating your Instagram, Twitter feeds and, ironically, advertising, are Hipsters. You’ve certainly seen them. They are the ones that wear beanie caps (toboggans) in the summer time. Loosely fitting ones at that, not the nice and snug ones worn by seafarers. They also tend to be drawn to flannel — respect — and non-prescription glasses. In other words, they wear glasses because glasses are cool now. Go figure. They also enjoy irony, such as dressing down, like a homeless person or the 1970's Dr. Who (the fourth Doctor for you fans), but enjoying only the finest cups of coffee and craft beers and sharing it via their iPhone. Hilarious, right!?
Like most cultural groups before them, their desire to say, “Here I am World, I am different, and you’ll just have to accept it!” is an unexpected rally cry to all of the others, making them not so different after all. Don’t get me wrong, I generally like Hipsters. They are non-threatening and seem to have some sense about them. I would rather hang out with a group of Hipsters and have an actual conversation — when they’re not texting — than visit the previous cultures of drugs and peace and love. So I have some praise for them, but also some advice.
Oh, if you are a hipster — and you know if you are — then you probably don’t want to admit it. You can just read and share this article for the sake of “other” people.
OK, I know what some of you are thinking, “Whoa, whoa. This is a website about manliness and you are going to praise the people who brought us skinny jeans?!” Well, yeah. Let’s not throw the beanie out with the bath water.
You Like Local Stuff
One of the great things about hipsters is that you have en masse said “no” to McDonald’s and other fast food chains many of us grew up with, in favor of the local mom-and-pop shops. Why? Because you understand the uniqueness that only comes from non-franchised local fare. You guys understand there is something special about seeking out a one-of-a-kind coffee or donut shop; the taste and smells and style you can only experience there. It’s authentic, which is a theme of your life and something I’ll speak to throughout this article.
Also, local makes sense. Who wants to ship heavily preserved foods across the country when they can be had in our own back yards with the unique qualities only our local ground can produce? Oh wait, corporations do. Thanks for liking stuff that makes sense.
You Like Facial Hair
It appears that you have revived the lost art of beard and mustache growing. What a fantastic thing the man-beard is! While not every man can grow a mane, it certainly looks cool and shouldn’t be looked down upon by society. It’s ironic (see what I am doing here) that the hipster beards are often well-groomed while the rest of their attire can be rather tussled together.
You Are More Social Than You Get Credit For
Sometimes when I see one of you with your cell phone out, texting or instagraming, or basically just being a rude douche, I want to slap that phone out of your hands just to get a moment of human eye contact. Then I remember how frail you are and I get sad for you. But I also remember all of those great photos I see on Instagram. Photos of people, in places, doing stuff, together. Wait a second, that sound like being sociable!? Then I remember that it takes people to drink all of those lattes and craft beers and shop at antique stores and wherever you get your garments. I like that you don’t spend your time under black lights talking about how you hate your parents. Thanks for enjoying life and sharing it with the world.
You Are an Inclusive Bunch
When I see old pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. rallies, the crowds are speckled with black and white faces. There was something about his message that was inclusive. The 60’s and 70’s had some of that as well. It’s great to see a cultural shift that is inviting, to an extent, to all races and backgrounds, as long as you can be vintage or different enough. Your vintage vibe masks the typical grouping of individuals by social class.
You Search for Authenticity
This in itself is ironic. Many of you grew up at a time when there was no internet, especially not on a phone. You remember a different time and grandparents from a different time. You recognize how the world is always selling to you something trite, but you know there is more. Ironically you try to recreate the authenticity of the past with filters on your pictures and old-looking garments and a slower lifestyle. It’s good that you are looking for it. Thanks for wanting more.
If history is any clue, there will be a time when you are no longer a hipster. It may be hard to believe, but that day is coming. Your style will exist only in the past and coffee shops will close. However, you will be affected by how you are spending your days now. Keep in mind that you only get to be a hipster while your corner of the world remains a soft and easy place. If that changes you might find yourself, and your children, ill prepared to handle the world.
Strength is Still Important
After WWI, Britain found that it had more than a million men of fighting age that were not enlisted in the war because they were severely unfit. Things had become easy in the UK — a man had not been killed in battle for a century –, and the nation had moved towards the ease of city life and desk jobs. The idea of a man needing to be fit had become foreign, meant only for show. You never know what trouble is around the corner. God has gifted men (and women) to become strong, stronger than we could imagine ourselves being. If you want to be authentic, you can’t neglect physical strength.
Don’t Value Intellect Above Virtue
Hipsters, you are a fairly smart bunch. Book smart that is, which isn’t something to be ashamed of. You have interesting, esoteric discussions and, on occasion, you probably impress yourself with your take on the world. That’s great and all, but it doesn’t make you a good person. The character that is desperately needed in this world isn’t lost in some forgotten indie band’s lyrics. It is found in the difficult work of life. Difficulties that are not hip. It is earned. What do you expect from your life and what have you earned? There is a difference.
Learn to Love Hard Work
Whether it’s working outside, in the yard, chopping firewood, or working on an old car, find a difficult task and set to it. There is a softness about you that isn’t just related to strength. There seems to be an idea that you shouldn’t have to work in order to have. Or that work should not be hard. You are untested, and like the comment on strength, you need to feel the weight of life and know that you can stand it. Trust me, the latte will be even sweeter when it’s earned.
Make Your Life About Others
There are a lot of things you are going to have to learn to balance in life, a lot of things you are going to have to say no to because you will be inundated with technology every moment of your life if you don’t. But, one of the things that you will need to lay down is vanity. To be part of the hipster crowd means to find your worth in yourself; how you look, what you eat or don’t eat, the music you listen to, how much and how well you express all of this to the rest of the world, etc. In short, your life is about you. It is a lie that you have likely bought into hook, line, and sinker, and it will be the one they use to ‘sell’ to you. Don’t hang on to it. There is more to life than you.
You Have a Soul. Care for it.
There is more to life than lattes, because there is bacon. But there is more to life than bacon as well. In fact, there is more to life than living here in this shell. At your core you are a spirit. That is the true you. Some of those esoteric questions need answers. I believe there is a God who loves me and has given me a means to be a part of his family through Christ. That may be an antiquated idea in the hipster circles, I don’t really know. But, when I move all of the distractions in life aside, that speaks to me as truth and it helps me to live as a man. I think most of you who read this will get this notion. There is a voice or an instinct that says, “Yeah, that’s right.” Listen to it.
Although I don’t get the summer time beanies or fedoras (you’ll never pull it off like Indiana Jones) or scarfs or leggings, I do appreciate your commitment to year-round winter apparel as I am a fan of the cooler months. You have more of an influence on culture and society than people give you credit for. Use it wisely.