When I studied in Spain for a semester in college, one of the more shocking realizations for me was that Spaniards are very frank. Coming from the South, I was used to “bless your heart” and other niceties as well as a “spare their feelings” mindset. I wasn’t ready for two newfound Spanish friends to pointedly ask me, “Do you like your freckles? In our culture freckles aren’t considered attractive. In fact, they put freckles on actresses when they want them to look much younger—like a child. Freckles are childish.”
I didn’t know what to do with that information.
What would happen if our—the South’s/America’s/Piers Morgan’s (jk)– collective New Year’s resolution was to be more frank with others? What if instead of giving the break-up excuse of “It’s not you, it’s me,” we just said “Your mind is a box of cats and your heart’s a mess…it’s over”?
Clearly we have a desire to be completely candid about a person or situation—otherwise reality T.V. and social media wouldn’t be so popular. It hindsight, telling an ex that they’re a hot mess would have been satisfying, but I’d like to find some happy medium between giving someone the business and completely sugar coating a situation. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but my New Year’s resolution is to find a way to be bold and tell it like I see it—without alienating others. Maybe there’s an app for that…
If you’re like me, you appreciate some things hipsters like, but you’re not ready to take the leap to smoking clove cigarettes and shopping exclusively at thrift shops. I like my lungs just as they are, and I only have one pair of skinny jeans—which currently don’t fit. Darn you Ghirardelli and your deceptive dark chocolate bars! I’ve learned “dark chocolate” doesn’t equate to “healthy.” It’s still better to eat a banana.
To remedy this hipster issue, I’ve developed a foolproof method to becoming “Hipster Lite.”
“Is that like eating Dannon Lite and Fit or opting for Diet Coke versus regular, but still feeling like you’re getting enough probiotics and caffeine?” you ask. Why yes it is!
By using my “Hipster Lite” method you can appreciate obscure bands, knitting lanyards, making your own terrariums, starting your own compost pile, and occasionally making judgmental remarks about less cool people who don’t know who Tilda Swinton is or have never listened to an entire Arcade Fire album. All of this and more can be yours without having to become a vegan or alienating all your “normal” friends with an overly condescending attitude.
Without further ado, I give you Hipster Lite 101:
- Make a music list: Since I don’t own any vinyl and only make it to School Kids Records on a quarterly basis I found making music lists to be helpful. I can still keep up with all the formerly underground bands, and I don’t have to go out and buy a record player which I’d be likely to use as a giant coaster. I usually make my lists based on WKNC 88.1’s morning playlist or the Broken Bells radio on Pandora.
- Shop at Trader Joes: Have you always wanted to try roasted seaweed and mochi ice cream, but don’t have $30 to spend on two non-essentials? Head on over to TJ’s! All your friends will think you’re awesome for eating kelp when it’s not in a sushi roll. Green is cool.
- Make your own jewelry: It’s actually not that hard and when you make your own jewelry you get free reign to call yourself “crafty.” Some of you may be thinking, “the only jewelry I can make is out of macaroni.” Never fear—I’m sure hipsters will think that’s “tots cool.” Plus you can eat your necklace if you get tired of it.
- Do things ironically: Also not hard. Whatever you may think is cool just do the opposite. Normally wearing a scarf in summer would be considered ridiculous. Not so in hipster-land. Wearing a scarf in summer is ironic—it’s cool because it makes no sense. You can wear a scarf anytime. In fact, try and wear the same scarf all the time. With every outfit. Oh and tell people you bought it at an open-air market in Panama. Also cool.
- Drink PBR: This one’s pretty self-explanatory. It doesn’t have to taste good, it’s just about being cool.
So I have this bad habit of looking up a song online and then getting sucked in by the music video. I’ve come to realize that videos nowadays are all about who can wear the least amount of clothing, sing as little as possible, and still be called an artist. I’m more interested in the 80s videos when directors seemed to compete over who could make the most nonsensical movie while spending the least amount of money possible. That was back when lead singers were encouraged to don trench coats and all they had to do was look brooding instead of learning all kinds of choreography. Those were the days. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Because the library’s always a good place to pick up girls…
Tears for Fears: I love this video because it’s so incredibly 80s. There are all kinds of androgynous looking people and the stereotypical socially awkward lead singer pursuing an equally awkward woman with oversized specs. Although, I’d be looking around uncomfortably, too, if I was a librarian and some random guy started singing to me at the check-out desk. And, like the typical 80s music video director, whoever filmed this movie inserted a bunch of things that don’t belong in a library at all–like gas masks, a chimp, and Ghostbuster-esk/anti-gravity special effects. I mean, why not?
2. Nature+animation=something deep
Talk Talk: This is a great song, but I have no idea what the music video means. For some reason it seems like every 80s director thought a trench coat would make the lead singers look edgy. I think it just makes this guy look like a creep. Especially since he’s just standing around an empty zoo by himself, glaring and generally looking moody. I think what really happened was their budget ran out and by inserting nature shots they felt like somehow the video would have more meaning.
3. So that’s where I left my May Pole!
Men Without Hats: I’m really not sure what’s going on here. Fun song, but frolicking through meadows does not a good music video make. And I’ve danced around a May Pole before (when I was 5, ok? Apparently it’s a partially repressed memory, because I can’t remember why I was dancing around it) and they aren’t as exciting as this video makes them out to be. It’s a pole. With ribbon attached to it. Enough said.
I know you have all been getting jittery wondering when I would revisit awesome rocker hair-do’s. So here’s part duex (pardon the pun)…I hope you’re sitting down.
Just about the only thing more wonderful in this video than Alex Ebert’s white suit is his mullet–beard combo. It’s not often someone can pull of a mullet that insights hipsters everywhere to grow one of their own. I’m sure there’s an aspiring 15 year-old musician out in Small Town, U.S. trying desperately the get the beard part going of his own mullet–beard combo. But do take your mother’s advice for now, Lil Bobby, you won’t get a girlfriend anytime soon that way. You have to be established before you can start experimenting with your hair. Take the next hair explanation for example…
Jack White. Enough said.
Salty Sea Dog Hair
I like to imagine Jack Penate appearing on stage saying something like, “Oh buggah, it seems I’ve crashed me boat onto the rocky shores of Britain! Fortunately, I have emerged unscathed with this wonderfully sea-tossled updo and a kind fellow sailor lent me his shirt and gold chain to boot! What say ye, ladies?” Commence with the swooning.
Everyone’s been there. You made a decision that seemed perfectly logical, but looking back you wonder what the heck you were thinking. To ease the pain of having to waffle over those tough life choices, I’ve taken the liberty of laying out a few potential cases of things that may seem like a good idea at the time…but aren’t.
1. Driving under the speed limit–Don’t do it. It’s a bad idea. It makes people angry and you’re only going to encourage perfectly sane people to consider nudging your bumper as a friendly reminder that you should speed up or get off the highway. Driving slow is also un-American and, yes, that’s a word. I’m sure George Bush will back me up on that.
2. Buying in bulk–This is only a good idea if you have an immediate family of 17+ members, more than one adolescent son, or if you own a restaurant. Otherwise just say no to that 5 lbs. bag of pita chips, the year supply of Cod Liver Oil supplements, and the bag of 36 rolls of individually wrapped toilet paper. Buying these items in bulk will only drive up your gym bill and your friends will make fun of you for storing that much toilet paper for one person. Not that I know from experience or anything.
3. Eating during a marathon–I don’t understand the 5K’s where you have to eat a dozen donuts or a pint of ice cream half way through the race. Everyone knows you shouldn’t eat an hour before you swim, so why would it be a good idea to gorge on junk food half way through a marathon?
4. Drumming while driving--A little more on car etiquette…The other day in my rear-view mirror I noticed a man whip out two translucent plastic sticks and proceed to drum on his steering wheel while at a stoplight. He put them away when the light turned green, but just the same, that’s an unnerving sight to see. I like to car dance just as much as the next person, but let’s try and jam out in the car responsibly, people.
So I caved and ordered “Valkyrie” on Netflix. I’ll admit, I had trouble keeping a straight face while watching it. When I saw Tom Cruise in an eye patch I had flashbacks to that David Bowie episode on “Flight of the Conchords” and wanted to yell at Tom, “Wear the eye patch, Brett, wear the freaky, freaky eye patch!”
On a less random note, *wink wink*, I thought I’d share a list of a few things I find both awkward and amusing. Things like…
First dates! I love to hate them. First dates make me so nervous. I usually end up drinking a ton of water at dinner because I’m so nervous, excusing myself to the bathroom half a dozen times, and then worrying the guy thinks I’m avoiding him. Ok so one time I actually was avoiding the guy (really, who thinks “Red Dragon” is a good date movie?). I wish instead of having a one-sided awkward dinner conversation we could just burst into Anna and the King’s “Getting to know you,” and waltz right into date number 2.
Skinny jeans are also awkward, but that didn’t stop me from buying a pair. I secretly want to be a hipster, but every time I think I discovered an undiscovered band, someone tells me “Oh, I love that band!” And I’m still struggling with the hipster’s go-to outfit–skinny jeans and an American Apparel tee. Whoever invented skinny jeans obviously isn’t of German descent or a girl. If you’re either of those–you feel my pain. I have hips. And that makes it difficult to find skinny jeans that fit well. What’s amusing about skinny jeans is they don’t really make you look skinny unless you’re already a waif. Not that I’m bitter about that or anything.
Usually when I hear a song I like on the radio I try and find it on Youtube and listen there first before I buy it . I feel like Steve Jobs already has enough money and I want to make sure my $0.99 goes to a song I’m going to wear out over several years versus a week. Now I know you’re thinking something along the lines of, “Wow, Kelsey, you sure have thought this through, how thrifty of you!” I’ve found this technique is not only budget-conscious, but also introduces me to some lovely trippy music videos and subsequent nightmares. I wonder if some of these directors got ideas for their videos from the Joan Miro museum because theses videos are OUT THERE. Moment of Silence for the following trip-tastic videos:
1. “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes: Personally, I don’t think claymation is ever a good idea. Shows like Gumby and Davey and Goliath were frankly frightening and I’m not sure how they ever got classified as “kids shows.” Seriously, who thought a clay donkey and talking green bean would make the foundation for a successful show to teach children morals? I’m guessing the Fleet Foxes have a different take on the wonders of claymation because they produced the following disturbing video with claymation characters that AGE. The song is great, but the morbid lyrics plus dying claymation characters just gives me the willies.
2. “Daniel” by Bat for Lashes: I enjoy some Bat for Lashes now and then, but I have to say that although they’re a talented band musically, the videos are ridiculous. The video for Prescilla included a couch that eats children and the video for Daniel was just about as disturbing. What’s with all the creepy balloon people? This video makes me think twice about driving alone at night. (Please click on the word “Daniel,” I wasn’t able to imbed this video)
3. “Just Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael Buble. I’m not normally a pop music person, but I’ll admit Michael Buble makes me a little weak in the knees. Mostly because he seems so optimistic and his last name is fun to say. However, this video was not amusing, but rather seizure-inducing. What’s with the rapid changes in camera shots? This isn’t MTV, Mr. Buble. You’re overdoing it. But props to you, Buble, This video did give me hope that one day, I too can spoon with my significant other in a grocery store.