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The Non-Expert


Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we explain how being a hipster is not necessarily a bad thing, and show how to determine if you are, in fact, really one of them.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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Question: A friend of mine recently called me a “hipster,” and, I’m sorry, but I take offense to that. What’s so wrong with being a hipster? I mean, isn’t being interested in cool things, well, a good thing? —David

Answer: Sure, it’s great to be interested in music, fashion, art, and all the other fragments seen floating around your everyday hipster’s apartment. But many hipsters take offense to the term only because it is so reductive, implying they are nothing more than their interests. Sure, for some this may be true (those who believe Volkswagen ruined the song), but it certainly isn’t applicable to all (those who still like the song and also bought a Jetta).

Are you really a hipster? Here’s a list of signs you may be one—and we’ll let you decide if that’s ultimately a good, or bad, thing.

Signs You May Be A Hipster

You have paid more than $100 for used shoes.

You are 28 years old and still embarrassed to be seen out at dinner with your parents.

You stopped listening to your favorite band because your Abercrombie-wearing cousin told you he likes their new single.

You have on occasion said you never watch TV, but you know exactly how many times and under what circumstances Rachel and Ross broke up and got back together.

You also know where this season’s Real World was shot.

You throw the devil sign in photos—even at weddings… especially at weddings.

You started a band last week—actually three bands. Two broke up because you couldn’t agree on a name and the third disbanded because you couldn’t find anyone to be in it, and because you couldn’t agree on a name.

You will start three new bands next week. One will someday have a song used for incidental music on Road Rules. You, however, will already have quit them by then.

You have very precisely removed a GAP tag from a pair of jeans.

You wore a pair of GAP jeans to a party, and when no one noticed they were from the GAP you made sure to work the point into conversation.

Within two weeks you go through goth, country, and preppie phases, each involving a completely new record collection, wardrobe, and haircut.

For none of the following reasons:
—for job/work
—to attend school
—to be with a serious boy/girlfriend…

you moved to one of the following cities:
—New York
—Los Angeles
—San Francisco
—Portland, Ore.

You had a tattoo removed based on what you read in a “WHAT’S HOT/WHAT’S NOT” column in Vanity Fair, which you don’t read, except when you do.

You broke up with someone because your styles were diverging.

You pay your rent with a platinum card.

You made friends with a homeless guy, then got upset when he puked on your boyfriend.

You stage-dove during karaoke. You “hated” the song anyway.

You wore a trucker cap into a truck stop and felt scared.

You dated someone because they knew Kim Gordon.

You dated someone because they knew Thurston Moore.

You dumped someone because they knew Steve Shelley, but no one else in the band.

You can tell when a band sounds just enough like Joy Division, but not too much, you know?

You seriously considered leaving a party, going home, changing clothes, and coming back because your pants flared too much. Or not enough.

You ended a friendship because a friend who you told about a new band told another friend about that same band, but didn’t tell that friend that they originally heard about them from you.

You boycotted shampoo for two years because you liked the way not shampooing made your hair look.

You talk bad about the city when you’re in the country and bad about the country when you’re in the city.

For three weeks you told anyone who would listen that Blonde Redhead is a “poor man’s Unwound.” Then you went to their show and said it there too.

You’re too cool to smoke pot with your parents.

You dry-clean your jeans. Or you don’t wash them at all.

You could, if really drunk, explain when it is and when it is not appropriate to dance at a concert. If not drunk enough, you will trash the person asking you to explain this. But you will drink more and the truth will come out.

You hid a Jimmy Eat World CD under your bed before your friends came over.

You started a conversation with a friend talking about how glad you are to see them and ended it talking only about yourself.

Sign You Are Not A Hipster

You honestly don’t understand why anyone would ever do any of the things mentioned above.


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack