The hipster is a fascinating social animal. They can be observed in any number of settings, or in their natural habitat of outdoor bars and concerts.
The added distinction for the observation of hipsters is that, through prolonged exposure, the viewer becomes more and more hipster-ish herself. Why shower every day, really? Why wear different pants? These questions start to creep into one’s consciousness when exposed to hipsters in the wild. Interacting with the hipster will go more smoothly in a small setting.
I had the opportunity to see the band Stars perform at the 930 Club on Tuesday, then again Wednesday at NPR headquarters in downtown DC. At 930, they played to a sold out house. The place was packed with hipsters, or people caring very much about not caring. And I too started to care about appearing not to care!
On the crowded floor, I was between a trim-bearded dandy in a vest, standing solidly in place and refusing to budge his piece of floor, and a blonde girl with a nose ring, drunkenly swaying back and forth, forward and back, randomly embracing and spilling beer on anyone within arm’s reach. So I was standing quite close to the dandy in front, but trying to not stand so close that any part of me that touched the polyester vest would overheat on contact.
The next day at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, I was leaning on a shelf, drinking a Diet Coke, listening to the band perform just three songs while interacting with the crowd. Hey, what do you have to do to get an NPR tote bag around here? There were about twenty NPR employees, naturally all hipsters of some variety, on their best behavior. Was it the smaller venue that explains the good behavior (no drunken swaying or purposeful ignorance of the wants of others)? Was it the time difference? Was it the rain outside?
I don’t know, but I warn you now, please take precautions when interacting with hipsters in large groups. You could begin not caring, be mistaken for one of them, tagged, and released to the wild.