What Is A Hipster?

In the most general sense, a hipster is defined as "one who follows trends," in every sense of the verb 'to follow.'

This includes knowing what the current trends are, recognizing past trends, attempting to identify future trends and carrying out the dictum of the trends.

By recognizing past trends, the hipster hopes to avoid the embarrassment of appearing passé and thereby losing street cred.

The ability to instantly identify and subsequently to embody current trends is the hipster's most important feature. All major aspects of a hipster's life-who he associates with, what clothes he wears, what music he listens to and even how he acts-are informed by current trends.

Usually the least developed of a hipster's faculties, the ability to identify future trends enables a hipster to vie for the coveted position of being the first person to follow a trend. In essence, it allows him to say that he did it first.

Note: ironically, the more obscure a trend is, the more popular it will be among hipsters

Spotting the Wild Hipster

Recognizing a hipster is often very easy, but it can be quite difficult. To make identifying hipsters as simple as possible, the process will be covered by specific examples.

Anyone gratuitously sporting all black clothes, all pink clothes, obscure band t-shirts, a messenger bag or a hairdo may be a hipster

A hipster will often be accompanied by at least one other hipster; if they have similar hair or clothes then it is more likely that they are in fact hipsters.

Until a high level of proficiency at hipster identification is obtained, it may be necessary to speak with a possible hipster in order to confirm his hipster status. If he demonstrates both a hatred for the mainstream and a love of the camp, the Kitsch and the hip, then he may very likely be a hipster.

Some clothes, accessories and affectations are surefire signs of a the hipster-nature. These are:

  • The white, studded belt
  • Hair that sweeps down from one side of the head and covers the opposite eye
  • Any hairdo informed by an art magazine
  • Capri pants (on men)
  • Tight t-shirt which would show stomach if arms were raised (on men)
  • Glasses, especially sunglasses, covering bangs or low hanging hair (the hair is trapped between the face and the glasses)

Really advanced hipster hunters will be able to recognize several distinct subspecies of hipster (as they can all reproduce which each other, it isn't proper to refer to each as unique species). These subspecies are as follows:

The Generic Hipster

Your basic hipster. Nothing out of the ordinary. Will respond to "Hey, hipster!" when yelled loudly.

The Yuppie Hipster

These are the only hipsters who are shunned by their brethren with any frequency. They often try to have the appearance of another kind of hipster (any besides the "Old" or "Anti-" hipsters)

The Old Hipster

Hipsters rarely, if ever, give up their misguided ways. Old hipsters no longer follow trends as actively as they once did. They still use slang from their heyday. For example, a hipster from the mid-eighties might use terms like "House," "House money" and "House cash money" to describe something as cool or awesome. Old hipsters often trade in their too-small t-shirts and band logo patches for designer polo shirts.

East Bay Hipsters

The East Bay hipster has a punk rock bend. They frequent 924 Gilman (unfortunately for us real people) and the Hot Topic on Telegraph Avenue (WTF?! A Gap on Telegraph?!). East Bay hipsters often wear many band logo pins as well as patches, carry messenger bags (with patches and pins) and have slightly more subdued hairdos than other hipster varieties. East Bay hipsters all wish to live in the Mission.

The Mission District Hipster

Hipsters from San Fransisco's Mission District are the most evolved, the most dangerous and the most speciated of all hipsters. In fact, they are not universally considered to be "wild hipsters" - the Mission is viewed as a sort of hipster preserve, with abnormally high concentrations of hipsters. Mission hipsters have interesting hairdos involving straight, black dyed hair (i.e., hair cropped short on one side, but waist length hair hanging over the shoulder and down the torso on the other side). They wear too much makeup of all sorts on all occasions. They spend time at the Balazo Gallery (also known as the Mission Badlands), a venue which has been known to display the works of the Reverend Steven Johnson Leyba (see Church of Satan). The Mission hipster should be handled with extreme caution. It is recommended that only the most advanced hipster hunters ever even attempt to go up against a Mission hipster. They have powers, and it takes a mighty opposing power to cow them.

The Anti-Hipster

Anti-hipsters are latent hipsters who have not succumbed to the dark path of hipsterdom, by virtue of either indoctrination into civilized society or their own logical faculties. Anti-hipsters often display hipster-like tendencies which actually run counter to hipster culture. For example, an anti-hipster will heavily appreciate art from a certain period (like a hipster would). However, a standard hipster will over-appreciate modern art (such as the infamous solid red canvas) while the anti-hipster may only like art from before the 19th century. Sometimes anti-hipsters will end up liking the same things normal hipsters do, but it will never be for the same reason. Unlike other hipster subspecies, anti-hipsters are usually real people who hate actual hipsters with a fiery vengeance and/or an indescribable passion.

Stalking the Wild Hipster

This section will focus on techniques for combating hipsters in their natural habitat. Naturally, the first step is to make sure one can camouflage oneself while in hipster country. The way to do this is to affect a totally bored air - hipsters are way too cool to be excited about a situation. After that, using some of their terminology is essential:

  • "Their first album was better" (this is actually the hipster mating call)
  • "The Phenomenauts are a rip off of Babyland." (note: nonsensical statement)
  • "Dashboard Confessional just aren't emo enough."
  • "{made up band name} are totally awesome, they've got a hip, new sound." (the other hipsters get envious, seeing that you are into more obscure and unknown music than they)
  • "Want to go get a bite at World Sausage later?" (World Sausage has seven different flavors of vegan sausage)
  • "I get my hair cut at Hunx's salon. He's my hairdresser."
  • "I hate {mainstream cultural or pop-culture icon}, because they're phony" (the other hipsters will say this sort of a thing a lot)
  • "!!! have a great sound." (remember to pronounce this "chik-chik-chik" or any other series of three percussive noises)
  • At clubs, emulate hipster spaz dancing. This entails making wild, spastic movements vaguely in time with the music, and hand waving down at one's own forehead.

This manual should server as a good starting point in the career of any prospective hipster stalker.

With all of the power granted to the hipster stalker by his special knowledge of hipsters, the hipster stalker must identify, track, hide amongst and trap within a butterfly net as many hipsters as possible.

It is recommended that one record all hipster sightings in a notebook of some kind, in order to ensure that one does not lose sight of the scientific implications of the research.

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