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For a short period of time, I was seeing a hipster. He wasn’t one of those “I look like I’m hipster, but I really live in an expensive apartment in the East Village and slum it at the dive bar across the street.” No, he was the real deal: his facial hair resembled Gandalf’s from The Lord of the Rings. He smoked American Spirit Cigarettes, drank far too much PBR and margaritas, lived in Brooklyn (NYC’s hotbed of hipsterdom) and wore the same clothes every day. The only difference between him and the homeless guy on the street is that my guy owned a white iPhone 5 that allowed him to make calls for his upcoming freelance projects.
I think it’s necessary to share my experience as a twentysomething British woman dating a hipster. If you’re like me and fancy creative and spontaneous guys with lavish beards and floppy hair, you must read this top 10 list.
1. Act cool, and pretend to not be interested if you can. When communicating by phone with your prospective hipster, if you can’t fit your entire text in a tweet, then you need to shed some words. I’ve recently adopted this style after my first experience of dating a Brooklyn hipster. You might have heard that you should give it some time before you respond to a man’s text; the trick with a hipster is to respond quickly but nonchalantly, with less than three words. Oh yeah, and never ever text first.
2. Don’t expect traditional chivalry, but don’t take offense to not being wined and dined. My “homeless” hipster didn’t buy me a drink on our first encounter, but he did ask me for my phone number and proceeded to do his best Dancing With the Stars routine on the dance floor. A hipster, by definition, goes against the mainstream tide, so don’t be alarmed if your guy doesn’t adhere to certain social niceties.
3. If you’re dating a true hipster, chances are they live in Brooklyn so don’t expect to ever go on a date in Manhattan. Taking a hipster out of Brooklyn is like taking a fish out of water: at some point they will shrivel away. On one of our very few meet-ups in Manhattan, my hipster date’s friends interrogated him as to why he was going to the city, as if the island would swallow him up upon arrival.
4. Be careful which friends you introduce him to. Make sure those friends have hipster credentials; otherwise it will be a very awkward get together. I learned this when I invited my friends to the filming of a music video at my hipster date’s house … featuring a live chicken. My Manhattan-dwelling friends weren’t quite sure what was going on and were looking for the nearest exits, which my hipster date found impossibly rude.
5. Don’t plan your day around your meet up. Play everything by ear and have a contingency plan. My hipster date would consider himself a free spirit, going with the flow — it wasn’t unusual for him to change plans with little notice. I diagnosed it as FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Hipsters are by nature early adopters: they like to always be the first to do, try or hear something. If somebody got there first, then it’s no longer cool.
6. Impress them with some knowledge about a book you’ve just read or a new band you went to see, the more obscure and underground the better. Doing this worked in my favor, it made me appear slightly more cool than him when I would mention the latest dubstep track from Felix Cartal.
7. Dress hipster — this doesn’t mean you can’t look pretty. Rather, put the stilettos away: nobody wears those in Brooklyn and given the amount of walking around you will do, it’s not worth the blisters. I’ve since invested in sneaker wedges. They represent the best of both worlds and garner attention when purchased in an offensively bright color.
8. Date more than one hipster. Be mindful that the hipster community is small so make sure there is adequate distance between your two prospect. For instance, date a “Hipster Lite” from the East Village and an authentic hipster from Bushwick; their paths are unlikely to cross because of the lack of respect the latter has for the former. However, I’ve been unsuccessful at taking my own advice and have found myself attracted to a certain breed of Brooklyn hipsters, Greenpointsters.
9. Just because the guy is a hipster and your Manhattan friends don’t find him attractive, watch out. You will have competition, and not just from hipster girls. For a while I thought that my hipster date was punching above his weight. My friends were shocked that I was attracted to him. Don’t be fooled by this, as loads of girls love hipster guys; it’s the devil-may-care, cool guy persona that they give off. When my hipster date tried to woo me, he was doing so amidst a crowd of “groupies.” As Chezza said, be prepared to fight for your love (only if he’s worth it).
10. Finally, don’t settle: if he doesn’t meet your requirements in whatever capacity, kick him to the curb. I finally got tired of points, 1, 2 and 5. While playing games can sometimes be fun and I’m not looking to marry anytime soon, my hipster’s aversion to most basic idea of commitment began to bother me. I’m not one to waste my time. After all, there are plenty more hipsters in the great NYC paint pot.