Confessions of an unusually old closet hipster (apparently)

Tuesday 1 March 2011 5:11 AM

I'm still in recovery mode after a Saturday morning breakfast conversation with my two still-living-at-home unattached 20-something Gen-Y offspring. It was in this conversation over egg and tomato that I was zealously apprised of a fact I had no doubt been suppressing for many years: I am a hipster.

The revelation did strike me with some mental confusion, however. On the advice of one of my familial interlocutors I scurried off to my macbook (significant in itself, as will be revealed shortly) to trawl Google's collected wisdom on the subject of 'how to be a hipster'. Most of what I could find through the first half-dozen links was about fashion, as practised by a sub-culture none of whom have yet attained the age of 30. There was the first bewilderment. I've just turned 52, and my son and daughter did reluctantly admit that I lacked the dedication to tight jeans and pre-loved flannel shirts worn by all self-respecting hipsters at uni and other places. With this admission came the conferral of an additional adjectival epithet ... I am in fact a closet hipster.

This episode in my cultural enlightenment began with the suggestion that I might just as well be wearing hipster goggles. (Uttered with reference to my newly acquired multifocal specs. Had I then grasped where the conversation was heading, I might have raised the irony that this "hipster" now has glasses to correct presbyopia.) With hindsight, that remark was the softener to capture my attention for the coming moment of awakening. It was pointed out to me that hipsters are invariably a. coffee snobs, and b. lovers of Apple gadgets. What could I do but bow my head solemnly, plead guilty, and await judgement?

Oh yes, I must add that both my judges avowed that they themselves are pure King Canutes, stoically resisting the whelming tide of hipsterdom which has swallowed whole vast hordes of their peers. I did flag a possible appeal on the basis that my son has both an iPhone and an iPad, whereas I have only the former. However it was pointed out that my son's iPad doesn't count as it was given to him by work, and also that I had previously let slip my craving for an iPad and envy of those already so blessed. Guilty yet again, and appeal lost on a technicality. Not to mention the undeniable fact that I recently shouted my daughter to a drink in a particularly hip café in über-hip Yarraville.

So there you have it. I am a (closet) hipster, expertly judged, despite my ever greying hair, ageing ocular lenses, crook back and firsthand knowledge of the 1960s. Maybe I should go back to tucking my shirt in ...

One question remains - Am I to receive my judgement as a complement or an insult?