12 August 2006

Funny Hair And Acting Bored

Although I've been living all summer in Williamsburg, which is pretty much synonymous with hipsterdom, I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the times I've set more than a passing foot on Bedford Avenue, our local Champs d'Élysées of bad fashion and worse attitudes.

One of those occasions was this week, on the night of the full moon, which might have had something to do with it. En route to meet Aaron Cometbus (who eventually called and redirected me into the backstreets of South Williamsburg), I had to walk nearly half the length of the Hipster Strip and then stand around as inconspicuously as possible in front of the Verb in hopes that no one would think I belonged there or, worse, was trying to.

But you know, it wasn't as bad as I make it out to be. Most of the people on the street were just your typical angst-ridden 20-somethings going about their typically angst-ridden 20-something business of falling in or out of love and/or creating bad poetry/songs/paintings/dialogue about it. Certainly nothing I haven't been guilty in far more decades than my 20s.

In fact it was a very pleasant night, with just the mildest of breezes accompanying the dazzlingly rotund moon as it sauntered over the rooftops, turned the mostly empty side streets an unearthly silvery white, and sent my dyspeptic musings running for cover. It was then I remembered why I'd started brooding about hipsters in the first place: it was the first sight I'd witnessed as I'd turned into Bedford Avenue: a slightly - no, slightly more than slightly - pudgy girl, 25 going on 40, standing at the curbside in her slinky-slutty housewife's dress, her makeup and her face vying for supremacy in the hard-boiled egg contest, her hair unsure whether it wanted to defy good taste, gravity, or common sense, and the whole ensemble topped off with a bouquet of what could have been either funeral, wedding or Halloween flowers which she held at arm's length with enormous yet casual disdain.

Or do I embellish a bit? Probably. Viewed by anyone else, she would have probably attracted no more than a passing glance. Most would have paid her little mind, a few might have found her attractive in her own semi-unique way, and as for why I found her appearance so disturbing, well, I have no idea. Wait, I probably do: the high dudgeon into which hipsters are frequently capable of casting me has two components. On one hand, I get annoyed because they're playing teenage freakshow minus the uncertainty and self-deprecation that lets genuine teenagers get away with silly costumes and hairstyles; on the other hand, at least half the time they're getting away with it while I know I never could.

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