Disclaimer: I am friends with some "hipsters" (aka people who identify with being "alternative.") I myself, have looked like a hipster, on occassion (ala skinny jeans, nose ring, and sometimes mismatched clothing), but I'd like to call this look...I don't know, but something other than "hip." (An aside- does the body part "hip" have anything to do with being "hip?" Anyone?) Anyways, self-proclaimed hipsters, who identify with "alternative," but avoid calling themselves hipsters because they have to make everything meaningless, postmodern, nameless-- and ironically, cliche-- are a whole different story... There are a couple of things about s.p. hipsters/alternativos that are counter-intuitive to their mission of being people "who don't care what other people think." First of all, there is not a single person in this world who doesn't care what other people think. Not true. Someone in a coma probably doesn't care what other people think. But people who are walking around in lots of wierd gear, doing wierd things, listening to wierd music absolutely care what everyone else thinks. In fact, I would say hipsters of this sort care more than your average person about everyone else. They make it painfully obvious that they are TRYING not to be anyone else.

This is called too much effort at being different. Now, I have some friends who are downright quirky, who get dressed and do not notice that nothing matches and their hair is greasy. They wouldn't have the audacity to call themselves "hipsters" or "alternative," even in their own brains. They just really don't know what they look like. They are also not hipsters because they don't avoid parties or places because those places are too banal/frequented/corporate.

On the other hand, some of my friends (and I'm using the term loosely), look down their nose upon the general diet coke drinking, Gap wearing, theme party throwing population. I invite one of these friends, who I actually genuinely like despite his too-coolness because our friendship is based on us insulting each other, to a costume party for Halloween.

"Oh don't tell me you're one of THOSE people," he responds to my invite.

"What people? The kind who throw costume parties?"

"Yeah, those people. Do you know how many people I've talked to who are having costume parties on Saturday night?"

"No, but I can venture all of THOSE people having or going to parties are going to have a rockin good time on Saturday night while you're sneering at them from your lonely smoky corner."

"I'm just not going to buy into all of that," is his retort.

"Buy? Who said having fun with friends involves selling out or buying into a lame situation? Look, while you're at home trying to be 'different' or 'avant garde' or whatever it is you do alone, just know that people dressed up as characters from Clue and figure skaters and robots and ROUS's will be having a much better time than you."

"Maybe I'll throw on a tutu or something," he finally says. "But let's go get coffee tonight."

"Ok. Where?"

"Anywhere but Starbucks."

I have come up with The Five Rules to Enter Hipsterdom:

1. If you have to cohort with the masses, at least LOOK like you're not trying.

2. But before you leave home, try very hard to look different.

3. Engage apathetically with most people, things, and events, in order to look cool.

4. When all else fails, just look ugly, rock a wicked comb-over, and you'll fit right out.