A friend told me a story about a recent altercation he had on the subway. "And then, this guy called me the grossest thing," he paused, and waited for dramatic effect. "He called my a HIPSTER!" I was relieved. He wasn't. Anyone who knows my friend and his proclivity for riding around the East Village and LES on roller-skates, wearing short shorts in temperatures as low as 45 degrees ("I like a brisk breeze up my skirt," he'll say), knows that he could have been called any number of names, but a hipster he most certainly is not. Besides his age (he's in the 45-50 yrs bracket), it's something you can tell just by looking at him.
And while it's easy enough to say who would not be considered a hipster, does anyone really know exactly who does qualify as a hipster these days—or rather what those qualifying traits are? It's become such an ambiguous label of late, that perhaps the most insulting thing about being called one is the fact that it is so vague…
Let's consider all the different species of hipster* one might see during a single Sunday evening grocery run to Whole Foods, or on a street in Brooklyn (because you know that's where all the hipsters hang out).
There's the dandy hipster, the preppy hipster, the old-timey hipster (not to be confused with the steampunk hipster), the lumberjack hipster with his plaid flannel shirts and leather work boots that haven't ever trod in a forest, which perhaps led to the genesis of the fisherman hipster. Then there's Teddy Boy revivalist in sharp tailored clothing and slicked hair, the complete opposite of the homeless hipster. And there's more, in which facial hair and tattoos both play prominent and distinguishing roles.
*This is a New York magazine "charticle" graphic waiting to happen.