Whippoorwill, Paul Newman and am I a hipster?

Heading outside to the deck on Saturday morning to drink coffee and read the paper:

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Foodie: Why are you wearing that?

Beast: Well, when you don’t have a weather-appropriate robe to wear, you’re forced to get creative.

Foodie: You really think you need a robe, don’t you? On top of the 15 pairs of loafers, the 40 pairs of shorts and button-ups, the 80 jackets and blazers.

Beast: I can’t believe you don’t support me getting a day robe. You have one.

Foodie: Yes, I have ONE. But I worry you will obsess about finding the perfect day robe and end up buying like 10 of them.

By 2:oo p.m., having only consumed black coffee, we were starving. We walked to Whippoorwill, a restaurant at Bloor and Lansdown, for some lunch. The Beast is working on an essay about about how objects define a person pegged to two films coming out on Yves Saint Laurent. So we talked about that. We also talked about how one of the cohosts on the TV show I work for keeps calling me a hipster.

The Beast orded a BLT and I decided on the poached eggs and biscuits with nettle pesto, fresh peas and hollandaise.

photo 2

photo 3

Foodie: This is so good. I don’t even want to ask for salt and pepper and you know how rare that is. How’s yours?

Beast: Fantastic. Take a look around, though.

photo 4

Foodie: What?

Beast: This setting provides a pretty a good argument that we are hipsters.

Foodie: Are we hipsters? I feel like I’m too old to be a hipster. Plus, she bases her theory that I’m a hipster on me riding a bike, which I’ve been doing even before there were hipsters, having green kitchen cupboards, which were there when we moved in, and to having a giant map hanging in our living room, which was a gift from your little brother that he found in the trash.

Beast: I get called a hipster all the time and I hate it. I really do. What, because I have a beard? I am not a hipster because I don’t ever want to be with, ahead or in sync with the times. I genuinely like everything I like. I will wear high-waisted pants now and look like a hipster. But I’ll also be wearing them in 20 years and look like an old man.

Foodie: Oh, and when she found out the last book I read was Madame Bovary she was all like, “Hipster.” I just don’t see how reading Flaubert makes me a hipster.

Beast: Flaubert is not hip. The last book a hipster probably read would be by Chuck Klosterman. They’d say, “I’m not really into him anymore but I read everything he publishes.”

Foodie: See?! I don’t even know who that guy is! I also did a Buzzfeed quiz to find out if I was a hipster and I wasn’t.

Beast: Well, the answer to that quiz is actually inscribed in the act of doing it.

Foodie: [Silence]

Beast: Would a hipster be learning to play French Impressionist piano music? Would a hipster write a letter to WNED Buffalo PBS complaining about their scheduling? Prefer Starbucks espresso to the majority of independent coffee shop’s espresso? Love Kevin James movies? Hate sports, including but also particularly, soccer? Listen to vocal recitations of the Koran while pumping iron? Find tattoos ugly and ridiculous? Want to get married at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural historic site in Buffalo and not invite his family?

Foodie: You want to get married?

After lunch, we walked down the street to a vintage store. The Beast wanted to show me a leather bomber jacket he’d been eying. The sales clerk greeted him like a brother.

photo 5

Foodie: Don’t you have a jacket exactly like that?

Beast: Yes, but the zipper is broken and it will cost $45 to fix it.

Foodie: How much is that jacket?

Beast: $45.

Foodie: [Silence]

Beast: Oh! Look at this Ralph Lauren jean jacket!  What do you think?

photo 1

Foodie: I think it’s too short in the arms and in the waist. Plus, it has ruching on the shoulders.

photo 2

Beast: I like it.

Foodie: I just think we’re in two different places: I’m more interested in ridding myself of objects. You’re keen on collecting them.

Beast: I just don’t think you get me.

We picked up some groceries, some movies and walked home. I got back into my day robe and the Beast put on a pair of linen pants and we situated ourselves back on the patio with books, magazines and wine.

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Foodie: Where did you get that Paul Newman book?

Beast: I bought it at a second-hand book store.

Foodie: Wow, is there anyone who’s ever been as handsome?


Beast: Never.

Foodie: Look at us: Drinking white wine on our deck, me wearing a day robe and you wearing your linen pants–and when did you put that blue linen handkerchief around your neck? It looks really good.

Beast: Thanks. If I had a day robe, I’d be wearing it.

Foodie: We’re not hipsters. Hipsters would be out doing stuff on such a lovely day, maybe drinking on a public patio, drinking in the park. [Pause] Do you think we’re vacuous?

Beast: Did you say fatuous?

Foodie: No I said VACuous. What does fatuous mean?

Beast: I don’t know but I think it applies. What movie are we going to watch tonight?

Foodie: What did we rent again?

Beast: The Paul Newman western, Hombre, or The Elephant Man, Mulholland Drive, Le Strada…

Foodie: Let’s go with Paul Newman.

Beast: Okay. [Pause] I think I’m going to go back and get that jacket.

8 responses to “Whippoorwill, Paul Newman and am I a hipster?

  1. Connie Keeler

    Thanks Jess!

  2. Gah! I love the way you write. Such a pleasure to read these little stories (not to mention hilarious). Keep it up, Jessi!

  3. Waiting for the return of the boot cut.

    Have you considered the possibility that you are some sort of ur-hipsters, the wellspring of inspiration, unknowing and innocent, from whence all baser forms of hipsterism draws its nourishment? Sort of an Adam and Eve type scenario. I don’t know what the metaphorical apple is in this narrative, but perhaps one morning you absent-mindedly stirred a breakfast bourbon with a slice of bacon and gave birth to a thousand infusions. And the Beast suddenly realized he was naked and diapered himself with a Navajo blanket–a look that we’ll be seeing a lot of at Starbucks this week.

  4. Hi Jess. I’ve been thinking a lot about the question you posed “am I a hipster?”. Obviously I’ve never met you (nor “The Beast”) but from reading your blog and observations, I’d say “You definitely are a hipster.”. Sorry.

    By the basic dictionary definition (“A person who follows the latest trends and fashions.”), obviously not. But by this more expanded version, I’d say you truly are, and more importantly, that you perhaps should be proud of it. Have a read:

    Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. The greatest concentrations of hipsters can be found living in major cosmopolitan centres.

    “Hipsterism” is often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions. Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs. Such styles are often associated with the work of creative stylists at urban salons, and are usually too “edgy” for the culturally-sheltered mainstream consumer.

    Despite misconceptions based on their aesthetic tastes, hipsters tend to be well educated and often have liberal arts degrees, or degrees in maths and sciences, which also require certain creative analytical thinking abilities. Consequently many hipsters tend to have jobs in the music, art, and fashion industries. It is a myth that most hipsters are unemployed and live off of their parent’s trust funds.

    Hipsters shun mainstream societal conventions that apply to dating preferences and traditional “rules” of physical attraction. It is part of the hipster central dogma not to be influenced by mainsream advertising and media, which tends to only promote ethnocentric ideals of beauty. The concepts of androgyny and feminism have influenced hipster culture, where hipster men are often as thin as the women they date. The muscular and athletic all-American male ideal is not seen as attractive by confident and culturally-empowered hipster women who instead view them as symbols of male oppression, sexism, and misogyny. Likewise, culturally-vapid sorority-type girls with fake blond hair and overly tanned skin are not seen as attractive by cultured hipster males who instead see them as symbols of female insecurity, low self-esteem, and lack of cultural intelligence and independent thinking.

    Hipsters are also very racially open-minded, and the greatest number of interracial couples in any urban environment are typically found within the hipster subculture.
    Although hipsters are technically conformists within their own subculture, in comparison to the much larger mainstream mass, they are pioneers and leaders of the latest cultural trends and ideals.

    Because of the rise of various online photo-blog and social networking sites, insights into urban hipster culture is reaching sheltered suburban audiences at an exponential rate. Cultural “norms” have been deconstructed by hipster culture as a whole. Hipsterism is often dismissed as just an image thing by some, but the culture as a whole is effecting changes in society, leading to feelings of insecurity and resentment in people who are no longer a part of the cultural ruling class. For example, a lot of anti-hipster sentiment evidently comes from culturally-clueless suburban frat boy types who feel that the more sensitive, intelligent, and culturally aware hipster ideal threatens their insecure sense of masculinity. Anti-hipster sentiment often comes from people who simply can’t keep up with social change and are envious of those who can.

    • A very interesting analysis, luvtosmock. There may be some regional differences at play (men here tend to an exaggerated, if not always convincing–air of bearded fakerjackism (still a thing) and women to a general tousled, tattooed sexy-librarian (meow!) style that has been a traditional icon of femininity since people were borrowing rocks with pictures of auroch daubed on them) but you make some good points. I maintain that Foodie and the Beast are entirely sui generis and any attempt to pigeonhole, categorize or even understand with any clarity the two of them is doomed to failure. It’s like the human brain trying to understand the human brain. Can’t be done.

  5. TV for 400, Alex.

    Ugh. No. I hate blogs. They’re worse than books!

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