By: Gianni Jaccoma
Credit: Flickr/Bill Dickinson
These days, the term "hipster" has become so mainstream that it almost entirely lacks meaning, lost in a sea of skintight jeans, Flock of Seagulls haircuts, and cruelty-free almond butter. Even so, nearly every major city hosts a neighborhood where occupants are just a little too cool for their own good, and it's important to identify the key characteristics of such "freethinking" areas.
The next time you see anything remotely resembling the following 18 warning signs, don't panic. Just know that you're out of your element, and then run as fast as you can. Or, at least as fast as skinny jeans allow.
1. Beard oil and mustache wax are everywhere
The gentleman behind you in line can be heard bemoaning the fact that his favorite brand of small-batch mustache wax was bought by "Big Pharma," even though that makes no sense whatsoever.
2. Absurd alternative lifestyles are the norm
Between loads at the laundromat, you're sucked into an in-depth conversation with a militant vegan couple about the merits of composting, and why cheese is murder.
3. Walkmen and dated technology are fashion statements
You meet a guy who's wearing those old AM/FM radio headphones, but only as an ironic critique of "the garbage they play on the radio these days."
Credit: Flickr/Dauvit Alexander
4. Graffiti is ironic, not gang-related
You see numerous billboards spray-painted over with inane slogans like "DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE," or "LOVE USED TO MEAN SOMETHING." Obscure Beatles lyrics may also appear, depending on what city you're in. "OBEY" stickers and ironic "YOLO" tags are also distinct possibilities.
5. You don't understand the music
You pass by a cramped music venue where a dude wearing a flannel shirt and ultra-distressed jeans reads a passage from Moby Dick while repeating the same two mournful chords on his secondhand keytar.
6. Residents are overeducated and underemployed
Each bar has an A-stand outside with a misspelled Mark Twain quote written on it, likely paired with a crudely drawn PBR can.
Credit: Flickr/Britt Crawford
7. Ridiculous bicycles glide down the streets
While attempting to cross the street, you're nearly run over by two guys riding atop penny farthing bicycles. You hear one of them hiss something about "bespoke shoelaces," before they both disappear into the night.
8. Children are named after tween novel characters
You meet a young couple pushing a stroller in the park. Their baby's name is Shiloh, and they just heard a riveting report on NPR about the pork lobby this morning.
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