While I chase down ministers of health on holiday in Europe, the lovely Gentile Giant has agreed to share her words of wisdom and wit. Enjoy her masterpiece, which weaves elements of Brooklyn, London, and psychological observation into one fluid and entertaining entry:
I arrived at Grand Central on Saturday morning, chanting Kim’s directions over and over in my head. “Darien 11:14 train to Grand Central. Take the 4 to Atlantic. Brooklyn Flea. Darien 11:14 train to Grand Central. Take the 4 to Atlantic. Brooklyn Fl-”
And then I saw them. I simultaneously forgot where I was going and fought the urge to buy them all a hamburger. Hipsters. Hipsters everywhere. Even though I lived in New York this summer, my seven-month absence induced some kind of hipster-memory loss. Sure, we have our own hipsters up in Boston, but I consider them to be the hillbilly cousins of New York’s finest family. Instantly, my Saturday afternoon Brooklyn Flea Market adventures took a turn for the academic. I, Claire “Gentile Giant” Ayoub, took on my own behavioral study, entitled, “The Study of a Hipster: Natural Habitat, Supplies and Social Interaction.”
PART ONE: THE HABITAT
While Grand Central Hipsters are interesting, they are all on their way back to the land of the hipster minority, the great land of my people: Connecticut. No, I wanted to see the real thing. Enter the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene. As my friends became engrossed in the vintage jewelry, I crept through the racks of musty clothing to wait for my prey. I found an empty corner and stood as still as possible. I knew how nature documentaries worked, and I was prepared to do the equivalent of standing for four weeks in a riverbed if it would allow the fish to become used to my presence. And by riverbed, I mean flea market. And by fish, I mean hipsters. And by four weeks, I meant until lunchtime because boy was my tummy rumbly.
My method was working. Two girls slowly walked over to my corner, making sure to look at everything with an ironic half-smirk. Their clothes looked ragged and tattered, but I was 98% sure they weren’t homeless. I’ve been told that staring at people in dark corners isn’t socially acceptable, so I began to rummage through a rack of men’s coats to my right, all while keeping them in my peripheral. In hindsight, I would have been better off staring. Those of you who know me know that A) I love childhood and B) I am horrible at hiding my joy. So, when I found a red raincoat with adorable rope toggles during my cover-up, I immediately pulled it off the rack and squealed.
“KIM!” I screamed to my friend, halfway across the market. “KIM! IT’S A PADDINGTON JACKET! I FOUND A PADDINGTON JACKET! PADDINGTON THE BEAR, KIM! PADDINGTON THE BEEEEEEAAAAAARRRRR!”
Observation 1: Hipsters don’t like surprises.
Observation 2: Hipsters judge with minimal effort.
Observation 3: Hipsters hate childhood icons.
PART TWO: SUPPLIES
After blending in so well in Brooklyn, I decided to give the Manhattan Hipsters a chance to shine. Or brood. I followed my friends into Hipster Mecca:
I had never been in Urban Outfitters before. I tried to fight it, to maintain my documentary drive, but I couldn’t help sounding like my father.
“Hey, looks like someone cut off half the fabric and doubled the price! Guffaw guffaw!”
Needless to say…the visit was short.
Observation 4: Hipsters are willing to pay $30 for plastic sunglasses sold on the street for $5.
Observation 5: Hipsters don’t like eye contact.
Observation 6: Hipsters don’t like small talk.
PART THREE: SOCIAL INTERACTION
Now, I thought my research was done for the day, but I was in for the academic surprise of my life. My best friend’s boyfriend was at a barbeque in Chelsea (almost a tongue-twister…ALMOST!) and we were invited over for dinner. With my own measly bank account in mind, I was picturing some kind of 9-floor walk-up with a view of a meth lab. So, imagine my surprise as I walked into a schmancy building overlooking the Hudson and was directed to take a few lefts and a right until we reached the elevators by the second wall of cacti. “Not to be confused with the first,” the doorman said. Obviously.
I am not usually self-conscious. You’re talking to the person who covered her jeans in glitter and sequins at age fourteen, then leapt through the hallways screaming, “I’M A STAR!” But I found myself unnerved at being so incredibly underdressed. However, I quickly found out that I wasn’t lacking a DVF shift and a whisp of Chanel No. 5. No, I was missing about nine holes in my jeans, oversized black frames and the light musk of PBR.
Hipsters. I was at a hipster barbeque. I was having hamburgers with hipsters on a rooftop in Chelsea. I, Claire Ayoub, hipster investigator, had just stumbled onto the nature documentary’s equivalent of a blue whale birth.
So, what happens when you combine Hipsters and a Gentile Giant with a perpetual case of the giggles? Pure magic, that’s what.
Observation 7: Hipsters are afraid of whales (like me).
Observation 8: Hipsters hit their heads on lamps (like me).
Observation 9: Even hipsters get the giggles.
When in doubt, make ‘em laugh!
The Gentile Giant