Wednesday, January 25, 2006

May I talk about my feelings some more? No? Well, let's talk about my emotions then...

I was sitting in a coffeeshop today, putting some finishing
touches on this egregiously-offensive story I’ve been work-
ing on for the past few weeks, when a couple came and sat
down at the table next to me. They were about my age
and, from the looks of them, pretty thoroughly enmeshed
in that “urban hipster” demographic. I could tell this from
the scrupulously-maintained stubble on the guy’s cheek
and the vagina-positive buttons on the woman’s purse.
Now, mind you, I’m not bringing this up as a criticism. I’m
the same way myself, except I can’t grow stubble very well
and, while I consider myself as vagina-positive as the next
fellow, I think wearing buttons proclaiming that fact would
make me seem suspicious and creepy to everyone. So,
please understand: I like these sorts of people. I consider
them my people. Don’t come to this page expecting urban-
hipster bashing from me. I don’t do it. I’ve got no stomach
for assailing my own kind.

I’m going to make an exception, however, for this guy.
Because he was the sort that gives us urban-hipsters
such a bad name. I don’t think there was a single “sen-
sitive man” cliche he missed in the half-hour or so I spent
eavesdropping on him. In between these, he made it a
point to spout off wrongly about a wide variety of subjects,
from art to politics to contemporary society. It was clear to
me that he was trying to impress his lady friend. As to why
he felt the best way to accomplish this was to recite a
long string of vapid solipsisms is anyone’s guess. It’s also
anyone’s guess as to whether his paramour was truly im-
pressed. I’m afraid I have no evidence either way, since she
didn’t get the opportunity to say anything except for the
occasional “Oh” for their entire date.

Perhaps I’m coming down too hard on him. Perhaps I’m just
a resentful and bitter bastard. But, nevertheless, I can’t see
what would compel someone to say, proudly and without a
hint of irony, “Most people aren’t open about their feelings.
I try to be open with my feelings. If you can’t handle me
being open about my feelings then, I’m sorry, but those
are my feelings.” And that wasn’t even his best quote. He
also said things like, “I’ve spent a long time trying to discover
my passion. Maybe someday I’ll become a political figure, but
I don’t really have a cause or anything at the moment” and
“My emotions are what’s important to me right now” and
“You know what I hate? When people think about art as a
thing, not as a process...” And it wasn’t just what he said,
but the way he said it. It was amazing, the way he issued
the most banal of pronouncements as though they were the
foundations of a new philosophy. At one point I swear I
heard him take a deep breath and say, “The only true thing
is that there’s no truth...”

Seriously. Hearing those sorts of things come out of the
mouths of my peers is the sort of thing that makes me want
to throw on a polo shirt, tuck it into some khakis, and go back
to school for my M.B.A. I could have pantsed that guy right
there. I could have dumped my latte onto his artfully-tousled
head. He was the kind of dude who makes being a self-obsess-
ed, pretentious, artsy-fartsy nerd so difficult. Because of him
and a thousand others like him, the lifestyle lacks the respect
and prestige it deserves. He’s the sort that makes it so I have
to say, “Yeah, I’m sort of an urban hipster...” with that sad-
sack apologetic tone, instead being able to come right out
and boast about my subcultural affiliation. It's annoying.
Really annoying.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to reading my
Jean Cocteau novel. In the original French, of course.