The Five Signs of Hipster Influenza

There is a pox upon us. Actually, this cultural mutation is a global epidemic. The hipster influenza is upon us and it shows no sign of weakening.


How do I know this?

I was exposed recently, let me explain. So, I’m sitting at a Mexican food joint, eating my little grilled chicken burrito, when the conversation at the next table catches my attention.

I’m not usually an eavesdropper kind of guy, but when course of the conversation involves the existence of mythical creatures and psycho-physio-kenesis (his word, not mine), I tune in because I kinda want to know where this goes.

Let me set the stage for you. The adjoining table is occupied by four hipsters in their early to mid-twenties, two guys and two girls. The buritto place is near a local community college, so they may have migrated from the halls of higher education to graze on their vegetarian burrito bowls.  The foursome gave off a bit of a stale hippy vibe.  A tall skinny guy donned a lime green t-shirt with a faded peace sign logo, leather bracelets, a half dozen of those string and thread bracelet thingies, you know the ones, the colorful stringy things that are supposed to show how spiritually connected you are with the world around you.  The fashion topper for our little hipster is the black and white keffiyeh desert scarf around his neck. It is 100 degrees around here and we haven’t had a desert sandstorm in these parts since – never.

Hipster Mickey by

Hipster Mickey by


The little band of designer misfits is deep in conversation on the meaning of life when one of the girls in the group, a little wisp of a thing, interrupts and says, “I want to meet a unicorn.”

Now being the caring and compassionate man that I am, I feared the girl must be suffering from a stroke, or some neurological disorder which caused her to blurt our her affinity for mythical creatures.  Her friends didn’t seem to share my level of concern.

The desert scarfed hipster assured her that, “If you can think it, then they exist.”

Pretty deep stuff, huh?

Then, it took a Twilight Zone twist when the second guy, clad in a blue plaid flannel shirt and skinny jeans said, “Unicorns do exist, they are just on a whole different reality than us.  We are their unicorns.”


The girl wrinkled up her brow and paused for a second, then said, “What about vampires?”

One, of the others piped up, “Oh, I know they exist.”

I’m starting to take bigger bites of my chicken burrito, because I want to get out of this place before the crazy spills off the table and infects me.

Flannel Boy goes off on a dissertation on the power of the human mind and how what we think we know is all an illusion.  I think he got a bit toasted whilst watching Inception on Netflix in Mommy’s basement last night.

The next precious little nugget from this brain trust was a discussion between Flannel Boy and the little blonde waif on death and dying.  It is all in our minds, apparently.  “The only reason you die, is because your mind thinks your supposed to.” It was the science of psycho-physio-kenetics.

courtesy of know

courtesy of know

Mind Blown.

At this point, I choked on a bite of my lunch.  How did we come to this?  These people are supposed to be our future?  The product of our public education system?  Where did we go wrong?  It has to be environmental – or a virus.

In order to prevent a pandemic of hipsterism, be aware of the telltale signs:

1.  Your Wardobe is a Giveaway.  In addition to the aforementioned kiffyeh scarves and flannel, if you wear them in any combination with skinny, high-water jeans, non-prescription eyeglasses, or anything that makes you look like the lovechild of an urban cowboy and Bear Grylls, you may be infected.

2.  You are the Anti-Trend.  You have to remind people that you saw “that band” before they were signed, you donated to Haiti before the earthquake, or found the underground coffee shop before the Zagat Guide.  Once everyone else discovers them, you drop them like a leper drop a finger.

3.  You Sport Ironic Facial Hair.  This one goes out to the guys (mostly).  Even mother nature discourages hipsters.  This evolutionary fact is demonstrated in the genetic inability for hipsters to grow a full beard.  This shortcoming is generally overcompensated by pencil thin waxed mustache tips, or sculpted outlines of a beard like the guy in The Hunger Games. But they’ve never seen that trendy flick.


4.  You Live Tweeted from An Occupy Rally.  Hey, don’t get me wrong.  I totally support your right to assemble and speak your peace.  But when you tweet against corporate greed on your Apple iPhone, while dressed in your Urban Outfitters wardrobe, clutching a Vente Starbucks, excuse me if I don’t believe you’re being sincere.

image via

image via

5.  You’re a Vegan.  You don’t have a medical condition that mandates a plant based diet.  It’s a superiority thing.  If it casts a shadow, you won’t eat it, in public.  At home, you scarf down bacon-wrapped pork chops listening to your vintage vinyl collection.

I get the whole counter culture, independent thinking movement.  If I’m completely honest with myself, if I applied this litmus test to me when I was twenty something, I may have registered somewhere on the hipster scale. Old corduroy pants, listening to the Eagles on mix cassette tapes, and riding my bike to my college classes. We felt we were getting by, not making a cultural statement.

This virus has taken the spirit of independent thinking away and turned it into an apocalypse of phonyism. Be different, be weird, but be authentic and be you. Life will find you soon enough, so enjoy it while you can. Only you can prevent hipsterism.

Any hipster sightings near you to report?


  1. Great post, cracked me up. It’s hard being a hipster sometimes, with people like the ones you described running the streets. I ate at that Mexican restaurant years ago, it used to be good.

    1. Thanks for the positive comments! It’s hard to be a hipster, or anything, with the extremes out there, but it does make life more interesting.

  2. I have tried to inoculate myself against the hipster pandemic in Brooklyn for years. Alas, it has spread and is not going away any time soon. Time to buy that banjo and join a bluegrass Ramones cover band…

    1. Thanks for stopping by Kate. A whole new genre – bluegrass punk, I love it! In the meantime, keep your head down, because it’s flu season.

      1. Will do. Best of luck in a sea of plaid and PBR

      2. Ha! You nailed it Kate…

  3. I do wonder if some of these hipsters are infected with afluenza.

  4. stephanie710 · · Reply

    LOL…you kill me with every post. This one, however, had me spitting out my non-organic iced tea with artificial sweetener. 🙂 There are LOTS of hipster kids that hang out at Starbucks, and you can spot them a mile away. You nailed this and thanks for the warning signs…I would hate to catch it.

    1. I didn’t want them to leave. I couldn’t believe what fell out of their mouths next. It was probably one of the most enjoyable lunches I’ve had in a while. Thanks Stephanie!

      James L’Etoile

  5. Reblogged this on James L'Etoile and commented:

    They are all around us…

  6. Hipsters…in New Hampshire? We get more of a Deliverance crew, and believe me, it’s not a pretty sight. 😉

    1. Hipsters vs. Deliverance…we may have stumbled on the next Hatfields and McCoy’s. There are no winners in this feud.

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