Ever since I went to a live taping of Q last month, I've been thinking about what it is to be hip or a "hipster." Jian Ghomeshi used this term a number of times. I think he was referring to people rendered blase by constant exposure to the latest trends in music, art, fashion or food. I'm not sure if hipsters are meant to lead or follow trends, but I know I don't do either.
I was hip briefly. It lasted about 6 months, in 1982. I was still a nerd, really, in hipster's clothing. The clothing was mostly from my friend Glenn's wardrobe; he was a very snappy dresser. I did all the necessary things - leaving the house at midnight to go dancing, ending up at Fran's for 5 a.m. pancakes, refusing to squish my hard gelled hair under a hat. But flirting with hipness was pretty uncomfortable, if not downright painful. Being one of the cool kids is hard work, and almost inevitably requires camouflaging oneself.
One of the great pleasures of being middle-aged is that it pretty much precludes being hip in any way, shape or form. Instead of being hip, I can be enthusiastic, outraged, outrageous, silly and comfortable. I'm letting go of the impulse to give a shit what anybody thinks of my point of view or behaviour, much less my appearance. And I've got no need to go anywhere where the drinks are overpriced, the lighting is too dim to read the menu, the music is too loud to hear your companion, and you're (ironically) invisible if you're bigger than a size zero.
Shari Graydon has just put together an anthology on aging, called I Feel Great about my Hands, in which the indomitable Mary Walsh describes herself as a "brassy bit of aging crumpet on the slippery slope side of fifty-five". You can read her hilarious piece, published in the Toronto Star by clicking here. Given the choice between hip and Marg Delahunty, I'll take Marg!