A Father’s Journal: An accidental hipster socks it to fashionistas
Updated 7:39 am, Friday, October 2, 2015
I have finally done it. It has taken me decades, but I am now hip. I am one of the “cool kids.” Do “cool kids” even say “cool kids” anymore? It doesn’t matter. I am now in the inner circle. I make the rules.
My first inkling that I was “too sexy for myself” happened a few weeks ago. The Wall Street Journal had this headline: Wearing Socks with Sandals Is Fashionable: from football players to runway models, some don’t toe traditional line.
After reading it, I sent the article to my daughters and my wife, Laura. Apparently fashion is finally catching up to me. It quoted lots of fashionista. Here is an example: “Consuelo Castiglioni, creative director for high-end fashion label Marni, saw socks as an accent, ‘an accessory, adding extra color and texture to the outfit.’ ” If I had a dollar every time that I have said that. I have said something very similar. Laura: You’re not wearing black socks with your sandals to the party? Me: Yeah, I’m too lazy to take them off.” But now I just need to quote something about texture.
I now see fashion wannabees everywhere. Sure I thought about going out and buying a porkpie hat similar to Gene Hackman in the “French Connection,” or maybe growing a man bun. But I didn’t. I could get a tattoo in a language I don’t speak, or put in gauges that grotesquely stretch out my earlobes, but I don’t need to. I am the real deal.
My wife is a licensing agent, and lately she has represented some artists in Brooklyn. So we were recently invited by an artist’s collective hosting an open studio in Brooklyn. Brooklyn, as everyone knows, is the hippest place on earth, and Brooklyn artists that is … like … quadruple hip.
But what to wear to my hipster coming out party? My younger daughter has some interesting clothes that she imports directly from ethically sourced Third World countries. Maybe she would consult with me. First we tried on some really tight black t-shirts. Too tight. I bulged out in places you’re not supposed to bulge. It creeped even me out, and I have seen me naked.
I own no skinny jeans because I am not skinny. How about khaki pants or does that scream Fairfield, Connecticut? We ended up with a black button-down shirt and khaki pants. Even though the pants screamed something, they were comfortable. I took the train from Fairfield to the subway and in no time I was pretending to be authentic. Overall, the open studio could have had better food. And it was a little overheated. Just saying.
My 18-year-old daughter had her hipster coming out party this last summer. Her friend from high school was having a rooftop party at her apartment in the far reaches of Brooklyn. My daughter went and met her friend in the lobby. She didn’t immediately recognize her friend, as she had drastically dyed her hair. As they rode up in the elevator, Caroline’s friend said, “Oh, by the way I told everyone I knew you from high school and they think I am 25, so you have to be 25.” The elevator doors opened.
Caroline desperately whispered to her friend “What? Could you have told me this ahead of time?! I can’t make up a back story this fast.” Caroline was immediately surrounded by people.
Her brain went into overdrive and the inner voices began: “If I am 25 I shouldn’t be a freshman in college (which she was). Can I still be a summer lifeguard? (which she was). I can be a lifeguard, but I need to be in grad school? Could I pull that off? Yes, I am a summer lifeguard and a grad student. But what subject?” A Russian violist started talking to her. She continued her inner dialogue. “My friend Claire is premed and she has some good stories. I could steal her stories ... But can I fake med school? No. Biology was my worst subject.”
The violist finally asked, “What do you do?” “I’m in med school ... and a lifeguard, both are similar. I know more about lifeguarding. Ask me something about lifeguarding. I wear a lot of sun block. So you are a violist — I took the viola with Mrs. Davis at Mill Hill Elementary School … A long time ago ... A really long time ago, because I am 25.” Eventually it rained on the rooftop and the party broke up. Caroline put on her porkpie hat and left for the midnight train back to Fairfield.
Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters. His "A Father's Journal" appears every other Friday. Email him at Tlawlor@mcommunications.com.