I think they smelled the hip-hop on me.
Just hours before entering the bar, I sat down to watch a documentary on Big Daddy Kane, an old-school rapper. I drove around in a car bumping Little Brother, new-school rappers. And then I made the horrible mistake of walking into a crowded bar full of flannel shirts and unkempt facial hair.
I think they smelled the hip-hop on me. And, I think that’s why I got discriminated against for not being a hipster.
The night started well. My husband and I planned an evening with friends in my home state of Utah. We enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner, complete with cocktails as creatively named as they were concocted. I’m still not sure whether I wanted to actually drink Jesus Drives an El Camino or just say it. In a restaurant. In Salt Lake City.
After the bill for a party of 12 arrived and our waitress informed us the restaurant refused to split checks, we took turns with our calculators and pens, proving who excelled at basic math and who didn’t. Although it made for a downer, most of us didn’t excel at basic math, a handful of us decided to keep the party going.
That’s how we ended up in hipster hell. Or hipster heaven, depending on which side of American Apparel’s doors you shop.
For readers thinking to themselves, “Now I’m familiar with hippies, but who are these hipster folks you speak of?” let me try and break it down for you. This group of people prefers its music and clothes as far away from the mainstream as possible. You know that place called the mall? They have nightmares about high school cheerleaders dragging them there, force-feeding them nonorganic hot dogs on sticks, blasting Katy Perry music and dressing them in clothes from Express and Bebe while the Kardashian sisters tag along. Not that your average sane person wouldn’t consider that a nightmare, but you see where I’m going here.
So, we walked into this bar almost as narrow as a bowling lane and took a look around. I immediately started wondering how many of the black, thick-rimmed eyeglasses actually came with a prescription. Of course a song played overhead that sounded as familiar as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sounds to a girl like me — a girl who drinks Jesus Drives an El Camino with her dinner.
Aside from my husband and the rest of my siblings, we also had a soccer mom and her husband with us. We looked about as comfortable as hipster Bon Iver did accepting his Grammy a couple of weeks ago. (By the way, there go all your fans, Bon Iver. Winning a Grammy? That’s a cardinal hipster sin.)
Despite the initial discomfort, or perhaps because of it, I got the group’s drink orders and made my way to the bar. That’s when I found myself sandwiched between two pretty women wearing the finest in thrift-store chic duds. What was I wearing? Oh, my falsest of false lashes, hot pink lipstick and a dress that should’ve come with a keyboard and fingerless gloves it was so ’80s. The contrast between me and the other women at the bar felt like a cappella versus autotune.
Let me make one thing clear. I don’t have anything against hipster hangouts. No, really. My preferred hangouts in Vegas are downtown and largely hipster-frequented. I love the creative fashion they sport and, although I rarely recognize the music, I rarely hate it, either. That said, I have to be in the mood for the hipster scene. At the very least, I need warning that it’s coming.
This bar in Salt Lake had a big, bright new sign lit up on the outside of it. Not in a kitschy way, either. You’d look at it and expect a certain kind of bar scene. Guys with gel in their hair. Women with gel in their bras. That kind of thing. Not a Nirvana amount of flannel shirts and a Paul Bunyan amount of facial hair.
I stood at that bar, staring at the bartender who refused to make eye contact with me for what had to be a good three straight songs of obscurity. I started wondering how many Apple products a girl had to own to get a drink in that place when a guy popped out of nowhere, asking what cocktail he could make me. I quickly rattled off my simple order (Jack and Coke, Crown and Coke, Crown and water and a pink lady) as I know how pressed bartenders are for time.
He looked me up. He looked me down. He – finally – looked me in the eye and replied, “Sorry. You’ll have to wait for a bartender for that” and moved on to a chick with bangs as blunt as his discrimination.
It was like he knew just by looking at my aerosol-sprayed hair that I didn’t recycle. He could sense all my flannels were purchased at Forever 21, not the locally owned and operated vintage boutique downtown. And, he could definitely smell the hip-hop on me. They probably had drinking fountains for hipsters and drinking fountains for hip-hop fans, but I didn’t stick around long enough to find out. We stormed out of there.
As I walked quickly back to our car, I told my friends and family about the discrimination I’d just endured for not being a hipster. They consoled me with their best hipster jokes and then I told them I wouldn’t feel good about it until I could do one thing.
Me: It makes me want to beat up Zooey Deschanel!
Husband: Why Zooey Deschanel?
My sister Mari: She’s their queen.
Husband: Whose queen?
Mari: Hipsters’ queen. They worship her. She’s like the ruler of the hipsters.
So what did we do? The only rational thing anyone in that situation would do, of course. We found out where Deschanel lives, put on some high school cheerleader uniforms, dragged her to the nearest mall …
Contact columnist Xazmin Garza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0477.
Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.