Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dude, So, I'm Like, You Know, Totally Cool

Sometime in the 1930's the world capital of cool shifted from Paris to New York, and its been there ever since. Sure there have been pretenders over the years (anyone remember Cool Britannia?) but none has ever worked out and New York City is still where hip gets decided. Of course not all of the Big Apple is hip to the same degree. Queens isn't cool, Staten Island is decidedly uncool and the Bronx is mostly too scary to be cool. When I lived in Harlem I thought that was pretty cool and Harlem does produce its share of street clothes and rap attitudes, but the true centres of New York hipness are to be found either in lower Manhattan or increasingly in Brooklyn. Brooklynites have always had an attitude problem. Just look at David Blaine and Jay Z. And I've never understood why Brooklyn is so special that it refuses to join the New York Public Library system. Anyway, according to The New York Times Brooklyn is now the centre of the hepcat universe and Brooklynites are arbiters of the cool look for men.
We've gone through the leather jacket phase, the skinny jean phase, the khaki trousers phase and if last week's Times Style Section is to be believed Brooklynites have now rejected the Washboard Abs Mens Health Magazine look in favour of (drum roll please): worn jeans, dishevelled baseball hats, old t shirts and - this is the best part - beer bellies. You heard me right. Guts are in. Apparently with the hyper skinny Obama in the White House the way to rebel is to look as if you don't work out and you don't wash your clothes that often: abs and a close shave give off the air of pathetically trying too hard - they are so Bush era. Bellies and a scruffy face imply beer drinking (microbrews natch) knowledge of arcane folk wisdom and the baseball cap of course means that you reject the macho posturing of American Football to follow the geekiest and most insiderish of all American past-times: baseball. (Minor league if possible, naturally, and especially the Brooklyn Cyclones).
I nearly keeked my whips when I read this, you see I've been ahead of this trend for decades. That is my look (the photo is me, somewhat dazed, this morning). It's been my look since the early 90's. Finally the world has caught up to me. At last and for this brief shining moment I can gaze in the mirror and see a cool person gazing back. Oh thank you Brooklyn hipsters, thank you. And please, I beg you, don't be fickle, don't start cutting your hair and shaving your chest and going back to gym; I like being on the cool side of the playground. I've never been here before. Come on guys lets ride this trend together at least until grey hair and baldness come in.