What could be hipper than staying ahead of trends that aren’t even happening?
Access to a thriving hipster community is one of the best things about life on a college campus. Since everything from Bettie Page to Betty Crocker is hip these days, hipsters are clearly the way to go if you’re looking to get a lot of bang for your entertainment buck. Hipsters also have a great deal of disposable cash despite the fact that few of them are employed, which is why we have decided to open our hip coffeehouse.
Coffeehouses have long served as havens for the hippest people around. Your typical independent coffeehouse attracts scores of scenesters, band kids, happeningsters, gutter punks, trance-hoppers and other in-the-know folks. Featuring standoffish, incompetent baristas and wallpapered with cheaply Xeroxed posters touting unknown bands, these places have supplanted the decaying industrial sector as the driving force of our nation’s economy.
Since there are so many coffeehouses out there — 1,532,009 shops in Pennsylvania alone, pouring nearly two billion gallons of coffee per day — we need to ensure that our hip coffeehouse is something special.
First, we’ll need a hip location. Hipster businesses are typically situated in neighborhoods that are coming back. These neighborhoods often have an arts initiative in place, which provides an impetus for replacing disadvantaged people with bike shops, vinyl stores and other services that hipsters require.
Our hip coffeehouse will do the hipsters one better: We’ll move every month, and our location will always be in some place that is coming back. Eventually, we’ll even relocate to established neighborhoods on the premise that they too might eventually decline and thus need to be brought back. What could be hipper than staying ahead of trends that aren’t even happening?
Another thing that our hip coffeehouse will need is a surly, unhelpful staff composed of the hippest people in the area. Our baristas will be so hip that most of them won’t even show up for work. The baristas who do make occasional appearances will sit with the customers, making coffee and cleaning tables only when the urge strikes them. Instead of a cash register, customers will just drop as much money as they feel like spending into a cool-looking hat that resembles the hat worn by Marlon Brando in that one movie.
The coffee served at our hip coffeehouse will come from the various war-torn lands that hipsters enjoy supporting. All of this coffee will be guaranteed as fairer-than-fair trade and will have been grown organically in tiny plots overseen by artisans who have thousand-year traditions of sustainable farming as well as hard-to-pronounce surnames. The coffee might be tasty, but our lazy baristas will brew it with so little care that everything we serve will wind up tasting like a combination of toothpaste and dishwater. Given our hip coffeehouse’s commitment to sustainability, this will make perfect sense: The water used to brew the coffee will be dishwater recycled from our filthy kitchen.
Like any hip coffeehouse, we will play the kind of whiny, atonal music favored by hipsters. Unlike at most other coffeehouses, which play recorded (and thus outdated) compositions, this music will be improvised live in the store. Performers will never reappear and songs will never be replayed, which will prevent our discerning hipsters from experiencing the pain of listening to bands that have “sold out” by playing a gig where they were heard by more than 50 people.
Our hip coffeehouse will host its share of poetry slams, albeit with a twist that is certain to win us awards from the city’s free independent newsweekly. Instead of the formal deliveries of apostrophes to abusive parents that usually take place at these events, our slams will consist of randomly selected conversations between our hip patrons. Given the high caliber of hipster that attends our hip coffeehouse, these conversations are likely to be better than anything ever written by anyone, ever.
No, we can’t have that. You need to stay in your room and try to catch up on whatever the best hipsters are doing these days. You’ll never succeed, though, because catching up isn’t what the clientele at our hip coffeehouse will be doing. These people will be figuring out the way you should wear your jeans (flared is the new tapered which was once the new flared), sunglasses (medium is the new small which was once the new big), jockstraps (which are the new briefs which were once the new chastitybelts) and everything else that matters. They’re so fantastic, and that’s why our hip coffeehouse will be too.
This article first appeared in The Pitt News on October 5, 2010.