You may not know at first glance that I’m not hip. I’m wearing a sparkly baby-T shirt as I write this, unfortunately for me I didn’t pay 35 cents for it at a thrift store or 3500 at Fred Segal. No, sadly, I got it at Wet Seal, the store that caters to the 11 to maybe 18 set. I’m 39. I actually do a lot of shopping there. I know. it’s true. I’m a member of a club that would never admit it’s own existence. But, I’m coming out of the closet. I’m one of them. The tragically unhip. I’m not uncool enough to bring it full circle and be geeky in a HIP way. I’ve slipped through the cracks. And I’m not one of those people who cool doesn’t matter to. You know, a Wall Street type who’s mad for Dave Matthews and knows the world is on his side on this one or someone who calls Dr. Laura introducing themselves as “My Kid’s Mom” or uses the phrase “Ah ha moment” without embarrassment. No. I’m not oblivious to my unhipness. I wish I was. What I am is so much worse. I’m a dreaded wannabe.
It started in grade school. My family was poor and my clothes were ordered for me from the Sears catalog. But here’s the catch, I liked it. Yeah, I didn’t groan like a future Janeane Garafolo. I looked forward to the delivery of my purple polyesther pants suit with white fringe and the daintiest 100% plastic flowers surrounding the collar. Hell, I picked that shit out myself.
Skip ahead to sixth grade and an early attempt at cool. I begged and begged to get a “real” professional haircut by a real professional hair dresser. Finally my mother relented. Only, it wasn’t at a “salon” it was a friend’s mom who cut hair but I was just relieved it wasn’t MY MOM. The hairsyle I wanted, naturally, was a Dorothy Hamill, The haircut of the pubescent ice skating, gymnastic sect. But it didn’t look cute and girly on me, hitting my jawline just so and flipping up delicately. No, I just looked like a boy. Possibly a cute boy. But a boy. After that, there were Toni home perms that went awry (is there any other kind?), Sun-In and self tanning lotions that turned me orange and other misfired attempts at hip. It seemed to always be my fault too.
Jump ahead to Junior High. Actually don’t. Just go see Welcome to the Dollhouse and consider yourself filled in.
In high school I was cool for a month because I moved from Los Angeles to Springfield Mass. For one sparkling moment I was “that girl from California.” But then I wore a bandana in my hair wrapped around my head and tied under my chin like a Russian peasant woman and it was all over. Looking back, maybe I shouldn’t have even tried.
I’m unhip. I own a Britney Spears CD. Yeah, I CLAIMED it was just to bring to the gym, but I’ve snuck and listened to it at other times. I’ve teared up in my car to a Celine Dion song. No, it wasn’t the theme from Titanic. I’m not fourteen, just not cool. I don’t listen to Moby. And I actually TiVo’d “American Idol” when I wasn’t home to watch it. Yeah, I was the one. Sure I make fun of it, but watching it is still watching it. Every episode. I think Ryan Adams is OKAY. Just okay. Yeah, I said it. Feel sorry for me if you want but I’ve gotten used to the way I am.
To my credit, I’ve never used emoticons and I have a profile on my AOL account but it’s really short. Yeah. Exactly. I still have an AOL account. Even my parents have moved on to SBCglobal but here I am still on AOL. I’ve missed the boat on anything hip. I caught cowboy boots at the tail end. I line danced at Denim and Diamonds and not just to be ironic. I loved it. I learned how to do the Tush Push and the two step. I didn’t take it as far as another tragically unhip friend of mine. She married a Denim and Diamonds bus boy and moved to Nashville to help him get his singing career off the ground. But I did blow a cowboy in the back of his Nisson pickup. Not a real cowboy. An L.A. cowboy. Oh and I still wear overalls.
The sad part is I can see hip from where I stand. But when I reach for it it always slips through my fingers. I’m not what you’d call a trend setter. I got my belly button pierced at 30. And then took it out a week later. I started wearing Isaac Mizrahi just as soon as he released his line in Target (*exaggeration for humor).
And the worst part is,I know it’s going to spill over to my child. It’s starting already. I had no idea that AP stands for attachment parenting, I’d never heard of a Snugli and I didn’t breastfeed. And my kid gets most if not all of her clothes from Target. Oh dear.