I was talking to my husband about this last night when he said:
"The website is intended for hipster parents and hipsters like to talk a lot of shit."
I wanted to disagree. Because although I wouldn't like to admit it, I am just as much a "hipster" as every other parent on the Beggars Banquet mailing list. I have always liked indie music (maybe not Death Cab per se. The Postal Service really brought them into the mainstream, which automatically made them less-awesome.*) I collect and wear vintage designer handbags and like to dress my kid up in overpriced t-shirts. I drink Heineken at bars. I drive a Volkswagen. I subscribe to the New Yorker and listen to NPR. I'm a sucker for a dude who can play guitar and sometimes I wear leggings under shorts with leather boots. I'm on myspace and friendster. I'm a member of Moveon.org and a vegetarian. I have girl-crushes on chicks who look like Zooey Deschanel. I buy shit off e-bay. I have bangs.
I wanted to disagree because I don't want to be associated with what is "cool" because in my experience, what is "cool" is boring. And predictable. And REALLY, actually, uncool.
Because honestly, how much of what I just described did you already know? Without ever having met me? (I know that you know.) Great. Then, let's move on.
Like any good hipster knows, "it's only popular if it's unpopular."
After reading through many of the user-comments on the Babble blogs, features and essays these last few weeks, I've been thinking that maybe my husband was right.
Maybe the cool kids really are mean. Like in High School. How wearing Guess jeans automatically made you someone to hate. And now, wearing skinny jeans and a Black Sabbath shirt automatically makes you an asshole, especially if you have a kid. Because you're too old to have taste! Because growing up means retiring your wardrobe! And your music!
We are all different. We are all the same.
I will not deny the fact that Babble caters to an audience of urban-hipsters. The "cool kids" in the city who wear Ipods on the subway, their children tucked against their Helmut Lang tees in customized Baby Bjorns. I personally don't understand why people are so passionately opposed to parents who keep their old record collections and wear Chuck Taylors to the playground but I digress...
Babble has clearly gotten off on the wrong foot. And maybe that was the point. To be controversial and uncensored and get people talking.... shit about each other. To piss people off because it's soooo punk rock to make people mad.
"The cool kids are never nice." Such is the stereotype. Like in Heathers. And Carrie. Mean Girls and my personal favorite, Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion. The list goes on and on. But why must we perpetuate the myth?
It is a myth, isn't it?
We are all sharing a quad, so to speak. And could learn from one another. About how to be a better parent. About how to be kind.
We are all different. We are all the same.
Critique is one thing. But meanness is something I was not prepared for as I entered the parenting community. Both online and off.
Somehow, parenting has caused us to emotionally regress and become teenagers again. Kids on the playground with something to prove. And maybe it's always been this way. I have no idea.
I don't know what it means to be a cool parent. Or what any of these "grup" "yup" "whothefuckcares" labels are, that we have either given ourselves or project upon others.
And I wonder what it's going to take for us to stop pigeonholing ourselves as "hipsters" or "suburbanites" or "cool parents"... or "soccer moms" or "housewives" or "working-mothers" or "SAHDs."
I do know that we're supposed to be setting a positive example for our kids instead of setting ourselves back. Labels aside, we are all the same. We love our kids. We're living our lives. And learning as we go. So what's the big deal?
We are all different. We are all the same.Give yourself a break. And me. And the guy who isn't "cool" enough or seems like he might be "too cool" and therefore must be a jerk. Or don't. Keep being miserable. And mean. And angry. And watch your children learn to be the same.
*Yes. I realize I am perpetuating the stereotype. I'm being "ironic" as "they" say. Like raaaain on my wedddding day... A freeeeee riiiiiide, when I've alreaaaaaady paaaaaid.
A great big thank you to my friend at Rock the Cradle who nominated my post, Depth of Field, for January's A Perfect Post Award. I'm flattered and super grateful. To read all of the other nominations for Perfect Posts, go here.