Too fat to be a hipster (and other reasons why I’m not cool)


November 9, 2010 by jessperriam

“What are you thinking, Perriam?” asked El Presidente.

We were sitting at the corner window seat of Gino’s yesterday evening. I had the view of the street, I was laughing at overpacked backpackers, slumping their way down South Terrace. Pack light, wash often, is the advice to avoid my mockery.

I was onto my third coffee of the day. I probably should have stopped at two. But I have an addictive personality.

“You know what? I’ve come to the realisation that I’m not cool,” I replied. I was actually lying. I’ve known that’s the case for a very long time.

And without skipping a beat:

“Well, it hasn’t been cool to ‘be cool’ for a few years now,” said El Presidente. His ability to talk absolute bullshit off the cuff never ceases to amaze me.

“No, but I mean I never have been nor do I suspect I will ever be fashionable for want of a better word.”

And it’s true while I get along alright in life, I’m generally not mocked by the public – I’m not an inspiration for emulation.

So here’s a few reasons why I’m not cool, but there are some counter arguments too:

1. When all else fails I listen to oldies radio.

I work in radio. Therefore I listen to a range of different stations simply because I love the medium. But if it’s 11pm on a Friday and I have a choice between incessant drum and bass, whining moronic remixes of Top40 crap, the inevitable quiz of truckies and insomniacs on talk radio or; classic songs from the ’60s and ’70s – I pick classic songs. I also sing along. Loudly. Because I am in my car and I can. I don’t care if you drive past and see me belting out “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac.

PS. I love music written by Burt Bacharach. Leave your mockery in the comments box.

2. I don’t really care about fashion.

When I was at uni, one of my criteria for finding a job I’d like was that I could wear jeans and a t-shirt to work. I’m lucky. I’m living the dream. I’ve even been able to wear ugg boots to work at one point in time.

I’ve also had times where the story has meant I’ve had to dress up for work. Yes, last Melbourne Cup day I was dressed to the nines because I was reporting from the racecourse. Yes, I even wore a fascinator.

I’m not sure where this disdain or disinterest stems from: It could be the fact that I had to wear a grey dress ugly sack to school every day for five years. But I think it’s just this real unease I have about dressing up and looking pretty. I put on a delightful dress, know I look hot and yet feel inherently wrong in the pit of my stomach.

Plus, it’s a lot of work and money to look good. And I’ve shared my life with guys who are vain enough for the two of us. Yes, guys who feel compelled to look at their hair in the reflection of shop windows. I’m not sure I’m concerned with someone’s hair, in fact I’ll ruffle their hair just to shit them.

3. I love my Grandma

I still have the whole set of grandparents. Yay for me!

Cynthia is my Granma and she’s never attended a job interview, she’s been with the same fella for more than 60 years and she’s just brilliant.

She goes to the hairdresser every week, has a boozy lunch with one of her best friends every second Thursday of the month and she sees the humour when I send her a postcard from France with a picture of a group of old women knitting on it.

I have a lot of time for her and David. And I especially love it when I arrive only to have her greet me at the door with, “Sssh! Your grandfather’s sleeping, we’ll have to sit in the bedroom and talk until he wakes up.”

And I know it’s not cool to admit it, but I can’t get enough of the stories from back in Mt Gambier and some of the silly things my aunts and uncles got up to.  I can’t get enough of them because I know I’m not going to have them one day, but also because they’re good cracking stories.

Just as an example, I had no idea my great uncle has a speech impediment because he had a gliding accident which damaged his noggin back in 1948. And I never would have known that it was actually possible to break your coccyx until my Granma told me the story of breaking her own one day back in the 1950s.

4. I’m too fat to be a hipster

I was having coffee with a friend the other day and we were lamenting the hipster scourge.

I said something about being too lazy to be a hipster. It takes a hell of a lot of work to look so deliberately disheveled.  But then I thought about how tricky it would be to squeeze into some skinny jeans and all manner of other skinny items for their skinny skinniness (skinny thoughts, skinny philosophies, skinny lattes). Even if I wanted to be one, I couldn’t fit into it. For real.

It must be so tiring to be so ‘discerning’ about everything in life.  Quite frankly, I’ll quite happily coast along listening to whatever semi-mainstream, mid-90s through to today rock-alt-indie-folk I like, reading the same magazines (ooh.. does reading Frankie make me a hipster?) and newspapers (eep! the very bleeding-heart Guardian), and watching the same mildly humorous and thought-provoking television programs.

PS. I watch some real crap like LA Ink as well. And I love every second of it.

5. I appreciate manners

I am constantly asking my niece what the magic word is. I get annoyed when people don’t respond to emails, letters, texts, facebook messages or missed phone calls. It shits me to tears. Almost as much as people who cancel at the last minute. Yes, I know spontaneity is awesome, I love it and appreciate the spirit of the spur of the moment, but would it kill you to send a text saying, ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘probably not’?

6. I’m too nice

So while I’d be fuming that you didn’t use your manners or whatever, I would never get cranky to your face.

Nice girls finish last and all that. Heh.

7. I am a Christian

But I find it hard to fit into the church environment. I have my still, small faith and I won’t bother you about mine if you don’t bother me about yours.

My idea of hell is a women’s conference with Hillsong pumping through the speaker system and general hysteria and idol-worshipping of the guest speaker. I hate the competition to be a better, more righteous follower than your peers. So I quit the competition. I think God is bigger than that.

My idea of heaven is discussing and questioning the meaning of life over a glass or two of red.

I find more in common and more to love about my urban family of atheists, lapsed Catholics and those in between than I do people who live their lives from Sunday to Wednesday and back again. It’s not a criticism and it’s not a superiority thing. It’s just my place in this world. And it works.

I am not cool. I am likable, loyal and little loopy and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You’re not cool either. Why is that so?


15 thoughts on “Too fat to be a hipster (and other reasons why I’m not cool)

  1. Jacob Black says:

    I don’t think you’re cool either. But I do think you’re one of the most interesting, intelligent, fun, and just plain GOOD people to be around. And I adore you for it.

    I’m not cool, mostly because I desperately want to be cool.

    • jessperriam says:

      I think the moment you recognise futility in actively trying to be something (cool, fashionable, accepted) is the moment you truly become yourself… whatever that entails.

      It’s fun!

      PS. you’re inspirational with a sledgehammer.

  2. Clare Day says:

    i think you are cool BECAUSE of those things!!!!

    im not cool because i dont care what people think, and im quite happy to wear sparkly heart antennas and jump around like a 5 year old 🙂

  3. Peter Perriam says:

    I’ll lend you one of my cardigans if you like.

  4. mandypink says:

    Í’m sorry I cancelled that time Jess!
    I think you’re awesome. You’re not mainstream but lets be realistic, anyone who is isn’t being themselves.

  5. Jacob Black says:

    Also, I want a nickname!

  6. Julian says:

    I have never worked out how you can have an “ironic” mullet; mullets are just wrong. Damn hipsters!

  7. Tim White says:

    Well I used to think I was cool until points 2-7 applied to me too…

    Still cooler than you though I guess. Burt Bacharach? Really? 😛

    • jessperriam says:

      Yeah, Burt’s dulcet tones really let me down. I’m not an all-Burt, all the time kind of fan. I doubt I’d even see him in concert. But his soppy, soppy songs hold a strange, retro corner of my heart.

  8. skinny jeans are very 2009, at least where i live. i wouldnt lose any sleep over it!

  9. Joey says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for like a month since the wonderful Jacob Black put me onto it. And I must say, I think you’re pretty cool.

    My opinion of cool differs from that of most.

    I’m not cool because:

    I think it’s cool to sit on the couch with my girlfriend (now fiance) and plan how us two girls can have kids one day over a glass of red wine and watching Nigella cooking DVD’s.

    I am a Christian too, and have issues with the whole supremacy of church over faith idea, I think it’s better for everyone to believe whatever they want and be happy and respected for it.

    I’m not cool because I too love the classics, and I often break into song in the middle of cooking dinner, start dancing to them in the shops with my girl and will often be heard belting out one or another in the shower/car/anywhere.

    I’m not cool because I’d rather a quiet night in, baking cupcakes/cookies/cakes with the girl and watching sailor moon (the japanese version with English subtitles).

    • jessperriam says:

      Hey nice to have another friendly reader! Especially if they’re friends with the enigmatic Jacob Black.
      I have to say I randomly break out into song as well. It’s not so bad among friends but when I’m walking down the street and I start humming… I suddenly get all embarrassed when I realise what I’m doing.

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