Blister 


My hip hurts. In fact, a fair number of my closest friends crawling through their mid-30s are currently enjoying some degree of dysplasia, hanging a little bit to the left on the concentric circle of life. Sure, we're a few years shy of a HoverRound, but we can see it there in the corner of our collective eye, just waiting in the middle of the room like a pink elephant. A big, gay pink elephant.

To that end (or this one), Tony and I have tossed aside our walkers to head out downtown in search of a new hip. "Somebody told me about a cartoon where they go hipster-hunting," is all he has to say before I'm lit up like an American Spirit hanging from a scarred mouth.

"‘Hi Mom, please send money. I've totally gone hip-hop,'" I get even whiter.

"‘And I'm wearing size-three girl's jeans,'" Tony plays along.

"‘And I might or might not have Loverboy on my iPod.'" I do.

Ambitiously, we set to devising the rules of our game. It isn't easy to nail down just what a hipster is here in 2006, mostly because it's so not what a hipster was in 2004. The dirt-under-the-nails—Julian-Casablancas jean jacket already feels old (if it

didn't before), and electroclash Numan-ism decorates the drain with new, new romanticism and My So-Called 1995. I can remember when hipster meant wearing shoulder pads while working at a mall T-shirt shop, with a blond front pushing in from the east. Maybe I'm not the one to judge.

"We should do it in degrees of Pete Doherty," I continue to judge anyway. "Like, ‘Is he more Libertines or Babyshambles? Is Kate Moss in any way involved?'"

I initially suggest that we pick up some little adhesive circles to mark our prey, before I realize that Pete Doherty could ostensibly kick my ass. Instead, having just not enjoyed a dinner of Mexican food, we surmise that maybe just a demarcation of flatulence will do the trick.

"We better bring a change of panties, then," Tony checks the manual. "Because you never know when you force a fart."

Done. My fart will go on.

We set up our first hunting stand on a barstool at Bar-BQ-Bar, where hipsters go to die, or at least listen to the prematurely dead Jeff Buckley on the jukebox. On one side of us is my friend Benny; on the other, a total Doherty wearing a Last Temptation of Christ T-shirt: clearly a hipster of biblical proportions.

"He wasn't even alive when that movie came out," Tony scoffs into a Budweiser.

"That's the genius of it!" I crucify myself.

While attempting my signature eavesdrop on Jesus Babyshambles (nothing of note, or anything at all), I keep one eye at the door for other options, as any good hunter would. Score! One comes to the door with long hair bleached only on the back right, all tight-clothed and nervous-faced. The almost-symmetry of his hair leads me to unwisely dredge up memories of mimes who were girls on one side and boys on the other back in the ‘70s.

"Like Victor/Victoria!" Benny bursts out, and he's not even gay.

Exactly.

All in all, the pickings are slim, literally, and my general disappointment takes the inevitable form of another numbing cocktail. Surely on a Tuesday night there ought to be the hippest of hipsters, because only a hipster would go out on a Tuesday night; only a hipster or a procrastinating scribe whose column is due on Thursday. But there are just a precious couple. So I fart on Jesus, and we're out like Interpol.

Along the way to the Matador, and our 30s, we encounter what can best be described as an urban oasis. There's scaffolding on Orange Avenue, and I'm not even lying. For about 10 yards of streetwalking, there's the bouncing-plywood-floor, sawdust-covered-sidewalk dream of a future, and I swear for a minute that if I just cross Orange I'll be at CBGBs vomiting in a yellowed urinal. Totally hip.

Alas not. About 100 yards later on our hip hop, we're sitting at the Matador talking about nothing in particular and staring at the door. A conversation heartburns up out of nowhere about Scott Stapp and his drunken honeymoon and combusts into a comparison of Creed and Seven Mary Three, mostly because their former drummer is our bartender.

"Hey, Giti, sing ‘Cumbersome,'" encumbers our traveling companion, Benny, before adding that "Seven Mary Three is the anti-Creed."

True, but obviously not hip.

We find a little more luck next door at AKA Lounge, but only for the sake of irony. It's an ‘80s night, which is sort of like a drag show where you can't tell who's a man (somebody born before ‘75) or a woman (somebody born after). Instantly we locate at least two Babyshambles and three Libertines, but we also find one Terence Trent D'Arby and about 75 Huey Lewises. Drunk girls are wiping their noses on the dance floor, flailing around to "Like a Virgin" and "Vacation," and in my tight circle some unnecessary discussion about the significance of DeBarge pops to the "Rhythm of the Night."

From an eventual corner vantage point, I gaze over at the bathroom doors, bored with everything. On the men's, it's Simon LeBon with a handle through his right nostril; on the women's, Debbie Harry sports another handle through her left. This is what happens to hip.

And my hip hurts.

billymanes@yahoo.com

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