I believe my prolonged, painful and embarrassing infiltration of youth culture, circa 2012, came to a screeching halt last Friday night. Actually, I have no real urge to rejoin youth culture because I hate loud noise and large groups which essentially defines youth culture.
Nonetheless, Friday night found me haunting the doorway of a small musician/artist sloppy living room-style hangout in downtown for a multi-pronged punk concert that stretched over several small local bands from 8pm through 1am. The bands played loud, crazed, raucous punk exclamations and the mosh pit was a flurry of mayhem which I made sure to keep a healthy distance away. “Healthy” in the respect that it would be unhealthy for me to step foot into one of those considering my history of head and skull injuries. I gotta play it cool for the rest of my life now. No more blows or jerking neck motions. I loved mosh pits when I was younger. I didn’t go to punk concerts, but I went to enough Slayer/Motorhead/Suicidal Tendencies speed/thrash metal shows to have participated in enough mosh pits back in the day. I can’t do it anymore, but the electricity in the air is magnetic. I stood and watched the mosh pit and enjoyed the humid, oppressive dank air as frenzied and violent bodily collisions filled the air.
I can’t do that youth thing anymore, damnit.
I’m way out of the loop.
The club was mainly populated by artistic, liberal, hipster, young types. There are many signalling factors at play in such a niche environment and my personal appearance easily disqualifies me from “fitting in” or even making an alternative statement that contains sufficient irony to allow me to grudgingly fit in. Nope, I am just not hip or young and I stood out. I failed so many signalling rites.
-Most of the kids wore button-up shirts with plaid-like or angular square lines. I wore a black t-shirt with some random design that had nothing to do with the venue. I could count on one hand the number of kids wearing t-shirts. A few did but they were covered with jackets. I didn’t even wear a jacket!
-Hair. Everyone’s hair was long and suitably done in “unstyled chic.” No hair product to be found, no shaved heads, no parts. By comparison, my hair is middle-aged and inconspicuously short. Very short, shorter than anyone else’s in the place. My hair has no personality; it’s drab; unlike most of these kids whose hair screams “I am ME!” My hair screams, “Yeah, I’m here but try not to look at me!”
-Facial hair. No one devotes a conscious effort to display it as a supplemental styling apparatus. To do so would betray excessive attention to one’s own appearance and these kids eschew that impression. This is why many of them have unshaven shadows which still say that perhaps it wasn’t intentional. Shabby chic applied to personal hygiene. Wearing a mustache or goatee shows awkward effort. My mustache/goatee combo looked downright square.
-Shoes. There was a large skateboarding contingent among these kids. They all like the same shoes. Skating shoes are not horribly expensive or fancy or flashy. Sneakers are not that common, and white sneakers are definitely out. Best bet are a pair of black DC’s. I love New Balance, but those are out of the question for this crowd. New Balance are for old people. This is where I showed some foresight. I left my New Balance at home and opted instead for my Adidas red and black Soft Cells.
My footwear choice was the only thing I did that did not alienate me from the crowd.
-Everyone has a damned smart phone. I hate smart phones, and I hate texting, and I hate surfing the net or reading email while I’m away from home. That stuff should stay home home. I’m old school! My litle piece of crap flip phone, circa 1997, and my carrier which is targeted at seniors who just want a simple phone, was quite the outsider as well. Not the type of phone you want to sit with amid all these high-tech upstarts while you try to press the little keys to pound out a text to your Aunt Louise.
-They have so much energy. I overdosed on some awesomely strong coffee made with a French Press. That kept me up until 3:30am. Caffeine is my fountain of youth.