As a new dad, I desperately want to be cool in my daughter’s eyes. Sure, she’s only nine months old but there will come a time when she’ll work out what sort of dad I am. At the moment I’m the skinny jeans, faded band t-shirt and a well worn pair of Chuck Taylors kind of dad. I think I’m cool(ish) but really in the greater scheme of things how I look shouldn’t determine the kind of father I am.
Having said that, in my search for coolness it seems I’m constantly being trumped by a new breed of parent. Hipster dads are popping up all over my city with their overt yet well manicured beards and babies clad in pure hemp nappies. You can spot a hipster dad as his child will have a name like Juniper, Edison or Beckett and most likely be gnawing on a teething ring made from nori. I heard a rumour that a true hipster dad is duty-bound to name their child after a character from either a J.D. Salinger or F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Either that or a Game of Thrones character.
Hipster dads sure have stamped their post-ironic mark on fashion with their beanies, lumberjack shirts, and the classic sweatshirt embossed with either a wolf howling at the moon or an impossibly cute kitten. Hipster dads don’t think twice about accessorising their child either with pacifiers shaped like moustaches, skinny jeans, beanies and Mohawks. I’ll admit my daughter does proudly wear a Ramones jumpsuit however I drew the line when a friend suggested we buy her a pair of thick, black-rimmed glasses. Apparently they’re all the rage with the infant hipster demographic.
Speaking of hipster dads, when did beards become a thing? Growing up I assumed that only foreign men and science teachers had beards. Now every Tom, Dick and Atticus has one. I feel that hipsters have singlehandedly revived the beard and made facial hair the new social norm.
In the interests of transparency I must disclose that I too have a beard. Not a bushy beard or a moustache that I form into ironic points at the corners of my mouth, rather a closely cropped beard that not only cuts my shaving time in half but also gives me a small amount of credibility with other hipster dads I may run into at my local indie record store.
I have a serious fear that as both my daughter and I get older I will slowly lose my coolness. I hate to admit it but I can almost feel it draining from me as each year passes. My wife reminds me that I’m becoming more like my own father everyday which perplexingly gives me mixed feelings. On the one hand my father is smart, stoic and cool in a crisis, yet on the other hand he regularly wears blue jeans, bright white trainers and a striped polo top, tucked into the jeans. This is a not a cool look. That’s how I imagine Cliff Richard dressed circa 1993.
When my wife was pregnant I feared that once the baby was born it would officially signify the end of my youth. I must admit that I was relieved and felt very little difference once she arrived so this gives me hope for my future coolness. I have no intention of becoming a regular dad but by no means do I classify myself as a hipster dad either. I mean, I can’t remember the last time I had organic kale and buckwheat pancakes with fair-trade maple syrup.
I think I straddle the middle ground between a regular dad and a hipster dad. Sure I may wear skinny jeans and enjoy craft beer, however I also wear a suit to work and occasionally listen to classic 80’s pop music, un-ironically. I might make fun of hipsters, but in the same way a young boy may tease a girl that he likes, I think deep down I may in fact want to be a hipster. I’m not even sure why. Again I think it’s a way of holding onto my youth and ensuring that I’ll still feel young.
I think I need to embrace my future years and not worry so much about being cool. I know my daughter will love me no matter what and forge her own way through life taking a little influence from me and a little influence from her mother. I want her to be her own woman; reading the books that other kids aren’t and listening to bands that the other kids haven’t heard of yet. I want her to be a cultural rebel, not a social rebel.
If she grows into a little hipster, then so be it, however I don’t think my faux-hipster lifestyle has rubbed off on her yet. Having said that, I’ll bet you a fair-trade latté that her first words will either be “Arcade Fire” or “certified organic”.