Skip to comments.Does Anyone Want to Be an Adult Anymore? (Up With Grups*)
Posted on 03/30/2006 7:59:55 PM PST by SLB
* Also known as yupster (yuppie + hipster), yindie (yuppie + indie), and alterna-yuppie. Our preferred term, grup, is taken from an episode of Star Trek (keep reading) in which Captain Kirk et al. land on a planet of children who rule the world, with no adults in sight. The kids call Kirk and the crew grups, which they eventually figure out is a contraction of grown-ups.
Lets start with a question. A few questions, actually: When did it become normal for your average 35-year-old New Yorker to (a) walk around with an iPod plugged into his ears at all times, listening to the latest from Bloc Party; (b) regularly buy his clothes at Urban Outfitters; (c) take her toddler to a Mommys Happy Hour at a Brooklyn bar; (d) stay out till 4 A.M. because he just cant miss the latest New Pornographers show, because who knows when Neko Case will decide to stop touring with them, and everyone knows shes the heart of the band; (e) spend $250 on a pair of jeans that are artfully shredded to look like they just fell through a wheat thresher and are designed, eventually, to artfully fall totally apart; (f) decide that Sufjan Stevens is the perfect music to play for her 2-year-old, because, lets face it, 2-year-olds have lousy taste in music, and we will not listen to the Wiggles in this house; (g) wear sneakers as a fashion statement; (h) wear the same vintage New Balance sneakers that he wore on his first day of school in the seventh grade as a fashion statement; (i) wear said sneakers to the office; (j) quit the office job becauseyou know what?screw the office and screw jockeying for that promotion to VP, because isnt promotion just another word for slavery?; (k) and besides, now that shes a freelancer, working on her own projects, on her own terms, its that much easier to kick off in the middle of the week for a quick snowboarding trip to Sugarbush, because shes got to have some balance, right? And she can write it off, too, because who knows? She might bump into Spike Jonze on the slopes; (l) wear a Misfits T-shirt; (m) make his 2-year-old wear a Misfits T-shirt; (n) never shave; (o) take pride in never shaving; (p) take pride in never shaving while spending $200 on a bedhead haircut and $600 on a messenger bag, because, seriously, only his grandfather or some frat-boy Wall Street flunky still carries a briefcase; or (q) all of the above?
This is an obituary for the generation gap. It is a story about 40-year-old men and women who look, talk, act, and dress like people who are 22 years old. Its not about a fad but about a phenomenon that looks to be permanent. Its about the hedge-fund guy in Park Slope with the chunky square glasses, brown rock T-shirt, slight paunch, expensive jeans, Puma sneakers, and shoulder-slung messenger bag, with two kids squirming over his lap like itchy chimps at the Tea Lounge on Sunday morning. Its about the mom in the low-slung Sevens and ankle boots and vaguely Berlin-art-scene blouse with the $800 stroller and the TV-screen-size Olsen-twins sunglasses perched on her head walking through Bryant Park listening to Death Cab for Cutie on her Nano.
Grups - just my style of folks.
How do I feel about Grups.
"Bonk bonk on the head."
I've seen it all.
I'm not sure what the trend is here; there have always been hipster parents. My two toddler daughters listen to Sufjan Stevens, Sigur Ros and a zillion other indie artists... doesn't seem like a big deal to me.
But not just here. This morning I was thinking about all the rap music and ghetto clothing sold around the country (and the world, I suppose) as fashion, and how people affect ghetto dialect when in fact most of them wouldn't last a week in the 'hood. It's silly.
Walking behind a couple of neighborhood kids yesterday, I hear one of them "singing" this (as best as I can remember):
"most nigga's when they in jail are [something]...but I know this one's a snitch..."
and I remembered singing "Ticket to Ride" by the Beatles when I was a kid...and "Time" by Pink Floyd by the time I was a teenager...
I learned all the words to "I'm A Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas," including the patter chorus, when I was 13.
yes, but...it really does get to be a pitiful sight after a while...and if you have any sense at all, you tend to wonder about people who will pay $1.2 million for 900 square foot one bedroom apartment.
It needn't be envy...just amazement...and the usual split second estimates about the state of the real estate market, the economy, and the likelihood that you might be able to pick it up for 300 in a couple of year as a foreclosure.
I think that is good.
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.
Ping for later, too long, but must.read.it.all.
Happy to be an old fart at 48. Just saw Steven and Edie in Vegas, seated right next to the stage, too cool. They rocked. If you have to ask, you're too young to understand.
Thanks for posting this SLB, looks like an excellent piece.
Quiting the 9-5 and being in charge of your own schedule sounds good to me.
I had to find out what they were.
I forgot. People in their 30s are supposed to act like they have one foot in the grave and surrender to the nursing home. No thanks. I'm 31. If I want to wear things that are in style, then I will. And the economy and my psyche will be better because of it.
I became an adult when I finally decided that it wasn't much fun trying to keep up with the world and that it was time for the world to start keeping up with me. It doesn't, of course, and I don't care. Before I was an adult I would have.
Those two are still alive? Are you sure? Even Mel Torme croaked. Did you look closely; might be Disney animatronics.
very evident when comparing Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp against Clark Gable and James Cagney. There were surely the effete guys back then, but the delicate types definitely weren't celebrated so much. This seems to bode ill for our future.
Yikes, I'm 38, own an iPod, and wear a Misfits t shirt and Converse hi-tops most of the time. Didn't realize I had to wear pearls and a twinset to the grocery store or to the play ground.
Didn't realize my choice in hair cuts kept me from my adult responsibilities. Still, despite my musical choices or my perma-adolescence, I still, somehow, spent five hours in the hospital tonight while my 88-year old father was getting an emergency MRI so doctors could find out whether or not the MRSA infection had spread from a bedsore to the bones in his spine. Made sure my three year old went to her language therapy session (pesky speaking delay...) today as well, got the house payment off, paid the bills, talked to the financial advisor, bought spline from Home Depot and even swam 1500 meters today in the lap pool at the gym. How do I do it? Surely, can't be the clothes I wear. No, that would just be silly.
And all this time, I thought I was doing just fine being a grown up. Guess I should listen to Tony Bennet, dress like a frump and wear ugly orange lipstick on my grown up face. Wow, who'd a thunk that all this time I was just play acting and didn't realize it?
I should say so; she really is. Nice rack.
Wait a second, his grandfather? Please don't tell me the man bag has made a comeback.
"Headin' to the Apple Store - heard there's a new iPod color, dude."
There are definite benefits to living in the boonies as I do ... one does not see this sort of bizarre stuff.
It was brilliant, and I recommend it highly.
I remember in the opening paragraph he asks if you've ever noticed in the old pictures of crowds at ballgames or boxing matches that the men were almost always in suits and ties?
He takes over from there.
I agree that there are a lot of grown children running around. I go by actions and not appearance though. What is scary is that there are a bunch of them at the DC daycare making decisions for us. .
Oh well, time to download some more mp3s...
This isn't anything new. In the same Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods the wealthy NYC Baby Boomers, (Lehman Brothers traders, ad execs, semi-successsful artists, trust fundies, others) who were wealthy by their early 30's had partially dropped out of the rat race and raised a much smaller contigent of Gen X/Y kids in the late 70's and 80's under "hipster" conditions.
Very amusing article though.
add me to the gen reagan ping.
"Those two are still alive?"
They were great! Steve looked great, Edie a little heavy. Steve said "She's the only investment I made that doubled"
They did a great little video show before the show, amazing how many are dead. Carson still rules, even from beyond the grave, there'll never be another like him.
And their opening number was: We're still here.
The highlight of the vacation, without a doubt!
I've taken an interest in black and white photos from the 40s and 50s, because the people, whether working men or waitresses or businessmen, have a different look than their same age counter parts of today.
People of the past have a more mature look.
Even high school kids in the past looked more mature than high schoolers today.
Still, I can't see the problem how someone spends their personal time (or chooses to dress, etc.) if the basics of life and responsibilities are attended to.
I can only speak for myself, but I've always been sort of "out of the box" and very quirky. Never will change, couldn't if I tried--and even then, can't see a reason to do so. Maybe I'll be 90 and still wearing Misfits shirts and Chuck T's (with my Fresh n' Easy Big Girl Pull Ups). What's the alternative? Sans-a-belt slacks and Easy Spirit slip ons? Flowered house dresses and fuzzy slippers? Christmas Tree Sweaters? Doesn't keep me from reading The National Review and going to Mass.
The bills get paid, my toddler is clean and well fed and loved and cared for, the dog gets her heart worm meds and flea drops, I make cup cakes for the Moms club meetings, etc -- I dot my i's, cross my t's--and so do the scores of Yupsters and Grups that comprise my social circle--even if we can quote Star Wars verbatim or have Kool Aid colored hair whilst doing so.
I know a lot of suit-wearing "squares" who are completely irresponsible a-holes. Personally, I prefer to be a freak, albeit a responsible one. ;-)
I used to look at my mom's highschool yearbook (Istrouma High 1956) and wonder why all the students looked over 35.
I'm 47 and I still fn rock...I'm so cool I'm gonna get off of FR grab a beer watch South Park and cheer up my younger French girlfriend. When I'm to old for that I'll watch baseball and tell everybody to shut STFU.
hey thats tude dude
One thing happened that I thought was funny, says Rogan. I made a run of a hundred jeans, and I made them as perfectly as I could. Which for me means essentially destroying the fabric, to the point where if you wear them for a month, theyll disintegrate. And I literally sold them out in a week. And theyll completely disintegrate. You wear them for a couple of weeks and go out one night and therell be a giant tear. I mean, its embarrassing. I was surprised that people would pay that amount of money for something that literally falls apart.
New York is such a crock of crap, it's just amazing.
Hell, come work for me for a week or two layin quarry tile and after grouting, acid wash the floors. Your jeans will look better than any store bought shredded-denim-designer BS...
I think someone said it hear on FR.
the problem is that every male today is a "guy" or a "dude". There are no more "men" anymore.
Actually the attitude is the realization that we won't be working for said firm in 20 years, or even in 15 years. We will be lucky to work at the same company for 5 years (and you can expect at least one takeover in that time and 4 re-organizations).
Hopefully it will compel more ADULTS to start their own companies (upstarts) whether they are internet companies or something else. Good money to be made. Be your own boss. More risk but better rewards.
What kiond of working men could afford to take the time to see those day games?
The 1920s had the Lost Generation. Lots of adults screwed off then too.
While someone is paying $250 for a pair of "designer" jeans, some young designer is GETTING $250 for a pair of scruffy jeans. Money being made.
I've seen the Fonzy-thing, the Mood Ring Fad, the Hippy Costume Fad, Sun Dresses, bell-bottoms, those Buford T. Justice/Peter Fonda mirror sunglasses, Disco, Jams, the Great Bandana Craze of '83( or was it '82), those funny looking square pants that I can't even describe, Tatoos out the Wazoo, and the Tackle Box Face Look. It's all, basically, the same "Quest for Cool" Fad .... just different merchandise.
Life isn't "one thing after another". It's "the same damn thing over and over".
And I remember "grunge fashion" being sold coast to coast in posh department stores in the early 1990s (15 years ago now). Watch the documentary Hype (about the Seattle music scene). It was all a JOKE that the industry didn't care about, someone "validated" it and they had a style guide they could sell to store buyers who in turn sold to the masses.
Cool is eternal. Those were all fruity fads.
You're tellin' me.