Does this baby look good with my bluebird tattoo?

So I just finished reading Neal Pollack's Alternadad. You can read my review elsewhere (GoodReads link to the right), but this is my first piece of non-fiction about parenthood written by someone like me. Except the pot-smoking part. Pot smokers are morons. How can I feel sorry for a guy who complains about not having money for diapers but gets high on a regular basis? Lame.

By "someone like me" I mean an aging hipster. I really didn't want to think I was in that category. And technically, since I outgrew the Betty Page bangs and never did get a tattoo on my arm, I'll manage to avoid forever looking like one. But, it's in me, forever, like a sleeping monster that awakens when I find out someone I like listens to whiny emo bands or goes to a hookah bar. Not that all my friends are hipsters. Far, far, from it, which makes me happy. And we're all growing up and can make fun of people who dye their hair black and wear white belts. So I guess we're getting better.

My point is this: We are on the frontier of aging hipsters we know having children. First, many of my friends in Kansas City mysteriously married and had children by their mid-20s. This was weird. But, there isn't a lot to do in KC other than play music, get tattoos, and have sex, which inevitably leads to pregnancy for some. And I guess getting married seemed like fun. At that time I never wanted to get married. I was in my early 20s, and I couldn't even keep my pet rat alive (rest in peace, Balthazar) much less be in a committed relationship or have a child. I couldn't even date anyone for more than about 9 months, and I usually hated them within 4 and spent the other 5 devising ways to make them hate me enough to break up with me or just treated them like crap until I absolutely couldn't possibly stand the sight of them for one more moment. Harsh, yes, but, for those of you who knew me then, I drank a lot, and I wasn't always a very nice person. Some of those married hipster friends had cute hipster kids. But I moved, and they moved, and I don't really talk to them much anymore, with the exception of Mary, who has two incredible, beautiful little girls who aren't so little anymore. I see them occasionally. But none of those other people live in St. Louis, so they don't count.

So I turn to St. Louis friends with kids. We have basically two couples we're friends with with kids, and one we don't hang out with much, and, well, we've never even seen their kid. The other we hang out with often and they are our parental role models. Everything they go through we watch in wonderment. Lana is my mommy model. All of this would be much harder for me if I weren't able to see her go through everything just about 9 months ahead of me. I'm SO happy we have them. I, myself, have other friends with kids but Sam doesn't really know them and/or they aren't, well, hipsters.

All of this is a really long-winded way of saying this is new to me. But, alas, there appears to be a burgeoning scene of hipsters having babies and sharing their experiences on the internet and in the bookstores. After reading Alternadad, I decided to check out Neal Pollack's blog at

What did I find but a plethora of hipsters with baby-having blogs. I like these:

I think it's gonna be a while before any other hipsters we know have kids. Most of my hipster friends are either socially awkward, divorced, care too much about music to care about anything else, or are completely and totally allergic to anything resembling responsibility. It's a bummer, because most of them are also incredibly bright, talented musicians and artists who would pass on some pretty awesome genes to offspring. And I do have friends who are in the process of baby-making, or in committed relationships but aren't to that point yet, or are still in their 20s and are doing exactly what you should be doing in your 20s, which is figure out who you are, find your niche, and be very self-focused. 20s are for making yourself. 30s are for making babies.

But my hipster parenting world discovery is weird. I'm sure it's happening all over the place elsewhere. My friend Simon who moved to Brooklyn recently from Glasgow said of his neighborhood: "it's where all the aging hipsters have traded in their ironic t-shirts for prams." I'm sure in Chicago, NYC, LA, this is a common sight. But in South City, not so much. Everyone's still pulling on PBRs at CBGBs. I have a pretty narrow hipster world, though. Every hipster I know is a musician. However, judging from the wares at the Tower Grove Farmer's Market, there are many artsy hipster mommas making cool crafts for our kiddies.

Honestly, I just don't behave very hipster-ish anymore, and that's fine. But, it's kinda nice to be friends with people who've been in bands, lived that life, and are now trading in record-store jobs for PhDs or local politics. There's a mutual understanding. We aren't giving up our turntables or Devandra Banhart shows, but we get to be grown-ups now. Which is why I related to Neal's thrill when his boy Elijah told him he wanted to ROCK, and would only listen to Black Sabbath, the Ramones and the Hives (it was 2002, give 'em a break). And I get their desire to not let having a baby destroy their coolness or totally disrupt their lives (yeah right). I can at least ideally think that, right? Sam's still going on European tour in February, and I'll still take our babies back to Africa someday. Believe you me! And you bet this baby will grow up listening to records and singing Neil Young songs. And I'm saving all my band t-shirts for when my future daughter (if I have one) thinks they're cool.

So there you have it, my aging hipster parenthood rant. Reading Alternadad did, however, make me glad that I don't work in the music industry anymore, have a pretty solid career on my horizon, and that Sam has a real job other than playing music.

I guess we all have to grow up someday...


3 Responses on "Does this baby look good with my bluebird tattoo?"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Awww...This is a great passage. I love you, little darlin'! I hope you still love me until I have babies. ;)

    Becca says:

    While I am no means a "hipster," I can definitely appreciate the struggle one goes through going from girl to mommy.

    All I can say is absolutely don't lose your hipster, show your baby who you are. And then after you show her your fun side, then show her you mean parenting bidness and that tattoo you have inside your mouth. I love that one!

    great post!

    Ah Balthazar...

    I'm so glad I was never your boyfriend or pet rat.