Up With Grups

It used to be that people stopped being hip when they became parents, but those days are long gone. Parents today keep their hip selves right on truckin’, kids or no, on into their 40s. New York Metro on the new breed of “Grups:”

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. It’s not about a fad but about a phenomenon that looks to be permanent. It’s 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. It’s 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.

Music: Blind Lemon Jefferson :: Chock House Blues

10 Replies to “Up With Grups”

  1. Scot, you make this sound like a bad thing. Our parents’ generation said they hoped they died before they got old. Given that it was the height of the cold war, it was not an unreasonable attitude. Most of them survived anyway. So now their kids, us, who have never had much sense of doing things because we “should” do them are saying, “why should I give up my t-shirts and jeans just because I’m closer to 40 than 20?” Besides, If you look at the styles of our grandparents, and then look at their pictures when they were 20-somethings, you start to see that no, they didn’t change styles either, their sense of style was just more formal, and by the time we knew them, more dated.

    -Jim

  2. Do I? No, I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all. And in fact I’m partially part of that trend. I’m not a designer clothes kind of guy, but nor do I think I’ve left my youth and/or hipness totally behind. At least one can hope not.

    In contrast, my parents totally missed out on the hippy thing because they were too busy being parents. I used to admonish them for that, but now I understand.

    But they did have their own kind of hipness – they used to go to the Lighthouse in Santa Monica to see MJQ, Thelonious Monk, Chet Baker…

  3. I’m with Dylan on the specific quote, but I’m 46 and still wear jeans most days, and t-shirts* when I can. I also run Linux, lust after a Mac, am planning on buying a hybrid car next year, and our family owns more than one iPod ;) I’m also nowhere near being a socially-conservative Republican.

    I was never “hip,” but I’m probably closer to that now than when I was in my 20s – mostly because I just try to be myself and don’t give a fsck what people think about that (which is often more of a concern to folks in their teens and 20s).

    * Some of the shirts are tragically hip, in a very geeky way. I have original t-shirts from Bungie back when they were an independent, Mac-only game development company in Chicago :)

  4. BTW, these “hipster” parents are fooling themselves if they believe their kids will think they’re cool. Sure, you can be as cool as you want when your kid is 2 and doesn’t care… but when you’ve got a teenager? Watch out…

  5. Dylan, true enough. I’ve imagined that when Miles got older, I’d have to learn how to key SMS messages into my phone quickly to keep up with him. Wrong! Learned the other day that teens never “text” their parents – positively uncool.

  6. hmmm…shackerblog’s got a bug. what i SAID was:

    …can’t remember. cuz i’m getting old. but no less hip. sumfin like:

    i hope no one thinks i’m trying to impress my kids when i’m just being my hip ol’ self. don’t hate me cuz i’m beautiful and all that.

    was going to extend the sentiment to the classist analysis too, but no way i won’t come off sounding like a prick. let’s just say: though some people might see a necessary connection between expensive and hip, i don’t. i DO see an overlap however.

    b

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