I’m a nerd.  It makes me kind of a dork.  I can’t be a dork.  It is imperative for my jobs that I am perceived as adept at being a fully functioning human being.  I have to convince myriads of students that they are, in fact, capable of performing algebraic tasks.  When left to my own nerdy devices, I give the impression that they can only become proficient mathematically if they become robots as I am a robot.  That causes self-efficacy to tank.

I have assessed that the only way to correct this is to give the impression that I am one who possesses an awareness of social norms and is proficient in understanding interpersonal interactions and therefore, can make informed choices about behavior accordingly.  I need a bridge from nerd to some form of savvy.  That bridge can be best completed by becoming a hipster.

A hipster is one who is aware of what social norms are, but chooses a unique path instead.  If I become a hipster, I can be perceived as one who is choosing a rather eccentric, nerdy path instead of one who is predestined by social awkwardness.

I think that I can pull it off because I think I’ve accurately compiled a list of achievable characteristics of hipsters.  In fact, I already exhibit many of the characteristics.  I wear big, geeky glasses half the time.  I don’t drink coffee made in regular coffee pots, but instead, I have three apparatuses for making coffee without the appliance.  I have been known to make my own laundry detergent and do other things in the realm of what I prefer to call pragmatic naturalism.  I don’t participate in a large portion of mainstream media.  I dress oddly.  If I’m correctly identifying characteristics of hipsters, I’m on the way!

The glasses.  We must begin with the glasses.  When I was 16, I determined that I never, ever look like myself when I wear glasses.  It didn’t matter which pair of frames I picked, people always stared at me in glasses as if they were trying to figure out why I looked like an inaccurate version of myself.  So, I decided to go all out.  I got the biggest, most terrible, large black frames I could find.  I wanted glasses that were so prominent that they were the obvious thing obscuring my face instead of better ones where people couldn’t figure out why I looked weird.  The reason for looking weird was unmistakable.  Fast-forward 15 years.  After using frames that were electric purple, black cat-eye, brown studious, and rimless, it was recommended to me that I get “nerd glasses” because they were very “in.”  This is as backwards as genuine hipsters saying that they wear things that are “ironic” to be cool, thus losing the irony.  My self-named “nerd mask” glasses are in?  Sweet.  That means an increase in supply.  I am back to two “hipster” or “nerd” glasses (one black, one powder blue) that are very reminiscent of ones that I had when I was in high school (the ones that my mother described as an effort for me to try to be ugly on purpose).  It’s really out of necessity that I wear glasses, but if I can get hipster cred, so be it.

Coffee.  I love a good, hot beverage.  I frequent coffee shops.  They have the beloved hot beverage and pseudo-office workspace.  I don’t like the taste of old coffee residue that comes out of household coffee makers from the second use and beyond.  I once heard of common hipster practice of being so pretentious that they only drink fresh coffee from a French press.  That’s sort of true for me.  Here’s the reasoning.  Old coffee is gross; fresh coffee is fantastic.  So, the rule is that I will use a coffee making apparatus if all of the parts can be soaked and then washed in the dishwasher.  I have a French press, a stovetop espresso maker, and a Turkish kettle.

Now, the next one confuses me.  Making pragmatically natural choices (natural childbirth, choosing herbs over medicines that I can’t pronounce, etc.) sometimes earns me the title of hippie (or neo-hippie) but it’s often associated with hipsterism.  Whatever it is, it’s a practice that I will continue to embrace.  I think that the hipster part might come in when naturalism meets craftiness, like making laundry detergent and altering thrift store clothes at home (being super cool and keeping things out of landfills and all).  Not just using a natural product, but making it.  Bonus points for a craft that has an aroma of Pinterest is made from eco-friendly, materials where I can say, “That is sooooo much better than the conventional method.  I’m never going back.”  I’m still not sure on this one, but I might qualify.

Concerning media, I don’t own a TV.  I don’t have time to watch it.  Hipsters don’t like mainstream stuff.  Check.  But they instead like indie stuff.  Hmm…gonna have to work on that.  I don’t listen to enough of a variety of music or read a variety of books (they’re mostly of the same themes).  Frankly, I’m not sure what hipsters are supposed to be into, just that they’re not interested in things that the majority of people like.

Being a professor, I thought that dressing like a librarian was very appropriate.  A couple of years ago, I was told that everyone dresses to fit his or her personality…except me.  I was much too drab for my eccentric personality.  Furthermore, I was not pulling off “librarian;” I was turning it into “dead librarian.”  The project of rebranding me began.  I asked for characteristics so that I may replicate what was being done to me.  Sometimes, there was a blessed pop quiz (I love quizzes.).  Now, I usually feel like I’m wearing a costume.  That’s okay.  I am not naked and people look me in the eye assuming that I’m conscious enough to clothe myself so weirdly on purpose instead of the dead librarian before where people treated me as though I was scary and probably devoid of compassion.  Whatever.  If one is not astute enough to be trendy, she might as well be consciously eccentric.  I typically find weird things at thrift stores and swaps (because I’m a cheapskate) that other people wisely overlooked.  Uniqueness is a characteristic that hipsters strive for, right?

Let me be clear.  I’m not saying that I fully understand all things hipster nor that I’m a card-carrying member.  I’m just saying that I have enough characteristics to give it the good ol’ college try.  Finally, this will come to fruition when I seem capable of participating in relating to the general population.