Whilst moving back from Paris six months ago, I bitterly bid adieu to many things I loved – fresh croissants, Dries sample sales, cheap travel, men in great suits, the list goes on. In the midst of these misgivings, one of the consolatory thoughts that kept me going was the knowledge that New York had evolved significantly over the years, propelling the rise of an entire new micro-oasis, equipped with its own cultural trends, sartorial codes, and my own personal form of male kryptonite – Brooklyn hipsters in all their disheveled glory! After months of extensive research via the powers bestowed upon me by Raya (who should probably pay me, at this point!), I am pleased to present the 10 Commandments that one should follow if attempting to navigate the wacky waters of this outer borough!
Thou shalt live in Brooklyn. As a general rule of thumb, most Brooklynites date their own kind, aiming to keep their community about as segregated as their Ultra-Orthodox neighbors on the other end of Bedford. Part of the reason is pure laziness, for it takes about as much to make a Brooklyn hipster to cross the bridge as it does to make Linda Evangelista get out of bed (minus a few zeroes.) Living in Brooklyn is also a badge of honor, a testament to one’s character and values, a pronounced refusal to submerge to the rat race of the city and live for the quest of a shiny condo with a Miele oven. Given that such shiny condos are now adorning most of North Williamsburg, the real hipsters have long ago made their way towards the more authentic (and affordable) Bed-Stuy area, even farther away from the city. That said, interborough dating is practically considered a long-distance relationship, and we all know how long those things last!
Thou shalt not work for the Man. (Unless the Man happens to be a nonprofit, Vice, or some sort of creative-agency-slash-startup!) As official Millennial representatives, Brooklyn dwellers are all about having one life to live and living it exactly as they damn please. Since doing so is way more expensive than it sounds, most of them survive on a hybrid of freelance jobs and creative pursuits, with the more entrepreneurial (and resourceful) launching startups and small businesses. If you do happen to have an adult office job, you must counterbalance it with at least one artisanal pursuit, be it mixing your own coconut oil toothpaste in a tepee, or selling hand-woven blankets at Brooklyn Flea. Pursue your passions, and a scruffy Brooklyn boy will pursue you!
Thou shalt care. About the world, about the environment, about the greenhouse gas emission expediting us towards global warming, about the rhinos and elephants and other wildlife species being poached for the sake of oligarch entertainment, about the billions of dollars of food waste currently castrating our planet. Pick one cause and learn everything there is to know about it, or, better yet, launch your own activist agenda, whether it’s shareable solar energy or the defense of the ugly carrots of this world. The more niche, the better! PICKLES FOR PANDAS! Hip hip hooray!
Thou shalt not be overly social media active. News flash from across the river: SOCIAL MEDIA IS PASSÉ, reserved for money-driven opportunists who have sold their souls for swag. In fact, the most progressive Brooklynites are actually neo-luddists who reject technology in favor of “authentic” old-school communication. If you are still social media active, you must have a small following that is uber-engaged in all the altruistic do-goodness you share with them. (#PICKLESFORPANDAS, I’m telling ya!)
Thou shalt not eat meat. Or dairy. Or sugar. Yet thou shall still be a “foodie”. This is the part that I am perplexed about. On one hand, most Brooklynites I know are born-again Vegans who would rather – gulp – drive a Hummer than eat cookies containing eggs. On the other hand, this borough is responsible for the most bizarre gastronomical inventions known to man, exemplified by its weekly Smorgasbord food haven (and by this site!) All I can tell you is that food is very big deal in Brooklyn, so make sure you have strong opinions on the topic and have at least one food group excluded from your regimen.
Thou shalt be into (at least) one spiritual trend. The most novel of which can be explored at a Maha Rose workshop, which is actually a fantastic mingling spot! Be it meditation or hypnotherapy or Ayahuasca, you just need one thing to talk about at parties, so study up! If it all starts getting confusing, just remember that most of these things are all pretty similar and revolve around positive energy and karma and all that basic Buddhist stuff that can be found in The Diamond Cutter. Memorize that thing and pretend to quote your guru or shaman, nobody will ever know!
Thou shalt be a devoted Bernie supporter. Since Brooklyn essentially happens to be one large commune, it comes as no surprise that the most socialist of candidates has found immense support here. Bernie-mania is palpable on every billboard-adorned street corner, and, as we learned last week, political views are pretty important in a romantic relationship within our generation, so you better Bernie it or beat it!
Thou shalt not wear labels. Or makeup. This is something I love about Brooklyn, as it evokes the low-key approach of Paris that allows one to live life in Converse sneakers. Yet, many Brooklyn girls actually look intimidatingly good, probably as a result of living life on lentils. At an Ayurveda class the other day (told you I was committed to this!), I was surrounded by what could have easily been mistaken for a model casting, all clear skin and perfect bushy eyebrows and long limbs clad in vintage Levi’s. This is also the only part of New York where women are welcome to go au naturel, so stock up on those Korean face masks and skip the makeup for that whole Glossier-esque look.
Thou shalt appreciate a good beard. Because they ain’t going nowhere, baby. When it comes to Brooklyn, facial hair and muns are no longer a trend, but a way of life, accompanied by white crewnecks and skinny denim and all that other stuff that stirs my pathetic loins, despite the fact that I’m nearing the adult age of 30. Anyway, it’s not about me, it’s about you, so make sure you enjoy year-round Movember and lumberjack gear in abundance!
Thou shalt keep the dating game casual. It’s not about dating, it’s about connecting, so lay off the relationship talk and just live in the moment. Explore. Go away to a farm and milk goats together, it will bond you! You might actually end up eloping, because, according to this article, Millennials are really into “starter marriages” these days. Everybody on Girls is always getting married, so I think people may actually be more into the whole commitment game on this side of the river.
The consensus? I should probably move to Brooklyn, like, yesterday.