As a northern Californian, I have spent many a late night pondering the cultural phenomenon that is being a hippie. Hippies may or may not have stopped the Vietnam War and normalized weed, but what have they done for us lately? My mother, a retired hippie, insists that there are no more real hippies. However, there is a new generation of tie-dye wearing peace worshippers out there, many of whom self-identify as hippies. You can spot them canvasing for Greenpeace, camping in our state parks, and struggling with the conundrum of whether or not they believe in the use of Instagram filters to enhance nature’s beauty. There is nothing inherently sinister about this milder breed, but there is a lot that is inherently annoying.
Modern hippies, so full of love they sound like they’re full of shit. Wearing their ill-fitting dirty clothes, yet still getting more action than us. Claiming to be high on life, but really just hording the good grass. Never shutting up about politics, yet never registering to vote. Loving the environment, just not environmental science. So naturally happy they know YOU don’t need antidepressants. Looking poor as fuck but making more money than you selling kombucha on etsy. Hippies, who don’t believe in bisexuality because sexual preference is just a myth of the corporate overlords, man.
I first realized that hippies were going to be my internal monologue’s favorite punching bag when I was 17 – a jarring realization because at the time I was trying to get into the cool hippies group in High School. Look: I had the tye-die dress AND socks, the fair trade bag, topical political posters as decoration, a hairstyle that says “I don’t care about fashion”, and if you look closely, a long necklace covered in peace signs.
Portrait of a wannabe hippie
Despite their insistence that they have transcended corporate definitions of beauty and find all life aesthetically pleasing, the main difference between the two groups of hippies was that the cool ones were prettier than the uncool ones.
Of course, I was never going to be a hippie. For one thing, I had made it to 17 without learning how to ride a bike. Not because I had shitty parents who never tried to teach me, or a lack of friends giving me daily reminders the earth wouldn’t be around long enough for me to procreate unless we end our dependence on oil. I just really hate sweating and refused to learn. I still don’t know how. When people tell me “it’s just like riding a bike” I laugh in their face and go “cool, another useless skill I don’t need.” I smoke enough weed and am vocally socially liberal so I get mistaken for one on the East Coast, but if that’s really the only criteria than welcome to the club, libertarians.
In fact it was my mild hippyism that brought me to that teahouse, that fateful day in 2007. Imagine entering the teahouse. Notice a glass case filled with tiny, organic chocolates. Next to them, lovingly hand written yet illegible signs theoretically inform consumers on what they might be purchasing. They can’t be legible, no one would buy them if they knew how expensive they were. Behind the counter, 3 white women with dreadlocks titter away while pretending to organize the mugs. In the corner, another white woman, this one in a red sari and a bindi, is doing tarot readings. She has a line of customers, but the public seems disinterested in chocolates and tea.Why the fuck would I be there if I weren’t far enough down the path to hippydom that I needed a makeover?
Indeed, if you’re not a hippy, you’re probably still confused as to why I was in a teahouse. There are a few reasons:
- I happened to be in a town called Sebastopol, a kind of hippie mecca. You can even find a diversity of hippies: short hippies, tall hippies, retired Berkeley hippies, young stoners still choosing between hippyism and rastafarianism. There were even black hippies. Plural. The most popular store on main street is a crystal store.
- Hippies don’t really drink coffee. They’ve discovered that tea, while caffeinated, doesn’t have the hyper ohmygod how is this legal buzz coffee does. This is a huge factor in their seemingly natural calm, and we should all be jacking this secret.
- In fact the lone mom and pop coffeeshop in town was closed for the evening, and I was indoctrinated enough I was not about to go to Whole Foods. And this was before they got devoured by Amazon and lost the ability to keep shit on shelves.
- But mostly, my friend who always gave me weed was supposed to be working. She wasn’t.
So I’m there, no line, but too nervous to say anything about the 3 women not doing their jobs. I’m terrified of losing my “chillness” cred in front of these women so cool they’re willing to risk being fined for cultural appropriation by the PC police so they can look stylish while they refuse to wash their hair to save the environment. Fortunately, there are 8 milk options for me to read through on the menu. Eventually, one notices me. “Righteous,” she says, unironically, “what you sippin?”
Assuming I’m almost done now that the wannabe sea turtle from Finding Nemo has taken my order, I briefly let myself get lost in the abstract pictures of boobs on the wall until it makes me uncomfortable.
I look up to discover that none of the 3 women are fixing my tea, and that the clock says I’m going to be five minutes late to my next destination.
My obsession with punctuality is another reason I could never be a hippy. “Um, I’m kind of in a hurry if that’s ok?” I say in as laidback a way as I can, shimmying random parts of my body to show that I’m still going with the flow.
“I’m going to ask you to remove the aggression from your aura before I make your drink,” one says.
“It’s just tea, man, life’s too short to be serious,” says Finding Nemo turtle audition.
And it was at this exact moment, I realized it. Hippies are assholes. They just are.
And as I got older, I realized that they’re assholes the same way social conservatives are. Just switch reefer for communion, the gas-guzzler for the bike, and God for Bob Marley. Or even worse – the Great Spirit of the First Nations – though I’m happy to report the new generation of (still mostly white) hippies seems to have figured out how racist this is, though they do still insist on referring to themselves as shamans. See, both hippies and social conservatives convinced themselves they’re happy, and now think everyone else needs to follow that same path. This belief is largely based in faith, not in something that we can actually argue with them about. Hell, at least hippies are right about the fact our world is probably going to end if we don’t all move into tiny houses. And it’s not like either group is actively trying to be assholes, they actually think this is helping.
But all hippies have really done is just stopped giving a shit about everything – material possessions for sure, which is awesome – but also almost everyone else in the world. So for the rest of us that actually do still give a shit, we have to listen to ridiculously self-involved statements like:
- Who cares that I smell like ass with this vegan deoderant? I’m used to it!
- Biking is good for the environment and I’m not in a hurry! This traffic jam will be a good learning experience for everyone else.
- Oh you’re sad? I don’t have time to listen, but when you’re ready to get better I have some camping equipment you can borrow.
- Fuck tastebuds, let’s eat carob! Another phrase for carob is “chocolate that tastes like dog shit.”
- I’m so chill man, can you be a little less upset right now?
- Who needs a mirror? Fashion is a construct. These orange tights paired with a tie-dye crop top that exposes my manly beer belly will in no way make everyone’s eyes melt out of their skull.
See, hippies give so little of a shit, they’re constantly blissed out. When you’re used to that, of course you want everyone else to just calm down and get on your level. So anger, which is a totally natural human emotion, is banished from the all natural hippy community, at least until we can find the organic version. I experienced this preference for calm over anger at the tea house. How dare I put out negative vibes in response to waiting 20 minute for tea to go? It was so rude of me to kill their good vibes with my selfish, consumer-driven need for caffeine.
In psychology, when humans undermine other humans natural negative emotions, we call that shit gaslighting.
Which can make dating hippies really fucking awful. I don’t even want to thinking about how that might play out in the boudoir. We all know of that certain breed of hippie, thankfully more common in the 60s, that seems to think they live in a community where everyone is honestly open to fucking everyone else. Maybe you just have to convince yourself it’s that easy to get laid when you’re ideologically opposed to the concepts of being attractive and odorless armpits. Guys, give up. That place does not exist and this is coming from someone who has attended a bisexual orgy.
The “free love” nonsense can also exacerbate the surprisingly difficult problem of coming out as bisexual. It’s like they think we willed ourselves this way by letting go of our inhibitions. The one time I almost hooked up with a male hippie, I was well aware his interest in me was somewhat rooted in his feticization of my sexual fluidity after he said “wow, sexy” to my friend’s announcement that I used to be a lesbian. Yeah, remember partying with drunk teenagers? Thank god that’s over.
Anyway, like many male hippies, he was such an asshole that he cockblocked himself. We had gone outside and were lying on dirt, looking up at the stars. He was talking about how being outside in nature listening to the animals makes him feel connected to the Gaia. I was wondering how far dirt can get up your buttcrack before you stop feeling sexy. He leaned closer to me and whispered into my ear: “I think it’s really beautiful that your love knows no gender,” he told me. “I’m hoping when our souls combine, I too will know such liberation from my desires.”
Not since – and this is true – an Evangelical mom convinced herself her son wasn’t gay, he was just confused by his strong love for Jesus, has a person so grossly found a way to combine accepting and rejecting someone else’s sexual identity. Did he truly believe people are brainwashed into heterosexuality? Did he really believe having sex with someone he fetishized would free him from his earthly desires? If he was so obsessed with breaking free of sexual constructs, why was he hitting on the most conventionally attractive woman at the party? No, not me, I was the one he was hitting on after she rejected his dumb butt.
Now, there’s a type of man out there who pretends to be a feminist in order to have sex with confident, liberated young women who are career-oriented enough he won’t have to worry about making a commitment. Many of these men also pretend to be hippies in order to make their faux-leftist politics seem more believable. Maybe they wear a hemp necklace with a hand-blown glass bead. They donate to the Sierra Club and drink organic coffee, and they might even drive a Prius if they are really committed. They might know one or two Gloria Steinem quotes, but the same way most white people know a few palatable MLK quotes. These men are assholes, but they are not hippies. We do not simply hate at them, we truly hate them because they are predatory pieces of shit. If you are a man and wondering if you are one of these men or an actual male feminist, please consult your therapist and/or google, not the nearest woman.
But back to the real hippies. You know why I really just have to keep on hating? It’s not like they’re all wrong. Climate change is the most important issue in global politics. Corporations are responsible for many of the evils in the world. It would be nice if American society would get over its 400 year case of Puritanism. Fresh fruits do taste better – except motherfucking bell peppers. Scientific studies show going outside – even camping – can improve your mood. But the hippies I’m talking about don’t say that. They just start peeing in a nalgene in front of you while laughing “hey, kid, isn’t this a neat way to save water?” or tell you “if you think what’s happening to you is hard, think about the destruction experienced in the Amazon forest” as a method of cheering you up when you run out of drugs. All of this is infuriatingly antithetical to their goals, because when you’re being that big of an asshole about expressing that you’re “pro trees”, I really don’t give a fuck how “right” you are. There’s someone spiteful enough out there that they will now cut down your favorite tree and leave it in front of your tiny house with with a note that says “suck on this” in animal blood. Even the ones politically savvy enough to canvas the streets probably do more harm than good. Are you really going to donate money to an organization whose representative smells so foul your stomach want to be liberated from your body?
But at the end of the day, I have to admit those sons of bitches just seem so much happier than me. It’s a proven fact you can’t be so constantly hypocritical without a healthy dose of self-esteem, which is actually a key factor in that ever-elusive quest for happiness. And it’s so much less toxic than kicking a dog when it’s down. I’m kicking a dog whose so high on life it thinks I’m giving it a massage.