Last year I was all up in the scene. Though it was probably a slow descent into that maddening confusion, now it seems like it was slapboombang, me in the middle, all of those things ripening around me, taking root, pulling me down (or was it up?) with them. Everything felt so crazy, and yet none of it was real. The people in my
The strange thing is that now it is spreading. I remember once after a night at Misshapes over the summer, I went home and in both the fashion issue and regular issue of Teen Vogue that got delivered to my doorstep, there were 4 page spreads on the phenomenon of the Misshapes, and how it has changed
I didn’t know how to feel. It was weird to see people Josh and I (mostly Josh) associate with in the pages of a magazine. And yet it was validating, somehow, like we made it to this unforeseen place, this hipster heaven where everyone was cool and perfectly awkward, but only in our little world. And yet I knew it was nothing. It was all fake, and in the long run, ended up getting me nowhere. But I was fascinated, enamored, thrown headfirst into it all. I was 18 and I felt like I was 25. So this is my best attempt at explaining it.
It's all so confusing, the glorification of emaciated 17 year old girls with 25 year old pouts. But then again, I guess that's something that categorizes this subculture, as well. It sets it apart from other social (non)organizations like the Greek system, or club Plumm-attending whores: you don't have to be beautiful to be popular at Misshapes. But you do have to have a certain look about you. Vintage clothes are a must. An ivory yet sallow complexion, sunken in frame, like you eat nothing, and when you do, it's junk. There's something distinctly impoverished about the people who grace misshapes.com, like they haven't had a good meal in well, a couple of years, like they drink vodka and smoke cigarettes for breakfast, following up with a couple fat rails to get them through their dayjobs (shifts being 2-10pm) at thrift exchanges or poorly circulated art mags, so that they can come home, change into their daily procured new outfit, and hit the town, bleary eyed, hungry for the flash of a camera, the glimmer of recognition in the face of a pseudocelebrity who might step out of rank once, just this once, and swoop them up under their apocalyptic wing, whisking them into the darkened underbelly of what is quickly becoming the famed world of the underground New York hipster scene.
I am simultaneously repulsed and fascinated by what's going on in
So then what is it about the flash of a camera that feels so goddamn validating? Are we that easily tempted by the monster of narcissism, or is it something more? We want to be a part of this big, bad thing, because maybe we were all misshapen in high school: sliding down the fluorescently lit hallways with a sense of anonymity unappreciated by athletes or scholars, awkward until the very end, unfurling shyly, quietly, in the springtime of New York, a place where the misfits fit in better than the wholesome, tan, rich kids that haunt our pained adolescent memories. Could it be that simple? Square pegs raised in circle hole environments finally finding their square holes, even if those holes are filled with an aggressive keep-out attitude that ultimately mirrors the attitude of the popular cliques in high school?
So in the end, isn't it all the same? What's the moral of this story? Vanity, beauty (no matter how awkward), and a certain attitude trump all else in the world of the misshapen. A camera flashes in a dark basement in a club so deep in the West Village that the Hudson makes my hair smell like seaweed and exhaust; I strike a pose.