Hipsters, Crazies And Coffee.
I'll Miss You, Too, La La Land ...
While "researching" this "article," I sent an email to a gay, as in homo, as in homosexual homo-sapien—who I call J'Mo (his first name starts with J and, well, you get the rest). Anyway, I asked him how to tell the difference between a gay guy and a hipster.
He basically tells me, You remember where I live, right? [My adulthood home town] where there is no obvious evidence of either!
I have to admit—he's right. Even though I know several gay couples, I know of no one who wears suspenders, bow-ties, or their pants rolled up just so. (Not even in the lady couples.) And the fellows I've seen sporting beards and plaid shirts have actual wood chips and sawdust—not obscure fashion labels.
From what I've seen in Venice Beach, California, hipsters roll up their pants and wear tassled loafers. And, if they are wearing socks, they are strategically coordinated with, but not matchy-matching, their skinny ties or pocket handkerchiefs.
If these gents have hair on their chests, they leave it. (Confusion.)
They are well-groomed and meticulously "put-together." They often display carefully creative tattoos with weighty hidden meanings. This much dichotomy in the male "gender" leaves a gal (or small town 'mo) wondering if these Trendy Theos are light in their boat shoes or just a clique away from fashion disaster.
Either way, they do make the best espresso in town.
From a quick visual inspection, one wouldn't decipher a hipster from a gay man, but a few telltale signs can distinguish whether the man in question is a hipster or a gay hipster.
- The way they walk: the gay male hipster has a short gait; the non-gay male hipster has a longer stride (as long as his tight, skinny jeans will allow).
- The way they sit or stand: the gay male hipster has excellent posture with their shoulders back and sometimes a slight arch in their lower back, the non-gay male hipster slouches.
- The way they speak: the gay male hipster has the gay male accent, the non-gay male hipster speaks without said accent and includes a lot of computer lingo.
Either way, I love both because they're interesting to see in action. Whether preparing a crème-rich, long-pour espresso or a single-origin, drip coffee, they are the male equivalent of fashion divas. (Divos?) They craft couture as well as they craft a decent cup of joe. And this ex-fashionista appreciates that.
(Disclaimer: the author is not a hipster or gay male and really has no clue about either, but means no malice, love is the answer, people!)
I'll miss the few great friends I've made in L.A. which, yes, fit into this category. I'll refrain from naming names—or nicknames—in case I change my mind about any of them. Hey, don't blame me—such is the fickle nature of Los Angeles relationships.
I'll also fondly remember ...
- The lady with the Walkman who dances down the Santa Monica Boardwalk smiling broadly and singing aloud without a care in the world.
- The hundreds in the home-declining community that have long ago set up camp on the grassy embankment between the Venice (Street Artists’) Boardwalk and the bicycle path with the beach beyond it. (And those who have settled in on the sandy territory between the bike path and the ocean.) When I ride my clam-crusher in the earlier mornings, bodies are strewn about in sleeping bags—some under tarps and some sawing logs—all snoozing away on nothing but an earth less filthy than they are.
- The gym rats at Gold's Gym (I only see them as I pass by outside on aforementioned bicycle) and the yoga brats at Café Gratitude and beyond (I see them everywhere). Focused on fitness, food and Tinder.
- The Abbott-Kinney crowd. Hipster men and Bohemian women in their fancy digs with their purebred dogs.
- And tourists. It's easy to spot the tourists: HD low-light cameras and inappropriately high high-heeled shoes. (The bumpy, groovy, unlevelled sidewalks will trip you up, folks. Take note.)
Oh, my love ...
I will miss you, Best Espresso, this side of anywhere. I base my judgement first and foremost on the quality of the coffee. I am an unapologetic coffee snob. I always start a new coffee shop experience with a straight-up double espresso. IF that's tolerable without adding anything, I'll move on to cappuccinos, lattes or Gibraltars (humph, how pretentious) and so forth.
In order of java amazingness:
- Blue Bottle Café: (On Abbott-Kinney.) Thank god this place doesn't have Wi-Fi or I'd move into the bean storage room. Best espresso I've ever had. Ever. Ecstasy in a ceramic cup. OMG. Everrr. (I'm planning my road trip home based on a San Francisco location as a pit stop.)
- Intelligentsia: (On Abbott-Kinney.) This is where I mostly live. (Uh, I mean work). Great Gibraltars (cough), formidable espresso, art-house atrium atmosphere, plenty of bow-ties, free Wi-Fi but no electrical outlets.
- Espresso Cielo: (On Main St.). Probably tied for second place for its espresso, but the consistently cranky staff prompt me to place it in third place. Free Wi-Fi and you can plug in. (Update: Having not been back since last year, I thought I'd give Cielo another shot. Result: new cheerful staff. Yay!)
- Groundwork Coffee: (On Rose Ave.) This one makes the grade because it is the only coffee shop to offer hemp milk lattes, which are sinfully rich and creamy. It's the only thing I get there, but it's worth the trip.
- Tom's: (On Abbott-Kinney.) This is my back-up office if the customer line at Intelligentsia (across the street) is too long—in other words, often queued down the street. The java isn't that wonderbar, but what do you expect? It's a shoe store, people. Mind you, it is a shoe-store-slash-coffee-shop with cushioned benches, cozy pillows and a Fido-friendly courtyard with faux lawn. Free Wi-Fi and plug-ins.
- Deus Ex Machina: (On the corner of Lincoln and Venice.) Here we have a motorcycle-slash-coffee shop. The coffee tastes like motor oil, but—Hello—cafe racers and cool cats riding them! Free Wi-Fi and no outlets, but gooey-good grilled-cheese sammiches. And I met1 the blonde hottie that Samantha Cole, from HBOs Sex and the City, was dating on the show during her cancer thing. (Drool.) They do make a decent macchiato.
Honourable mention goes to the place with the "M" logo (on Westchester near "the circle" and "Venice sign," I think) that I always forget the name of. It has no Wi-Fi and only seats four, but it does have a delectable espresso. (A hipster "overseer" with crossed arms leans against a nearby wall and is at the ready to wag his bearded-chin "no" if he thinks the drink the barista has made is unacceptable.)
I don't know if this is until I see you next time or good-bye forever, dearest La La Land, but thank you, Los Angeles, and especially Venice Beach. I am grateful for our time together. I am complete.
What have I (re)learned? Nothing must last forever for it to be good. In fact, whatever it is, it might be better if it doesn't last for it to be forever good. Hmm.
Homework: Be open for the next good thing. I'm open. And—it's all good. Really, really.
1“Met” if "meeting" means that I said stupid things to him as he was standing in front of me in line and if, after attaining his beverage, he hightailed it pronto. Blink. Blink.