Wanna play a game? ‘I Spy’ rebooted for the age of irony 8

On Sunday, Liz and I spent the afternoon at the East Austin Studio Tour. Austin’s East Side – which has long been largely black and Latino — has been undergoing gentrification for more than a decade, so these days it’s pretty white. But toss in a few hundred art openings and free Pabst Blue Ribbon, and presto – Hipster Central. Seriously – you couldn’t drive half a block without running over an under-employed barista (well, I suppose you could – if you really tried, but …)

See this dog? He's worth 50 points all by himself.

We were only there for a couple of hours, but that was plenty long enough for the irony fumes to go to my head and make me dream up a cool new game. It’s kind of like “I Spy,” that game you used to play on road trips as a kid. I’m going to call it “Spot the Hipster.”

Here’s a scoring guide (and please keep in mind this is just a rough start; if you have ideas for improvements, I’m all ears). Ready to start spotting? Here we go:

Hipsters on wheels

Hipsters on single-speed fixed-gear bikes are about as common as tie-dyed t-shirts on old hippies in Austin, so no points for spotting just one. For points here you’re going to have to go for fixies en masse.

Two points will be awarded for each hipster in a group of three or more. Additional points will be awarded for additional hipsters. Scores may also be increased if the hipsters are going the wrong way on a one-way street. Maximum score is for spotting a whole herd going the wrong way on a one-way street and flipping off motorists.

All scores are doubled if your targets are talking on their cell phones, and tripled if they’re texting.

Hipster Dogs

One point shall be awarded for each dog spotted (but not necessarily for spotted dogs). Extra points if it’s a weird and/or ugly breed, or if the dog is larger than a sixth grader. Double points if the dog is riding in a baby trailer, and triple points if the trailer is being towed behind a Dutch cargo bike. Quadruple points for a dog riding in a sidecar on a vintage BMW with European plates.

Hipster Clothing

  • Plaid Western. If it’s one size too small, add one point. If it’s two sizes two small, add two points. Women with large breasts earn you double points. If you spot a man with large breasts, he’s probably Leslie. No points, but you can buy him a drink.
  • T-shirts. Two points if it bears the image of an obscure Japanese cartoon character, or three if it’s a tour t-shirt from a band that the wearer’s parents probably listened to while they smoked pot in college.
  • Work shirts. Work shirts with a name embroidered on the pocket are worth two points, but only if they are from a business in which a true hipster would never deign to toil, like a muffler repair place or a machine shop.
  • Jeans. Calf-length skin-tight jeans are worth two points; points are doubled if they are on a guy. Points are tripled if the right leg is rolled up a la bike messenger.
  • Cold-weather gear. Add two points if you spot someone wearing either a scarf or wool cap – especially here in Austin, where it’s actually cold enough for them for about 45 minutes a year, and usually in February or in a movie theater.


  1. On the wool cap another extra point if it is the Peruvian style with the ear flaps and even more points for a Jamaican tam with a bonus if the wearer actually sports dread locks. And I think some points should be awarded for anyone sporting a perpetual facial expression of abject disdain with a bonus if the face also sports an ironic mustache (minus one point if it’s a female).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.