Dawn of the Dorks

The past 10 years have been filled with jolts and jiggles and shocks and horrors, and I’m not just talking

The past 10 years have been filled with jolts and jiggles and shocks and horrors, and I’m not just talking about the time I caught my Goyard man-purse in the closing doors of the M2 Limited bus. Some really heavy shazzit went down since the turn of the century. You know what I’m talking about.

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However, along with all the apocalyptic stuff, the ’00s also brought us something less tangible. Something equally traumatizing. Something relentless. Something borderline sinister. It was—drumroll—the INDIE decade. It was the decade of desperately-trying-to-be-the-edgiest-person-on-the-planet. It was the decade of I-don’t-care-if-these-skinny-jeans-are-going-to-induce-a-thrombosis-I-am-hip-therefore-I-am.

What caused us all to turn into a nation of rabid cool-hunters and hyperventilating chic-chasers? Some would say these activities provided us with a therapeutic distraction from all the terrorism, materialism and financial skullduggery and buggery. Some might be right. I wouldn’t know: I was much too busy working on my look to provide you with an objective opinion. One thing I can tell you for sure: trendiness, hipness and edginess were so ubiquitous that, by the end of the decade, even our gorgeous first lady was working a Comme des Garcons cardi.

But the ’00s were not just about avant-garde garments: They were also about LIFESTYLE! It was a time when everyone became an artist/shaman/eyebrow weaver/yoga instructor/mono-cyclist. Everyone eschewed the conventional. Everyone was in a rock band. Everyone got everyone’s body tattooed with Sanskrit gibberish and mystical symbols and then forgot what they meant. Everyone did improbable, counterintuitive things to everyone’s hair and, most shockingly, everyone chose to spend time at the most agonizingly pretentious place on earth: Art Basel. It wasn’t everyone’s fault: Everyone was desperately seeking something or other. It was the decade when the grass was always groovier and the sweat lodge was always sweatier.

Now that it’s over, can we at least admit the truth? Being that hip 24-7 made for an exhausting and uncomfortable experience—Balenciaga cut-glass leggings and 20-inch orthopedic platform boots anyone?—and, now that it’s over, can we please just relax, ditch the super-edgy, excruciatingly hip lifestyle and go back to being our uncomplicated, mundane, fun-loving American selves?

I am optimistic that the pendulum might swing back. History has shown us that it probably will. I refer to the switcheroo that took place once the outlaw ’60s morphed into the Nik Nik–lovin’ ’70s. The counterculture, with its relentless emphasis on being right-on and tuned in, was more than the average American shlemiel could sustain. It wasn’t long before people realized that wearing polyester and driving a powder blue Lincoln Continental while listening to Melissa Manchester was just as much fun, if not more so, than trying to save the world with a dream-catcher.

The same kind of switcheroo happened at the end of the 1970s: Enter punk and New Wave and a whole new painful vocabulary of cool. But everyone soon tired of snarling disaffectedly and shoving safety pins through everyone’s cheeks. As the ’80s dawned, the entire population took a simpler route. They quietly slipped shoulder pads—remember Pints o’ Pads?—into their career blouses, started bopping to Madonna and clawing their way up the Melanie Griffith Working Girl ladder.

The signs of a similar cool-to-naff transition are currently gurgling. Marc Jacobs has already ditched his fashion-insider indie-grunge image for a more mainstream handsome Italian soccer player chic. Last week Lady Gaga, who always looks a bit like someone dressed as Lady Gaga for Halloween, did something truly unshocking: She surrendered her blood-soaked costumes and light-up butt-plugs for a conventional sit-down with Barbara Walters.

But Lady Gaga, shmaga, let’s get to the question du jour: What does all this mean for you, the ordinary woman in the street? Girlfriend, it bodes well. Relax! Roll down your Alexander Wang knee-highs and prepare to welcome in the DORKY TENS. Prepare to embrace populist pursuits like the Eurovision Song Contest (May) and the World Cup (June). No more obscene headache-inducing obscurantist poetry slams for you. No more nerve-racking-am-I-cool-enough gallery openings, and, most importantly of all, no more drinking your own urine. Mazel tov!

This New Year, do the uncoolest thing in the history of mankind: Head to Times Square, buy yourself a pair of those ultra-naff 2010 glasses and scream your uncool brains out.



Dawn of the Dorks