My boyfriend's an overly opinionated hipster — help!

Look at this asshole

Look at this asshole

The Door Guy is a veteran of countless clubs around town. People say they've seen it all, but he's seen more. Write to him for everything from live advice to life advice.

Dear Door Guy:

My boyfriend literally has an opinion about everything, and it's driving me nuts. I'm sick of his hipster bullshit. I mean everything. Bands, books, television, actors, restaurants, bars, construction sites, street corners, public transportation, etc. Absolutely nothing can go by him without him providing some sort of commentary.

For example, if he doesn't like a band, he'll talk about how awful it is, or come up with a huge list of bands that are better and/or more influential. If he does like a band, he'll talk at length about it as if no one has ever heard them before. Even if we agree on something he has to act like he had the idea first and will suddenly come up with a bunch of esoteric reasons why.

The worst is if I try to get him to listen to something or see a movie or read a book I've really enjoyed, and he'll blow me off by instantly forming an opinion about it for ridiculous reasons. Like, “Why would I ever read that? Look at the cover, nothing interesting has ever had a cover like that.” Or “I won't eat there, it's not half as good as the place the chef used to wash dishes at five years ago.” Maybe I'm overstating a little bit, but you get the point.

What am I supposed to do about this?

— Sick of Hipster Opinions

Dear SHO:

I suppose formulating opinions about things with limited information is sort of what I do here. It's also more or less what I do as a Door Guy, because when things are busy, I have to keep track of a lot of things to make sure nothing goes wrong, and when things are calm, I have way too much time on my hands. Your boyfriend, SHO, has way too much time on his hands. Unfortunately, there's very little you can do about it.

Because he's not a hipster: He's a pretentious dick. (Actually, he's probably both.)

The word hipster doesn't mean much, and given the number of times I've already mis-typed it as “hispter” I don't really have much use for it. I honestly think I've never had any occasion to write or type it. (Frankly, I hope to never use it again.) Its meaning has evolved significantly over the years.

When I was but a young Door Guy, we mostly used it to refer to people whose involvement in life seemed to revolve around showing up places to look cool rather than making anything of significance, but even that doesn't really apply anymore. Now it's the most overused, bullshit term since “grunge” or “alternative,” both made-up words that don't mean anything. It's become a sort of weird, meaningless catch-all for a variety of unrelated behavior and styles that can't be nailed down beyond “I don't like it.”

Like pornography, you can't explain it but you know it when you see it. Beards? Hipster. Tattoos? Hipster. Plugged earlobes? Hipster. Bikes? Hipster. Wearing non-prescription glasses? Hipster. Banjos? Hipster. Those stupid hats that everyone calls fedoras but are actually trilbys and look like you have a jaunty straw condom on your head? Hipster.

See? Pointless. I like a few of those things. I hate a few others. But I'm never arguing that they're actually related to each other. However, I bet your boyfriend has an opinion about ALL of them.

Unfortunately for you and the future of your relationship, your boyfriend has constructed an identity around having an opinion about everything. There's nothing wrong with this on its face; tons of people do it, especially if they have nothing better to do. It's a fairly common ailment of people when they're younger, because you don't have as much to worry about. I think a huge portion of my 20s was spent just drinking and finding things to argue about with my friends who were also full of opinions (and drunk). At some point, expending that level of energy on things that don't pay the bills starts to eat up too much time, and you find other things to worry about.

But your problem is that your boyfriend's opinions have gone past innocent fun and become who he is, even at the expense of respecting what you're interested in or what you like. They are a security blanket, a way of constructing and identity, and they're deeply ingrained. It's unlikely that he has some sort of uncontrollable compulsive disorder where he simply can't stop talking, like Opinion Tourettes or something. But even so, it's very difficult for people to break habits that they associate with a secure sense of self, or even recognize how it's negatively impacting their interactions with other people.

And clearly, this is fucking with your relationship, because respecting your opinion about something is threatening his sense of order and place in the world. This is what makes your boyfriend a dick. Presented with an opinion he didn't originate, he either feels compelled to dismiss it (by disagreeing with you) or co-opt it (by agreeing with you but having a much bigger opinion about it and thus making you feel like his way of thinking about it is still better). Either way, it's a total drag to be around if you're invested in this relationship for the long term.

Another side effect of this sort of behavior is that when you — or anyone else — accept that your boyfriend is going to be constantly spouting off, you end up not taking him very seriously. It's totally possible to keep going, focusing on the good parts of the relationship (there are some, right?), just sort of patting him on the head and ignoring him. I've seen it work for people. On the other hand, I could never do that. It would make me totally insane.

So are you in this for the long haul? Because if you are, chances are he's not going to outgrow this unless you can confront him, head-on, to show him that placing his fragile ego before real intimacy is going to end badly. Chances are he's scared of something, deep down, and he doesn't even realize what he's doing.

On the other hand, he might be perfectly happy being a pretentious douche, in which case call him a hipster all you want (he'll probably be insulted) and find better people to spend your time with.

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