by Hugo Terrible

Scanning the passersby on Montreal’s Saint Laurent boulevard, you see a curious distribution of modern fashion trends. My head goes left to Parc du Portugal and I see old Iberian men in leather jackets feeding the same gaggle of pigeons that have been at their feet since they left the old country for Canada. Newsboy caps pulled low, I can only imagine their lusophonic banter has to be about the price of sardines or olive oil. Straight ahead is a middle-aged Quebecois couple. The man’s grey-streaked ponytail betrays his separatist loyalties. Based on his poor-fitting cutoff shorts and goatee I’d say he does home internet installation for Videotron. His lady is obviously a low-level functionary. Her look is too severe and her ass too sturdy for her to employed doing anything except stamping paperwork in some forlorn department of the provincial government. 

At last, I turn my head right and I see three textbook Montreal hipsters: cuffed mom jeans, unwashed hair, blah blah. I cross to their side of the street and the smell of burnt cannabis nearly topples me mid-stride. Now my approach to most social questions has always been so boldly libertarian that one of my junior high teachers knew I was destined to be a professional anarchist. But, as Winston Churchill once said, there are certain things, “up with which I will not put.” His intention was to lampoon a grammar nazi’s aversion to ending a sentence in a preposition. My intolerance is not with syntax or style, but hygiene. If your curated, highly artificial look requires you to neglect the shower or the hairdresser, you’re not doing fashion, you’re doing vagabondry. 

I can’t even pick on one sex amidst this trend. For every chick with a pair of absolutely abused white sneakers, there’s a guy with resin under his fingernails and a deliberate neck beard. I get it, you’re railing against your peers wearing Patagonia vests and Aritzia rompers, but if rolling tobacco spills out of your change purse every time you try to pay for a coffee, the rest of us are judging you. It’s true, youth poverty will always be cooler than its corporate replications, but I promise there are some very low budget ways to ensure people can sit near you on the city bus. Oh, you don’t want to shrink your favourite pair of rotten jeans? Cold-wash them in the sink. Your hair gets too frizzy when you shampoo it? Tame the Hermione Granger situation with some sulfate-free product.  

Crafting neologisms has always been a favourite pastime of mine, so while I’m holding you hostage dear reader, I’d like to offer one for circulation: dispter. A cute portmanteau of dirty and hipster, it also resembles dipshit enough to be funny at a glance. This term might help us distinguish between those kids on the street who got their fit from a vintage store where everything has been properly dry-cleaned and costs $115 off the rack, and adolescent vagrants who robbed a dumpster for their winter coat.