On Hipster Masculinity: An Original Gangster Stole My Girlfriend

About two years ago, I decided to become a hair stylist. I had been a struggling painter and I was using a lot of pills and drinking every night, aimlessly drifting around in my life. A couple of times I was homeless, and more times than I like to recall, when I was less proud, I stayed with my mother in Newton, Mass. Then a gay couple who I know who owns a salon in Westhampton suggested I try my hand at cutting hair. I had sold them a few of my paintings to decorate both their home and their business and through that the three of us became friends. It seemed like an arbitrary thing, to start cutting hair, but they explained that it was a profession that drew on the skills of someone with a fine arts background, and they themselves had been artists of different types before they opened their salon.

I expressed concern about sending off the wrong message to women – I didn’t want to seem gay. I was afraid it might hurt my love life. Not at all, they said; if anything, it would actually help it, like it did for Warren Beatty in Shampoo, which I hadn’t seen until they recommended it to me.

So after I finished beauty school, I apprenticed under Jay, one of the owners and a Master Cutter, and after about three months I became one of the few male stylists working at Unity Hair (their store was named after one of their favorite gay clubs in Montreal). I quickly realized that, indeed, Jay and his partner Dominic were right, and I regularly had sex with my female clients and many of the other female stylists.

Then I met Amber, a new stylist. We quickly hit it off. Many of the girls at the salon were, admittedly, kind of stupid and vapid, and although I had no qualms getting freaky now and then with them when we partied together – they were attractive and fun, at least – I knew that nothing serious would happen. Amber was different; whereas the other girls were perhaps stylish, she was actually hip. Not unlike myself, she came from a different background and had decided to style hair later in life. As much as I hate to use the word, we were, in effect, the two hipsters at the salon, and we could commiserate over our derision for all the sorority girl types or high school girls getting ready for prom who came in. Cutting their hair was analogous to serious writers writing advertising copy; of course it paid and the tips were nice, but it was beneath us. Over this and many other things, we quickly bonded, and before I knew it we were spending every night together.

Around this time, Unity Hair, being an innovative salon (especially for Westhampton, Mass), decided to expand and open up a gym right next to the salon in the same building. After it opened they dropped the “hair” part of their name and just went by “Unity,” the idea being that people achieve unity through great hair and a sweet bod. This introduced a new atmosphere, or rather, bromosphere, to the salon. Of course the members were fine, and came from a variety of backgrounds. However, the field of exercise science tends to attract a pretty narrow demographic of broey dudes, and Jay and Dominic had no choice but to hire these people to run the gym and train the clients. This created a dichotomy within the establishment; there was the salon side, filled with cosmopolitan, or at least, refined, fashionable women and mostly gay men and the gym side, filled with bros who most certainly found the idea of a gym/salon combo ridiculous.

Well, it was okay with me. In my adolescent days in high school I held animosity towards bros because they had social capital – they went to parties, were well-liked by teachers, and had sex with girls, whereas none of that was true of me. But like many nerdy guys, I eventually came into my own and in college I did fine (and certainly by the time I came to Unity, I had no complaints). As such, I didn’t really feel threatened by the gym people; they were simply part of a different culture, and we co-existed. In fact, we usually got along pretty well, because I like to say things like, “’sup bro” and “you get your dick wet last night?” and even though I was being slightly, if not completely, ironic, the bros loved it (and to be honest, I couldn’t really tell if they were being ironic sometimes).

Because the gym was a new project for Jay and Dominic, it went through several policy and staff changes, some of which surprised me. One such surprise was when they hired Rick, a really, really buff black man who sported the ghetto or gangster look and sometimes spoke in that vernacular. There was something incongruous about him training delicate, white older men with lower back problems and skinny gay guys. Not that I cared or even thought it was a bad business decision – it just seemed a little strange, and not in keeping with the image of Unity.

Rumors began to spread about Rick. He was a ladies’ man, they said, and he had apparently slept with at least two of the stylists, if not more within only a few weeks. They even began to talk about the size of his member, which was reported as being enormous. Many days, this was the central topic of conversation in the hair washing room between the girls.

I finally had the opportunity to become acquainted with Rick when Dominic and Jay had a party at their house. They were in the habit of throwing lavish parties with great snacks and a clever theme; this time it was a pajama party. I went in a V-neck and long underwear, and Amber went in traditional PJs. In the backyard, I found Rick with a pair of lounge pants and a bath robe. His t-shirt clung to his bulging muscles. He was lighting up a big blunt. “There’s some hotties here tonight,” he said. He had a big laugh.

“The girls are looking sexy,” I said. “That’s why I like PJ parties,” I added.

“Oooh look at that,” he said as one of the girls from the front walked back inside, wearing only a slip.

There is nothing like a remark about an attractive girl to break the ice between unacquainted men, and I was instantly endeared to Rick. There was no doubt; he was hounding for some ass, and he was the definition of a man eternally on the prowl. We spoke a lot that night, and I became more and more vulgar in my own language as the night went on and we discussed how we liked to hit that ass. We were just a couple of bros, broing out. I was reminded of Larry David’s relationship with Leon in Curb Your Enthusiasm.

More From Thought Catalog

  • http://twitter.com/srslydrew Andrew F.

    This story was dope.

  • Sean Li

    DAMN, that was highly enjoyable. Perception is a tricky thing to understand.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    Get down like you on a wheelchair.

  • http://thegirlwhofell2earth.tumblr.com/ Josagie

    This was probably the best ThoughtCatalog article I've ever read.
    However, I really hope that you realize that you stress yourself out wayyyyy too much when it comes to looking at race. I get the sensitivity that you have for political correctness(I'm a black girl attending a mostly white/mostly hipster liberal arts college) but you don't need to worry yourself about stereotyping a black man that fits the description of a true gangsta. He's not thinking about it; so why should you?

    Honestly, you and Rick had more in common that you thought. It's a shame you didn't realize that earlier.

    • Tommmmmm

      What did they have in common? Just curious.

      • Kablaamee

        I'm assuming it's “gettin' ass”.

      • PERFECTCIRCLES

        Yeah, they both realized in the end they like having sex with women. If only they could have discovered that from the first fateful moment at the party.

  • http://twitter.com/torenhardee Toren Hardee

    there are so many things that disgust me about this piece of writing. most of all, that the return of your sense of self-worth hinges on an “original gangster” (did you seriously write that???) saying “you get that ass bro. you a G.” i guess that's what really matters, in the end.

  • http://twitter.com/kelvin_lee Kelvin Lee

    Awesome story. This is what I love best about Thought Catalog, taking ordinary slices of life, and infusing them with a little doubt, a little fiction, and a lot of humanity.

  • ZaneEatsWorld

    From the title I assumed you'd be racist – but it turns out your actually a chavunist! Thanks, Thought Catalog!

    • Thought Catalog

      You're welcome!

  • daveherr

    this is racist, dan

    • jackiechiquoine

      wish i had an original gangster bang me with his big black member

      • MADMAX

        you were always a sour whore

  • Guest666

    this was awesome and honest and definitely something not atypical to feel…
    i think it'd be really easy to dismiss this(you) as misogynistic and/or racist, but, really, the crux of the matter and the driving force behind a lot of your actions seems to be an extreme self-consciousness…and, this is fucking okay. your own [possibly misguided?] political correctness IS kinda funny and uncomfortable to read, but i think in your case it just shows that you are aware and care and stuff.

    basically though girl, boy, queer, cisgender, WHATEVER: always slay that ass and remember there are tricks and hos and if you put yourself deep like that you either a fool or the other person better not be on that stupid tip…uhhhh, or, er, remember that even that cute, cultured hipster chick who you thought just wanted to date sensitive skinny dudes in black frames MIGHT want to fuck big, black bros.

    • http://profiles.google.com/mopeyprincess mopey P

      Attention: I am her and fyi, she extra super really wants to fuck big black bros. Or big white bros. Or skinny white bros. Or any bros who, unlike this guy, are sufficiently un-self-absorbed to do her right.

  • Tommmmmm

    I think this is more about race than the author grants. I think a lot of white men are afraid of black men sleeping with their girlfriends because of the assumption that they have much bigger dicks (I couldn't tell you if that's true or not). It really comes down to a stereotype and the fact that as men all of our body issues are concentrated to a couple inches between our legs.

    I really do feel your pain though. As a waifish boy my biggest fear about cheating isn't the betrayal of trust, but instead what I would perceive to be complete emasculation. Just don't know about the racial undertone of the article and really old terminology (ie “original gangster”).

    • Sweet

      this article is about conscious recognition of RACIAL STEREOTYPES and the author's own struggle with them and as such thematically PLAYS OFF RACIAL STEREOTYPES as well as EXPLICITLY ARTICULATES THEM and HOW THEY'RE PROBLEMATIC

  • http://twitter.com/phillipefelut phillipe felut

    your definition of “gangsta” seems pretty loose.get some diversity in your life

  • http://twitter.com/kyleangeletti Kyle Angeletti

    i liked this. get that ass son.

    i bet he and rick are bros now.

  • Ruthlezz

    Cool story, Hansel. Seems like a fun profession you're in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregpphoto Greg Petliski

    And this is why I do my best to avoid women entirely.

    • http://twitter.com/srslydrew Andrew F.

      Depends on the dance floor. Depends on the ball cleavage.

      • http://www.facebook.com/gregpphoto Greg Petliski

        Well lets get it out there then, what amount of testicular cleavage is socially appropriate, and for what dance floors is said amount appropriate for?

        This also raises questions regarding the grooming of the cleavage. Some may sport a natural look, while others may go hairless.

  • Jordan

    Wow, so much going on here lol. I'll give it to you for your honesty in being focused on the black-ness of this guy. I guess its natural that when a girl goes for a different guy you're gonna compare. When they're in your same race/social scene you can compare white hipster apples to white hipster apples I suppose but outside of that THIS is what happens…

  • http://Blommit.com Joey Camire

    The level of Narcisism in this story actually made me more uncomfortable than the ignorance. I will give it to you for your honesty, and your critical introspection is slightly redeeming, but man, this came across as so self-important. “We're above it.” I hope the experience brought you back down to earth a little bit.

    • Nico

      Narcissism has it's value. Christ, have you ever read Dostoevsky?

      • http://Blommit.com Joey Camire

        haha, Indeed I haven't.

        To be too conscious is an illness – a real thoroughgoing illness. ~Fyodor Dostoevski

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=856695260 Sam Sigelakis- Minski

    I loved the ending of this. It made the slower parts of the narrative much more bearable, to get to that awesome ending.

  • http://twitter.com/jkymarsh J. Ky Marsh

    Really, really liked this piece. One of my favorites on TC, actually. Great work, Rob, and know that you're definitely not alone in this sort of experience.

  • http://staugustine2.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

    Highly-larious. I liked the Jedi mind trick at the end, too.

  • http://someharddrugs.blogspot.com Carolyn DeCarlo

    “Please, don’t let this get back to me. Just say you heard it somewhere. Sandra told me and I’m betraying her confidence.”–welp.

  • doitforthehaterz

    oh man i fucking hate everyone who comments here. so it's okay for a gay dude to talk about getting rim jobs and hooking up like every piece he writes and shit, and girls can be like “the only thing i want from men is to be eaten out” but when a confident heterosexual male talks about woman suddenly it's a problem? seriously this is just so ass backwards it's bordering on trolling.

    and as for the racism? i think you have a problem if you think this guy is racist. i'm sorry but this man speaks the truth, every white person who listens to lil weezy is guilty of the same 'racism'. they think it's ironic to be ballin, so they ball. at least this guy is introspective enough to realize what he's doing and knock it off.

  • Nico

    Thoroughly enjoyed this. Well written, thoughtful, sincere.. and a breath of fresh air- considering the other shallow, weak, lackluster postings on TC as of late.

  • http://about.me/jaheadley Kyoudai

    I really see this as an awesome short film. Such is life though.
    As for 'racism', I'd feel the same way as you and I'm black, skinny and have some hipster tendencies. It's more differences in lifestyle.

  • robertbenesh

    Everyone who criticized this work is living an idealized, fantastic, liberal world, rather in the real world, where stories like this actually affect people, rather than inciting an overly sensitive political correctness. Fuck off. Seriously.

  • xtos

    found that very bizarrely compelling, great read.

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