Monday, April 17, 2006

Am I in danger of being a GRUP? Are you?

During my search for end of the internet yesterday, I came across a video game designer referring to himself as a GRUP in his blog. "A what?" I asked myself. Hating the possibility that I could be ignorant of an inane pop culture reference, I did a little research. (It's what I do.) I came across this lengthy article in New York magazine. Is it New York magazine or The New York magazine? Can I not use the "The" because it makes it too close to The New Yorker? Just wondering. So the writer, Alan Sternbergh, helps define what a GRUP is:

If being a Grup means being 35, and having a job, and using a messenger bag instead of a briefcase, and staying out too late too often, and owning more pairs of sneakers (eleven) than suits (one), and downloading a Hot Hot Heat song from iTunes because it was on a playlist titled "Saturday Errands," and generally being uneasy and slightly confused about just what it means to be an adult in these modern times-in short, if it means living your life in fundamentally the same way that you did when you were, say, 22 then, let's face it, I'm a Grup
I turn 35 this year. I'll be honest. I think I might be a Grup. Much of Sternbergh's interviews are with married Grups who have kids. I obviously don't fit in that category. Also, the examples all live in New York and have high paying jobs. Again, that's outside my category. I guess I am a poor Grup. Here are a few of my examples of why I might be a Grup.

1. Even if this TV thing doesn't work out, I can't see myself taking a job where I can't wear jeans and a ball cap. My jean to pants ratio is 4 to 1, and some of those pants still have tags on them.

2. If my little sisters are any example, I probably am going to attempt to force my musical tastes on my kids. (Not that it works. They still gravitated to show tunes. I blame the Kessler side for that.)

3. I take pride in shaving only once every blue moon.

4. I save money for video games.

5. I still buy toys.

6. I keep ridiculous hours.

Here are some of Mr. Sternbergh's examples:
Let's start with a question. A few questions, actually: When did it become normal for your average 35-year-old New Yorker to (a) walk around with an iPod plugged into his ears at all times, listening to the latest from Bloc Party; (b) regularly buy his clothes at Urban Outfitters; (c) take her toddler to a Mommy's Happy Hour at a Brooklyn bar; (d) stay out till 4 A.M. because he just can't miss the latest New Pornographers show, because who knows when Neko Case will decide to stop touring with them, and everyone knows she's the heart of the band; (e) spend $250 on a pair of jeans that are artfully shredded to look like they just fell through a wheat thresher and are designed, eventually, to artfully fall totally apart; (f) decide that Sufjan Stevens is the perfect music to play for her 2-year-old, because, let's face it, 2-year-olds have lousy taste in music, and we will not listen to the Wiggles in this house; (g) wear sneakers as a fashion statement; (h) wear the same vintage New Balance sneakers that he wore on his first day of school in the seventh grade as a fashion statement; (i) wear said sneakers to the office; (j) quit the office job because-you know what?-screw the office and screw jockeying for that promotion to VP, because isn't promotion just another word for "slavery"?; (k) and besides, now that she's a freelancer, working on her own projects, on her own terms, it's that much easier to kick off in the middle of the week for a quick snowboarding trip to Sugarbush, because she's got to have some balance, right? And she can write it off, too, because who knows? She might bump into Spike Jonze on the slopes; (l) wear a Misfits T-shirt; (m) make his 2-year-old wear a Misfits T-shirt; (n) never shave; (o) take pride in never shaving; (p) take pride in never shaving while spending $200 on a bedhead haircut and $600 on a messenger bag, because, seriously, only his grandfather or some frat-boy Wall Street flunky still carries a briefcase; or (q) all of the above?
Those items in bold are ones that I agree with. Actually, I only spent $125 on my messenger bag, but I agree about the suitcase. The other non-bold items I would hope I would never do or think. $250 on a pair of jeans? Snowboarding? Misfits T-shirt? Hell no. I'm actuasurprisedised he mentions Bloc Party numerous times in the article. I would think a Grup would consider them "sooo 2005." This article was written this month.

So, am I a Grup? Yes I am. In fact I would say I am more of a Grup than those featured in the article. At beginningning of the article, the writer adds the synonyms: yupster, yindie, and alterna-yuppie. I'm going to claim that a Grup is different than those other terms. A Grup has nothing to do with the yuppie sect. I may be wiser. I may have a little more stable job. I may be more financially responsible. I may date more, but I am living my life pretty much how I lived as a 22 year old. Actually, I'm probably living my life like I wished I lived my life when I was 22 year old. But I still hold to that mindset. I am not really growing up, which seems to be the main point of being a Grup. I am not participating in those things that are associated with being a grown up. These yupsters just seem to-

Ah screw it. I found this article interesting, which is weird because I hate labels. Anyway, I decided to write blindly about it and see where it went. I now hate the way this has turned out. I'm not worried that I might become a Grup. I know I won't. I listen, wear, and do what I like. For everything that someone does or has that puts them in a certain defined box, there is something else they do or have that takes puts them in another group. I have Grup tendencies. I have MOL tendencies. I have geek tendencies. You know what that makes me? That makes me Brad. You're you. I like you. I like me (usually). I'm sorry I wasted your time with this.


Jaime said...

I am so sad I instantly recognized the Star Trek Grup reference. But I don't get how Grup is related to all this. Grups were just grown-ups who got freaky space leprosy and were stoned by children. (But maybe listening to Bloc Party is the equivalent to leprosy. And maybe your two year old would stone you if you forced that on them.)

faith said...

Alot of this sounds like me too...accept spending crazy amounts of money on things! I'm the hippy version of this maybe. *grin*

I have a CSI comment:

Last night I watched a Canadian entertainment show and they were doing a 'behind the scenes of Miami' it's just me, but I think of 'behind the scenes' the stuff you do and the writers, and the Tec people...but basically it was just interviewing the actors, which was disappointing for me....but anyhoo...what I found interesting, was the interview with Caruso. I was curious, since I had never seen an interview with him before, and I didn't know what he was like (and you have mentioned him in not so complimentary ways before) I wanted to know what all the 'hub-bub' was about.

Maybe he was drunk...or maybe it was the interviewer, but he seemed kind of a 'mimbo' (male bimbo). I was surprised, because I expected him to be more "H-ish" and not so "Joey from Friends-ish"...not that H expresses himself all that 'intelligently' (all he really says is "this is what I want you to do" then puts on his sun glasses) Is this what he is like? or was it the liquid lunch?

MOL Junior said...

OK i don't fit all of them (don't waste money on bedhead cuts and bags, for example) but a lot of them fit me to a T. (playing sufjan stevens for phoebe, for example). call me a grup.