Normcore is the movement or trend or – thing, I guess? – rejecting hipsterishness and “opt[ing] into sameness” (thanks, Wikipedia!). Yeah. But what does that really MEAN? I read the NY Mag piece about it, but that didn’t help much.
- Is it still hipsters liking things ironically, but now it’s ironic fleeces and sneakers instead of trilbys and mustaches? Mustaches HAVE been coopted by the Pinterest Industrial Complex, after all…
- Is it because all of the cool 70s – 90s clothes have been cleared out of thrift stores, leaving Gap hoodies and Adidas windpants for the too-cool masses?
- Is it a more realistic version of 90s nostalgia? It is basically the stuff that adults wore from 1996 – 1998. The style of Seinfeld, if you will.
- Is it a non-sexist version of “Basic Bitch”?
- Is it just regular people wearing normal clothes, turned into a “movement” because a journalist had an early Monday deadline for a trend piece?
I’ll be damned if I know. As we said about “ratchet,” normcore cannot be seen or heard, but must be felt with the heart (™ Helen Keller). Here’s the best Am I Normcore self-test I can come up with.
Do you own khakis?
No: 0 points
Yes: Do you need them for work?
If yes: 1 point
If no: 2 points
Do you own a fleece?
Yes: Is it necessary for outdoor activities, e.g. hiking?
If Yes: Hiking? That’s pretty normcore. 2 points.
If No: Do you refer to your fleece as “my North Face” or possibly “the Columbia?”
If Yes: 1 point. You are possibly a college girl in a windy climate, or were in the near past.
If No: 2 points. Normie.
You are walking around the city all day. What is on your feet?
Heels: 0 points
Men’s Dress Shoes (I identify as a man): 1 point
Men’s Dress Shoes (I identify as a woman): 0 points
Women’s Flats (I identify as a woman): 1 point
Women’s Flats (I identify as a man): 0 points (strictly because I’m pretty sure the gender binary is normcore)
Canvas sneakers, converse, old-timey high tops, etc: 1 point
Sneakers (the cushiony kind, with ankle support) in color: 2 points
Sneakers (the cushiony kind, with ankle support) in black or white: 5 points (Are they Reeboks? Give yourself another point, Norm-an Bates!)
Betsy or Tacy?
Betsy: 0 points
Tacy: 1 point
… Huh?: You’re dead to me.
You know what? Tib, actually: 2 points
Pick an Olsen Sister:
Mary-Kate: 2 points
Ashley: 3 points
Elizabeth: 0 points
Nellie: Zero points, but let’s hang out.
…. Are you doing it?
….Do you have it yet?
Any kind of bagel: 2 points. Bagels are so NORMCORE.
Donuts: Cute. That’s cute. You get 1 point. On one hand, donuts are more normcore than bagels. I guess. On the other, you lose normcore cred because a real normal person would have answered the question.
I don’t know: 0 points. Also you couldn’t come up with a SINGLE kind of bagel? You’ll never be normcore if you insist on being this weird!
You’re getting married! What would be a really good wedding song?
At Last: 1 point. You are basically more normal than normcore.
First Day Of My Life: 0 points. You are clearly normal, maybe trying to seem slightly less normal.
You Make My Dreams Come True: 3 points. What says “I like ordinary things?” better than carefully-selected Hall & Oates tunes?
You probably wouldn’t have heard of it: 0 points. You passed normcore and went straight to hipster. Congrats?
Let’s talk about your cake topper:
Traditional man/woman, man/man, or woman/woman cake topper: 2 points. Nobody has those anymore unless they are specifically trying to choose middle of the road-y things.
Lady dragging husband down the aisle, reeling in husband, chaining ball to his foot, etc: 0 points. Let’s all try to be better than this. But you probably aren’t normcore, just misguided.
Well, I saw this thing on Pinterest…: 1 point. You might be normcore, but you’re probably just normal.
Bangs Or No Bangs:
Bangs: 0 points
No Bangs: 1 point
Do you mean like on me, or just sort of generally?: I don’t know. Have a point.
You have a cat. Where did you get the cat?
From a shelter: 2 points
It was outside: 1 point
I knew someone getting rid of the cat: 3 points
A way that was super on-purpose (breeder, e.g.): 4 points. Anyone who tries to get a cat is almost putting effort into seeming normal. And isn’t that what normcore is all about?
Congrats, you have a baby! You got married and adopted a cat, what did you really think would be next? Name that baby! (It’s a girl):
Something like Emma or Sophia or Isabella: 0 points. Normal, not normcore.
Something like Louisa or Harriet or Jane: 3 points. You intentionally choose the standard over the non-standard — even when the “standard” may also be less popular.
Something like Dorothy or Edith or Mabel: 2 points. Picking an old-lady name says “hey, I’m being a bit different here!”, but picking one that everyone has heard says “… but let’s not go crazy, now.”
Something like Morningflower or Thessalonia: 1 point. The names aren’t normcore, but they’re so different that I could see you getting real into, you know, cultural movements.
Okay, add ’em up, everybody! Ready:
20 – 30 points: You’re not normcore. You’re just normal.
10 – 20 points: You might be normcore – there are some indications that you aren’t all the way normal. But you might just be a little bit normal, a little bit not. Consult a doctor you trust for further evaluation.
0- 10 points: You’re not normcore. But you might be a hipster. Maybe.