Who is today's post-metrosexual media darling — or demon, depending on whom you ask?
Hipster dad, aka alternadad, the guy who hasn't worn a suit since his wedding and listens to the same music as the college kid who babysits his tots.
If metrosexual man exhibited a penchant for pressed Prada, hipster dad — and Junior — wear their rumpled, spit-up-stained Black Sabbath T-shirts with pride.
Hipster dad made his mainstream debut last April in a New York
cover story. (The magazine's term of choice: "grup," taken from a Star Trek
episode about a planet ruled by children.)
Since then, his Vans-clad self has shown strong legs. He has his own new online magazine, Babble, targeting "the new urban parent." He's chronicled in the just-published memoir Alternadad
(Pantheon, $23.95); Warner Bros. already bought film rights.
But, as befell the metrosexual, exposure begets backlash.
From a recent posting on media-skewering blog Gawker: "Self-consumed male hipsters have suddenly discovered parenthood, and we'll be forced to listen to them for years on end." Alternadad
author Neal Pollack insists the trend goes deeper than Johnny Cash posters for the nursery, though "believe me, I like the fact that my kid (Elijah, 4) knows who Johnny Cash is."
For a subset of his generation, "there are more essential questions: What makes a happy family?" says Pollack, 36.
Babble readers aren't "vain or adolescent just because they have an iPod," says editor in chief Ada Calhoun, 30. They want to hold onto the culturally rich life they had as childless adults, "and they want to be good parents."
Such goals need not be mutually exclusive, says Jason Avant, 37, of San Diego, founder of the group blog DadCentric, who "loves to skateboard and loves rock music. I'm just passing on the culture to my kid (Lucas, nearly 3), something parents have done through the years," including his dad, who shared his Beatles and The Band collection.
The rise of the alternaparent makes sense, says Robert Lanham, who archly documented pre-spawn hipsters in 2003's The Hipster Handbook.
As hipsters come of age, they wonder: "When is the expiration date on being cool? Is being a hipster parent an oxymoron?
"If you're resting your kid on a pool table so you can hang out at the bar, maybe it's not cool," he says. "But maybe a pool table is a good place to change a diaper."