First, let's be clear: This is not a personal screed against all hypebeasts, or against one ex-boyfriend. And I don't have anything against hypebeasts. I even tend to exhibit some tendencies of this stereotype myself.
That said, one thing's for damn sure: I will never date a hypebeast again.
This one particular relationship that taught me this lesson happened five years ago. Maybe even six. (Before I knew better.) I had known this guy for three years before we dove head first into a relationship. The first few months were great. But then, the red flags started popping up at every turn like box logos at a Supreme drop. Pretty soon, my life seemed to only consist of lining up for product releases, spending all my money to get him expensive gifts, and being hit with verbal gems like, “I’d buy it for you, but I need to buy something for myself first.” Seriously.
One of my worst experiences was waiting in line for some drop that was so banal I can't even remember what it was. We lined up outside of Stussy on Richmond Street West in downtown Toronto, when the shop was located above the now-defunct Goodfoot, for a release. It was at an ungodly hour, especially for a Saturday morning, and technically could have been considered Friday night. I couldn’t feel my toes, my night of sleep got cut in half, and I was starving. For people who did this sort of thing regularly, they're used to the pain and come ready with snacks, coffee, chairs, etc. But for me, who had never lined up for anything, I was woefully unprepared. And all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Birthdays and holidays usually meant emptying your pockets (and savings) to buy the most expensive thing on his list—and the list was usually pretty long. Once, I nearly convinced myself to drop $1,000 on a Canada Goose jacket, which would have bankrupted me beyond repair, but puppy/hypebeast love, right?
After a short time, this was all I heard:
“How are the fades and creases on my Nudies coming in?”
“What sneakers should I get? I need new sneakers.”
“What time do you think Nomad opens so I can get that new Supreme?” (Disclaimer: That was the only way you can buy Supreme back then, if you lived in Toronto.)
I eventually found it hard to speak with him about anything that wasn't about clothes or shoes. And who wants that?
Dating a hypebeast also meant that you were expected to become one, in some ways. You needed to keep up with the brands he cared about, buy expensive shit, and take on the mindset of a 'beast. You were bound to be a part of that world and keep up the cascade of endless product—even if you wanted no part of it. Next thing you know, you're squeezing yourself into a pair of Nudie High Khai jeans even if you can't breathe in them. Or wearing matching 'fits KimYe style.
In the end, what I learned was that being in a relationship with a hypebeast was almost like being in a polygamous one—you were also in a relationship with his clothes, his hype-driven friends, forums, and in some cases, the sales associates at his favorite stores. Your time with him was disproportionately divided, with material things usually trumping your concerns. These guys are more likely to remember release dates than birthdays (or anniversaries, if you celebrate that). "Taking you out" meant he needed someone to shop with. The pursuit of product was the be all end all of things, and truthfully, it was impossible to compete.
I can only imagine what it's like dating a hypebeast now. Twitter and Instagram alone have changed the landscape. Now, you're expected to be their personal photographer, taking god knows how many GPOYs and #outfitgrid organizers. I imagine "What filter should I use, babe?" is a commonly uttered phrase in a hypebeasting relationship. And with the growing importance of social media and the desire to flex 24/7, there is rarely, if at all, a chance people would even know you exist.
Look: Being a self-proclaimed hypebeast is perfectly fine, and you should always do you—that's the top tenet of being a stylish guy. But if your concerns are solely about material possessions, you're missing the very point of being in a relationship—especially when you're neck-deep in the pursuit of product. When you think about it, a dedicated hypebeast is actually cutting out all the room in his life meant for the person he's in a relationship with.
I realize how all of this sounds: another girl complaining about not getting enough attention. Trust me, I know. While I don't mean to generalize—everyone has different personalities and interests—it's hard not to say these things, because in my experiences and in speaking with others, they're true. And to be fair, everything I mentioned above isn't only specific to men.
That said, my experience dating a hypebeast wasn't for nothing. In hindsight, it probably served as my early introduction to menswear and streetwear. I (probably) wouldn't have become familiar with Stussy, Supreme, and even the now-defunct Nom de Guerre, amongst others. I mean, I probably wouldn't be at Complex.
I'm not suggesting at all that hypebeasts are terrible human beings, or that it isn't possible to be a good boyfriend while maintaining this lifestyle. I'm not even saying girls should avoid dating hypebeasts. That's 100 percent their prerogative. I'm also sure as hell not a relationship expert, nor am I claiming to be one. But, like Big Pun said, I gave you fair warning. Beware.