#Instafit: body building culture comes to Instragram

instagram logo Over the last few months that I’ve been slowly falling in love with the social photo sharing site Instagram.  It’s a simple little mobile application that allows you to take, edit, and share photos with your friends and the larger Instagram community.  Interestingly there are actually several applications that allow you to take photos and apply filters to make your pictures look pretty, but only Instagram has gotten the social aspect right.  (Examples of other applications include: Hipstamatic, PhotoShop Express, and Camera by SmugMug.)

Never mind that Instagram doesn’t necessarily have the best filters to be applied to doctor up their photos, it’s the social element that has made it a big success.  Instagram intrigues people with the process of discovering new photos and users, as well as the excitement and validation from receiving multiple likes on your photos.  From art to nature photos, from travel to food porn, and from pictures of couples and friends – Instagram has it all. Of all these areas to discover, one trend has certainly caught my eye: the body building community.

IMG_6053The body building community has been around for a long time (at least since the 1970’s in the U.S.), but the rise of social networks and body-building forums have allowed this dispersed community of bodybuilders to come together virtually. They trade advice on workout routines and nutritional supplements in body building forums, as well as complement and comment on each other’s progress on weightlifting goals by posting pictures in common sites. With the advent of Instagram its become that much easier for these folks to find, comment, and follow each other.  These bodybuilders comment on each other’s pictures with encouragement like: “great pic! Keep posting!”, “sick abs, great job man”,  “what’s your workout routine like, have any IMG_6054tips?” and some that become a little more directly sexual like “U are gorgeous”, “I think U so sexy”, and “take off the pants & underwearrr”.  The funny thing about this is that many of these body builders, who are purportedly heterosexual, receive just as many of these comments from girls as they do from guys. They write in their personal bios: “just me tryna get big”, “shrugs not drugs”, “fitness and music keep me young”, “forever young”, “follow me on twitter”, “add me on kik”.

There are also a few super users making a name for themselves by re-sharing other bodybuilders’ photos and then encouraging their followers to like and follow the featured body builder of the day. Examples of these include “RuIMG_6055ffRoad”, “CuteBoys” and “HotGuysWorld”. (They may be walking a fine line of ethical & legal rules because it seems some of them get taken down from time to time.) Many users use hashtags (#) in the descriptions of their photos to tag their photo as discoverable for a certain theme. Bodybuilders are not the humble sort, but rather into self promotion using tags like: “#model, #sexy, #sixpack, #hottie, #muscle, #picoftheday, #stunning, #adorable, #instaboys, and #instafit.

Most of this is all fine and good. However there are certainly some troublesome things brewing in here. First of all there is the very likely possibility that many of the pictures being shared and re-shared are of underage youth (below 18 years old) and their pictures are being consumed and sexualized by adults. Second, many young adults and teenagers are now becoming part of this hyper-sexualized and steroid enhancing world – which is putting them at risk. The kid in this last photo here definitely looks barely 18. The NY Times had a nice article on this a while back: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/19/health/teenage-boys-worried-about-body-image-take-risks.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

And since this website starting as a hipster-bashing blog I feel that I should mention my college friend’s site: http://definitionhipster.com/ and Instagram handle: DEFINITIONHIPSTER.  His weinstagram photo missionbsite allows people to submit pictures of people and then vote on on a scale of 1 to 10 on how hipster they look in the photo.

You can also follow my Instagram: MISSIONHIPSTERS. I apologize in advance if you got to my profile hoping to find shirtless pictures of dudes, sorry you won’t find any there.


Coffee Shop Review- The Financial District’s “Coffee Bar”

IMG_5696It seems this hipster coffee trend is continuing to grow with the opening of Coffee Bar on Montgomery Street in the Financial District of San Francisco. This place has all the makings of a hipster coffee shop. The store has a crisp, clean design with a simple menu and serves up mainly traditional espresso drinks, small cups of coffee, and a simple selection of pastries delivered daily from a local bakery. All the employees wear black shirts, indigo jeans, and occasionally grey vests or other accoutrements. Their is a certain air of condescension coming from behind the counter, but much more understated than their Valencia Street counter parts. Oh, and did I mention the coffee is really f-ing good?


My main critique of the store is that instead of trying to do something new, it basically copied and synthesized various trends in cafes and threw it in haphazardly to the financial district. Probably the most blaring difference between walking into say Fourbarrel at 4 in the afternoon on the weekend, and Coffee Bar at 8 am is that you are simply going to get a different crowd. IMG_5693This isn’t your get coffee and linger to soak up the ambiance type of coffee shop. Instead it is in and out, and on your way back to the office.  Another difference is all the fun homeless people of downtown SF spicing up the urban ambiance.


Being that this place is right next to my office I go there from time to time with my coworkers. One of them observed recently, ” Is there some sort of requirement to work at these hipster coffee shops that you have to have an ambiguous sexual orientation.” Haha, so true.

Another interesting attempt at fitting this hipster aesthetic is this faux-Instagram photo blown up and posted above the door inside.


It shows an older white man in business clothes sitting on a financial district rooftop looking out over the bay.  I find it a little strange to take this virtual world aesthetic of Instagram and place it in your store as “artwork”. (As a side note, I love Instagram and you can follow me here under the name missionhipsters.)

What it feels like to order hipster coffee

How many times have you gone into Fourbarrel, Ritual or another hipster coffee place in the The Mission only to be made to feel a little awkward when you didn’t understand the menu or why you couldn’t order your favorite drink? This little sketch captures it perfectly.


Coffee Snobs – watch more funny videos

What have hipsters done to Napa?

On a recent trip up North to Napa, San Francisco’s own boozy backyard watering hole, we came across Raymond Vineyards. When one pictures Napa in their head one tends to conjure images of rolling vine-covered hills and palatial estates. One tends to think of wine tasting as a very classy activity, complete with old world tradition and formality.  Basically my image of Napa is more like this:

The image of tradition and formality in the countryside estate

But leave it to f*#&ing hipsters to make it look more like this:

Chandeliers and mannequins cover up the steel vats.

The first area we are taken through is a long hallway full of various scents often claimed to be found in wines. There are fruity & traditional ones like cherry, orange blossom, honey, grapefruit, black currant, anis, and more exotic ones like leather, forest floor, barnyard, diesel, tar, fresh cut grass, and cat piss.

We were then taken into a private lounge called The Red Room that they had just finished building and decorating.  The owner was there and explained to us that he was trying to bring a little bit of hip, urban San Francisco up to Napa.  The lounge was super nice, if not a little over the top on the red velvet.

Then they take us into this room – The Crystal Cellar. OMFG – what have hipsters done to Napa?

There are mannequins galore dressed in sexy devil/angel outfits with ostentatious chandeliers.  Oh and there are some large steel wine barrels behind them where they make the wine, but that’s not the real reason you came up here today is it?

This mannequin is way cooler than you are.

They have a small display case of luxury glass artwork in the same room. Oddly juxtaposed against these sexy mannequins sits this tiny glass Buddha being sold for $600.

Lastly, in one last effort to market themselves correctly you must always ask: “Is it local?”


When someone orders a PBR at the bar

When someone orders a PBR at the bar, and other “only in San Francisco” jokes.

PBR, really?

The Secret to Growing and Excellent SF Mustache?


Check out this link for more: http://whilstinsf.tumblr.com/