Tuesday, May 04, 2010

What became of the Tryhards?

Back in the day, Balifornian days, adolescent days, juvenile days, a person could be called a tryhard. It was never something you called somebody to their face, it was something you generally called somebody behind their back. 'Stevo? He's a fucking tryhard.' The meaning was clear, he was trying too hard to be cooler than he was.

No body wanted to be a tryhard, they simply fell into its clutches. Many ran the gauntlet of trying to be cool, most failed. For all my posturing I'd be surprised if nobody called me a tryhard.

Do the kids use this today? Or its equivalent? Is it a country thing?

I'd like to think so, but a see little to convince me the term is still in play. It also seems like after a decade of good times and marketing driven businesses, my own generation has forgotten this fearful term.

When I reflect on it though, it seems odd that teenagers would be offended by inauthenticity. Calling somebody a tryhard is a pretty savy insult as far as insults go. A recognition that the clothes are wearing you, not the other way around and if you mismatch the messages, you are trying too hard.

Of course there's an element of snobbery as well. If you are a dork you should stick to the tight jeans and white sneakers, keep letting your mum dress you in 'nice fitting' clothes. Leave the surf clothes to surfers.

But usually it wasn't the dorky kid, such kids were tragically beneath contempt. Tryhard referred to the kids who litterally just tried to hard. They bleached their hair, bought new clothes for every casual day, and they bought the clothes to make them cooler. The generally followed the latest fads in music, fashion and recreation.

But it was bad, why was their a backlash against this so widely recognised. I would not have had the balls to call somebody a try hard to their face, because I'm fairly sure they would be upset enough to try and duke it out with me.

Now though, purchasable lifestyles are in. Get a bike because its an environmentally friendly super-efficient way to commute in the city? No buy a fixed gear because its an accessory. I saw a couple walking along swanston st, the dude had a black fixed gear with green rims and all green knog accessories, his girlfriend had a black fixed gear with purple pedals and chain and all purple knog accessories.

I thought, 'if this is cool, I'll see you at the star trek convention.' But they are kids, and hopefully people are calling this uber cool couple try hards behind their backs. What's with the 20 somethings trying so hard to emulate the teenage fashions? They are fucking tryhards, either they are fucking tryhards or authenticity is no longer a quality of cool.

Track bikes have their practicalities sure, but their popularity isn't based on this, its just a fashion meme that spread from New York Messengers to kids who imitated them, and then surprisingly slowly migrated here.

Let me talk about authenticity. I was reading a skate mag or BMX mag, (I read both on the day) and they had photos of the pro's standing by the half pipe or pool smoking waiting for their turn.

They also had a section of photos dedicated to massive stacks, I only just put two and two together. You don't ride up/down a ramp on a skateboard or BMX unless you are willing to accept the possibility of getting hurt, you don't ride off a big jump without accepting the possibility of fucking your back up completely. These youth don't in general think they are invincible, they just don't care. So why the fuck would they care about smoking, they aren't in the game for longevity.

Sure 5 years may pass and they have a kid or some shit and become a conservative square like the rest of us, but the point was this. Back in 'the rat' I wouldn't have bought a skateboard or BMX or even worn the gear, not because I didn't think it was cool, but because I couldn't pull off the attitude. BMX was cool, skatehats were cool, skate shoes were cool, mambo was out as dad-wear.

But I didn't buy any of it, because I knew I couldn't pull off the reckless attitude. I didn't want to get hurt. I didn't want to ruin my beautiful face. If I'd put on those clothes and didn't ride the bike - I would be a tryhard.

Many did, by the way, people who wouldn't have touched a BMX or skateboard. We called them tryhards behind their backs.

Maybe that's why people are so shameless in addopting fixed gears. The bikes themselves are fine, its just that they are generally ridden by try hards. But fixed gears trick repertoir is constrained to:
WARNING contains 7 minutes of nothing.

bar spins and backwards pedalling.

Which your average person would find 'tricky', but compare it to BMX:

I just searched for an amateur one, but youtube is filled with BMX video, the tricks are actually impressive, and fill me with envy. No thirty year old (except for Dinosaur Jr., and pro riders that reach the age of 30) is going to buy a BMX and start imitating those kids, they would be afraid of breaking a hip and they have a mortgage to think about and better call API and get some lifeinsurance pronto!

So maybe, it is the bike. Maybe fixed gears simply aren't try-hard proof. Maybe we have systematically eliminated through some bizarre natural selection process everything in fashion that did require some 'proving' of authenticity, I any lifestyle that money alone couldn't buy.

I miss tryhards, I have a feeling they are still here, but we don't call them that anymore.

1 comment:

mr_john said...

I was initially a bit perplexed by the fixed gear thing too, but thinking more about it, you know, they're more practical than a bmx.

They can be used for commuting, they're super low maintenance, easy to clean and easy to fix.

Then, if you really want to, you can do some tricks on them.

Surely the bmx riders are the try hards, they're the ones that have a bike that is only useful for doing tricks.