That's what they call Northampton and surrounding areas. It's a great place for Smith and Hampshire college graduates, anti-capitalist radicals, anti-war protesters, gays, lesbians, your bi's and transgenders, aging hippies and 60's burnouts (like me), and die-hard socialists.
If you're pierced and tattooed to the max, you will be comfortable here. High-school kids still color their hair and gel it into mohawks.
It's a nice place. I like it. When I'm feeling mellow I can go to town and marvel at the diversity. When I'm a grouch, which seems like most of the time lately, I can gripe about how stupid those kids with their arms tattooed to the shoulders look. Are any of them expecting to have a job anywhere but coffee houses and boutiques in their lives?
And what is it with this piercing business. I like pierced ears and a belly button ring is kind of sexy, but rings and pins in the nostrils? How do they stay in? Isn't there a snot buildup in there? Do you get a whistling sound when the pin or ring is removed? And why eyebrows? Why not pins and rings in your little finger? It would make as much sense. And be just as attractive and meaningful.
Certain pre-modern societies (I'm trying to be culturally sensitive here) used piercing as a rite of maturing, and it was done with the proper ceremony and under the guidance of a priest or shaman. Now people go into any tattoo parlor and get a pin stuck thru their tongue and feel like they've joined some kind of tribe. The tribe of the silly and misguided.
Of course a guy who had a pony tail, and wore bell-bottoms in his youth (the one thing i am embarrassed about) probably shouldn't complain. But when i was a hippie, there was a good chance you would get hassled by police (arrested, a little mild bludgeoning) or beat up by the local yahoos. There was an element of danger your pierced and tattooed barista or waiter doesn't have to face these days.
Yagh, it's getting late. Time for this grouch to get his beauty sleep.