The Perks of Being Niche
Ever since College Humor released its video on being basic, the term has seemingly become a part of everyday vernacular. According to The Cut, a basic female is “a terminally boring Sex and the City viewer and consumer of pumpkin-spice lattes.” To what degree it hurts to be called “basic” probably varies person to person, but no one seems to be taking it as a compliment.
To me, though, the basic woman is more or less a mythological figure. They might exist, just like Big Foot or unicorns — who am I to dismiss whether or not something occurs in nature? But all of the women in my life are dynamic, interesting, and run a greater risk of being classified as insane rather than “basic” (cue: me telling Leandra I want a backpack and her replying “a human backpack?” — there is nothing basic about that level of loony). I’m sure this is the case for you too.
And among all of the characteristics that make my friends spectacular, there is one that really sets them apart from the “basic” females of digital media folklore. That trait is “niche,” and it’s the antidote to basic. Merriam Webster defines niche as “a specialized market” and, let me be clear: as much as I appreciate brilliance, kindness, humor and all of that good stuff, nothing makes me want to get to know someone more than realizing they are niche too.
To be niche is to live a life of inside jokes. It’s to apply a filter, or multiple filters, over the way you see things. Whether you take in the world through Kelvin or Valencia is not important to me, so long as you are not just applying Normal*. Maybe you know someone who uses Seinfeld quotes to articulate every point, or has a funny way of pronouncing certain easy-to-pronounce words? Those people are niche and I bet they are awesome.
The reigning queen of niche is my good friend Rachel. What Beyoncé is to music, she is to niche. Rachel’s lifestyle technically epitomizes basic from a bird’s eye view: she works in fashion, eats a lot of chopped salad, goes to 16 Handles nightly for copious amounts of Tahitian vanilla, and spends her weekends taking $30+ exercise classes. But there is nothing, and I really mean nothing, basic about her.
For instance, she can’t speak in plain English and has developed her own vernacular. She would never simply say “want to grab lunch?” Instead, she will text me “I would [insert sexually explicit act here] a [insert unattractive male trait here] man for a [insert pretentious health food item here].” If something is a turn off she calls it “ice to the loins,” and if she is referring to McDonalds she says “Ron’s Steakhouse**.”
John Lennon once said that being honest won’t make you every friend but it will make you the right ones. The same can be said for being niche. Being slightly off and extremely esoteric means having selective and self-selective relationships, but trust me, it’s worth it. So let me know if you ever come across a thoroughbred “basic,” because I believe that everyone has a little something odd inside of them, and it’s best to embrace it.
*Note that Normal is a synonym for basic… Coincidence? I think not.
** A reference stolen from her best friend Lauren, whom she calls TLP in reference to an infamous 2007 voicemail left by her favorite A-list actor
Illustration by Charlotte Fassler