The Perks of Being Niche

Basic's kryptonite

fashionsheep

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

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Thoughts?
  • PaulaCarswell

    what does it made for the being niche ?
    http://alleureaustralia.com

  • GapToothedGirl

    Your post is one of my fav moment!!
    xox, Gap.
    http://www.gaptoothedgirl.com

  • http://instagram.com/funshine_sky bunnygrrrl3000

    Ron’s Steakhouse lolololololol

  • http://www.millennielle.com/ ᴍɪʟʟᴇɴɴɪᴇʟʟᴇ

    “basic” is such a silly concept – as women, we are ALL unique individuals, regardless of our likes and dislikes! Instead of putting down women for what they do/don’t like, we should encourage each other to appreciate our uniqueness too… great article, sophie! :)
    xo, coco | MILLENNIELLE.COM

  • ee_by_cc

    This is fantastic. I’ve been obsessed with the “basic” term for a while when I read another post about the origins of it. Love your spin on it.

    http://www.enduringethereal.com

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    Sophie this piece is so awesome! And as one of my favorite dumb shirts says: “You’re Unique! Just Like Everyone Else.” Because hey, it’s kinda true. We’re all just lil humans out to survive in a big, big world. Not to sound morbid, but we’ve inflated our presence beyond a healthy amount. It’s actually really refreshing to think that only fellow humans give us a sense of importance or make us famous, or whatever it may be. There’s a whole lot of brilliant life forms out there that couldn’t give a shit or would prefer if we just fell off the face of this earth, and that’s really grounding.

    • Amelia Pita

      I once said to a friend: “in the end we are all very much alike – we all want love, friends, a nice career …”. We just express those needs/urges in very different and unique ways !

      Sooo .. YEAH girl, we’re unique, like everyone else ! :P

  • Petra

    It is not niche to use Seinfeld quotes in order to articulate things. It is simply that every possible situation in life is understood better if underlined with a Seinfeld quote. Giddy up!

  • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

    Human backpack reminds me of an old BBM group I used to be in called the human diapers.. which later got switched to the Cuban diapers. As Anthony the Tiger would say, this post was grrrrreeeeaat, Sophie!

  • http://www.southinkucannance.blogspot.com/ Katie Elliott

    This is so fantastic.

  • http://sedapop.blogspot.com Carolina Petrosky

    Yesterday I wrote on Basics and how hard (boring) it is to shop for them; kind of like rehab.. U made me wannna de-publish, but I won´t (that niche?).. sedapop.blogspot.com

  • Cassie

    Loved this one! Absolutely true.

  • Natasha Jarmick

    One of my favorite posts in a long time.

    Something I constantly say when friends are like “um, Natasha, you’re being really weird” (perhaps after I have squeezed an entire lemon into my chicken noodle soup or actually done the chicken noodle soup dance at a completely inappropriate time) is “Someday someone is going to love me for that.” And that phrase (#SSIGTLMFT in hashtag) has become an inside joke, a meme of sorts, between my friends and I.

    I love my strange, wonderful, ridiculous friends. I think I’d be down with TLP and Rachel.

    Awesome stuff!

    xoxo
    Natasha
    http://www.thechiccurve.com

  • Guest

    One of my fav posts ever, also ! I have the pleasure to be surrounded by some super cool niche giiirrrls, OH YEAH.
    A very typical conversation with this friend would go like:
    - Hiiii
    - Muuuuuh (cow sound – private joke)

    Also, when talking within a group we usually use our epic expressions (from old funny/particular situations): “mas que merdaaa!” (in english it would be something like: “holy shit”) and “o pinto” (a brazilian terrible word for “vagina” we once read in these very funny subtitles when watching a movie together) … and so on. Their use is always random, of course, another secret to the niche trait, aha. Paradoxally, Insanity is for sure the best tool for a sane and happy happy existence.

    PS: Once again, loveeed the text ! You go (niche) girls !

  • Amelia Pita

    One of my fav posts ever, also ! I have the pleasure to be surrounded by some super cool niche giiirrrls, OH YEAH.
    A very typical conversation with this friend would go like:
    - Hiiii
    - Muuuuuh (cow sound – private joke)

    Also, when talking within a group we usually use our epic expressions (from old funny/particular situations): “mas que merdaaa!” (in english it would be something like: “holy shit”) and “o pinto” (a brazilian terrible word for “vagina” we once read in these very funny subtitles when watching a movie together) … and so on. Their use is always random, of course, another secret to the niche trait, aha. Paradoxally, Insanity is for sure the best tool for a sane and happy happy existence.

    PS: Once again, loveeed the article You go (niche) girls !
    PS2: I’m Portuguese ! (and are are the words “mas que merda”, and “vagina” lol)

  • Amelia Pita

    One of my fav posts ever, also ! I have the pleasure to be surrounded by some super cool niche giiirrrls, OH YEAH.
    A very typical conversation with this friend would go like:
    - Hiiii
    - Muuuuuh (cow sound – private joke)

    Also, when talking within a group we usually use our epic expressions (from old funny/particular situations): “mas que merdaaa!” (in english it would be something like: “holy shit”) and “o pinto” (a brazilian terrible word for “vagina” we once read in these very funny subtitles when watching a movie together) … and so on. Their use is always random, of course, another secret to the niche trait, aha. Paradoxally, Insanity is for sure the best tool for a sane and happy happy existence.

    PS: Once again, loveeed the article. You go (niche) girls !
    PS2: I’m Portuguese ! (and so are the expressions/words “mas que merda”, and “vagina” lol)

    • Leandra Medine

      You are SO lucky your last name is Pita. Srsly.

      • Amelia Pita

        ahaha I am, you can make a whole conversation around it, a very much better ice breaker than the weather.

        I am now studying for this big exam, medical order exam, and I tried to write Leandra Medine (when talking to a friend), and “Medicine” was what was always coming out of it. Just thought I would tell you this, your name has its perks too. :P

  • Tamara

    holy crappoli that is exactly how my friends would describe me…i am so happy right now, and very proud to be “niche!”

  • Cassandra

    There is something so misogynistic to me about the entire concept of a “basic bitch,” maybe because all the things she supposedly likes are things that are made exclusively for or marketed exclusively towards women, e.g. chick flicks, sex and the city, scented candles, sentimental picture frames, sweatpants with cute phrases on the butt, etc. To me it seems like a “basic bitch” is just someone who is girly, something that has long been dismissed as frivolous. Also idgaf, pumpkin spice lattes are delicious.

  • Lisa Gonzalez
  • Perry

    You can easily differentiate basic from niche. But what happens when you find the basic in that niche. #birkenstocks

  • Leila

    Definitely not your basic bitch. Potential bitch. Bitchy bitch. Quiet bitch. Some days strictly gluten intolerant and unable to consume alcohol. Other days accepting croissants and Vermouth on the rocks, and talking about how much I enjoy liberating myself of the confines of relationships. Then throwing my arms around a completely misogynistic view of the rules in which I operate. Religiously waking at 5am to exercise for hours then other mornings sleeping in mechanically until the oxygen has depleted to suffocation in the hotel room I live in. Then abhorring breakfast, only taking soy flats whites then only espressos then only cafe americanos. Then tea or hot water and lemon. I can’t be a basic bitch, because I’m always undecided. And apparently that is intriguing, to the basic male.

    Modernostaligia.blogspot.com

  • doublecurl

    Why is the basic bro not a thing? I know him well. He a a human mish mash of call of duty, basketball shorts, “go big or go home”, tattoos of his last name or just “family”, and blue moon because he think’s its a microbrew.

  • Margo

    One of the many things I live about most of my friends is that we never finish a complete word or sentence, go on tangents and digress and we still know exactly what we are saying to each other. This freaks my husband out.
    http://www.margojewelry.com

  • http://www.popcosmo.com/ PopCosmo

    This post is amazing! I think having your own quirks makes you, well, you. People might not appreciate those quirks, but if they don’t then it means that you probably don’t want to be friends with them anyway!
    Love the message :)
    xox
    chloe
    http://popcosmo.com

  • Wendy

    Enjoyed this post and discussion!

    http://www.toopoorforcouture.wordpress.com

  • Blue Labels Boutique

    Basic is boring. But it’s also important to see yourself!

    Thanks,
    http://www.bluelabelsboutique.com

  • Erica Rae Deutsch

    lol love this article. i grew up in somewhat rural midwest, and at the risk of sounding like a snob, basic definitely exists.