In 2002, Avril Lavigne released her internalised-misogyny banger, "Sk8er Boi". Over the course of three-and-a-half minutes, she berated a single mum for dumping a loser skate back in high school, and sold a pipe-dream to a generation of women: that skaters were worth our time.
It wasn't only Avril; pop culture has long held up boys who skate as carefree, loveable party guys who are always down to hang out and smoke weed with you. However, we, the women who have actually dated these men – older and wiser now – know the reality, which is chronicled perfectly by Tiny Hat Life, a meme account run by an anonymous 23-year-old girl from Brooklyn, and named after those funny little beanies loads of skater boys insist on wearing.
Now approaching its first birthday, the account has amassed a vast collection of screenshots of real texts from skaters – e.g. "can u delete that pic of us" – jokes about cuffing (both "season" and "jeans") and memes about being ghosted, emotional unavailability and what your bae's choice of tiny hat says about him. I spoke to Tiny Hat girl about all that.
(P.S. To my friends: please stop tagging me in the memes. I've learned my lesson now.)
VICE: Hi, Tiny Hat! What made you want to start the account?
Tiny Hat: I was annoyed with the dating scene in NYC and had a bunch of skater memes saved, so I just wanted a place where I could put them all.
Did you make the account for personal use, or did you plan to be a big meme account?
At first I wanted to create a zine made of screenshots of texts and other digital collages to express my disappointment in the dating world, but making a meme account was easier because I could just post and make content daily. I definitely made this because I was being petty, so at first it was sort of like a finsta, with my close friends following me. Then it caught on and more and more people kept following. I had a feeling it would get to 10,000 [followers], but I didn't expect almost 50,000 after a year of running the account.
Can you explain your bio – "sorry i didn't say hi" – for the uninitiated.
This might not only pertain to skaters, but a lot of the times at bars, when you see someone you've talked to through text or whatever, they usually never want to say hi. Maybe they're shy or don't understand how to socialise, but usually the next day you get a "sorry I didn't say hi" text to try and compensate for it.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from my own experiences dating and from my friends. Since the account has grown, I get a tonne of inspiration from my followers – they're always sending me content or stories through DMs. I try to make my memes collaborative now, and ask for suggestions before making them, which honestly helps with the accuracy.
What's behind your decision to stay anonymous? And do you think you'll ever reveal your identity?
Over the course of the year that I've had this account, a lot of people have found out my true identity – I go to the same bars I make fun of, and word travels fast in Brooklyn. I personally don't care if someone knows who I am, but I don't think all my followers need to know. It's just a meme account, y'know – and I'm more than just my meme account.
What is your favourite meme you've made?
I really enjoy making the memes that make fun of the girls who date skaters, because I'm making fun of myself. I also love the astrology meme series I do, because – you guessed it! – I love skaters and astrology.
What's your all-time favourite skate video?
I'm the worst – I don't really watch skate videos...
Are most of your followers skaters or the unfortunate women who date them?
It's more women than skater boys, if I look at my statistics. But it's almost half and half, which I love.
Why do you think the account is so popular?
I think my account just targets a very ~niche~ audience. Dating/hook-up culture in 2019 makes [for] some very relatable content.
When was your earliest sighting of a tiny hat?
I think about two years ago... not sure. I've seen a lot more since starting this account, honestly.
What do you think the enduring sex appeal of skater boys is down to?
They are unavailable emotionally. Everyone wants what they can't have.
What's the best way to get your heart to do a kickflip?
[Laughs] Emotional depth. But honestly, they just have to be cute.
What's your message to any readers who are a hoping to snag a tiny hat boy?
Don't take anything too seriously. Also read the warning signs. If they don’t text you back and it's been months of seeing them, it's not worth it. If someone treats you badly then they're always going to be OK with treating you badly if you just let it happen.
And finally: the above tweet. True or false?
[Laughs] No, it's not that deep. They're just skating away…