The Loss of "Cool"

Just when does someone stop being cool? When do you pass from hip or with it to passe? I mean, is it an age thing solely or maybe one just falls out of practice. Can you lose the cool thing like you lose muscle tone in your inner thighs because instead of working it, you are busy keeping children and pets alive? If you are over 35, it seems harder to keep the cool thing going living in San Diego. Everywhere you are reminded of just how "uncool" you have become.

I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the line I was kicked out of the cool club. I say kicked out, because I don't remember deciding to drop my membership. I'm still fairly young, (okay, maybe not by San Diego standards, but I'm happenin' in the Midwest). I can still fit in my wedding dress (although I no longer "fit in" with the guy I wore it for). And I even own one pair of those shoes that skaters wear (although I never wear them, and yes, I call them "tennis shoes" or "sneakers" - mmmm, the big picture is starting to come into view here).

So what if a couple of decades have passed since people used phrases like "what the heave?" and "say it don't spray it." When did it stop being cool to call someone a "goiter" instead of a "geek." (Is it still cool to call someone a "geek"? No one tells you these things). I say that stuff in a funny way with sorta an attitude. You know like I'm in the "know" but I don't really care. Isn't that cool? I just never think to say things like, "I know, right" when someone says something I agree with, or to call someone "dude" (especially another woman). But isn't "cool" an attitude more than a vernacular?

That's a serious question. I want (need) to know. I mean, all those guys from the 60's who now have white chest hairs popping up here and there and iron their jeans...are still cool. They've got that swagger thing, you know. The phrase, "yeah man" naturally rolls off their tongues. You can just picture them saying "cool" or "groovy" or "far out" with their first two fingers forming a 'v'. If I say it even the cat chokes back a laugh. When they straddle a bike somewhere that "Get Your Motor Running...." song starts playing and you nod your head in acknowledgment of their coolness. It's timeless. So, how did I lose mine if they still got theirs and they're older?

Don't tell me you either have it or you don't, or it's a state of mind. Because I did have it-I was with the "in" crowd, sat at the cool kids table-and it can't be a state of mind. I inwardly think I'm cool, but outwardly even I see I've become a dork. Something my kids, Edward and Adam, have been telling me for years, (but they were wrong when they said it then-they were!)

Losing your cool is limiting too. For example, I used to love to dance. Not that couple thing, the free style thing. You know to Modern English's "I'll Stop the World and Melt With You," or AC/DC "Back in Black"...even New Radical's "You Get What You Give" (which is proudly displayed on my "MySpace" page-although I understand MySpace is no longer cool). The point being I love all kinds of music and can move my body in a coordinated way, but I now shun the dance floor. Even when I "bust a move" privately I now avoid the mirror. Flashes of my dear Father spring to mind, snapping his fingers and doing that jazzy-quick-step-spin thing, with a sharp sideways break of the head, pulling my Mom in and reeling her back out again. I shiver. Remembering how, regardless of how well he danced, his style of dance dated him. And, Dad's can't be cool, at least not once their kids become cool. So is that it? Did I make my Dad uncool? Did MY kids take my cool?! Dammit, wasn't my youth enough!

I just know though I've lost my cool. Bummer. Maybe it's packed. Maybe it can be revived. But I don't know how to get it back. Do they give lessons, or if I found a "cool friend" could I be cool by association?

Unless you have some suggestions, I think it is hopelessly lost. Because I can't naturally use the current hip vernacular (which now-a-days is used by people in their 30's...maybe using the phrase, "now-a-days" is part of the uncool conundrum, huh?). I won't wear jeans that show my butt crack if I sneeze. I don't wear big Mama hipsters either, but still. The one pair of Vans I own (which my very cool Edward picked out for me) feel like big dirt clods tied to my feet so no go with those. I have stopped using my hot rollers, but no way can I do that hair style where your hair just juts out in stick-like strands at the sides (and just when did fuchsia colored strands come back in someone please tell me?) I am thought of as the "cool Aunt" so that should count for something. And I still get attention from guys 10 years younger, (okay, only occasionally anymore) tho I'm no cougar, and sorry I have a boyfriend (monogamy is still cool, right?) ... Not to mention I wear jeans with holes in the knees both hiking and out for sushi...so what the "heave" happened?

All I know is for the first time in my life I'm on the outside looking in. I see it; I feel it. And I don't know when I crossed over.

Imagehttp://media.sdreader.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Apr/15/Me.at.Anzo.resized.jpg" /> (Taken by Joseph Collins, Anza-Borrego Desert, California)


For the record, we miss you, dear lallaw! Hurry back :)

She's been busy...sigh. Magics, where is that blog, girlfriend? You need to carve out a space of your own on Banker's Hill so we have a place to kick back and have a cyber-cocktail ;)

i know right...i just got a tongue lashing (and not the good kind lol) from mindy after my comment on her winning blog....ahh well i guess winning goes to some people's heads quickly... cyber cocktail, hell...we're gonna get together for a real one when i come to sd...me, you lallaw and refried...plan?

i know right...i just got a tongue lashing (and not the good kind lol) from mindy after my comment on her winning blog....ahh well i guess winning goes to some people's heads quickly... cyber cocktail, hell...we're gonna get together for a real one when i come to sd...me, you lallaw and refried...plan? omg i could blog about that! ;) i just have trouble coming up with something SD...

um, why did that come up twice....and not even all of it the first time??????

you know what....excellent suggestion. my experience as a mom should be interesting lol. and you're welcome. like i told lallaw, "i got your back" xoxoxoxo

Thanks, dooll! You can count on me, too. Btw, Lisa did invite us for a poolside drink or two this summer. Let's hold her to it ;) My mother and aunt are going to the Virgin Islands mid August and if I am well enough I am going to go, so we'll have to work around that...didn't you say you were coming back in August?

i think it will be August, or July if scheduling permits. We certainly will hold her to it;) I'm excited! I hope you will be able to travel though dear SD, the Virgin Islands are not to be missed. that's that i hear anyway. You have really got me thinking of all the things i could blog about! the possibilities are endless. xoxoxoxo

The whole 'magic number' thing could really be a fascinating approach too, if you look at it from all perspectives, including your own experience. Anyway--they really are endless--go for it!

Yes, I haven't been out of the country for ten years, and pretty damn broke. The man thinks I deserve it, so who's to argue? :)

yep i did think of that as a blog...i'm sure i could incorporate it in somehow. or maybe i could be like the seinfeld show, only with me, it could be the BLOG about nothing, instead of a show about nothing. but,i'm rambling now :/ yes i would say you do deserve a vacation after 10 years, good grief! i hope it happens for you :)

Ramble on, m5! The Seinfeld angle sounds cool--hey, you could have a back and forth between two 'people' as a framework. A says something, B answers--great way to get in one-liners, and it feels natural to you, with all the blog chat you do. Whaddya think?

i think you're a genius that's what i think lol seems i've had some practice on the reader going back and forth the last couple of hours...i'll get something out in the next couple of days...ok at least by the weekend ;) just promise you'll read it :D

Do you even have to ask, doll? ;) Looking forward to it!

What an incredible read. First off, you are still cool. Otherwise, you would've never thought to write the phrase "I'm still happenin' in the midwest." That, right there, solidifies your cool.

And since when did kids start dictating what is and isn't cool?

I remember 10 years ago, maybe longer, when I first heard the youngsters say "phat" to mean cool. I thought it was stupid then, as it is now. So, you don't just start using the current idiotic vernacular that just happens to be in vogue.

I remember when thongs were "flip flops", but once everyone starts using it the other way (kinda like how my grandmother lamented the loss of her word "gay" for something fun), you just have to bow your head and concede defeat.

I know the exact point all my friends stopped being cool (although, I think I haven't gone down that path, although my girlfriend claims I have, when I try to diss rappers, she claims I sound like the old angry white guy). But, with my buddy Bill, we were 20, playing basketball, and a huge argument started with some black guys. On the way home, he made the comment about them going to listen to some MC Hammer. Now, MC Hammer was already a few years past being hip at that point. Hell, he probably was when that song was still lingering on the charts.

His brother Joe, was always the coolest, funniest, hippiest cat in the room. We had so many double-dates, where I got lucky just because of his coolness. He played guitar, made up songs on the spot for waitresses, and was a blast. He lost his cool when he got married, had 3 kids, and told me he hated the movie I recommend he and his wife watch (it was Swingers). Sorry. Don't like that movie, I pull your cool card, baby.

And I think movies and music are the keys. Not jeans that show butt crack or shoes with rollerskates. But, if you can at least get into a few of the current bands (no matter what genre music), and current movies, without saying "What happened to great actors like Cary Grant, or Steve McQueen?" Well, then you still got your hipness (although, if you're 50 and have a pony tail and talk like a hippie/yuppie hybrid, you so aren't cool)

omg...lalllaw...you ARE so cool... totally. I am 44, say things like "i know, right?" LOVE myspace, my airwalks and skechers are my favorite shoes. I AM COOL. you have become my absolute favorite writer here. Sorry josh...;)

and please PLEASE add me to your myspace!!!!!


kudos!!!!! what an awesome read. xoxo

"Cool is an aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance, style and Zeitgeist. Because of the varied and changing connotations of cool, as well its subjective nature, the word has no single meaning." And with that said, "Cool" is a three part cocktail that is both subjective and fare weathered. To be cool is to know you're cool-not think or assume or hope but know. For if you can not know that you are, how else is another to know? Being cool is being yourself in terms of fulfilling your given potential and subsequently, destiny.

Being untrue to your given purpose, flaunting the emperors new clothes comes off as both cheap and implausible. Short of being egotistical and long forever staying humble, believing in yourself as you travel the road laid out for you in pursuit of your passions will inevitably vibrate as cool with the populace. We all have our time in the Sun yet there is nothing new but rather reborn, redone, reinvented. To be cool is to be admirable. And there is nothing more admirable than being true to yourself and those around you. Cool is transparent and inside out reversible as being anti-cool is even cool. Going against the grain, if that be your path, is cool in its own right as the Salmon travels up stream.

"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it..." Justice Potter Stewart. The Rolling Stones shall forever be cool with both old and young for they are and have/did become what they were supposed to be. They love what they do and do what they love. Holding their passions self evident, they do what they (we all) do best-being themselves and who they have found (so far) themselves to be.

Keep discovering who you are and never falter from that which you have already discovered about your being. Build upon that which makes you, you. Be unique in your own right and be passionate about that which defines you. Do this and know that while not everyone but most will think you and what you stand for is pretty damn cool. Amen.


Okay, now THAT was pretty damn cool. Thanks LETTIER!!! (but I still won't wear my Vans :)

Thank you JoshB and Magics5 for your kind words about my writing and state of "coolness"- (I'm blushing)...lol...but you might want to hold off on those opinions until and unless you ever meet me...lol. I have made my peace with it - it is more of a "feeling" than an outward perception I've made. "Cool" always took some effort, I will confess. Think I'm missing that gene...I loved both Star Trek and then Voyager (although I never went to the conventions); get excited about the Periodic Chart of Elements; and, used to write my law school papers while watching court TV - zowie! Now that's entertainment!! Never could stand the crowds at concerts (and do they have to be so loud?) I think I was doomed for dorkdom from the beginning. But so cool of you to console me otherwise. :)

And Josh you are totally right about the gray-haired pony tail guys if the only reason they are wearing the "tail" is to look cool or younger. One can tell the difference. Up in Humboldt County that is somewhat the uniform...and some of those guys are true hippies who walk the walk and for some reason true hippies always seem cool to me. Unless of course they iron a crease in their jeans...lol. I do think there is something to that loss of cool being attributed to settling down and having children...a resignation of sorts....as you described your friend. Maybe responsibility marks the death of "cool." Hmmmm....

yeah...crease in jeans = uncool...totally! LMAO well i enjoyed it all.

"If I say it even the cat chokes back a laugh." Lallaw, you DO say it w'out sprayin' it, girl!

Thank you for a laugh on an otherwise crappy day! We are so on the same page as womenfolk, too; though I have not had children, I fight to retain my status as the "cool Aunt," a battle I feel to be constantly losing in an increasingly foreign landscape of Ipods, IM chat, and cell phones with which you set up domestic partnership.

It does seem that the idea of love of the "geek" does not die. An early twenty-something cousin professes a love for geeky boys (which still seems to mean slightly anti-social, Star Trek-fanatic computer enthusiasts, who excell in the sciences). I appreciate this, or could, if she didn't seem hellbent on marrying them in succession and bearing their children. If she stuck with Star Trek conventions I'd be soooo happy...

Loud concerts--who needs them?! I want to control the volume, and relax with a glass of wine and good company--or have room to dance!

I'm sure you are as cool dancing as you look sitting in that breathtaking view of Anza--reminds me, time to get in camping before it's too hot.

Anyway, as for "hip" vernaculars, I'm stickin' with bellydancing--never goes out of style ;)

it's a free and public forum, history. anyone can comment. you were being challenged, that's all. grow up.

..and as i recall, you retaliated by being just as "abusive". where do you draw the line, history? where is your logic?

right back atcha, darlin :) I got your back.

Jeanine Garofallo USED To be a cool comedian, with funny routines. Now all she does is rant and rant about political things that don't side with her. That's uncool. And uninteresting (she recently said you were racist if you participated in the tea party on tax day).

But, she did say something once about how she knew she wasn't cool. She went to a Weezer concert and thought...this is really way to loud!

Regarding the other post...I clicked to see what the history dude was talking about. Wow.

I once played racquetball with a guy I thought was smart. Mainly because he was bald and wore glasses. I guess he looked like a lawyer. Or my accountant.

He had 25 years in the military. Well...he believed all kinds of conspiracies. He'd hear something on a late night radio show, and believe what the idiots said. It could be that we didn't walk on the moon. One day it was that Elvis was alive.

One time, he talked about that very topic.

I've found you can't rationally deal with people that always think things are conspiracies.

Some are reasonable (like JFK, even though that was a lone gunman). Others, make no sense (9/11). The 9/11 one is as bad as the police framing OJ. You'd need SOOO MANY PEOPLE involved for that to work. But conspiracy people throw logic out the window.

You don't have to worry about losing your coolness. I don't see that ever happening. I'm 47. I'm probably more cool now than I ever was. You, with those holes in your Levi's, sitting on that rock in the middle of the desert.

That defines cool as much as anything.

Maybe more than anything.

RefriedG: you're a poet even in your comments to someone else's blog. Your approving prose is greatly appreciated. I say we all tip back a shot to cool broads everywhere! Thanks again, Lisa a/k/a "lallaw"

Hi guys )). Lisa, it's the excellent photo! please, add me to your myspace too. please... myspace.com/470442794 Aging our body, but not our soul. I remember when I was 4 years old, I had no life experience, but the character remains the same, nothing has changed. Even if you turned 80, nothing will be change. A positive, proactive people long to be young. For example, my aunt looked perfect, she was 60 yeas old, but she looked at 45, no more. Then one day she said: "I am old, I'm 60, my life ended." And within a year later she turned into an old woman. Remember Queen's song and keep youself alive :).

If you like the desert (as indicated by your photograph) you seem like a cool enough gal to me.

Then again, I'm from out of state (as you know), and -everyone- knows it instantly. I don't even have to open my mouth; people walk up and ask me "Where are you from?"

I'm told that will never change either; my roommate has been here seven years and people still ask him where he's visiting from.

I wondered about this; I mean, I dress a bit different (not even that dramatically), but I dressed a bit different everywhere else I lived too. I spent 10 years on the east coast not-fitting-in, but no one ever asked me where I was from. But as a friend recently pointed out, on the east coast, no one cares. But they still knew I didn't belong; they just never bothered to say it.

Anyway sorry for the late response, but thank you for your comment on my blog and for dropping by; take care and ignore all the BS; honestly whatever is considered "cool" rarely -is- cool by any reasonable stretch of the imagination (and what's cool these days seems to consist of starving yourself till you look like a death camp escapee, messing up your haircut (but paying a lot of money for it), and wearing mismatched colours--and they call it "Scene", how lame and nihilistic is that?). So in a way, it's a compliment to feel like an outsider at times!


i never did comment on that pic...it's amazing! what beautiful scenery! that includes yourself, lallaw! :)

Dear Ovod: Thanks (spaceeba) for your kind, supportive, and profound comments. You are absolutely right that the mind is very powerful when it comes to how old we may feel or even look...then again, so does gravity. :) And I do agree that character shows itself from a very young age...I swear I got a sense of both my son's personalities at least before they were born by the way we interacted while I was pregnant with them. Keep posting when you can...I always enjoy reading what you write. Oh, you might want to check out Josh's blog on movies. I would be very interested to know which movies are your favorites and which are not, coming from your educated and unique perspective.

Which Queen song are you referring to? Not the "nothing really matters" song I hope! LOL (I know that's not the title :)

Thank you, Lisa. I will check out Josh's blog on movies with my pleasure. "nothing really matters" this song Metallica's, not Queen )). Queen's song called "keep yourself alive". This is the first song from their first album (1973).

You know what I think you should do? Write about being a mother. What does it feel like? What kinds of smells, sights, textures, worries, joys are involved with being mother to your child? Some of us don't entirely know, and can't know, because there is nothing like that bond, and the way it engages all of your senses and soul. (Just don't write it when you're mad at him ;) but maybe some night after you've put him to bed and have time to reflect.

Or write about music? Whatever affects you deeply? Or--not, if that feels too stressful. One thing I've found helpful, and learned myself to tell students, is to just 'freewrite' about the day, starting with that cup of coffee or tea. One word after the other, and pretty soon you've built a kind of framework you can then go back to and add detail.

Now that I've attempted to give you writerly advice, I have to write something in order to not be such a hypocrite! Actually, I did write a restaurant review a couple of days ago, but can't post until they get the restaurant listed in the Reader. You fill out a form for any place missing, and they say they'll get it up within a day.

Thanks for your support on that whole situation btw, dear--I think a misunderstanding. I'm placing this comment further down so it won't head up in "comments" on the home page :)

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