abtwixt

Doing things differently since 1984

On Coolness

I'm about as cool as this guy.

I like to think that I have my fair share of decent qualities – though for the sake of not making myself sound like an arrogant moron I won’t list them.  Unfortunately, one quality that has always evaded me is coolness

I thought that when I graduated high school, or, at the very least, college, my days of having to worry about this would be over.  As it turns out, although the ideas about coolness change in adulthood (under the guise of terms like ‘gravitas’), they don’t go away.  Also, as it turns out, I’m still bad at it.

Part of this, as my husband will gladly point out, is my tendency to “logic” life to death (clever pun, I know).  I like lists, step-by-step instructions, and tend to take what people say at face value. 

The problem is, whereas I can purposefully set out to be kinder, more open-minded, more honest, or less selfish – though sometimes with great effort – it is impossible to set out to be cool.

How frustrating!  I can’t put ‘be more cool’ on a to-do list.  In fact, the very act of doing so would automatically make me less cool.  It can’t be quantified, or charted, or even taught, really.  It changes all the time.  No one knows who determines what is cool, or how they convince us to care, but we all seem to be subject to this constantly shifting standard.

My personal failures aside, I sometimes wonder: Why is being cool so important?  It doesn’t really benefit society in any way…. There is no particular connection with coolness making you rich (except maybe in Hollywood)… It doesn’t seem to bring any real happiness…. It doesn’t bear any significance to any recognized religion or philosophy…. So what’s the point? What’s so great about it? And why do we all wince when we see someone being so overtly “uncool”?  What’s so bad about it?

As far as I can see, it’s a completely arbitrarily assigned ranking system that everybody designs for themselves.  Except for people like me, who resign themselves to writing notably uncool blog posts about it.

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12 comments on “On Coolness

  1. lbtk
    March 15, 2012

    I gained a bit of “coolness” when my kids were under age ten and have since sunk so far down in my the Coolness Quotient that my daughter simply says, “Mom, don’t…just…don’t.” Right there with you. Sandy

    • abtwixt
      March 15, 2012

      Haha yeah I know that day is coming. Starting out not so cool, I dread to think where I’ll rank when my kids are teenagers. Thanks for your camaraderie 🙂

  2. aFrankAngle
    March 16, 2012

    Coolness is a matter as pertaining to what? Is it clothes, lingo, music, behaviors, or whatever. Maybe coolness is like beauty … much is in the eyes of the beholder.

    • abtwixt
      March 16, 2012

      Thanks for the question – I actually thought about answering this in my post, but decided it would be better for each reader to answer it for themselves based on their own individual perceptions of ‘coolness’. So, in short, it could be any or all of the above.

      I would actually be quite interested to find out how many people, when left to define coolness for themselves, would consider themselves to be cool, and how many wouldn’t. As in, considering my conclusion that it is an “arbitrary rating system that everybody designs for themselves”, how many people design themselves out of it? Maybe next time I’ll do a poll….

      • aFrankAngle
        March 16, 2012

        Well said. Not only is it arbitrary and designed for self, it’s also dynamic – that is, ever shifting. Let us also remember that one is cool for one is probably annoying to someone else.

        • abtwixt
          March 16, 2012

          Absolutely – though for the type of coolness I’m talking about in this post, there would have to be some type of consensus of the majority. I may have thought dressing in costume for the release of the first Lord of the Rings movie was cool, and some others may even share that opinion, but with the majority opinion considering that to be uncool, it thereby becomes generally ‘uncool’ except in certain circles.

      • unfinishedbizness
        March 18, 2012

        On considering myself to be cool… it changes with each different scenario in my life. At home, in front of my 7 year old daughter and fiance – I am REALLY cool. At work, in front of my coworkers that are all 20+ years my senior… not so cool. At girl scout/school events, in front yuppie mommies and daddies… straight up loseriffic. So I really like being at home 🙂

        • abtwixt
          March 20, 2012

          Awesome – in your personal life you’ve surrounded yourself with like-minded people who can appreciate your inner coolness 🙂 I love it! I can also very much identify with the difficulties in making it in the ‘cool’ books of yuppie mommies and daddies… too hard to keep up and not worth it! Thanks for the comment!

  3. New View From Here
    March 20, 2012

    As a dude who spends too much time around teenagers, I love this post. I’m feeling less ‘cool’ every day 🙂

    Bonus cool points for you though for posting a pic of napoleon!

    • abtwixt
      March 20, 2012

      I lean toward ‘dork’ around adults, but around teenagers I’m afraid I’m downright embarrassing. At that point my best hope is to amply poke fun at myself. I’ll admit it’s a survival technique, but hey – you can’t really knock survival.

      Thanks for stopping by — I love the pics on your blog! Very ‘cool’ in my books.

  4. Sarcasticus Rex
    April 5, 2012

    “Coolness” is subjective.
    As teens in high school, we try so hard to be “cool”, which back then means trying to be like everyone else.
    In truth, coolness stems from one’s tastes, thoughts, confidence and self.
    For example: Things I think are cool:
    Godzilla movies (Japanese versions)
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    Comic book stuff
    Sarcasm
    Monument Valley
    Cats that meow like they are trying to tell you something
    Canada
    Coca-Cola
    CBC Radio 2
    ZZ Top
    Buddhism
    researching…

    I could go on. The point is, I like a lot of things. I think they’re cool. Not being self-conscious about what I like is also cool. Having confidence about myself and what I like is cool. So even if I’m not a fan of what you like, the fact that you like it without being self-conscious about it, is cool.

    The only hitch to all this are people who only like something because others like it (IE: Sheep). But when they discover something they think is cool that others may not, then that’s cool too.

    lol sorry for the ramble. 🙂

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This entry was posted on March 15, 2012 by in Humor, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , .
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