You remember that place that only I know the way to? Back in the day? Well, back in this most magical of places, I would always hurry home on a Friday to catch a programme called Happy Days. No “Catch Up TV” then! Anyway, there was a character called the Fonz, and, back in the day, we all thought the Fonz was the epitome of “cool”.
“Cool”. What is “cool”?
The reason I ask this is that I heard someone comparing themselves to their partner the other day and declare: “Everyone likes them more. They make friends easily. Everyone thinks they’re cool”. This surprised me because the person making the comment is a high achiever despite having to overcome challenges, is my idea of what social should look like, dresses well, is kind and concerned for others. Pretty “cool” sort of person? Apparently not!
So, at fear of repeating myself, what is “cool”?
I asked this question to a group a few evenings back as we sat eating Chinese food. Everyone had an idea but, interestingly, no one had the same idea. More over, I think the definitions reflected the values, dreams and aspirations I could see in each person’s life. Maybe a persons definition tells us a whole lot about themselves.
For some James Bond would be considered cool. The suave, patriotic, righter of wrongs who always prevails (and gets the girl). But, for others, he is a womanising killer who leaves a trail of abandoned women and dead bodies across the globe whilst disregarding authority whenever he finds it convenient.
Very “uncool”? Maybe. It’s your call and as said, how you call will tell something about yourself.
So, can “cool” be defined in any more than a very nebulous way? I think not. It’s obviously very subjective. If it wasn’t we would all dress the same, drive the same cars, listen to the same music. That’s fashion, not “cool”. That’s conformity and I’m thinking that nothing is going to have “cool” moving on like the threat of conformity. Am I right? “Cool” supposedly defined is often “cool” merchandised.
Whilst many flock to wear the new “cool” isn’t it the ones who don’t, who seek their own expression that are defining “cool”? And this may suggest that inherent in “cool” is something to do with being a rebel, of living on the edge, resisting social constraints and trends.
I suspect that “cool” comes in many shades but it’s not a commodity despite whatever may be trending right now. Turn it into a uniform that the crowd will buy and it’ll just dissolve away. Oh, there’ll be a fashion line, all the “must haves” for the trendy but “cool” has been there, done that and left town.
What am I trying to say?
If the crowd has recognised you, if others are emulating you, if fashions been taken from your back and you’re enjoying the stage light…that’s not “cool”, just self indulgence. But if you did your own thing, followed your own leading, listened to your music and heard the beat, then maybe you are your own “cool”. A little bit understated in your dress, misunderstood in your music tastes, a little bit weird, your own brand of weird, then maybe you are you’re own “cool”. So, keep on keeping on and don’t look at the popular kid and dare to think she’s “cool”. Don’t look at the guy with all the right clothes. He’s just mimicking someone who came before. Make it you!
You are your own definer of “cool”. Please don’t waste the definition on a follower, on the latest leader who replace the last leader. Don’t waste your time looking on others for original. Be your own “cool”, living according to what you believe, what you like to listen to and wear. Keep on moving, learning, experimenting as “cool” does not stand still.
Yours, out here being way “cool” and a little weird,