Saturday, September 26, 2009

Are You Cooler Than Your High Schooler?

I've had conversations lately about the perception of cool,how cool you think you are and what the rest of the world sees.

Back in my wild, mostly misspent, but lots of fun, twenties, my idea of a forty something person was sitting around on a Sunday morning, checking your stocks in the paper, listening to the news, sipping decaf and saying, pass another bran muffin, dear, oh certainly pumpkin. "Cool" was nowhere in the equation.

Now that I actually am that age, it's a little different.

I still listen to most of the music I've always listened to. We have a Mini Cooper, and Martin, being Martin, has to tart up every car he owns with stickers and add-ons. The Mini has Union Jack side mirrors and a GB sticker and a Cooper Motor Works sticker. While it's not a completely rare car, they aren't thick on the ground. While I am cruising along, grooving to the Cure or The Dead or U2, I get second looks. I attribute this to the car, not to the fact that I look ridiculous.

(As a side note: Traditionally, like motorcycle riders, Mini drivers wave to one another. I find it incredibly rude when I wave to a fellow Mini driver and they look at me indifferently. If you don't understand the cultural responsibility of owning a Mini, don't drive one.)

A friend of mine was at a bar, listening to the house band, having a beer, jamming out and dancing along when he caught a glimpse of the mirror and was horrified by the middle-aged guy dancing. Until he realized that it was him.

I find myself telling my son to "Turn that shit down, NOW," when he blasts his choice of music.

I still wear my rock tee shirts. My favorite of late is a Fender Guitar shirt that says Ye Old Rock N Roll amid the graphics. I'm sure, considering the cut and fit of the shirt, that it is meant for a twenty something hottie, who probably wouldn't have a clue about Fender. The whole iconic aspect would just be lost.

I try not to dress too young, but on the other hand, I'm not at the matron stage. It's hard to ride the line between cool and ridiculous.

The plus side of it all is that I'm at the point where I don't really care all that much if other people think I look So Not Cool or Trying Too Hard. I'm happier in my own skin than I ever have been.


Happy Housewife said...

I think cool at our "advanced age" is relative. I'm a cool mom cause I am nice to the kid's friends, know the right parents and participate in the "right" school/sports/activities stuff. I don't do things to make them look dumb but I will go to the game head to toe in my green and gold. I will let them listen to their music and for the most part am tolerant..I try to never say "I'm not paying THAT for a pair of jeans!" cause I know and I remember how important it is...
I know you are tres' uber cool too!

Ronni said...

My Miata sports a BRP (Blue Ridge Parkway) sticker, and Obama '08 sticker and an "Onward Through the Fog" sticker. Burbie has a really cool "Republicans for Voldemort" sticker that I was given because the giver knew I would appreciate it.

I've given up waving to Miata drivers. They all want me to join some club...

I was frequently the "cool mom." But I used threats of total uncoolness to Keep Brendan In Line. For instance, the first day of high school, he missed the bus, and I had to drive him. He also missed it coming home, so I had to pick him up. The second day, he caught it in the morning, but I still had to pick him up after school. I was still driving Burbie at that time (a 1995 white Suburban V8). Short of a Hummer, or an old Buick, I couldn't have had a more uncool vehicle. After picking him up at school for the second time, I threatened to fly flags out all the rear windows and roll the front ones down, blaring Sousa marches from the CD player. He never missed the bus again. He knew I would do it, because it has been YEARS since I worried about, or even thought about being cool.

You're young yet. It will come.