Saturday, February 11, 2012

Too Cool for School (or Work)

I'm worried that now that I am older/starting a family/settling down/working at a real job, I won't be "cool" anymore. How can I stay true to myself ?

Let me assuage your fears: You were never cool. Cool people don't describe themselves as cool and they don't put "cool" in quotation marks. There is a good chance that you can stay true to yourself and still do all the things you mentioned. In fact, it will probably happen naturally, as long as you don't try anything stupid...which, as always, will be the focus of my post.

1. Benjamin Buttons: Grow old gracefully.

I don't mean you need to sport a grey-haired bun and grow tomatoes (for so many reasons, that is a unisex comment). That's too much. What I mean is that Forever 21 is neither a dogma nor a suggestion. I don't want to see you there, scoping out the culottes or perusing the graphic tees. You need to buy clothes at a store where the staff doesn't assume, by default, that you are shoplifting to piss off daddy. If you're at Hot Topic, you had better be buying a last minute birthday present for an awkward niece.

The wonderful side effect of wearing appropriate clothing is that it somehow discourages you from acting like a fool. If your pants cost as much as your dinner, you shouldn't throw up on them or leave then at some stranger's house.

2. MILFs and Sensitive Pony-tail Men: Do not be a hip parent or an understanding spouse.

Don't make me smack you. If you have kids, you have an implied responsibility to be a complete square and I will enforce your compliance. I don't need my kid coming home and telling me that you let your kids watch R-rated movies and drink gin and tonics. You can take your kids skydiving with escorts and they are still going to hate you the moment the hormones kick in, so stop making it harder for the rest of us. I'm not losing all this weight just to bite it when my parachute fails and I careen to earth in a hideous orange jumpsuit strapped to a guy named Chet.

If you don't have kids: First, shut up about it. I promise not to talk about my kids if you promise to stop telling me how great it is to not have them. I know. I wasn't born with kids. Second, nobody wants to hear about how close you are with your spouse or how you have taken your relationship to a "deeper" level. People that say this clearly need to start making some bad choices. Do something selfish and annoying before we all slip into a coma.

3. Oppressed Artistes: Stop using the phrase "real job."

"Real job" implies multiple ideas, all of which are annoying if you are over 25. Unfortunately, the phrase is often followed by "is playing bass" or "is conceptual art" or something equally delusional. If you really plan to make your living doing any of those things, own it. It's not your "real job," it's just your job. If you are currently slinging espresso to pay your rent (and you are over 25), but you really want to be a professional cyclist, you need to consider downgrading your passion to a hobby. It doesn't mean you don't get to talk about it or enjoy it. Just stop qualifying your answers to career questions. It makes the rest of us sad.

Similarly, if you use the phrase to imply that you have finally strangled the last of your dreams, then it is probably unnecessary. Everyone knows you didn't grow up fantasizing about becoming a CPA. Neither did we. Calling it your "real job" makes it seem like you've made some great, unique sacrifice and we should all feel alternatively grateful and empathetic. Stop fishing. At some point we all have to compromise.


Obviously, this post betrays my ulterior motive. My life would be a lot easier if I never had to interact with anybody who does any of these things. Even though I know they are obnoxious and insecure, there is still a part of me that worries about the same things. Dealing with these people brings out the worst of those fears. It doesn't surprise me. Making other people feel bad about themselves to compensate for the emptiness inside is what being cool is all about. Who wouldn't want to be too old for that?

Where have you been? It's been weeks since your last post.

It may shock you to learn that this blog does not pay my bills or earn me law school credits. As such, it is a hobby, which must wait. (See above) Also, sometimes a girl has to get her hair done, watch movies all night and eat Whonu? Cookies. (Have you seen these? They taste like Chips Ahoy! but they have vitamins, which I hear means I can eat the whole sleeve.)

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