I want to discuss our modern idea of “cool”. It is something I’ve pondered over a few times in my adolescence- recently I’ve affinitively decided that being “cool” is within the eye of the beholder. Depending on which crowd you circulate within- i.e. if you’re a party head/ festival goer, if you are someone who gets involved with loads of activities and going to “gigs”, there are endless circles you can find yourself within, but I think from our early teenage years we are bombarded with a perception of “cool”. I think there is a semi-universal meaning for “cool” or our idea of it. After my most recent relationship and an encounter with a particular crowd amongst the London incestuous party scene, I think I’ve discovered the idea of what everyone perceives to be “cool”. And also the deep, underlying cracks of this perception. There is a (rather large) group of young Londonites, with an age range between 20 and 30. They party long and hard, a night out often turns into a weekend of no sleep (or only sleep when one has taken too many drugs and have a little disco nap only to awake and rejoin the party once more). They hop between house and venue until Sunday night looms at which point they go home and sleep and are chronically exhausted all week in order to start the process once more the following weekend. They hardly pay for a night out as their large collection of friends are often comprised of 60% DJ’s who are mixing at different venues spanning across the whole of London.
They are all the life and soul of the party- feeding off each others energy and arrogance. Don’t get me wrong, they are actually so much fun, and often quite intelligent and interesting. All striving for something, and to make their name known in the world through some channel or another. I am not criticising them for the their lifestyle, but merely expressing my observations. They’ve got bants for days, and when you see them out are a toxic amalgamation of gurny smiles and hearty laughter.
At festivals they often have the best attire- sequin bodysuits and massive flower headresses, lots of glitter and worn in Nike trainers. The boys have a “don’t give a fuck attitude”, wearing womens velvet flares and massive fluffy pink jackets. Fishnet tops stained from the whole summer of use.
Through the illusion, if you study it under a magnifying glass, lays the deep rooted insecurities. So disguised under all the layers of “cool” that you almost miss them, unless you spend enough time around it (you know when all of a sudden you notice something about, let’s say a work colleague, and it really annoys you. Then all of a sudden every time you see them ALL you notice is this quirk? It’s a similar sensation). These insecurities are mainly found in the boys of these groups. Stories such as ones going up to a random girl at a festival and saying with a smug look on your face, “Do you want to give me head?” Openly mistreating and being rude to select girls within the “group” because they’re not perceived as cool as others, therefore publically shaming and excluding them for no reason other than to get laughs out of the other boys. Constantly viewing the girls around them as only sex objects and nothing else. THESE are where the insecurities are, and not visible to the naked eye.
I went through a very bad awkward stage between the age of 11-14. My family and I moved from London to Colorado, and I started a new school. I had always wanted to be American when I was little so at the young age of 11 when your accent is still malleable (although obviously I didn’t know this at the time), i made it my mission to rid my English accent and obtain an American one (which I was successful at, much to the dismay of my 24-year-old-self). I got braces, felt awkward at school, couldn’t talk to boys, didn’t care about my hair or what I wore. Got straight A’s throughout middle school as that was what I wanted- to be smart and a high-achiever. I did musicals and talent shows. It was only right before I was moving back to London at 14 when my friend Jackie (who I perceived to be very cool) began slowly breaking me out of my shell.
This “awkward” stage of my life has humbled me throughout my teenage years. Two more moves, and a bit of reshuffling of my sense of self each time due to fit the “mould” of where I was (this is a classic teenage fitting in thing, I was often ostracised for being the new girl as I was perceived as a threat. Teenage girls are tribal and territorial). It’s like when people say, if you’ve ever been fat, the fat person will always be inside you. I think that is true for people who have gone through awkward stages. I will always have that awkward girl inside me. It makes me appreciate how far I’ve come. The ostracism from various groups of girls throughout my life has also made me realise that killing with kindness is a REAL THING. No matter how awful someone is to you, if you just power on, keep your chin up and don’t play up to it, eventually they get so frustrated and give up. Things calm down, and as long as you continue being nice, it works wonders. Not only do you feel great about the situation (trust, if you lose your shit you know that feeling of complete dread and then you are the bad guy), but you’ve almost undoubtedly made the other person feel stupid for ever being a dick.
I think what others perceive as being an ultimate “Don’t give a fuck” attitude. Do what you want, when you want, wear what you want, talk to who you want, party with who and what you want, love life and try and share that happiness with others. But this is the key difference between the “cool kids”, and someone who actually doesn’t give a fuck. The “cool kids” do give much of a fuck, and are shrouded in a cloud of arrogance (arrogance is a trait I have come to learn comes from deep rooted insecurity- it is simply a mask to disguise the fearful child inside. That is the key difference between confidence and arrogance). Those who genuinely don’t give a fuck (and this is often unobtainable 100% of the time, as obviously everyone had bouts of insecurity and hard times which off set this equilibrium) are too busy having fun, and being nice to others . That is how I try to live my life, I will sit down with anyone, whoever they are. “Cool” or not, whatever age, whatever their story. I try and treat everyone the same- this comfortability being able to chat to anyone has been a skill I have acquired over the past few years, once I grew out of my own crippling insecurities . When I realised that being myself and being kind and bubbly almost always got me a friend and a positive experience, I clung on to it. Whilst traveling I got over my fear of women I don’t know (this fear came from moving around and the mean comments) as I just didn’t care what anyone thought. I’ll be nice and crazy and pissed, and if you don’t like me whatever. Usually this attitude ultimately wins. It’s slightly intoxicating to be around. I only know because there are other people in my life who I know to act this way.