1.10 On Being Cool
TORONTO, ONTARIO: I was never part of the cool kids but was content to believe that since I was not cool, this is what made me cool. It’s an interesting concept that most kids go through while growing up. It sounds funny to be investigating the art of coolness when I am 32 years old but I have recently felt a shift that I assume only comes when one breaks the threshold of 30. Wearing the right clothes, listening to unknown bands, watching foreign movies, the right (or wrong) slang, traveling in the right circles; these and many other factors were involved in being cool. In high school, I was a competitive figure skater – not cool in some eyes but I was fine with it. In film school, the cool people liked all the cool movies but the really cool people were proud of the fact that they liked Star Wars as much as German Expressionism from the 1920s. I tried to watch movies that were deemed cool and never enjoyed them so once again I found myself uncool.
Now many of my friends and acquaintances are getting married, having kids and buying houses. If I could afford it, I’d be sitting in a nicely renovated semi-detached house in the west end of the city. This is the new cool: Reno-talking instead of apartment hunting, the exchange of phone numbers for competent contractors instead of with potential mates at a bar, discussing the urinary infection of your son or daughter instead of the latest von Trier film, invitations to weddings instead of invitations to parties.
There is a marked distinction between people still untethered in their 30s and those that are on the magical journey of marriage and children. I am not saying that either way is better or more fulfilling, obviously both have their pluses and minuses.
It seems once again that I have found myself in the uncool group. Alone with no partner, no children and no house. So, I will go about my business as I always have, searching in my own way to find what makes me happy. I just wanted to let others out there in a similar situation know that you are not alone. Perhaps at some point, I will find that happiness in these things but if I do, I am sure that it will be in the uncoolest way possible. But please, if you ever hear me refer to the bowel movements of my child in public outside the sphere of family, call me on it and point me towards this entry, which I most likely have forgotten.