Desperately Seeking Coolness
Posted on November 16 2018
I stopped being cool years ago. Wait a minute, I’m pretty sure I was never cool. Nope. Not cool. I remember wanting to be cool in elementary school and trying to figure out what being cool looked like. What was cool? Madonna. Anytime Madonna’s music videos played on MTV I was studying them for coolness clues. Borderline, Lucky Star, Into the Groove, Like a Virgin... I had no clue at age 10 what a virgin was, but I didn’t care. Her hair, clothes, accessories, her badass do anything she wanted attitude... I soaked it up like a sponge. Ok, maybe not the badass attitude part.
Her tousled hair, heavy eyeliner and fake beauty mark, layered necklaces and bracelets, mismatched earrings, Ray Ban sunglasses, and mesh cropped shirts were the epitome of COOL. BUT this was 1984 and was 10. Then, Desperately Seeking Susan opened in theaters and I had to go! Ugh! PG-13?! What?! I begged my Dad to take me and he actually said yes! I then had a full feature length film of coolness to study.
Yes, I was desperately seeking coolness, but it was never meant to be. You see, it all came down to the hair. I had the same two fine, limp hairs on the top of my head then that I do now and no one ever told me there was something called “product.” At 10, I looked at Modonna’s hair and thought, “oh, that’s easy, I just won’t brush it when I get out of the shower.” I finished my shower and made it look really messy on purpose. Then my mom sent me to borrow a cup of sugar from the Eccleston’s that lived across the street. Mr. Eccelston opens the door and says, “Hi Inger, did you forget to brush your hair?” I confidently replied, “Nope. Can I borrow a cup of sugar?” He left to get the sugar and there I was standing at the door second guessing my attempt at coolness. When he returned with the sugar, he handed it to me and said, “Maybe you should brush your hair when you get home.” Madonna never would have taken that, but all I could manage to say was, “thank you.” I turned and walked back across the street thinking I just didn’t have the hair to be cool. I decided I better play it safe and be me even though I was seriously far from cool. I was no longer desperately seeking coolness. I still listened to Madonna’s songs, watched her videos, and always sang and danced along as long as no one was around, but I was me... Inger.
Just in case you were wondering, this is me at 10 at my grandma’s using what she had on hand to become my version of Madonna. Yes, I was really that tan back then and that’s exactly why I have the sun loving wrinkles I do now. Sunscreen was merely a suggestion growing up in Southern California.
Now, thankfully, Snap Chat has provided a face swap filter so at 44 I can finally look a bit like Madonna as long as I hold my head and face in almost the same position as her (see the Madonna photo at the beginning of this post). No, not really, but it gives my girls a laugh because they think it looks like I’m face swapping with a drag queen.
I don’t know what it is about my girls, but they don’t seem to be desperately seeking coolness like I did. OR maybe they are, but I’m just so far out of touch with what is cool that I don’t even see it. Has coolness changed? That’s probably it. I look at them as being far more comfortable in their own skin as me at their age. Are the tween and teen girls of today focusing more on internal coolness than external coolness? I have no clue, but I guess I should be thankful.