To be or not to be cool

I’m not a very cool person. There, I’ve said it. ‘Cool’ as in not really in the independent-thinking, anti-mainstream, unique way, although I do believe I am pretty cool in the ‘I can chill and am pretty approachable’ kind of way. Just see how non-cool most of my favorite songs are, and how badly I am being left behind in the list of top books one is supposed to have read. But hey, in my defense (a) i know way more people who are even more uncool than me; and (b) is it really that important to be considered cool?

Everyone knows that sort of cool person in your life, the one you secretly admire and aspire to be and seems to know and can do everything (Gwyneth, we’re looking at you). He/she is unruffledly successful in most things in life, listen to non-mainstream music, well versed in literature, arts and culture, and sometimes slag off or look down at people who are mainstream and only listen to pop music. They always seem to know what to say or what to do in a particular situation. They are very cool, and that’s not me.

I’m unabashedly mainstream in everything that I do. I wear basic simple clothes, I listen to songs I already like or accidentally stumble upon liking (I don’t have much patience to listen to a whole album filled with filler tracks). I even eat the same kind of dishes at restaurants, because I know they work and I don’t wanna be disappointed and forced to eat something I find out I don’t like. I love traveling, yet I get scared when a turbulence comes on during a flight and almost wish I were back home on the ground. Some people who are closest to me believe they are in the earlier category and basically laughs at my music taste and lack of cultured knowledge sometimes, which I don’t really mind because I know they’re right, but I’m not bothered because I’m not trying to be like everybody else. (Besides, there’s a reason why pop music is so popular – because the songs really are good and people enjoy them, maybe?)

I guess these things stem from our deepest nightmare which traces back to high school: peer pressure. Back at school, everyone wished to be the most popular guy/girl in school (I certainly did), wished they were dating the other popular guy/girl in school from the opposite sex (sometimes the same one), wished they were the coolest person who made everyone notice when they’re walking into a room. Remember those teen angst years? Yikes. I read short stories about wanting to be popular, ala Sweet Valley High, and I’m glad those stories have been lost. Cringe.

Now, in the Facebook/Twitter/FourSquare/iPad generation, things are different yet exactly the same. Nobody wants to admit they’ve got Backstreet Boys on their iPod, yet put on ‘Everybody‘ on the karaoke and suddenly everyone’s sitting up and singing along. People update their FB status or tweets about the latest book they’re reading (and it’ll be something I usually haven’t been, not ever will be, reading) or going to the latest gig in town. If you’re a mom like me, you’ll notice all those competitive girls who post about how a great wife and mother they are, by listing down the meals they’re cooking, posting their high-resolution SLR pictures of their cool babies, organizing unique and themed parties for their kids and inviting other cool moms and hip babies.

Nobody wants to post about how lonely they feel on a night in, or after a huge argument with their significant other, or feel left out after reading about how cool other people’s lives are. Nobody wants to fess up about listening to mainstream pop, or not reading literature, or not going to great concerts and musicals. (Or maybe, some people do do that – and it’s even more annoying). Which is perfectly reasonable, since everyone wants to present themselves as having a great life and not as losers – it’s human nature (which, I believe, is one of the coolest songs ever).

Categories: Pop culture

4 replies »

  1. Hey girl, I’M not cool. I think YOU are pretty cool, if not, cultured. Betul!
    Personally, I like reading other people’s status updates. I love hearing their stories, see their pics and even gain knowledge at times from their travels, movies seen, books read etc. I honestly don’t feel the need to be like them, nor do I compare my life too much (sikit2 ada lah kot, hehe) with theirs. Everyone has their own rezeki and if my rezeki takde nak do the things they do, then I certainly don’t mind that they share their experience with ppl like me.
    I think it’s cool that I’m not cool. It kinda shows how mature and perhaps, wise we are in living our lives. Then again, ppl may see that as boring. Hehehe. But I’m cool with that 😉

    • Haha! I love Carpenters too… but for some reason i love 90’s music the best. Something about New Jack Swing, e.g. Tevin Campbell’s Can We Talk, that makes me wanna groove… hehe

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