Never Quite the Cool Girl

I’m standing, leaning against a railing, slightly raised from the dance floor watching my two friends dancing to Siouxsie and the Banshees’, “Kiss Them For Me.” One’s just moving her shoulders ever so slightly, the other, her arms outstretched above her head looks like a slithering snake in slo-mo. There’s almost a homoerotic quality to them, the subtlety and pure sexuality they are exuding. I have never looked that cool in my life.

My movements have always been LARGE. I speak large, I sing large and I tend to take up a lot of space when I dance. There is nothing subtle about me. I’ve always been more Katrina and the Waves, “Walking On Sunshine” than Siouxsie Sioux.

I was always on the cusp of cool, more B+ than A-list. At camp, school, college and after, there was always something that I was left out of, some after-hour activity that I was never asked to join. At camp, there were the raids and the midnight eating of contraband food that the counselors would sneak back from town. In high school, a pretty WASPY boarding school in the Berkshires at which I was part of only a handful of Jewish students, I walked around in a huge, puffy, PURPLE ankle-length coat like a dancing California Raisin.

Post-college friends of mine would stay at the bar or a party and dance on tables while I was sure to be home and in bed by 11. They’d leave with guys they had just met and wakeup, hungover and awkward.

The truth is, and people tend to be surprised to discover this about me, is that I have never been the party girl that I somehow appear to be. At camp I used to cry because my bunkmates wouldn’t shut up when I was trying to go to sleep. I’ve never bar-hopped or pulled an all-nighter. I’ve never taken hallucinogenics or thrown up from drinking. It wasn’t until my early 40s that I did my first tequila shot, but now, during the week, I have no problem getting into bed by 9:30. At this age, there is no reason to wonder about what I might miss when I duck out for the day. Back then, I’d be in bed regretting my decision not to live a little bit more.

I certainly knew in which contexts that people didn’t know quite what to make of me. I missed the mark on fashion and I didn’t have that certain posture, that way of holding myself that says “I don’t give a shit what you think of me.” I think there were some friends who were embarrassed a little bit by me, and sensing that, I would try to be quiet and just go with it. Now, I couldn’t care less about what people think of me and know it instantly. I essentially let the person I feel it from know by throwing that vibe right back at them with a stare that says “I’m on to you.” At this age, “cool” doesn’t matter. People generally tend to like me and if I’m wearing jeans that are bordering on mom jeans, I just cover them up with a long, last-season tunic.

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2 Comments

  1. Loooooooooove yoooooooou. Part of me is fine with just knowing that I'm cooler than the people who don't know what to make of me, but part of me is desperate for them to recognize it, too. I'll get there someday, I'm sure.

  2. I think one of the nicest part of getting older is not worrying about being cool anymore. And that, ironically, makes yo so much cooler. By the way, do you still have the long purple coat? That sounds AMAZING!

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