You are not ‘Cool’: The Ballad of Oatmeal-Me and Jordana-Banana
You have never been cool in your life- and that’s okay.
You have been interesting and weird and “unconventionally pretty” according to a woman in Nordstrom in 2005. But you, dearest darling daffodil, have never been cool.
Cool girls went to real high schools and had rebellious hobbies and gave your boyfriend awkward grabby handjobs in some suburban basement. Cool girls are some teenage amalgam of Effie Stonem and Marla Singer and Regina George and their parents let them have parties because they had cool jobs and were permissive and American.
Alternatively they may also be foreign with foreign parents who let them drink wine from childhood and instilled in them cool, foreign ideas about monogamy and art which always sounds better with their accents and ever-present cloud of cigarette smoke.
You just can’t win.
Your family is European, yes, but not the kind of European that’s interesting and romantic and “exotic”. You people aren’t known for sexy things like dancing or exporting supermodels or being angry in a hot way.
Your people own many framed portraits of the Pope and JFK and have an inexplicable desire to hang brass spoons on the walls of their kitchens and sing at events you really wouldn’t expect there to be singing at- like dinner parties and wakes.
Your people love sad poetry about nature that is actually a metaphor for colonialism, tea towels that double as maps and tragic irony.
And yeah, most of the things men have to say about your continental European sisters are pretty reductive and backwards and gross and kinda just sound like they’re talking about cars that they would also have sex with but just once in your dumb nerd life you’d like for some random at a housewarming party to be all:
“Wow, I love Irish women, I wish I could find one to force-feed me meat wrapped in puff pastry and HP sauce and then take the piss out of me constantly while I struggle to remember the names of all 20 of her cousins. Also she has to call her mother way more often than adult children really should.”
Because of course you call your family too often. That’s what you do because you were a good kid- which really just means you were too afraid to ever actually rebel so instead you lived vicariously through books and movies about teenage small-town Americana. You fucking dweeb. Your parents checked your pupils when you got home every day from your private same-sex school.
Not that you ever smoked weed.
Or snuck out.
Or drank until college.
Or talked to boys.
You wrote fanfiction and not even the smutty kind because you thought, in your neurotic as-yet-un-diagnosed anxious mind, your mother might borrow your laptop while you were at school. She had her own laptop already!
You didn’t go to a real party until you were eighteen and finally brave enough to lie about where you were. The first boy to touch your boobs told you all about his seventeen-year-old ex-girlfriend back home named Jordana-Banana and you learned that there is a special kind of humiliation that comes from a dude describing Passover at his ex’s house with his hand firmly inside your 32B Target off-brand Gillian & O’Malley pushup.
And because everything that happened in his likely-alcohol-soaked heyday (which always seems to end right before you show up) is so much better than what is happening right now, it is very very important for him to explain to the scared-looking blonde in his dorm how very very smart and beautiful and cool and brunette Jordana-Banana was and how she broke his heart.
You will always remember this. Everyone has some brunette that broke their heart. They are always some kind of performer or artist and exist in some vacuum of real-life instagram filters that blur the shit out of all the bad parts of being young and trying to figure out what to do with your genitals. They are cool. Painfully cool.
You will nurse many mason-jar whiskeys hearing about how cool they are.
So now you’re one very uncool burglar breaking into these cool women’s homes (probably old, expensive brick colonials or crowded multi-generational “flats” because you grew up in a one-story West LA ranch because it “had character” or whatever- thanks mom and dad). And you’re trying on their clothes and lives and boyfriends but it’s still their house and this is bad analogy.
But whatever, that was years ago. You’re cool now.
Your skin has cleared up. You’re the brunette now! You write about sex. You have three whole tattoos. You own at least two leather jackets and put together okay-looking outfits. Sometimes when you do your makeup just right you feel like a Celtic sex-death goddess.
You mentioned Celtic mythology again, didn’t you? Cool girls don’t do that.
Cool girls look like they greased up and crawled out of a deleted scene of Fight Club. You’re still not cool enough. Why don’t you ever try to hide your Germanic birthing hips and congenital bingo wings? Your high school self floats around you like some polo-sporting specter whispering “Liar!” every time a guy tells you you’re sexy.
I mean you weren’t even the cool kid out of all the theater nerds. That girl looked like Lea Michele and was really mean to you and hung out with a girl who looked and sounded just like that chick in Mean Girls with the wide set vagina. You wrote a jukebox musical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and made everyone in theater perform it at a retirement home for old nuns.
Oh my God, what is wrong with you? Jesus, you went to Regency Ball recreations. You put those pictures on Facebook. The Facebook. You never even got mono. You still wear too many florals because you’re secretly insecure about how angular your face is and you think it makes you look more feminine- But really, who are you even kidding?
Why weren’t you like your best friend who just went for it and had blue streaks in her hair and went to hardcore shows in Manhattan Beach with her friend Anna-Lauren who was so much cooler than you and had wanted to be a model and knew about MGMT before anyone else? Hell, why weren’t you even like Anna-Lauren? I bet there’s some dude super hung up about her somewhere- it’s probably a greasy club promoter or a low-level coke dealer but that’s not the point. Anna-Lauren was cool. You can tell from her Model Mayhem profile.
And the worst part, The. Worst. Part., is that you actually thought you were better than that one girl who went LARPing and made those weird honking noises when she talked and hung out with the white girls in Anime club who wore cat ears to school. You were maybe, like, half a rung above them on the social ladder but even they had boyfriends before you.
Maybe you’re being too hard on yourself. You’ve found a look that works, for the most part, nightbloats notwithstanding. You know how to contour and thoughtfully critique pop culture at dinner parties so you’re pretty much a prize. So you’re not Jordana-Banana or whatever your current boyfriend’s ex is- Probably something like Kat-with-a-K or Olivia or something innocuous and feminine but also artsy and mysterious; Maybe Marika or Karla-with-a-K. It doesn’t matter. He smells nice and has nice hair and remembers to bring you Diet Coke so you must be doing something right.
I mean, yeah, you still talk too much about Jurassic Park and places that would easily be fortified in case of Zombie Apocalypse, but that’s okay.
You were never meant to be cool anyway.