Snarky in the Suburbs: Join the Uncool Club and you’ll be cool again
07/12/2014 10:03 AM
07/12/2014 10:04 AM
There are a great many things to celebrate about getting older. Mainly, the fact that you are still here.
But another thing I embrace about my advanced middle aged years (oh, and just for the record, I will be in my 70s and still calling myself advanced middle aged, so just roll with it) is the freedom to be yourself.
You’re far enough along in your career and parenting duties that you can cuddle up, wallow, even, in your uncoolness. (I’m not talking socks and sandals uncool because that’s just showing off.)
This is a glorious thing. Yet, I see many women my age, who still seem to be clinging to the coolness doctrine. This is a mistake. To quote the song from Frozen, “Let it Go.” (I know the song is mind numbingly popular with the preschool set but I’m here to tell you it’s an (advanced) middle age anthem.
Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Earlier in the summer I was at one of those ladies- who-lunch functions and saw a gaggle of women still clinging to coolness. One in particular I wanted to personally invite to join the uncool club. She had all the signs of a woman who needed to liberate herself from the confines of conformity. In Texas she would be called a “Bless her heart.”
This fellow AMA (advanced middle aged) woman was on the fringe of a group of cool moms. You could tell she was trying to get into their circle. She even had the big purse. For those of you (men) uneducated in the language of designer handbags, typically the bigger the purse they only sell at Halls (Prada, Gucci, etc. — not some “factory inventory” leather tote you got at the pop up Coach store at the Legends Outlet Mall or, in my case, the Target off-label) the more insecure/needy you are. She even went so far as to nudge her purse into the group circle. Not her body, mind you, but her purse.
I saw this as a cry for help. Once you hit the big 45-plus it’s time for sweet, sweet freedom. Not “Junior High: The Menopausal Years.” I tried to mind my own business and leave well enough alone but I just couldn’t. So, I went over to Big Purse and attempted to engage her in conversation, thus beginning Phase One of Operation Uncool.
Try as I might — and (not to brag) I can be pretty engaging — she resisted all my efforts at recruitment. By the end of the very one-sided chitchat I wanted to scream, “Listen up honey, you’re missing out by not joining Team Uncool!”
If only I could have given her our team stats. They’re impressive! By becoming a member of Team Uncool, you can, for the most part, say what you think. This alone is worth the price of membership. Because as an uncooler you have the luxury of not catering to other people’s preconceived notions of how you should act. This does not give you permission to be unkind or go full crazy; it just allows you the gift of not fitting in.
As a parent, it liberates you from caring what your kids or anyone else’s kids (or kids’ parents think). So, for example, when your teenager asks if they can go to a boy/girl sleepover (yes, this happens and you betcha I’ll be writing about this very, very soon), you can proudly say, “Not in my lifetime.” Because here’s the deal: The cool parents are all about “Well, everyone does it and the kids are all just friends so what’s the problem?” (I’m stopping right here with that, lest I go off topic but you all know what I mean.)
Being an uncooler makes all areas of your life more pleasant. It frees you to leave the house without BB cream (a.k.a. wrinkle camo), discard your Spanx and like yourself a whole lot more. It makes your marriage fun again because the less high maintenance a spouse is, the better the relationship.
Nothing is more boring than a person who talks about how they look all time (or how they played a NCAA division sport and almost went pro). As an uncooler you have better, more interesting things to focus on. And oh, the joy of conversation when you can truly say how you feel.
Have I enticed you yet to become an uncooler? No worries if you’re not ready yet. We’re a patient bunch. That’s another plus about being uncool.
Join the Discussion
The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.