The best thing about being an adult besides being able to drink beer and eat ice cream for lunch is the the self confidence that comes with age. All those teenage years fretting about who was dating whom (hah! like anyone asked me on a date), whether you had the “in” jeans (in my time, skin-tight Guess jeans with ankle zippers), whether the college you got into was good enough for your mother to brag about while in line with the other mothers at the grocery store (mine wasn’t).
In my 20s, the scrutiny switched to whether or not I was going to the cool bars and clubs. Was my Friday and Saturday night wild enough to share with my twenty-something office mates on Monday? Heading to a lounge with a $20 cover charge and no name on its door to advertise its whereabouts? Shouting to be heard inside? Paying too much for drinks? Social smoking? All cool.
I’ve reached 35(!), and while I’m not so self assured that I don’t give a damn about what other people think of me, I am far less concerned with the cool factor. Last week I was in New York at a conference and started talking to a pair of 20-somethings about living in Manhattan vs. living in Brooklyn.
“Parts of Brooklyn are more suburban…if you like that sort of thing,” one girl told me.
“Suburban?” I asked.
“You know, baby strollers everywhere. Station wagons.”
Sounds great, I thought to myself. Very livable.
“I moved into the West Village,” she continued. “It’s a lot more fun.” She added that her kitchen was a hotplate and a microwave. Um, sounds great.
Because I look a lot younger than I am, this woman had no idea that I was a station wagon-driving, stroller-totin’ mama. I realized at that moment that I could be my own arbiter of cool.
What’s cool for me?
- Hatchback cars
- Pixar films (fun for kids, innuendo and jokes for grown-ups)
- Being in bed at 9:30
- Mid-rise jeans that do not cost $200
- Target (groceries, toys, clothes, prescriptions, and alcohol in one spot? Genius!)
- O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack (kid music that’s not kid music)
- Flat, slip-on shoes (I [heart] Danskos and Privos)
But I did break down and buy myself a pair of skinny jeans — no ankle zips, though!