The Modern Rules of Being Cool, According to the Truly Rich Lady
So a funny thing happened to me yesterday. While inside an elevator rocketing skyward to one of the family apartments in the city, one of my interns (my Truly Rich Mother decided to be charitable and volunteered me to her amigas as a person who needed interns) sidled up beside me and asked:
“Tita, how do I become like you? How do I become cool?”
I did not reply.
I waited for horrified passengers to disembark at their floors before addressing the situation.
When finally we were alone, I cocked my head sideward, lowered my bug-eye sunglasses, and whispered:
“I am not cool. I am Truly Rich. Now, begone, creature!”
Okay, that last bit I did not do, but I was inspired to write a memorandum shortly after the incident. Invoking the spirit of Diana Vreeland, the editrix of Vogue who famously wrote emphatic notes about this and that, I have made my own colorful notes about the New Rules of Being Cool.
For young folk and young souls, this is what I know:
1. Do not ask the question. Never ask, “How do I become cool?” Cool people do not concern themselves with being cool. In fact, they do not call themselves cool. They just are.
Like taste, style, talent, and charisma, coolness is something that simply and naturally happens. Alas, this is one of the few things that cannot be bought. And while yes, you can buy totems of cools like, say, a geometric dress from an obscure designer, you can not buy the wearing of it well or the carrying yourself in a manner that says, “Yes, I am undoubtedly cool just by being myself.”
2. Do not ask this question while inside an elevator. The modern rules of elevator etiquette (please look forward to my future book, So Tight! Etiquette for Confined Spaces) states that it is best to maintain silence while riding a tin can. A curt hello is acceptable. A loaded question like, “How do I become cool?” is not. And calling me tita when I am not your tita is also grounds for never taking the elevator with me again.
3. Don’t reveal your weakness. This goes back to the first rule, because asking how to become cool is admitting you are not cool. This is declaring you are a wide-eyed doofus, a greenling who just got off the bus, a clueless little thing that is delicious. It is tantamount to begging sharks to eat you alive. Be careful.
4. Do not try too hard. As I’ve pointed out, coolness cannot be mastered (unless you are Tom Ripley, who is a psychopath!). The harder you try, the more you will fail. The legitimate cool people, whom you are trying to impress, can smell your brown-nosing efforts and will turn away in disgust.
Speaking from personal experience, I can attest that doing it this way—with much effort and study—is taxing. Maybe in a past life, in a more glamorous city, I was so concerned about being the coolest, and that meant putting on a heightened persona every time I was in public. Guh.
When finally I gave up on being the queen of cool, when I decided to stay true to myself, and when I didn’t give a flying fork about what people thought about me, I actually became cool. Coolness is effortless.
5. Don’t please everyone. But maybe you are just earnest and would like to be friends with every Trina, Darla, and Janey. Surely this is a good thing. My dear, if your goal is to be unequivocally liked by all, you might as well pass into heaven right now, so that everyone will be inclined to speak only of your goodness. Going out of your way to not hurt a hair on the head of all persons, especially those who you detest, is not cool.
I know, I know, in the Truly Rich World, the rule is to never speak of the ills even if the ill itself is right in front of you. But the coolest among us are those who declare how they feel even if it will ruffle a few feathers. Maybe they will not say it explicitly. Maybe they will not say, in a cool manner, that they do not like this or that. Maybe they will just walk toward the door when they see something wicked coming their way. That can be cool, too.