I had to post this Formerly Hot moment before I forgot (which I’ve been doing more and more–not exactly early Alzheimers so much as Shit-For-Brains Syndrome, an egregiously under-researched condition about which little is known except that it’s epidemic in the Formerly community.) Perhaps it’s more of a Formerly Cool moment.
My friend Susan told me about it while she was in town on a massive media tour to promote this new gadget her company and one of the well-known youth market apparel and accessories favorites are putting out for the supercool chicks of tomorrow. No worries: you’re not expected to know about it unless you have tweens and teens, in which case you already do.
Back in Los Angeles, right before she came, Susan hosted an intimate little launch gathering for this new thingy dingy. 400 people showed up. Susan reported that it was a major LA happening–a ticket so white hot that the venue isn’t disclosed until shortly before the event–and a smashing success. The attendees were so off-the-charts cool that even if I were cool enough to know which names to drop, and you were cool enough to recognize them, the mere repeating of them by people as uncool as us would make them lose their cool dust. And that’s a risk I just can’t take.
So Susan was at the party, hanging back, enjoying her handiwork and watching the cool 20something people do what cool 20something people do these days (which apparently involves–shocker!–drinking, playing music and dancing), until the much-younger execs from the groovy partner company came over.
“Are you OK?” one asked, looking her in the eye and touching her reassuringly on the arm. She answered that yes, of course, she was fine, thanks.
The first time that happened, Susan thought it was nice that they were checking in. “But they came over every half hour to check on me, to see how I was holding up! ‘Are you OK?’ I was like, I’m old, but I’ve been to a party before.”
My friend Susan. The wildest woman on our freshman hall, the jello wrestler, the hockey player, the one who could West African dance any partner into a quivering, sweating heap on the floor (and, by the way, still could)–was being checked on like someone’s great aunt in a wheelchair who’d just had a stroke and was parked in the corner of the bar mitzvah. “Are you OK? Can I get you some kugel?”
Susan, unlike me, isn’t even 42 yet.
I know that this is normal. I know that each generation, including our own, thinks they invent everything they experience when they do it for the first time–sex, love, heartbreak, Nutella. And most of the time, that’s fine. I love watching my 6-year-old daughters master the art of shoelace tying or wheeling and dealing at Monopoly Jr. and then dismissing my efforts to share my wisdom. Let them figure it out for themselves.
But when people in their 20s see you as so crusty that even after you organize the party they’re worried that you’ll wander off and fall into the pool unless you’re properly supervised, there’s a problem. And guess what? The problem is not you.
OH WAIT: P.S. I have a new post up at More.com! They have lots of cool stuff going on over there.