Friday, July 20, 2012

Cool Kid

A woman of many COOL faces.

The other day I was laying in bed, nursing a tepid coffee and reading up on burn victims. So, it was a normal Thursday morning. As I lazily perused medical documents my phone buzzed. A text from my friend had come through, and this is what is said: 

Meet for lunch now? Shady Grove? DO NOT COME DRESSED NICE OR CUTE. I just worked out and am sweaty.  

I glanced down at my outfit. I was wearing black yoga pants and a white tank-top. Not un-cute by normal standards, but throw in the fact that I had been wearing them for a day and a half  because I'm gross like that AND I APPARENTLY DON'T SHOWER WHEN TRYING TO MEET A DEADLINE, I fit the bill of her request.

Be there in 5.  I excitedly typed back while jumping into flip flops.

Now, this girl is a newish friend and, in my opinion, really, really cool. She's that kind of cool that is annoyingly effortless. And, true to form she pulled up on her bike in front of the restaurant I met her at, flipped her pretty hair out of her helmet, and beamed at me.

She looked cute. Damnit.

Even though she was the one that had just come from a run, I was the one that looked like it. I've never been able to master that chicness that comes so naturally to some women. I'm always slightly disheveled, slightly frizzing at the edges, chewing on my nail in the corner or accidentally pouring wine into my shoe. I watch women like her from afar and try to emulate them whenever possible. I'll buy the diamond stud earrings, I'll shop at J. Crew, and I always end up losing an earring in my drink and covering my sleek white skirt in grass stains by the end of the day. Usually when there is no grass around, so you can imagine just how awkward of an individual I am.

We had a wonderful lunch, but her bouncy hair and sparkling eyes stayed with me all day. Later that night, after I finally stripped out of my "non-workout-workout-clothes", showered, and crawled into bed, I turned to Brett.

"Do you think I'm cool?" I asked him as I struggled to smooth the frizzy curls that had immediately started springing from my scalp as soon as my hair got hip to the humid Ohio night. 

He put his fishing magazine down. (They have those! And he reads them! So cute.) and turned to me.

"Do I think you're what?"

"Do. You. Think. I'm Cool?"

"Do I think you're cool?" he asked incredulously as he batted my hands away from my hair. (he likes frizzy curls. He's a weirdo.)

"Don't make me ask again." I whined. "That's decidedly uncool."

"Ok, well. No. I don't think you're cool."

"You DON'T?"

"No!" he said, picking up field-fishing-hunting magazine or whatever it was. "No, I do NOT think you're cool. I think you're fun."

"Fun? That's not cool."

"Can we move on?"

"Ok, but why am I not cool?"

He looked over at me warily. "I'm not cool."

"So, I'm not cool by extension?!"

"Melissa..." he said warningly. But, at this point I could not stop laughing. Seeing my cute husband reading a fishing magazine in bed, as I sat and yanked on curls and asked him if I was cool- he was right...the whole thing was so ridiculous and so not cool it gave me the giggles. I put my face into the pillow and was laughing so hard I eventually snorted. Brett looked over, smiled, and patted my back.



I can't remember when I became obsessed with "coolness", but I know it was well before I started making friends with women like ol' sparkly eyes. I come from a very large family of women, and  they are all very attractive and loud, and you will find out from them your best physical and personal traits and all of the things that suck about you in about 5.3 seconds.

My sister Ashley is the worst. (And best.) Recently, when I went home, I came out to the pool in a bikini. "You look great." She offered noncommittally as she took a sip from her drink. When I blushed and smiled and asked, "Really? You think so?" She just rolled her eyes.

"Oh my god shut up. You're stupid." She answered.

This is a girl who in ONE DAY will tell me my morning hair looks like shit, my manicure is boring, but she loves my writing. This constant appraisal is definitely only something that comes from the special bond of being 10 months apart and a few states away.  But, in my mind, she's cool. She was the one that snuck out when we were in high school, not me. I was the one that was usually making my lunch for the next day as she primped, jumped into a car with people FROM MY GRADE and drove away. I would go to bed and write angry journal entries and put olive oil in her shampoo.

Which only made her hair shinier, damnit.

Anyway, I grew up wanting to be dangerous and fun and sexy like her. And, I went on to make friends with all types of women like that- women who were cool and who I wanted to be. Women who can cook an entire meal for a group of friends and still look adorable. Women who can play guitar and have tattoos and their kids look like they stepped out of GQ toddler, and women who are pristine, play tennis, and always keep on the feminine side of life.

I was thinking about all of this today as I went to get my nails done. I stepped into the nail salon, drenched and soaking wet from getting caught in a storm, but I was laughing as I wrung my shirt out in front of the fully packed shop.

"Sorry!" I sang out as I made puddles wherever I went. This made me start giggling, and I was still giggling as one of the girls handed me a warm towel.

"You not mad?" she asked anxiously as she helped me mop up.

"Mad?!" I chortled. "Why would I be mad?"

"The rain." She answered in broken English. "It makes so many unhappy. I like that you are happy. You come in, you always happy. I like you."


So, maybe I'm not "cool", but maybe I'll stop trying to be. This woman made me realize we're always looking at other people. We're always trying to figure them out, and be them, and not be them. Rarely we look inside and figure out the kind of person we are.

Maybe I am disheveled. Maybe I wasn't the coolest kid in high school- but I am a woman who laughs in a storm.

That's not that bad, is it?

In fact, that is pretty damn cool. 

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