travel with me from SAHM to working mum….

Cool at 40?

I have just taken a test to determine whether I am ‘Cool at 40?’.  I suspect that, although elements of what I do, say, wear, eat… might be described as ‘cool’, much of what is truly hip is flying straight over my head.  Ok, I don’t buy my jeans from M&S or Gap, but at a proper jeans shop, or at least a concession in a department store; I tweet – gotta up that digital profile if I want to be a writer; I don’t listen to Radio 2 and am currently in a battle with my soul between Radio 4 (talking) and Absolute (rock music station aimed at White Van Man); I am pretty up-to-date on the most talked about tv shows and box sets: Mad Men, The Killing (in Danish), Homeland…

Sexy Don Draper

This quiz was at the end of an interview with Jon Hamm (Mad Men’s Don Draper) by Amy Raphael.  Now, Mad Men is undoubtedly cool, with its stylised wardrobe, sets and excellent script.  Don Draper is very sexy in a distant, pre-feminist, I-can-tame-the-bad-boy way, a Mr Darcy for the early-1960s, but is he cool?  Jon Hamm is, well, is as Amy describes him.  He lost his mother at 10, his father at 20 and feels he was raised by the local community is St Louis so success after these heart string tugs is definitely ‘cool’ (Urban Dictionary definition: worthy of approval).  When the interviewer meets him she describes him as looking a bit ‘rough’, unshaven, dressed down, slugging black coffee.  She goes on to mention that, when he first arrived on the set of Mad Men, some of the writers thought that he was a delivery boy due to his baseball cap and shorts.

This is the most important consideration when trying to be cool.  Don’t try, or look like you’ve been trying, too hard.

When I discovered that Jon Hamm was a year or two younger than me and had grown up in St Louis, Missouri, like my University friend, I texted her, excitedly: ‘You might have gone to school with Don Draper!’  We continued our textersation and she remarked that: ‘Of course you are cool.  But the cool don’t have to think about it.  Effortless, baby…’  Now, she is incredibly cool in the way that only confident people who have shifted cultures and countries throughout childhood can be.  They have to rely on an inner sense of style when faced with constantly changing peer rules.  Self-preservation.  And, as she remarks, she doesn’t even think about it.

As for me, obviously thinking very deeply about the subject, how did I do in the test?  Well, I engineered ‘mostly As’ which means I am ‘cool in exactly the right way for a forty-something. [I am] age-appropriate cool.’  Ok.  So just call me ‘classically middle-aged’.  Note to The Times newspaper: Don’t tempt me with quizzes promising flattering character revelations, I’m not cool enough to resist.

(I will link to the article, but Rupert Murdoch hides the Times behind a pay wall, so good luck!)


7 comments on “Cool at 40?

  1. justbetweencousins
    March 28, 2012

    Oh that domestic bubble! I have tried to burst that bubble only find I am content inside it. I hurry about my day, trying to keep up with the proverbial age clock, in true hamster wheel style. At least I am busy! Right?
    Thank you for this charming peek into your life.
    Peach State

    • domesticbubblewriter
      March 30, 2012

      I know what you mean, completely. And I love your blog – what a great way to keep in touch. Where is that beautiful beach?

  2. Jeannette Monahan
    March 28, 2012

    I like that: “age-appropriate cool.” It made me laugh. You sound cool to me — you tweet, you have a blog, you watch Mad Men. (I’m only one for three on that list). I think I would need an Americanized version of the cool quiz. 😀

    • domesticbubblewriter
      March 30, 2012

      Def need an American version – although it was quite London-centric too. ‘age-appropriate cool’ made me laugh too, as did the trying to hard mostly bs description: ‘mutton dressed like hipster’. (Do you know that expression: Mutton dressed as lamb, to describe someone old of mature years who dresses like a teenager?). Think you will be cool too, from what I read in your blog! (God, aren’t we smug with our mutual admiration – like two presidents on a state visit!)

  3. alifelessdigital
    March 30, 2012

    You don’t have to be young to be cool!

    On a slight sideways age-related rant, It annoys me that men can be so open about their age, but for women it’s almost embarrassing. I haven’t met many women who will freely admit how old they are in general conversation….

    I know I’m simplifying it down, but my theory is: Women need to be attractive and cool. Attractive and cool = Young. So if you admit you’re getting older, then you’re automatically getting older and more boring.

    • domesticbubblewriter
      March 30, 2012

      I love your angle – and you’re obviously completely right. My friend was also telling me about a poem by Simon Armitage: ‘Evening’. Basically, ‘young’ and ‘old’ do not exist, there is just child, grown up, very grown up, phases which can be achieved at any time. I definitely have a father who is not a grown up!

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This entry was posted on March 28, 2012 by in fashion, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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