This is What Cool Looks Like in 2015

And it’s okay if you’re not even close

Justin Bieber’s video for his new single, “Sorry,” has made me rethink not only my entire Uniqlo wardrobe but also this new dance move I made up a few weeks ago that is part Roger Rabbit, part my grandma getting out of bed. The plan was to casually debut it on the dance floor of an upcoming hip L.A. party. Keeping up with cool can be exhausting, especially when, like me, you’ve entered your 30s and it starts to become time-consuming and just simply embarrassing.

I recently saw a billboard on Sunset Blvd in Silver Lake that read “Stay Young, Get Stoned” and my first thought was: but I get so paranoid and hungry. Well, to be honest, my actual first thought was to Instagram the shit out of this thing and then worry about its sentiment after. I am constantly caught between cool and comfort, and more often than not, opting for the latter.

The girls in Bieber’s video are effortlessly cool. I may have added at least 50 views to the YouTube count and I’m not alone. Everyone who writes about this video mentions how many times they’ve watched it. There’s an undeniable lure. For me, it’s the whole early 90s package. From the yin yang overall shorts to the Calvin Klein pan of the camera to the deluge of logos to the vogue stomps and flamenco waves. It’s at the same time derivative as it is fucking sweet.

But there’s more to the video than meets the eye. The Biebs is nowhere to be found. From frame to frame, the girls take up each part of our screen as both individuals and one unified crew. They are free to flail and swing as they please, their sunglasses a reflector rather than a shield.

My friend Gina suggested that we could each pick our favorite girl and be her for Halloween. I thought OMG Gina, what a topical and perfect idea for a costume! But then I was like, wait a second, I’m a 32-year-old man (gay, but still) whose costume is going to be a Bulls Jersey or a Kappa jacket? I’d like even more to be them, after the video shoot, when they walk down the street to Chipotle for a burrito bowl and just look super with it. It’s the energy they ooze, the confidence, the cool. That’s what I’m after.

I often stop to wonder if I’ve just missed the boat to hip town and now here I am in my 30s dominating this Toaster Strudel and Tuesday crossword. When friends ask what I’m up to this weekend, in my head I want to say whatever’s on fleek but in my heart I know it’s probably going to be whatever’s on cable.

And so on the night of the party, I noticed the ticket highly recommended two things: early arrival to guarantee entry (check! I’m early to everything and if you mention a line, my heart frowns) and a ‘strong look’. I wondered if strong meant like a tank top or tie dye. I’m pretty sure it meant neither and definitely not both at the same time. I showed up in a plain grey tee shirt and danced until a reasonable time, flailing and swinging, carefree again, no bills to pay, no judgment, no fear of rejection. And while no one took real notice of my cool new move, I felt as though I nailed it.


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