Anatomy of Cool

What’s cool? What’s daggy? Who decides?

Dictionary definitions of the word “cool” containing words like “excellent” or “first rate” are very unsatisfying and, by definition, totally uncool. Anyway, you know what I mean by “cool,” just as most Australians know what is meant by the opposite word “daggy.” To a certain extent, both words are really better defined by their application and usage.

I learned something about the anatomy (and alchemy) of cool by observing how a guy named Bob D’Angelo kept his school pants up in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs circa 1973.

Bob D’Angelo, a new boy from the US, was a very cool guy. You could feel it in your bones. Strong and silent. Nice physique. Straight long blonde hair. Good surfer.

But then there was Bob D’Angelo’s belt. It was black, woven and elasticised with an heraldic metal clasp at the front and adjustable sliders at the hips. That belt was regarded at the time as the epitome of dagginess and very uncool … until Bob wore the belt to school, and then it became cool. Voila!

This demonstration of alchemy and other experiences over time have led me to believe:

1. Some people are naturally cool or not cool;
2. Some things are inherently cool or not cool;
3. Cool people can make things cool, but cool things can’t make people cool.