How to be 50: How to Know What’s Cool

By Charlotte Latvala

One of the most disconcerting things about turning 50 is that inevitable moment when you realize – perhaps in the midst of your Yoko Ono impersonation at a party – that you have completely lost your ability to judge whether something is amazingly hip or not.

After all, many once-cool things have plummeted from grace. Aluminum siding. Margarine. Bill Cosby.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If it was un-cool when you were growing up, it’s probably super cool now. Such as….

  • Broadway. Then, it was something corny and old-fashioned your parents forced you to go see. Now, Hamilton.
enigmatic

Cats are always cool. 

  • Filming your cat doing weird stuff. If you followed your cat around with your 8 mm as a teenager, you were quite the dork. Now? Still a dork, but possibly one with 20,000 followers.
wall of sound

Vinyl is a work of art. 

  • Vinyl. So passe, once CDs came out. Now? Vinyl is the gold standard of vintage cool. (You’re kicking yourself for getting rid of those three Boston LPs back in 1998, aren’t you?)
cassette

Whereas cassettes are just confusing. 

  • Cassettes. Which are apparently the new vinyl. Eight-tracks and picture discs will follow accordingly.
  • Arena rock. Who knew that Journey would have such a long shelf life? We’d love to stop believing, if only we had the choice.
bike

A hippy’s preferred mode of transport on his way home to his tiny house.

  • Hippy life. In the eighties, what could be less cool than an old hippy, clinging to her memories of Woodstock and bralessness? Now, hippies are back. They are “crunchy.” But still hippies.
  • Tiny houses. In our day, bigger was automatically better; the bigger the square footage, the better. Now, dollhouses are chic.
crockpot

They almost predate electricity. 

  • Crockpots. Filled with disgusting sloppy Joes in the 1970s, they have now been rebooted as “slow cookers” and touted as a way to cook healthy homemade meals without actually doing any cooking.
smith-bros

This is a modern man. 

  • Beards. No normal person in our day wanted to look like a lumberjack or the cough drop guys. Now the Grizzly Adams meets Kris Kringle look simply will not go away.
  • Thrift stores. Who used “thrift” as a verb way back when? Hippies, that’s who. Case closed.

 

 

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2 Comments

Filed under hipsters, humor, life advice, mid-life, Uncategorized

2 responses to “How to be 50: How to Know What’s Cool

  1. Great post! I can relate. What’s even more maddening is when things go from hip to not hip, or vice versa, and I’ve missed the memo! One minute I’m being mocked for my pants being too short (or as we used to call them, my “floods” or “high waters”) and the next, they’re on the fashion week runways! Or I’m cruising along just fine in my jean shorts and I hear someone make a snide comment about them. (the cool kids are calling them “jorts”.)
    I’ve never been one for high fashion, but apparently I’ve been completely unsubscribed from the memos of what’s “in!”
    (Rant over. Carry on. haha!)

    • Charlotte Latvala

      Exactly! My daughter came home from the thrift store not too long ago with a pair of high-waisted Gloria Vanderbilt jeans that looked exactly like something I wore in 1982 – what the heck? (And hahaha — haven’t heard the term “floods” for ages!)

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