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30/04/2011 / melgardener

When did I become uncool?

The scene is my local bakery where I witnessed the following exchange. The young girl serving behind the counter greeted two elderly ladies, obviously regular customers. After they had exchanged pleasantries, the girl took their order then asked, “Have you seen the Justin Beiber movie?”.

The ladies politely explained that they had not yet had the opportunity to do so and the girl replied earnestly, “Oh, you’ll love it!”.

As I gaped at the incongruity of the situation, I realised this young girl was genuine – she simply couldn’t imagine that we weren’t all champing at the bit to see Justin Bieber on the big screen.

It started me thinking about that moment when our children look closely at us and pass judgement on our coolness rating – and we come up short. At 41 and with my eldest child fast approaching double figures I’m very well aware that my time as “mum who knows everything” is under serious threat.

My kids are still young enough for me to mostly be in control of what they do, where they go and what they wear. But, I’m seeing glimpses of a time that they will deem me the “knower of absolutely nothing” and start implementing their own choices. Already, the battle lines are drawn around the wardrobe. Nothing more serious at this stage than they want to wear thin spaghetti strapped tops because they can’t admit that summer is finally over and I struggle to get them to accept a jacket (at least) over the top.

While I am logical enough to want to encourage a diversity of thinking, an ability to make their own choices and the confidence to argue for their point of view – I just don’t want it to be with me!

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I decided my own mother was uncool. Certainly it was around the end of primary school and the beginning of high school, a time when I was open to more influences outside the home sphere – TV, magazines, books and peers.

Remember, I hit this time in the very early eighties so I had an amazing array of big hair, Go-Go t-shirts and fluoro socks to torment her with. She just didn’t understand why I needed a regular supply of hair spray, she didn’t ‘get’ the need for revealing midriff tops with high waisted jeans and FMQ* boots, and she certainly didn’t see the need for fishnet stockings.

I can only cringe in horror at the memories of some of the outfits I wore, yet at the time I felt I was emulating the highest of fashion. I would love to think that I’m going to be the ‘cool’ mum, the mum who shops with her girls and approves of their choices, the mum who doesn’t nag about ‘inappropriate clothing’. Do I think it will really happen? No. Do I suspect I will simply become exactly the way my own mother was, just in a different time slot? Yes, of course.

But I think this is healthy (or so I tell myself). Maybe my role is to provide that handbrake, to take the extreme opposite view in order to reach a mid-point we can both agree on. Or maybe I’m kidding myself and they’ll just stash a bag of clothes and get changed at a friend’s house – the friend with the ‘cool’ mum who ‘gets’ it.

Are you uncool and proud of it? When did you become uncool (and how did you know)? Are you still cool (and, if so, what’s your secret)?

* For those of you who didn’t experience the 80s first time around, FMQ stands for F**k Me Quick – they were usually white boots, with a small stiletto heel, often with tassels and worn with as mico a mini skirt as possible.



Leave a Comment
  1. Pat Carlton / May 3 2011 6:14 pm

    As the seriously “uncoool” mother mentioned in this “essay” I resent that label! I believe I am seriously “cool” (although I do draw the line at body piercing and Lady Ga Ga). I suggest that your offspring may well come to see their Grandma as “cool” and Mum as “uncool”. Roll on the day! Cool grandmas rule the waves!

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