Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Tuesday, April 15, 2003  

Are you cool?

There is a discussion seeping through the blogs about cool, hip, in-crowd knitters/bloggers who have written harsh comments about un-cool, un-hip, un-initiated out-crowd folk who evidently trespassed on sacred blogetories. Like a good investigative reference librarian I did a little sleuthing and uncovered at least one critical blog whose owner promised to edit comments he felt were unworthy of his blog with prurient additions. That made me wonder if there is a legal issue about to bubble over, since it seems almost libelous to alter someone’s writing without their prior agreement but there – I am not a lawyer and I have only a dictionary beside me and don’t feel like tracking down the exact crime.

Miriam Webster On-Line

Main Entry: 1li•bel
Pronunciation: 'lI-b&l
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, written declaration, from Middle French, from Latin libellus, diminutive of liber book
Date: 14th century
1 a : a written statement in which a plaintiff in certain courts sets forth the cause of action or the relief sought b archaic : a handbill especially attacking or defaming someone
2 a : a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression b (1) : a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt (2) : defamation of a person by written or representational means (3) : the publication of blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures (4) : the act, tort, or crime of publishing such a libel

There now, though, I had never read that blog and I probably won’t go back so it’s no skin off my nose, but I did begin to think about being cool. In the precious cabinets of my memory is a darling of a girl who made a new year’s resolution in January 1968 to “Be More Cool”. Oh god, just writing this down washes me over with such a tender loving feeling for that girl. She was sure that coolness was not something you were born with – it was a combination of behavior and knowledge that could be practiced, imitated, and learned. She also knew that it would be a lot of work. It would require changing natural reactions, preferences and tastes, but after all, school forced her to explore things she didn’t naturally seek to discover – what was another research project. She studied the most popular hairstyle in school, which was parted on the side, straight down, scotched taped to the chin at night and hacked of in hunks (home made layers) in the back and set on curlers that made the back of your head look like so many bubbles. She spent a good number of hours learning to toss her head so that the long lock of hair that hung down from the side part would flip behind her ear and to snap her right fingers while she thrust the right hip ever so slightly forward in a sort of little circle. She learned all the words to Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay. She bought herself one of those white fur hoods that tied under her chin with strings that ended in fur pompoms. She new every fashion trend in Seventeen magazine and the names of the colors of lipsticks. Some of it was lots of fun to learn. Some of it seemed awfully stupid. She learned how to do all the cool stuff all the cool folk did – but she didn’t really feel any different. In fact, she felt just as cool as she always had. And just as un-cool too. She still knew she was a fringe person, even if she was a cool fringe person. She liked being on edge, because it let her be different. She got to wear the prom gown in green crepe de chine with frogs printed on it instead of the white lace glued to acetate knit one. She knew her dress was crepe de chine, not acetate. That really thrilled her. And nobody knew that about her dress and it was the fact that nobody knew that made her feel coolest of all.

The be-more-cool resolution lasted about as long as other resolutions last. I don’t remember what the 1969 resolution was – probably go steady with a boy, or at least get a date to the Ring Dance – Maybe to learn to sew on the bias, or put pad stitching in a tailored jacket lapel – certainly she would have no idea she would knit her first sweater that year.

Well – sweet memories. I love that little girl that was. And she only got cooler and cooler till one day she could say, along with her hero, Z.B., “Yep. Just what I always thought. I’m a pretty neat guy”.

posted by Bess | 6:38 PM