How To Be Cool, According To My Teenaged Self


On Dating

There is no cool way to date because dating isn’t cool. This is crazy. Everyone is talking about dating all of a sudden. Why would you ever ask somebody out? Dating seems expensive, and best-case scenario you make out with someone in the back of a movie theater I guess? But according to Hollywood, clothes could come off. I’m repeating this because it is totally effing horrifying and I need to be certain that you’re hearing this part: clothes could come off of your body. I don’t even like being naked alone. I feel sort of uncomfortable when my dog is in the same room while I’m changing, even. What kind of psychopath would, of his own free will, invite another human being to look at his naked body and then… touch it?

Ew, STOP. I’d rather play laser tag.

But if you absolutely have to date for some insane reason that I don’t understand, I guess just ask the best looking, funniest one if they like you on a note wrapped around a bar of chocolate. That seems clever. If they like you as much as you like them then I think it’s fine to go out. Just make sure that your friends don’t hate them and that they like the same stuff that you like, and don’t make out in between class it is SO ANNOYING when people do that. We have three minutes to get to Gym, and only five to change. 

We all get it, you hit puberty, ugh. GET OUT OF MY WAY.

On Style

Don’t ever wear anything because other people are wearing it. That’s not cool. I guess you could dress like you’re in The Matrix. That’s probably the coolest way to dress. But it seems like a lot of work. Also, where do you buy clothes like that? Those pants are made of leather, I think, right? Maybe Hot Topic or New York City?

I don’t know, mostly I just wear normal stuff. Caring a lot about clothing seems pretty stupid, honestly.

On Culture

Loud and angry music is the coolest music, I think. I mean technically, that’s what it seems like. Comic books are cool, but only if you’re serious about them. Don’t tell me that you like X-Men but then not even know who Kitty Pryde or Emma Frost are, for example. That’s offensive.

Also, another thing about The Matrix is it’s the only really perfect movie that exists. I’ve seen a lot of movies and know this for sure.

On Working

Working is cool.

The key to jobs is, you just pick something fun and do that. Some people don’t even care what they do. They just want the money so they can do other cool stuff. As long as they don’t feel suicidal while they’re doing it they’re happy, and I guess that’s fine. But I’m a little more picky, and it sounds like you are too.

The way I think about it is: if you’re into movies, for example, you should work at a movie theater. Then you can just go and see every movie that comes out before the rest of your friends, which is awesome. Working in a movie theater is probably the coolest possible job, actually, unless you have a shot at being in the movie, in which case you should do that because that is the ultimate.

On Friendship

Pretty much every day after school I go over my friend’s house and blast Blink 182 and play Final Fantasy VII, and we talk trash about our nemesis on the chess team. Sometimes we play Magic the Gathering or go outside and play soccer and once in a while, if we have the cash, we go to the arcade and play games and eat pizza.

So I guess the coolest friends are just people who like the same things that you like and hate all of the people who you hate. A few of my friends talk about girls a lot, which I don’t really get but whatever. Sometimes your friends will like weird things and just want to talk about those weird things for a little bit, and you should let them. I have really crazy dreams and want to talk about them sometimes, and my friends listen so it’s a tradeoff I guess.

That’s pretty much what our country was founded on, after all.

On Weekends

I know a lot of people who just want to drink all the time and think that’s the coolest. I’m not against drinking, but it’s not really my thing. Everyone is so dumb and loud when they’re drinking, and then the next day they’re like ‘I can’t believe I did that dumb, loud thing, I was soo drunk.’

Yeah, so stop drinking so much maybe?

I don’t know. I mostly just stay home on Friday night, eat junk food, and watch Hercules and Xena with my family. Xena’s pretty cool. I’ll do pretty much anything on Saturday except my homework, but I try not to plan the day out. Planning things is mostly a good thing to do, but planning downtime seems counterproductive and stressful. I’ll probably play some video games or draw or go for a bike ride or something. I don’t know. Why are you asking me about weekends? They’re weekends. They’re cool no matter what.

Listen, older version of myself, you shouldn’t care so much what other people think about stuff. That’s the main thing. You have to do your own thing, you know? Figure out what you like and want and do that. Once you know what you like, do it a lot, and try to do it with the people you like.

Be you.

That’s definitely the coolest thing.

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image – Alex Grechman