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What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

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What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby Winston » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:25 pm

Ever since junior high and high school, we have heard this phrase in America about "being cool" or "acting cool" in order to get girls and become popular. But what does it mean exactly? The way it's used is so nebulous and ambiguous, like it's highly subjective and unquantifiable. I've never understood exactly how to "be cool". What does that mean? I can't find an exact definition for it. Yet it's a big part of American youth culture. And if you can't understand it, your social and dating life will suck.

Have any of you ever wondered what it means to "be cool" as Americans define it? I don't know, but I've always felt that there was something very fake and artificial about it. It doesn't seem natural or authentic at all.

Does it mean to be trendy and wear trendy clothes and act positive and upbeat all the time and listen to the most popular music? If so, that is so friggin fake and an introvert's worst nightmare, to even attempt to "be cool".

Yet if you're not "cool", then you will suffer and be an outcast and misfit and not get any dates or girls. Doesn't that suck or what?

American culture is so fake and toxic and lacking in authenticity.
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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby S_Parc » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:54 pm

The word you're looking for is unflappable.

This is why Joe Biden is considered 'cool', despite the fact that he says stupid stuff, half of the time.
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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby IraqVet2003 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:48 am

Winston, I think that America's definition of "being cool" is determined by what is pushed by pop culture and peer pressure in our society. Not to mention Hollywood (Television, Movies), the fashion industry, professional sports, and the music industry works 24/7 to influence and hit us with the latest "fad". It's nothing more than MIND-CONTROL to make us buy mostly unless (and often expensive) stuff!!! In American culture, if one doesn't follow the crowd of "fit" into the mainstream, you are seen as a "loser", "square", a "weirdo", "not a real man", "hermit", antisocial, etc. It is as if American society and pop culture is an larger version of high school!!!
But, as far as I'm concerned I really didn't care about what the world considers to be "cool" (which tends to change often). I have decided long ago to be "TRUE TO MYSELF" and that the only people worth knowing are the ones who except me for who I am. I have as much right to go against the grain and to think for myself in a "free market economy", along with having freedom of speech, and association. More people need to unplug from the "American cultural matrix"!!!
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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby Wolfeye » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:30 am

"Cool" can range from meaning "obedient" to "being one's own self." I'm not entirely sure of what that would be now, since it seems like agreement is defeat to a lot of people. I don't know how they're going to see you as anything good.
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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby onethousandknives » Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:11 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cool_(aesthetic)

"Aristocratic cool", known as sprezzatura, has existed in Europe for centuries, particularly when relating to frank amorality and love or illicit pleasures behind closed doors;[1] Raphael's "Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione" and Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" are classic examples of sprezzatura.[42] The sprezzatura of the Mona Lisa is seen in both her smile and the positioning of her hands. Both the smile and hands are intended to convey her grandeur, self-confidence and societal position.[43] Sprezzatura means, literally, disdain and detachment. It is the art of refraining from the appearance of trying to present oneself in a particular way. In reality, of course, tremendous exertion went into pretending not to bother or care.
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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby Dragon » Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:52 am

It means not being you, Winston.
I am a terrible person.
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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby jamesbond » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:54 pm

Winston, being "cool" in America means acting fake and phony in order to "fit in" and be accepted by the "in crowd."
You look awfully cool in this picture Winston with a gun and a hot girl by your side! :lol:

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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby Ghost » Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:40 pm

Being cool in the U.S. means having/being tattooed, bad boy, thug, criminal record, scum, backstabber, asshole.
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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby Wolfeye » Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:47 am

Ghost: You know, there's some truth to that. It seems like someone not being "bound" by being a good guy is seen as an approvable situation. The thing is: it can always be someone's ALIGNMENT, not some restrained state. It's like the wording to differentiate between one way of being & another is implying that there's an urge, but it's choked back by obedience to the rules. I figure there's a real Hobbesian view of things (like fucked-up is the natural way) & someone would think that it's some kind of sign that someone is genuine & trustworthy by being dishonest & prick-ish. A sign that they're everything they're not by not being that way. Doesn't make sense, but then not everything does.
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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby steezyy » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:57 pm

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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby jamesbond » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:31 am

Winston, your cool because you are living your life the way you want to and not according to societies rules and regulations.

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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby Winston » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:57 pm

steezyy wrote:Being "cool" has nothing to do with fitting in.

You can be cool if you don't listen to mainstream music, and don't rock name brand clothes.

It's about how you carry yourself.

Your awareness skills are severely lacking if you can't figure out what it is to be "cool".


But you see, that's what Americans say, but it's very vague and subjective. You are simply giving another vague description of what it means to "be cool" and not being specific. So you are doing what I'm complaining about, and not really addressing my question. Why isn't there a real precise unambiguous definition of what it means to "be cool"?
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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby steezyy » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:25 pm

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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby Wolfeye » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:53 pm

Not for nothing, but the cool guy is often resented. I've almost never seen someone that was well-liked not get shit talked about them behind their backs & it's almost like they're a foil for other people's bullshit or the general things about themselves that they don't like- and since Americans seem to generally see themselves functionally as screenwriters for reality, that means to them that this person GENERATED this situation because they've come to that conclusion. Killing the messenger, but with an added idea that they can actually atribute culpability.

So, they aren't gooing to put out the fire- they'll just yank the batteries out of the smoke detector. Kids be damned, the grown-ups are acting like ego-junkies with delusional problems. Then there's the whole "when something isn't liked its existance is argued with" tendancy, so the idea of fixing the problem that blocking them from fixing the other problem is out. It's like having a gun that jams AND a holster you can't clear the gun out of anyway.
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Re: What does "being cool" in America mean exactly?

Postby onethousandknives » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:10 pm

steezyy wrote:Being "cool" has nothing to do with fitting in.

You can be cool if you don't listen to mainstream music, and don't rock name brand clothes.

It's about how you carry yourself.

Your awareness skills are severely lacking if you can't figure out what it is to be "cool".


To some extent, yes, but there's a line between it all. As in, you can't walk around in a wizard costume or monk robes or something and be "cool." And it's the same with any of your tastes or interests. You can't do whatever you want and be cool (I'm not talking about like, being a dick, either, just being socially acceptable) and in this context, being "cool" means basically people liking you. However, you still need to be unique, too. But basically, there's a fine line between doing unique things and having people like you and doing unique things and having people hate you. One example I've heard was Einstein vs Nikola Tesla. One had the right social connections and sort of hung in the shadows with his research, but actually helped develop the atomic bomb. But people think fondly of Einstein today as just some scientist with mathematical equations or whatever. Meanwhile Tesla was derided in his age and was used as the "mad scientist" archetype in cartoons, etc. Why? Because he didn't play by the rules. And to some extent, too, he was more interested in showing off his own power to the world and scared the shit out of people making lightning bolts and causing small earthquakes than being socially accepted.

I think this is an apt metaphor with people. People like uniqueness, but it has to be in a box, so to speak. And even being a trendsetter doesn't actually help you now. I remember back in say, 2004, not many people had very colorful hair, as in, pink, blue, etc, or highlights of those colors. And if you had them you were a "freak" but now lots more people have such hair colors. So the people in 2004 were "freaks" for having that color in their hair, but in 2015 it's "cool." So to make the right market of "cool" there has to be a uniqueness, but only just enough to not offend people, if that makes any sense.

And even thinking of a company like Apple for instance, who everyone thinks is "revolutionary" or "innovative" they've not had too many completely original inventions. Other mp3 players existed before iPods. The LG Prada was a full touch screen phone before the iPhone. Apple just knows how to recognize a trend early enough and capitalize on it and bring out their things just at the right time, whereas other companies do the actual work earlier and lay the ground work (and make no money.)

I dunno, kind of a pointless rant, but no, you can't just be cool because of your magical attitude or confidence or whatever. People still have to actually like you.
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