I've never been very cool, not even when I was in my prime. Now, aged 32 and with children, I'm less cool than ever. My 20 year old sister, however, is cool. After I had my second child, she decided to upcool me. (Upcooling is like upskilling, but in the area of one's coolness. I just made it up.)
I began university in 1994, when there were still traces of militant eighties feminism in the air. My sister is a similar age to what I was then. But whereas my mates and I rejected flashiness and consumption, my little sister can't get enough of either.
When my sister took me in hand and tried to upcool me, the vehicle she chose to enhance my coolness was skinny jeans. Now, I don't really understand skinny jeans. I have gone through life under the impression that most people do not want to see my knickers and/or buttcrack, so I have duly kept these hidden from the public with high-waisted trousers.
As I learned from my sister, coolness is not simply a matter of purchasing skinny jeans. You've got to know what to do with them. At my sister's urging, I went to Glassons and returned with skinny jeans. They kept falling down, revealing my buttcrack and causing me to trip over the trouser legs. I hiked them up as high as I could and held them in place with a belt.
My sister looked at me with a mixture of frustration and pity.
F the sister: 'Stop pulling your pants up your crack'.
Me: 'They keep falling down'.
F: 'You bought them a million times too big. They're supposed to sit on your hips'.
Me: 'If I bought them any smaller, they'd be too tight to sit down in'.
F: 'That's how you're supposed to wear them'.
F: 'I have to do scissor kicks to get mine on'.
Me: 'But if I wear them that tight my fat rolls will come over the top'.
F: 'That's why you wear a long top over them'.
Me: 'What the hell is the point of wearing your jeans like that if no one can see them?'
When I'd mastered the Glassons training jeans, my sister tried to upcool me once more. She said, 'I'll give you a pair of my Lee jeans if you promise not to pull them up your crack'. I said, 'I'll try'. She said, 'I mean it. I'm not giving you a good pair of jeans if you're going to pull them up your crack'.
A couple of years on, I'm not pulling my jeans up my crack. You could say I've made some coolness gains. However, I still wear non-skinny-jeans-friendly underpants. Some days you can see up to five centimeters of floral nylon granny knickers above my jeans. Am I cooler? My six year old daughter thinks so. So there.