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The elusive ‘cool’

I’m not cool, I never have been cool and at this stage in my life I should probably accept that I never will be cool. I can do funny, absolutely. I can do dancing queen. I can do loudest person in the room but ‘cool’ is something that other people are and I’m very often 1, if not 2 and 3 steps behind them.

Most of the time this distinct lack of cool is hidden behind a loud voice and an astonishing ability to talk the hind legs of a donkey in any situation. However, in certain circumstances this un-cool nature of mine is particularly noticeable.

Let me elaborate: Skiing has always been one place in which I’ve never quite managed cool. Despite an ability to ski and a decent dress sense I have never managed to look cool on the slopes. Ski gear – no matter whether it comes from M&S or Berghaus – always makes me look like a sack of potatoes tied in the middle; even flattering black doesn’t come off the way it does on other people.  Despite my best efforts to ski stylishly the usual reason I stay on my feet is a combination of good balance and fear.

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t stopped me loving skiing; I just have had to accept that I’m always going to look a little out of place among the hip and cool set drinking their espressos while lounging on deckchairs on a snowy mountain with their hair beautifully windblown.

Moving to St Ives I was struck by the fact that no one really cares how you look and cobbled streets, combined with no flat surface lasting longer than a few feet, mean that I’ve had to shed my flattering and much-loved stilettoes in favour of ballet slipper style shoes and a willingness to always look slightly out of breath.

It’s taken a while but I’m comfortable with it now and the thought of wearing high heels makes me shudder (and not in a good way). Don’t get me wrong I don’t feel ‘cool’, it just isn’t glaringly obvious how ‘uncool’ I really am.

Until today.

Danny and I went bodyboarding for the first time on Porthmeor Beach. We finally had an afternoon where we weren’t required to go to the wholesalers and with no one checking in we were let loose from the house. Last night we decided to brave it whatever the weather, and so despite insane wind conditions and an ocean temperature that is only just above freezing we took to the beach.

Suddenly my lack of cool was apparent by a mile: We were surrounded by toned surfers and oh so cool young men who wore their flip flops with none of the ‘flap flap’ or general unease with which I wear mine. They were all tanned and laid back despite having to climb in and out of wetsuits all day which, in my brief experience, is NOT a relaxing activity; and I quickly became the gawky teenager with the winter-skinned body who put their wetsuit on back to front (apparently I should know that the zip goes at the back!).

With an obviously hired (it’s impossible to look cool in hire gear) body board and a wetsuit so tight that my feet were losing feeling long before they touched icy cold water I struggled down to the sea edge.

Cool I am not, but fun I had. I caught one wave, the rest just threw me about, and 2 hours later I was wet, windswept, not cool but smiling. It’s hard to not smile when you’re in the ocean on a Tuesday afternoon. It’s even harder when you remember that you live right here and this is available to you every day (within reason).

Obviously… just like when I discovered skiing… I will buy the gear, I will maybe even invest in the ‘cool’ brands and definitely find a body board that doesn’t look like it’s been used by Mike Tyson for a punch bag: However, knowing me as I do, I suspect that despite my best efforts I will always, on this beach anyway, be the one putting their wetsuit on back to front.

Nicky Newman says:

You should try looking cool, body boarding at 43! Complete with gawky smile that could so easily be translated as a grimace – well in those temperatures what do you expect – blue feet and all!!!

Louise says:

You lucky duck! Beats working in South Ken!

lauren says:

ha ha – LOVE that you put your wetsuit on back to front!! (obviously i would have done the same thing) xx

Ann Patey says:

Being honest now, the only thing that puts me off is the wetsuit. The crawling and pulling to get in and out of it for a start. Then there’s how it looks if you don’t have that toned, flat bellied, lithesome body. I’m sure if it weren’t for the bodysuit more women would do it!

Well done for giving it a go. And liking it too! I think you’re brave and maybe I’ll get to try it one day too.


michelle says:

Love this post… I can see you surfing! And… who says you are not cool?! x