The Cool Equation

belly dance

At 23 (and 3/4) years old, I am legally and socially seen as an adult.  But I don’t feel like an adult.  In fact, I’ve spent the majority of my life thinking adults are so boring and uncool…. how could I have all of a sudden become one?

So I formulated a theory to challenge my suspicions that I was slowly and steadily becoming uncool:

Cool= everything I think is cool- everything my parents think is cool

This equation is built on the most basic truth that parents are just not cool.  If fact, there is an inverse relationship between how much a parent tries to be cool and how cool they really are. So, with this new theory in my pocket I pranced around happily; I knew that no matter how old I became, I would always be cooler than my parents.

But one unsuspecting Thursday, my world flipped upside down.

I had just graduated college and was somehow enduring the comfort and ease of living at home.  I had plans to attend a belly dancing class that my friend was teaching downtown.  I announced the plan to my family.  That’s when my mom chirped up, “Can I come?”

I hesitated, shocked.  My mom? Belly dance? It’s a virtual impossibility according to my cool equation. Belly dancing was exotic AND sexy, and clearly only for the coolest of the cool.  But heck, why not? How fun would it be to see her try? And this way I didn’t have to drive there.

We entered a small mirrored dance studio with two other girls and my friend.  We were handed beaded skirts, which didn’t match my ratty-basketball-shorts-and-wrinkled-t-shirt look, but happened to look quite good with my mom’s leggings and fitted tank top.

My friend started off lessons with some “simple basics.” These involved moving your hips in such a way I thought only hula dolls on car dashboards could do.  I tried, nonetheless: rigidly jerking my body from left to right, prompting my friend to advise, “Now, try to be graceful with your movements.”

I look over to the other girls, who’s hips are seemingly unattached to their torsos. And then I look to my mom, who’s laughing happily and seamlessly shaking her hips to the sexy beat.

As the class continued, my jaw dropped as my mom gleefully giggled while executing the super-cool moves.  How was she doing that?

The class ended and we handed back our skirts.  We were asked to sign up for the full 8-week session, but I gracefully (for once) declined. I would not be belly dancing again until my ego was fully restored.  We walked out the door.

“That was so much fun,” my mom excitingly exclaimed, “I want to go back again.”

And in that very moment I realized: my mom- no matter how much of a parent and/or adult she may seem- is so, so, so much cooler than me.  So I have since changed my equation a bit, and with this new perspective, getting older just means getting cooler.

Cool= everything my mom is + everything she has taught me to be

(The above is a picture of my mom, practicing her hip-shaking early so she could one-up me later.)