Defining Cool

Saturday, June 11, 2005
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A discussion at work this week found me and my colleagues talking about some weird stuff. Us ladies of finance got to discussing our “doable” list.
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There was the “current celebrity doable” list, the “old but doable” list, and finally, the “dead but doable” list — that is, were they not dead, of course. The celebrity doable list is topped by Gary Sinise, my current poster boy.

But especially, the “dead but doable” talk got us thinking about the slick times that preceeded our birth, mainly that of the 30s-60s. Celebrities had less media power to work in their favor, and thus, they had to rely on sheer charisma and cool to make an immediate impact on their audience. This got me to thinking about the essence of “cool.” What, in terms of a person, defines cool?

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First, I think it’s as much charisma as visual. Cool is about body movement. It’s assisted by tone and voice, and certainly, articulation is a huge part of coolness. Cool is symbolic. Cool is attractive. Cool is always the center of attention. Props aid in cool: a cigarette smoked the right way by the right person; a bourbon on the rocks; a cigar and whisky at an oak bar; a waft of hair upturned at the forehead. I can’t think of a more perfect symbol of cool than this person:

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Dean Martin had it all. A man’s man, a woman’s perfect image: cool hats, snappy lingo, great smile, good teeth, sexy hair, a slow drawl, and choreographed body movement. Dean gets my vote for Mr. Cool.

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