It All Depends on How You Define Cool…

I haven’t read it. I don’t really need to. And, thanks to facebook and twitter, I don’t have to actually read the article as many of my friends have commented on it already. So, bonus.

I’m talking about the piece posted on e-online about the Abercrombie CEO. Whatshisname. Not wasting the precious space in my grey matter to try and remember it.

I knew what this article reveals about the company 17 years or so ago. I was a college freshman or sophmore at GW. I had recently graduated from St. Mark’s, a New England Prep School, where A&F didn’t really fit the dress code. I never really looked good in their clothes anyway, but I LOVED the way their colognes smelled, and I really wanted to find a pair of their jeans that fit my “athletic” thighs.

The Mall at Pentagon City had an A&F store. I needed a part-time job, so I donned my SM crew jacket over my best A&F look-alike attire, figuring that it couldn’t hurt to channel my “Prep” while interviewing. Sadly, the jacket didn’t help. It was abundantly clear by their actions and words that they weren’t really looking for “someone like me.” Really, you give me the once over and actually say that? So – cool on paper, not in person. Eh.

I brushed it off knowing there were better things ahead, right? After all, this was DC. I really didn’t need to hang out in a mall, right? And I could sing and play sports, and I had great friends and a boyfriend (who wouldn’t get another bottle of Woods). So screw Abercrombie. I got a job working with the greatest group of people on campus at the Smith Center – working basketball games, gymnastics meets, the front desk, our prized Commencement – way cooler.

And the cool kids? I’m sorry, but the things I did at GW made me much cooler than folding over-priced t-shirts and jeans that featured your panties as a waistband for all-too-skinny kids could have made me.  Opening for Judy Collins, performing at the Kennedy Center Honors, and singing at Vice President Gore’s Christmas Parties with the Troubadours, starting the Club Field Hockey team, getting an internship at the US Department of State, driving in a Presidential motorcade, watching a Bill Clinton and Tony Blair press conference from the 5th row in the East Wing, making friendships that have lasted through career moves, mood swings, weddings and children – those, Mr. Whatsyourname, are things the cool kids with great attitudes are doing.

Since being turned down for employment in your store, I’ve done all that, plus gotten a Masters Degree. I’ve served in local office, managed regional communications teams for a national health organization, fundraised for all sorts of causes among other things, and am now leading a marketing team for an awesome educational software company.

I look and feel the best I have ever felt in my almost 36 years. I eat healthy, feed my kids well, pack their lunches, encourage them to be active, let them know that I run and train to stay fit, invite them with me even though its MY alone time, encourage them to be smart AND beautiful on the inside more than the outside, and work my tail off so they know that nothing comes without hard work and a little sweat. Because they will know that nobody can hold them back from achieving whatever they dream of, or make them “not cool”, or take away that youthful confidence – despite what words they may say. Its going to take work, but they’ll know it.

Here’s the important part!

I don’t need approval or a pat on the back for the things I’ve done, or for how cool I am. (Yes, I’m cool – at least in my daughters’ eyes, and that’s what matters) The only reason I’ll ramble on about this ridiculousness is because every mom, every former and present self-conscious awkward but really cool girl and boy, every HUMAN out there should know that every single one of us is cool. It all depends on how you define cool. And we, my friends, can help change the perception of cool. Of right. Of good.

These are the things the cool kids are doing, Mr. Whateveryournameis. Not perpetuating ridiculous, inaccurate stereotypes that you seem to be holding on to, well into 2013.

Oh, and I don’t fold shirts now, either.

me at airport

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