Not Being One of the Kool Kids

Most everyone wants to be accepted among “the in group” — “the cool crowd” — those who are admired and lead the pack. In straight male culture, the “kool kids” are the Alpha Males. In gay culture, these are the “A-Gays.” If you get an alpha male or a-gay to like you and accept you among his friends, invite you to his events — anything from “lunch with the gang” or a “pick up motorcycle ride among us friends” or a “night out on the town” — then “you’ve made it.”

Or have you?

Throughout my life, I have struggled with observing the behaviors of the “kool kids” and wondering if I could be more like them. When I was in high school, most of the “cool guys” were graceful, athletic, and went to all the dances. Man, that left me out. Yeah, this klutzy kid never grew into the graceful man. Such is the life of a quarantasinestrapede*.

The Alpha Males center on guy-things, like spouses/girlfriends, sports, cars, and other things that social expectations dictate. Males are taught to behave that way from the day they are born.

There again, that leaves me out… while I like women as friends, it is obvious that I am not interested in women as straight men are interested in them — sexually. Interest in sports? Nope… I really don’t care for sports of any sort. I was happy to be my jock twin brother’s main cheering section back in the day, and that’s it.

Alpha gays seem to spend a lot of time choosing “the right” clothes. They (IMHO) obsess on grooming. They spend a lot of time socializing.

Man, there again, that leaves me out. Fashion statement I’m not. Suit, tie, and dress shoes? I’d rather be in leather and boots. Grooming? I’m happy to take a shower every day, towel my hair dry, and leave it “product-free.” Smelly cologne? No.friggin.way. Socializing? Nope… bedtime arrives early!

As I have matured, I have grown comfortable in my own skin (and the skin of cows), and with the choices that I make about what I do, how I dress, and avoiding discomfort — such as being around others watching “the game” or dancing during a night on the town.

I have also realized that being one of the cool crowd as an adult has many similarities to how school kids behave — watching, posturing, boasting, and closing into a clique. In fact, this just happened to me once again when I attended a dinner held by a group to which I belong. Seating at the dinner was open — except for the kool kids, one of whose leaders made nameplates made for them to reserve spaces at the two best tables in the room. Gosh, this kiddie stuff still happens… disappointing, but not surprising.

Relating back to the opening of this post — “you’ve made it if you can get an alpha male/A-gay to accept you as one of his friends — or have you?” …

I have realized that I am who I am and what makes me, “me,” is not going to change. I have also come to terms with the understanding that the characteristics, behaviors, and even style of dress that I have adopted are not on the “favorable list” among the a-guys. So I remain left out.

Have I “not made it” as a result? No, on the contrary…

I have made it to another level of comfort with myself, and a sort of pity for those who feel that they have to behave the way that they do — anything from arranging name plates on a table for their clique, to grooming and dressing in a certain way (and espousing disdain for those who do not).

I really do feel sorry for those who feel that they must behave that way. I am better than that. So look to me to lead the way to a different level of self-acceptance and comfort in the complex man that I am.

Life is short: accept yourself.

*Quarantasinestrapede: “forty left feet”. Having left feet is an American expression meaning that the person so-footed cannot dance because he is known to step on his partner’s feet or trip over his own, or both. Having 40 left feet is even worse. Believe me, I know… perhaps that is why I own so many boots, to have enough for each of my 40 left feet.

3 thoughts on “Not Being One of the Kool Kids

  1. Although I understand the need to find acceptance in society, it is basically a form of insecurity to seek approval of within a particular group. If one ties their validity of self to anothers judgement one will always be "sized up" (or down) according to their standards. If one has a basic understanding of themselves as a man, woman, or simply human, then one's continued existence is the marker of personal viability. No matter what one is told is their "station" in life, it is the individuals right to refuse such judgements. An ounce of self confidence is worth a pound of praise. I have raced motorcycles, jumped out of planes, and made lovers say WOW, but I am fine being alone and certain of what it means for me to be a decent person and I impress people as such by my words and deeds. We should be true to ourselves first, as we are born within ourselves and shall die the same. When we leave this world, all we take is our hope that something lies beyond, and all we leave behind is what others think about us. With every breath I'm doing it my way, and I have little to regret, as I try to do what is best for everyone as well as myself. Have fun. B

  2. Well said. I was never one of the "cool kids." Tried to be, but never was. It has taken a very long time for me to accept who I am as a man. I have no room for the cool kids now, ESPECIALLY those "grown" men who still act like high school kids. I refuse to conform to the worlds' ways.

    Hopefully some of your younger readers, gay or straight, will read this column and learn from it.

    Thanks for the great blog.

    (and the great comment by "B")

  3. And one more thought:

    I've always wondered why alphamales feel the need to act the way they do. Why do 40-year-olds still feel the need to be bigger and better? What insecurities are they trying to hide?

    Glad I'm not one of them!

Comments are closed.