Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Are You Cool Enough for That Cool Red Sweater?

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Are You Cool Enough for That Cool Red Sweater?

Article excerpt

In a busy weekend, one thing stood out: On Friday night, my friend Peter and I went out for dinner.

I was wearing ... whatever. And he was wearing ... who cares?

We were going out for sushi. I drove. And as we turned my corner, we both noticed a lanky, 20-something young man walking along the avenue.

He was wearing black jeans, a black shirt and a hat -- a kind of boxy fedora. Tan.

And, as we drove past this guy, I could FEEL something was wrong. He seemed tense. His shoulders looked frozen in place. His eyes darted up and down.

Peter noticed, too: "That guy looks like he just did something wrong."

"No," I replied, as we drove off. "It was the hat."

Peter nodded. "Ah. Definitely. New hat."

"He just bought it a couple of days ago," I added, squinting like Sherlock Holmes. "Saw it in the store. Thought it was cool."

"But is he cool enough to wear it?" Peter asked, channeling Dr. Watson.

"Exactly!" I continued. "He's filled with self-doubt. From the moment he put it on, he wasn't sure. He looked at himself in the mirror. Took it off. Put it back on. Took it back off ..."

I did this a few years ago with a sweater. It was a loud red sweater that I bought back when loud red sweaters were cool.

After it sat in my bedroom drawer for three weeks, I finally decided that the time had come to actually -- gulp -- wear it. Out. In public.

Some cool friends had invited me to join them for some cool dinner at a cool restaurant in Manhattan.

Hmm.

Cool friends. Cool dinner. Cool restaurant.

All of this called for a cool sweater. And I HAD a cool sweater. I just wasn't sure I was cool enough to wear it.

So ... I put it on, took it off, but it back on, etc.

Ugh.

In my mind, I saw myself walking into the restaurant, where everyone cooed, "Ooh! Cool sweater!"

"Thanks," I replied, glowingly.

This was the same way I used to imagine going up to accept my Oscar, even though I've never been nominated for one.

"Thanks!"

Unfortunately, moments after my first sweater fantasy, I had a second one: I walked into the restaurant. Again. Only this time, people laughed and said, "What the hell are you wearing?"

This is the same way I've imagined going up to accept my Oscar and finding out that they called someone else's name, instead. …

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