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June 5, 2012 | by  | in Features |
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How To Be Cool

Feeling sloppy? Looking like a dork? Think that you’ve lost your appeal as a Human Being? WeIl, it’s time to get your act together. Fitting in with all your pals is important for your sense of self-worth, and you’re all about yourself. This week, Salient brings you the hot tips you need to spice up your attitude and be the person you always wanted to be. The secret: being cool is so hot right now.


Despite your existence as a free spirit, a dwelling is an important component of shaping your image as a 21st Century urban sophisticate. Thus, it is absolutely essential that you live somewhere you can be proud of: somewhere that screams you.

To your acquaintances that never visit, make sure to describe your abode as a ‘loft’. Forget that it was advertised as a semi-modern apartment with a semi-functioning dishwasher. Ask Mum to pay for the rent. It’s very expensive, after all, and regular tribute helps remind her that you care that she loves you.

The things you put inside of your loft are almost as important as how it looks from the outside. Your pad is incomplete without at least four different coffee-making devices, two of which should always be incapable of functioning. Appearance is key. If you’re having difficulty choosing, think: what would look best lounging next to the vintage ceramic elephant statuettes?

Fill your bookshelf with Penguin classics and refer to them as “definitive works.” Whether or not you have read them is irrelevant. What if someone attempts to engage you in conversation about a “text” you’ve yet to get around to reading the Wikipedia page of? Easy. Brush them off with broad statements about “themes”, “mood”, post-modernism, or the author’s alcoholism or depression. And if you’re feeling bold, you can deploy the bombshell defence, “I preferred Ulysses. Oscar Wilde is just great.” You are doing a media/film degree, right?


It goes without saying that this is the single most vital element of fostering your cool. You are what you wear. Fashion works in cycles, so keep everything you or your acquaintances have  ever owned to ensure you’ll always have the coolest vintage items. Leather jackets and mirrored aviators are a must. On the topic of sunglasses, it’s important to dispel the popular misconception that they are worn to protect your eyes. This is ridiculous: sunglasses exist to impair your vision. Take your Ray-Bans off only to shower and to sleep. When unable to wear them (by law), avoid direct eye contact at any cost.

Remember, childhood was the Golden Age, and every day since has been just one more step into darkness towards your eventual mute oblivion. Make sure you let everyone know that you are a child of the ‘90s by wearing clothes that say such. To support the dress, drop lines like, “Television hasn’t been good since they cancelled Arthur.” (Note: It is OK however to like The Wire.)

Also, tattoos. They mean things. If you don’t have a star on your ribs for every member of your family, no one will leave you shit in a will. Not that you wanted to be bequeathed money from those heartless bourgeoisie class-traitors anyway (rent aside). Your new family—who may or may not all work at the Hunter Lounge—will just get you.


The Arts are essential outlets of your humanity, but don’t worry that you don’t have any creative spark. You can successfully cloak inability with an outdated film camera and a naked accomplice. All you need to do is point and shoot. Hello tumblr!

Don’t fall for the rookie mistake of uploading glamour shots to facebook: classic uncool. But here’s a protip: it works if they’re in sepia! The truth is, you aren’t egotistical if you follow the golden rule: your profile photo must be a landscape.

Tell anyone who will listen—and especially those who won’t—that you really can’t beat the feel of vinyl. Alternatively, if some complete plebian tells you that you can, invite them back to your place to listen to either your grandfather’s phonograph or your “grandfather’s phonograph”.

Similarly, everyone reveres alcoholics. They’re so moody and artistic! Never miss an opportunity to remind everyone that you’re either (i) desperately in need of a drink, (ii) about to go for drink, (iii) currently drinking, or (iv) hungover because you’ve been drinking. They’ll respect you more for revealing your carefully cultivated character flaw.

How about employment? Three words: Social Media Advisor.


There are lots of problems with this world and you can’t solve them all. So make sure you take it upon yourself to not think about any of them. When anyone asks what you believe in, tell them with certainty: “nothing.” Be a heartless apathete, and be proud of it. That nihilism sounds sexy is only a bonus.

Your parents and teachers told you that you were special. This has never been more true than now. But remember, other people probably won’t understand your complicated problems, so act accordingly. Never smile in company. Smiling just shows you’re ignorant of life’s necessary misery. You are a jigsaw that even you’re struggling to put together. Do you know what enigma means? No? Quick, find a dictionary!

Now here’s where things get confusing. The most important element of being cool is doing things that would usually be considered uncool. We call this irony. Being ‘ironic’ shows that you are so knowledgeable on the bounds of coolness that you can break the rules by being uncool and still achieving cool. Extra for experts: try post irony. And no, that doesn’t mean sending letters.

Most important of all, live your life dismissing lists telling you what is and isn’t cool, they’re usually written by denialist misanthropes more accurately characterised by regret than social nous.

By all accounts, don’t read Salient. And if you must, never admit to it. Tell your peers it was so much better in 2005, safe in the knowledge that nobody could possibly have actually read it.  ▲

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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