'Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in
I wish that I could be like the cool kids
Like the cool kids”
– Cool Kids by Echosmith
One of the great things about being fifty one is that there is no pressure to be one of the cool kids. Why? Because I manage to fit in while being a thing incompatible to the cool structure.
Doing what I do, social dance, and being who I am, the old white guy, I inhabit a niche inhabited by very few people. There are a few of us, the older white guys who social dance with the younger crowd. We are kind of like Bigfoot, interesting to discover and a bit scary at the same time. We’d better know how to dance because beyond that there are no redeeming qualities. Dance transforms us from probable letches to acceptable partners. The full social side of dance is limited, if only because we could be fathers to many of the dancers. Dad is the one that drops off the dancers, not the one that hangs out under dim lights to strut the night away. Knowing how to dance is our salvation, a get-out-of-jail card for hanging outside the oldster social group.
I personally add to that the personal vocation, that is to say hobby, of dance photography. I become Bigfoot with a camera, the one that can get that next profile picture of you if the planets align. The scary side is partially ignored because of my obvious utility. So I don’t fit in, only being spotted in the deep woods of Maine, but darn I can get that next dip picture of you. Gold. I’m allowed to be present and accounted for as long as I am snapping pictures. That, and dancing well enough to excuse my attendance.
There is one more way that I’ve managed to fit in while being a singular quality. I write poetry about my life. I write about the ups and downs, the joy of dancing, the insecurities of relationships, and the angst of existence. My ongoing flirtation with the madness of depression is given center state from time-to-time. People walk past these with the same acknowledgment given to a carcass in the road: Blessed Be. These poetic musings are intensely personal while others touch upon a larger shared reality. My relationship with the world of dance becomes the bridge to the shared reality. Expressing the magic of social dance provides a link between myself and other generational worlds as I show that I “get it”.
In the end I hang with the cool kids, and if I squint really hard, I can almost believe I am one of them. At the same time I cannot be one of them, and in this the pressure is relieved. But wait, that may not be truth in Echosmith’s definition. I do fit in, being the person I am, so perhaps I can be an honorary cool kid in the end.