Across different time periods, what do the actors Humphrey Bogart, Marcelo Mastroianni, Steve McQueen, Sean Connery, George Clooney, Ryan Gosling have in common?
They, or at least the characters they portray in film, come off as “cool.”
I remember, as a teenager, sitting in the movie theater, watching the Italian movie, La Dolce Vita, (translation: the sweet life), and knowing without a doubt, I want to be like Marcelo Mastroianni. He was so cool. Skinny, clumsy, shy, tongue-tied, sensitive, unsophisticated, I was the opposite of cool. (Still am). I’m sure most other young men secretly admired and wanted to emulate the quality of cool that these actors exhibited and even tried to emulate them.
What is cool? What do cool guys do that makes them cool? Cool guys are sure of themselves, they’re independent and don’t need others, they are not in awe of authority and don’t have to please, they don’t crave power, but they have it, they’re successful but they don’t try hard, they don’t brag, they’re composed even when things get out of hand and don’t get flustered. Cool guys are cool.
Cool guys may have cool possessions. They may own an exotic car, a Jaguar or Mercedes, a beach house in Malibu and an apartment in London. They may sport expensive clothes, and be perfectly coifed. They may have a “trophy wife” or a beautiful girlfriend, maybe two or three, cool guys value their freedom and don’t like to be tied down. Or they may have none of this. It doesn’t matter to them.
I’m not cool and never have been. I want to be liked. I get confused, make stupid mistakes and try to hide them. I say dumb things sometimes, or stand there and don’t know what to say. I’m impressed by famous people. I have a modest house and an old wife and love both. And while I would like to be cool sometimes, I can’t do it. It’s just not me.
My wife, Alice likes me this way. She’s not cool either.
Are you a cool guy? If not, do you want to be?
The Good Men Project gives people the insights, tools, and skills to survive, prosper and thrive in today’s changing world. A world that is changing faster than most people can keep up with that change. A world where jobs are changing, gender roles are changing, and stereotypes are being upended. A world that is growing more diverse and inclusive. A world where working towards equality will become a core competence. We’ve built a community of millions of people from around the globe who believe in this path forward. Thanks for joining The Good Men Project.
Support us on Patreon and we will support you and your writing! Tools to improve your writing and platform-building skills, a community to get you connected, and access to our editors and publisher. Your support will help us build a better, more inclusive world for all.
Photo credit: Shutterstock