You’ll Never Be This Cool: Call and Response

Last week fellow blogmate, Leo Plass published a post called “You’ll Never Be This Cool,” wherein he outlined various dudes that other dudes will never be as cool as. I liked that post and I thought I’d do my own version, sans dudes.


I know. I know. Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest? Absolutely. That bitch was in CHARGE of her whiny daughter and that was cool. Look how judgmental she is in her monogrammed bathrobe!

Her haughty demeanor and classy fashions secured her spot in history as a permanent cool icon– even now, when she looks really odd and rumor has it that her narcissism has slung her toward near lunacy. Whatever! Berets, silk scarves, and plunge-neck blouses! Go on, narcissism!

Do you know who that is? That is Tilda fucking Swinton. Tilda Swinton is beautiful in the same way some super models are– like an alien. The difference between Tilda Swinton and a super model is that Tilda is a gentleman and a scholar. She’s often fluid and trangressive with her gender presentation and that’s fucking cool. She’s like female-bodied David Bowie.

Here’s a secret: smoking looks ridiculous on you. It does. It’s going to look more ridiculous the older you get.  I’m not trying to be harsh, but you have to have a really specific persona to be able to pull off smoking. I’ve only seen in done by a non-celebrity once or twice.  PJ Harvey is deeply, DEEPLY weird and she doesn’t give a fuck. She rarely smiles, she occasionally wears a wedding dress that looks like a Ms. Haversham hand-me-down, and her music falls somewhere between balls out rock and a roiling banshee’s wail. PJ Harvey can smoke like she invented the habit. But you can’t. Sorry.

Pam Grier is fucking awesome. She and Faye both have the “I’m judging you and I will fuck your shit up” look. Pam Grier makes me wish I could walk around with a look that says “I have brass knuckles and I will sure as fuck use them.” It helps that nearly all of the work she did in the 70s involved some sort of hand gun, rifle, etc. Now she more often than not wears a sweet expression and business professional attire. I blame the L Word.

First of all, I doubt Louise Bourgeois ever took shit from anyone at any point. Second of all, her sculptures dealt in the sexually ambiguous and the grotesque. Thirdly, she died at 98 and was STILL making work. And lastly, she was photographed at a very advanced age wearing one of her sculptures– a suit made out of what appeared to be many, many boobs. She inspired artists, curators, and fashion designers. Will YOU be as cool as that? No.  No you will not.


About Michael von Braithwaite

Does it look like I'd wear it on a boat, at an eccentric person's estate or accompanied by a peacock on a chain? Yeah, I'll probably buy that.


  1. Leo Plass

    Yay! I feel like we could go back and forth like this forever. I will lay off it this week, but, warning! this may be revisited.

  2. You guys make me happy.

    Great post, I look forward to the continued back and forth!

  3. I like it. Especially the last two: Pam Grier and the late Louise Bourgeois. But why not feature any lady musicians? since the post this is responding to was about cool dudes in music? Please keep the back in forth coming!

  4. Pingback: You’ll Never Be This Cool: Space Between Edition « Ironing Board Collective

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