All the “Cool Kids” Are Doing It
My older brother and I often joke with each other and use simple cliche’s to get our points across to each other when we engage in friendly debates. “Don’t put the carriage before the horse” or “Don’t jump the gun”, he says to encourage me to take my time and be patient. “Take a chill pill” or “Woo-Sah”, I say to him to encourage him to calm down and relax.
“All the cool kids are doing it”, we both say to each other jokingly to encourage one another to do something we know we need to do, but lack the motivation.
However, this last cliche saying seems to have a little more social clout than other sayings.
It has been my observation in all social settings that there is power in numbers; whether consciously or subconsciously.
While enjoying an outing at the mall, shopping and having “Me time”, I always like to people-watch. I often just grab a pretzel and cop a squat on a bench in a high-traffic area where I know I’ll be able to observe some interesting social interactions. The other day as I was finishing my pretzel and lemonade I observed a thirteen, maybe fourteen-year old girl conversing with a friend she ran into while shopping (It still amazes me that in this day and age pre-teens and young teens are “dropped off” to roam the mall alone with only their same-aged friends who are equally as unexperienced as they are to accompany them).
The young girl seemed delighted by the encounter, hugging the friend as if she had not seen her in ages, when I’m sure they had no doubt seen each other hours ago while at school. As their conversation progressed the young lady who intially seemed delighted in bumping into the young lady suddenly was overcome with the worst case teenage angst I had ever seen. She began cursing, using her hands to make rude gestures and moving her neck in violent motions that would surely give her whiplash. Her entire demeanor and attitude towards the young lady had changed. What caused this sudden burst of attitude, rude language and behavior and disdain for her friend of five minutes ago? She had been joined by a group of four other teenaged girls.
These four other teenaged girls apparently disliked the young lady and had no problem whatsoever making quite a spectacle of themselves as they displayed just how much they disliked her. The young girl’s delighted demeanor was immediately altered by her group of friends.
It was clear this was not the first time this young lady had acted this way. She displayed no remorse as the other young lady walked away, the five girls laughing, pointing at her and snickering as she entered a nearby store. The girl who was obviously being picked on had clearly experienced this before as well, walking with her down and shaking it as though she knew that if those other four girls had shown up this was exactly what was going to happen.
The power of numbers. It is scary how the influence of four teenagers can cause one teenager to completely change her opinion, attitude, demeanor and basically her personality.
The fact is this: “All the cool kids are doing it” is a phrase that will never be false.
The socially strange and scary thing is this: The group classified as the “cool kids” is no longer composed of what the “cool kid” group is usually composed of.
The “cool kid” group is no longer the kids with the best clothes, clearest skin, best hair and membership in the most extracurricular activities. The “cool kid” group is officially whatever group of individuals has formed an alliance based upon any combination of similarities in any combination of social or personal categories and have pledged allegiance to each other and agreed that they are their own definition of “cool”.
With these standards, the “cool kid” group could be three teenagers who all have asthma, like Ja Rule and manage to play the harmonica despite their handicap. The “cool kid” group is becoming more inclusive and with good reason. There is power in numbers.
Another cliche’ comes to mind when exploring the power in numbers notion: “Two heads are better than one”.
This cliche shows how the “cool kid” group is growing in popularity even more than ever before because children these days think it is easier to make decisions based on the thoughts of their friends as opposed to making decisions based upon their own thoughts. In the case with the five mean girls against the one girl, five heads are better than one. This formula allows the teenagers to easily transfer blame for bad decision making when confronted by parents or other authority figures. They use the knowledge of their own easily influenced personalities to shy away from responsibility and ownership of their actions.
Be careful, they’re smarter than they look. They just don’t want you to think so.