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Published May 20, 2013, 11:30 PM

Parenting Perspectives: Like beauty, coolness is in the eye of the beholder

I have noted before that there is a vast distance between me and my daughter on the coolness scale.

By: Kathy Tofflemire, INFORUM

I have noted before that there is a vast distance between me and my daughter on the coolness scale.

I attribute some of this to the fact my daughter looks much younger than her 41 years. That’s not to say older people aren’t cool or perceived accordingly. Think Mick Jagger or David Letterman. It just doesn’t usually apply to me.

I have to say I’ve really never aspired to be cool. I always wanted to be considered classy. I don’t know why, and it doesn’t matter because I have never even come close.

Actions aside, the cool factor would seem to apply to what you wear and what you drive.

My daughter’s friend who sells cars likes to, for fun, try to match shoppers with a vehicle type before he approaches them on the sales lot.

For my daughter, he would have said a minivan. He was likely teasing her, but her protestations were loud and immediate.

She may be a “soccer mom” (or in her case, football and basketball), but she would never, ever be seen driving a minivan. Once the proud owner of a Camaro and being someone who would feel right at home on a racetrack, she finds such a vehicle to be decidedly “not cool.”

And what better way to impress a teenage boy than to pull up at his school driving a new, sporty Dodge with assorted bells and whistles – a loaner while her car was in the shop. Her child was impressed and wished he could claim it as his own.

My little Saturn isn’t very cool, but it does have a spoiler and a sun roof, which is about as groovy (dating myself here) as this grandma is probably going to get. But would I drive a candy-apple-red Mustang convertible if I could afford one? Absolutely!

Recently, my child waded through my closet looking for office attire she could wear to work for dress-up day – or, in her case, night – when the higher-ups were visiting.

A majority of the possibilities were too “old lady-ish.” News flash, dear daughter: I fit the criteria. And some of my fashion choices she considered too bold and colorful. Apparently dressing cool, at least for her, requires subtlety – nothing that “shouts.”

She did finally find some slacks she actually liked and a couple of “cute” tops, evidence that my fashion sense has not gone completely “over the hill.”

My daughter measures her coolness by how she is accepted by her older son’s “peeps.” It amuses her that his friends, particularly the girls, greet her with delight as if she were a fellow middle-schooler. Is her son amused by this? Not so much.

But her younger son put her in her place recently during an elementary school art night at which he preferred to hang with his schoolmates rather than his parents.

“But I’m a cool parent,” my daughter protested, to which he replied: “Mom, just because you are wearing a leather jacket doesn’t make you cool.”

But does the 10-year-old think his grandmother qualifies as cool?

Of course.

Kathy Tofflemire is a copy editor at The Forum. Readers can reach her

at (701) 241-5514, or ktofflemire@forumcom.com