Greenwich Village, 1958.
“The magazines also say Beats are supposed to be cool, but who knows what that means? I can only tell you what’s it’s not. It’s not cool to be angry or nasty. It’s not cool to care about how you look. Because like my mother says, pretty fades, but cool is forever.”
--The Beat on Ruby’s Street
Sophie sez all this Bomb stuff is bringing you DOWN. She sez let’s mix it up with a little fashion, and I say there’s no such thing as Beat fashion.
And she sez: they don’t know that! And besides, Beats do have a fashion, in their fashion.
Black pants. Leotards. Earrings. Boots.
Oh, come on, I say, lots of people wear those.
Yeah, she says, but not like we do.
But do they really want to pull apart what everyone’s wearing and she says, Ruby. What else have they got to do?
Well okay, I say. I like big hoopy earrings and leotards and I wear a lot of black. Nell-mom does too but I don’t know anybody with a beret.
Sophie sez: Who said anything about a beret?
What have you got against berets? I say.
What have you got? Sophie sez back.
And by the way, she says, you’re mixing up says and sez an awful lot in here.
It’s my post, I say, I can do whatever I want.
So what would you wear if you were a Beat? Do we ever wear dresses?
Yes. But they have to be extremely cool. In fact you can wear anything as long as you look cool in it.
That’s the main rule, if there is a rule.
And sometimes you can put on a suit and still look cool.
And if you’re not cool, nothing can make you look cool.
I made a list in the book, right? But that was the opposite of cool.
If I had to boil it down to one thing I’d say it’s about not caring what you look like or what people think about you.
Which also means fashion, Sophie!
Sigh. she's not even listening.