May 3, 2013 6:48 pm

Too uncool for school

Having the right haircut, body piercings and gadgets are not enough to make some people trendy
Illustration by James Ferguson of an iPhone with an image of an ear on it©James Ferguson

How cool and trendy are you? Are you an adept user of social media? Are you in touch with the latest gadgets that the young take for granted? I confess immediately that I am not. I have had an iPad for a while but I have only recently acquired an iPhone. I find it challenging, to say the least; I have spent many happy hours taking photos of my ear.

Before the iPhone, my previous gadget acquisition – also this year – was a Nike FuelBand. This is, in effect, a bracelet which claims to know how much exercise I have undertaken in a day and sets me targets. I had admired one on the wrist of a CEO who I had shepherded around Davos this year. As a Davos virgin he had been very grateful to me for getting him into the right parties, hosting him to meals and lending him my driver. By way of thanks he sent me a FuelBand so that I could have one just like his.

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Mrs Moneypenny

I tried it out in the Bahamas and my Non Dom Girlfriend, also on that trip, had one too. She had become obsessed with hers, which adorned her delicate wrist rather than gripped it like a tourniquet, as mine did me. You can plug it into your computer and it will tell you how you are doing relative to other people of your age. That part of its offering is, frankly, a function too far, if you ask me. I know I lead a much too sedentary life without my computer telling me so.

But in my quest to be cool and trendy, the Nike FuelBand may shortly be superseded on my wrist by the Jawbone Up. A week ago, I had not even heard of Jawbone – “Where have you been? Don’t you have a Jambox?” asked NDG, who is four years older than me but is irritatingly familiar with gadgets – or the Up. But then a week ago I had not heard of Jack and Finn Harries, either.

My ignorance of both collided when I went to a private dinner for Jawbone where, it had been rumoured, two of the other guests were to be the Harries twins. They didn’t turn up, so I can’t tell you what they were like, nor why a reported 1.2 million teenagers watch their YouTube channel.

The dinner was held in the Saatchi Gallery – achingly cool and trendy in itself – in a room hung with photographs of Russian gangsters covered in tattoos. Sergei Vasiliev is the artist and the portraits are quite disturbing, although not so much as to put me off my dinner.

In the absence of the Harries twins, I was worried that I would not meet anyone young and trendy but fortunately found myself opposite someone who I suspect is one of the youngest and trendiest reporters on the Financial Times – indeed so trendy that he sports an earring and collar-length hair.

He and I engaged in conversation with the other diner in close proximity, an attractive female banker with even longer hair. She worked for a very trendy bank, which lent to technology start-ups. Sitting in a room full of tattoo photographs, she shared with us that her hairdresser, to whom she paid the GDP of a small African country, was covered in tattoos. But her hair was worth it, she thought. My young and trendy FT colleague said that he thought the sexiest hair on girls was short hair, which was not what she wanted to hear. How short? Cut with a barber’s trimmer, he said. She was not at all convinced.

So, if I cut my hair off, get more body piercing, watch Jack and Finn Harries on YouTube, learn to use my iPhone properly and start wearing a Jawbone Up, will I have finally arrested the ageing process? I doubt it.

I shared a speaking platform this week with someone who was in the same school year as Cost Centre #1 and now has his own business teaching companies about his generation, entitled Born Social. That is the real problem. I am just a different generation. And will never be cool and trendy, however hard I try.

mrsmoneypenny@ft.com

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