Cool had a lot to do with sex, sex appeal, and sex roles. Girls have never received enough credit for the fantastic leap of the mind they took in the 60s when they turned their backs to the audience. In these post-women's-power days, we've come to take a lot for granted. But when the 17-year-old girl from the comfortable home started adopting some of the attitudes of the black jazz musician, the lessons of centuries of class and gender indoctrination were dumped in the trash along with the pink plastic curlers. And gladly, too. Yet boys were always cooler.
Terminal Cool, Marcelle Clements' funny, profound requiem for 60s style and substance, unpacks what cool was (see Miles Davis), how mass culture co-opted it, and how sex destroyed it.
Terminal Cool was originally published in Esquire, March 1984.