In different scenarios throughout my life, I’ve thought to myself, “Wow. Self. You are so lame.” Moments like when I wear tube socks with my moccasins, and any moment that involves me dancing–these are moments that I let myself believe that I am, at my core, a lame person.

Other times–times when I write ten pages in my novel, times when get scholarships, times when I live in Chicago and someone asks me for directions– at these rare times, I feel like a cool person.
I discussed this with my best friend/ex roommate Chloe Noelle and we realized that as a people, we can’t just polarize ourselves into the categories “cool” or “lame.” There is, in fact, a spectrum.
Fortunately for me, there are people who are SO LAME, that that they are actually kinda cool. We call them 
General Characteristics of Lame-Cool People:
Not terribly well-dressed (may understand a few basic fashion rules, but don’t have time, energy, or emotion that is required with style upkeep)
-Deliberately disobey social norms, but embrace this about themselves
-Can make people laugh, even if people are laughing AT them
-Confident, but not suave
Typically (although I am sure there are some exceptions), not athletic, and if they are athletes, it’s in like, Olympic Improv or Karate
-Send grammatically correct text messages
-Smarter than the average bear–perhaps to their social detriment (IE: Mathletes)
We then realized that some people think they are so COOL, they are actually LAME. They, therefore are “Cool-Lame.” 
 General Characteristics of Cool-Lame People:
-Usually Vain, image-based, ingenuous, typically good looking
-Able to fool people into thinking they are cool by dressing better/ acting superior
-The B-List Popular Kids in High School (and some A-listers too)
-People that cling to their high school popularity after they’ve graduated
-People that name-drop, one-up, or wear name brands very visibly
-Typically less nice to people than any other part of the spectrum
-Often athletes, although not necessarily good athletes.
-Enjoy positions of power WAY too much (IE: Restuarant Managers)
Then there are people that are just so cool, that they are actually cool. Thus, they are “Cool-Cool” People.
General Characteristics of Cool-Cool People:
-Nice, suave, agreeable people
-Fashion Savvy
-Confident, cool without having to try to be cool
-Usually have interesting jobs/majors
-Generally coordinated and graceful
-Good looking, or have a discernable presence
-Smart, intelligent
-*Note-many Hipsters are Cool-Cool, but it is very easy for Hipsters to slip into the Cool-Lame spectrum.
And finally, you’ve got your Lame-Lame’s.
General Characteristics of Lame-Lame People:
-Trying WAY too hard, Extreme Overcompensation
-Fake Tans
-Just don’t got it.
-Or: -Extreme dorkiness (but saying that makes me feel mean)
For your convenience, I have created a spectrum of celebrities that typify the characteristics of the genre. If you disagree/ would like to add or expound, I invite you to do so in the comments section! Let’s have an open dialogue here.
*There ARE varying degrees of each category. So you might be “sorta cool-lame.” That’s a thing.
Explanations/ Identifications: (Feel free to skip this part, if you feel like I have correctly identified each celebrity. I will also provide illustrative digital examples, to help clarify the category.)
Lame Lame:
Snookie“The Tan” says it all. 
Russell Brand- He’s the worst! Had a good thing going with Katy Perry, actually raised his cool-points, then blew it. He is obnoxious, unattractive, and untalented. 
Lindsay LohenAll the potential in the world, crushed to bits by a prison sentence and botox. Also, not very nice. And lowers her voice during interviews to sound cool.
Daniel RadcliffeTalks about his reprehensible sexual exploits as a way of proving to Hollywood that he is not just a child star. Because using fame to hook up with many women (especially when you are, no matter what you wish, a role model to children) speaks so highly of your maturity and talent.
Vienna-Not nice Fame-Monger that thinks very highly of herself. Generally good clothes. And Hair.
KanyeVery talented but too bombastic, makes enemies before friends. I guess I’m just not over the VMA’s
Kim Kardashian-Basically, reality TV doesn’t make you awesome.
Miley CyrusWear a bra. At least when you’re at Disneyland. You’re engagement ring is nice.
Zac Efron- Controversial choice, I know but he just… he’s just not great. I don’t see it, I don’t get it.
James Franco Asked to host the Oscars, one of the highest honors, and showed up wasted. Ruined the Academy Awards.

Does anyone hate Patrick Dempsey or Kate Hudson? They are just like bread and butter or chocolate chip cookies. Generally likable, not terribly distinctive.

Conan: Big, dorky, ginger. Highly amusing but places no stock in being attractive, graceful, or socially acceptable.
Andrew Garfield: Owns his geeky, wears it well. Like a Spiderman suit. Also, British accent.
Emma Stone: My newest celebrity crush. She is delightful and wonderful and makes fun of herself and is humble and great.
Zooey: She’s certainly trying to own “quirky” with New Girl. I’m not totally buying it, but find her personality engaging.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson: So likable and wonderful! Not suave in the slightest, but definitely very sparkly.
Ellen: Borderline cool-cool. So nice, so genuine, a little bit weird, individual, and not afraid to be a massive dork.
Meryl Streep-Talented, poised, doesn’t need to throw herself in the limelight to shine.
Will SmithCharisma, Charisma, Charisma. Handsome, laughs at himself. Fresh, obviously.
Ryan Gosling– Duh.
Jennifer Lawrence To borrow the phrase from Kristi Boyce: “Katniss Freaking Everdeen.”
Joseph Gordon Levitt-Seriously, watch this one.
BeyonceSasha Fierce.
So, dear friends, I am eager to hear where you fall on this spectrum. Allow yourself to embrace your inner lame, or, if applicable, your inner cool. Welcome to the new standard of judgement. May the social acceptance odds be ever in your favor.

  1. Jun 15, 2012
    Sadie Crookston

    I am in love with this, and I think you have described each category to perfection.

  2. Jun 15, 2012

    This is the greatest thing I have read today. So funny, Sierra. And it's tricky–if one calls herself cool-cool, she is actually lame-lame. But the inverse is not true. I'd just prefer to stay off the spectrum and leave it to the professionals (aka Kim K, McDreamy, and Meryl).

  3. Jun 15, 2012

    Rhinestones. SO true. And I disagree about Beyonce. Cool-lame.

  4. Jun 15, 2012

    That is so cool! I feel the same as you though. But, I guess that is just a common trait between book lovers and teachers.

  5. Jun 15, 2012

    I want to say that we (and most people we know) are lame-cool? Right? I love the celebrity spectrum. Spot on, except for Zac Efron is probably equilibrium for me and Joseph Gordon Levitt is a little bit lame-cool. Love him, love Beyonce, love it. This time in Chicago is producing all kinds of interesting reading for me! 🙂

  6. Jun 15, 2012

    For the record, lame-lames are not unlikeable. Just wanted to clarify.

  7. Jun 15, 2012

    I think you need to add "Lame" to your reactions at the bottom of your blog post

  8. Jun 15, 2012

    I…just don't like Patrick Dempsey. I just don't.

    So, maybe that makes me lame-lame. But at least I'm among some real winners, right?

  9. Jun 15, 2012

    haaha i just found your blog and i love it! this post made me laugh. very well written! do you go to byui?

  10. Jun 15, 2012

    So so funny, Sierra. Weird little kids everywhere can now embrace their lame-coolness.

  11. Jun 15, 2012

    Oprah: Cool-cool
    Donald Trump: Lame-lame

  12. Jun 16, 2012
    Alexandra Marie

    haha I absolutely love it !

    Alexandra Marie

  13. Jun 27, 2012

    Well this was just fabulous.

  14. Jun 27, 2012
    Sierra Penrod

    Brittany, I mean this in all seriousness: I think you are cool cool.

  15. Jun 28, 2012
    Sierra Penrod

    Chynna, I actually just finished school at BYU in Provo! But I did a semester abroad with BYU-I so I have very fond memories.

  16. Jul 20, 2012

    This was extremely, wonderfully entertaining! Just loved it! 🙂