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In praise of utter uncoolness

Ah, the wailing and the gnashing of teeth. I can hear it from here, as a poll is released showing that Canadians are the fourth-leastcool people on the planet.

Ah, the wailing and the gnashing of teeth. I can hear it from here, as a poll is released showing that Canadians are the fourth-leastcool people on the planet. The poll, of visitors to a social networking site called Badoo (popular mostly in Mexico, Brazil, France, Spain, and Italy) discovered that Mexicans, Brazilians, the French, Spanish, and Italians are among the coolest people in the world. Imagine that.

Americans are, according to this no doubt scientific and statistically accurate poll, the coolest people on Earth. I suspect this is because many of those surveyed have never actually been there; exposure to actual America, as opposed to the America presented by Hollywood, quickly erodes that feeling. Low on the list (and also low on the list of users of Badoo) are Germans, Poles, Turks, Canadians, and lowest of the low, the Belgians.

I can understand why Canadians would come low on the poll. After all, this is essentially a poll based on crude national stereotypes as filtered through the media, right? So Americans are all ripplingmuscled action stars, sultry pop singers, and the better bits of Barack Obama's speeches. Canadians are Bob and Doug MacKenzie, hockey players with missing teeth, and Dudley DoRight.

A few interesting notes about this poll: Three of the five lowest countries (Canada, Germany, Belgium) are relatively famous for brewing quality beers, while many of the top countries are well known for wines. Could this be a bit of grape versus hops snobbery?

Second, Badoo is apparently largely a site for people looking for dates online. It may inadvertently be polling how many people in its high-use countries want to sleep with us.

Regardless of how the polled came to their conclusions, we should not fret. If you are worried that Canadians should be cooler, do not, repeat, do not rush out and get a trendy haircut, do not get a spray tan, do not try to open a new nightclub.

Instead, give up. Take it from someone who has never been cool and never will be. Just enjoy the fact that the pressure is off.

Canadians and Belgians and Germans and Poles and Turks can now relax. No one cares. We can go around with our shirts untucked, wear black socks with sandals, and buy cheap sunglasses instead of $500 designer frames.

This could also be a boon for our tourism industry.

Imagine the marketing campaign. Belgians! Come to Canada! We won't make you feel inferior or dorky, we're just like you! We, too, are good at a sport that almost no one else cares about (Belgians are very good at cyclocross); we, too, have many breweries; we, too, play second banana to larger countries (the U.S. for us, France and the Netherlands for them). Come and visit, and we'll reciprocate.

The other nice thing about not being cool? It never lasts.

In the 1980s, about the least cool thing you could do was wear thrift store flannel clothes and leave your hair shaggy and unstyled. Then Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder became world famous, and fashion houses released high-priced lines of flannel shirts. From the 1970s to the mid-1990s, messing around with computers was for dorks. Then this strange tipping point hit, and the geeks took over the world. The biggest retirement news from the past few weeks has been that of Steve Jobs, archnerd.

Don't try to be cool, Canadians. Just do what you like doing, give it a few years, and everyone else will come around. Hockey and maple doughnuts will be the hottest things going. Unless it's Belgium's turn first.

Matthew Claxton is a reporter with the Langley Advance, a sister paper of The Record.