This excerpt is from 'My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging and Polyamory' by Cooper S. Beckett. This excerpt, entitled 'Be Cool,' is reprinted with permission of the author.

I am very positively, very certainly, not cool.

I’ve alternately been a nerd and a geek as long as I can remember. You know, the kind of person who discovers something cool like swinging and rather than bask in the light of it and suck the marrow from its bones, builds a website and podcast to talk about it. That kind of uncool. Oh, yes.

So, would it surprise you, faithful reader, to know that I was also tremendously uncool in high school? In college? Only once did I get to hang out with the cooler kids, and it was because our school froze one day. Literally. Gotta love the Midwest. That day I somehow got invited along with a bunch of others to one of the cheerleaders’ houses. I spent my time watching these cool kids. Thinking about how nice it must be to have their friends and their fun and their relationships and their (I was very sure then, mildly sure now) kinky sex.

Whereas, I lost my virginity the summer after high school...in a long term monogamous relationship to boot.

So why dredge all this up?

Well, I sorta realized something. While I still would never consider myself cool, these days I’m
doing the things cool people do. Exploring sexuality and experimenting, going to very interesting parties, enjoying friends from all walks of life, and most definitely having sex with people outside my relationship with my partner’s full permission and participation. In fact, I’d like to jaunt this thought one step further. I’m reasonably certain (because how certain can you be?) that the football team captain I vaguely wanted to be in high school (mostly because he slept with both the girls I confided in him that I liked) has had fewer sexual partners than I have. I’m far more confident that he hasn’t participated in a sixteen person orgy. (Read another writer's story about the swing life in How I Became a Swinger.)

In fact, this can be said about the vast majority of the folks that I wanted to be in times gone by. I wanted to be them because they were having all of the cake, as it were. They were living glamorous lives, and doing glamorous things, and having glamorous stories.

In high school.

Now, as I am friends on Facebook with quite a few of these folk, I know exactly what they’re doing and who they are. Most of them are popping out their second or third kid, talking about which Mega Church they cult off to every week (like jacking off, but with "God"), and otherwise living the preposterously mundane life that, well, I used to live in high school.

The cool kids always seemed exceptional to me, like they’d managed to tap a vein of gold that was making them emotionally, sexually, and physically rich beyond their wildest dreams. Sure, many of them would argue with me that they had problems too, and it’s not easy being popular, and that not everything was as it looked, and that...oh my, I just fell asleep boring myself with their woes. And now, the vein seems to have dried up.

I’m confident that many of them are quite happy with their lives, and more power to them. But as news trickles in through the grapevine of troubles all around, I observe that a lot of them peaked early. That they had their days of fun and those days are behind them. It’s time to be grown-ups now.

Which is, I think, why we "play." By "we", I mean swingers.

They’ve all grown up to their grown-up jobs and their grown-up responsibilities and their grown-up hobbies (like fly fishing) and their grown-up lawn mowing and dog walking and carpooling and minivanning; all looking back on what The Boss called Glory Days. Days that can’t be recaptured. Days that are long gone. As though they’ve forgotten where the fun is and have replaced it with simulacrum.

But still, we play.

We haven’t forgotten how to play. From the youngest playmate I’ve had in their twenties to the oldest in their fifties, we remember to enjoy...to suck the aforementioned marrow out of life (as well as other stuff out of other things) and seize us some diem.

I’m tempted to reach out to some of them and remind them that they can still have fun being
grown-ups. Others it just makes me snigger that I’ve finally found something cool that I get to do and they don’t. 'Cuz even if I can’t fathom that I might be considered cool, I’m doing something that not many people get to do in their lives, and something that might cause others, even that high school jock, to envy me.

Holy shit, that’s odd.

Want to buy the book? Find it here.