“You just don’t seem like the sort of person who needs that to y’know, feel cool.”
Elliot thought that might be a compliment. Like maybe Dakota thought he was cool without having to do anything? Or maybe she thought that he was so uncool that he wasn’t even trying to feel cool, which was fair. Elliot felt cool when he finished a boss fight without dying once, or solved a puzzle without using a guide, or got all the collectibles in a level on his first time through it, or beat his personal best time catching the Snitch.
With other people it didn’t really matter. Rocky Mountain International didn’t really have Cool Kids. JD thought he was cool but Elliot was pretty sure JD was more popular in his own head than anywhere in the real world. And other than that… well there was DJ, who was super hot and super chill and probably the strongest contender for Cool Kid that RMI had. And everyone else was pretty much an unapologetic weirdo or a straightlaced pureblood. There were a few in-betweeners (Malachi Çenturion, for one) but Elliot wouldn’t exactly describe any of them as cool.
Dakota was a weird case. Rumor had it she used to be a Straightlaced Pureblood, except clearly she hadn’t been that straightlaced because one time she had set a different, straighter-laced pureblood on fire. But clearly she was now just an Unapologetic Weirdo, as evidenced by the fact that she was just casually talking about historical husband-poisoners.
“Okay, so that’s cool as hell.” Hashtag MeToo and stuff. “But yeah, makeup is not for me,” Elliot said, not in a judgy way but just as a fact. He didn’t have anything against it. Makeup looked really cool on people who knew how to use it, and he knew that makeup wasn’t just for girls because he had enough Theater People in his life. He liked the idea of bright colors all over his face like face-paint. But if you wore makeup you had to remember not to smudge it and Elliot knew he would be really bad about that. Nail polish would probably be okay if he could wait for it to dry or figure out how to charm it dry on his own. “Okay, I don’t need to feel cool, I just need something portable. What would you pick for me?”