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There are a lot of cool places in Bowling Green — places your hip friends or classmates frequent and post casual pictures of on Instagram. Maybe you are even one of those hip kids, sipping your latte out of a ceramic mug or enjoying your favorite indie band’s latest record.

But if you can’t already tell by my 40-year-old-dad use of “hip,” I am not one of them.

As your eager, advice-giving Talisman writer, I know I may seem like a cool cat, but today, you’re getting an exclusive look behind the curtain because believe it or not, there are many places I feel are way too cool for me.

If you’re like me, maybe you’ll get some relief knowing at least one other person is silently screaming her way through each of these terrifyingly-rad establishments.

Mellow Matt’s

Ah, the dimly lit, cozy record store with infinite cool points and thus infinite terror. This is the kind of place cool kids stop after school in the movies. I imagine them there, chatting up the workers and discussing the last basement show they attended. They’re wearing ripped jeans with their hair perfectly messy, effortlessly existing. What a sight.

And then there’s me in real life:

Pretending to search for an artist in the stacks of records just to have something to do with my hands and then staring at the posters, gawking like I don’t understand the concept of print media. Awkwardly shuffling until my friend (who would totally be in that group) is finished picking out incense and showing me albums of bands I’ve never heard of.

Fun times.

Nat’s Outdoor Sports

This is a big one, folks. Even as a native Bowling Green girl who has grown up around the local shop, Nat’s still has this crazy power over me. Every time I enter the store, I start to hyperventilate slightly, and paranoid thoughts race through my head.

Allow me to narrate.

Oh, this was a mistake.

They know you’re a fraud.

You don’t hike!

Look at you! They know!

Okay, shut up. Shut up. Just keep walking.

What are you doing? You don’t need a bike seat!

Stop checking out the Frisbees — like you have ever played disc golf in your life. You’re just in here to look at the shoes!

Oh now someone is coming up.

Yes, hello, mmhm. Please stop talking to me.

HE KNEW.

Okay, you’re fine.

I bet he hikes.

Holden Caulfield thinks you’re a phony. And so does he.

I should leave now.

Maybe I’ll grab a laptop sticker first.

“Explore Kentucky.” That’s nice. What part of Kentucky do you explore, Rachael? Your dorm room?

Well nobody knows that. I’ll get it.

Ugh, but then I have to face another cool worker.

I should just leave.

*sweating*

Just go.

You coward.

(Exit, pursued by a bear).

Spencer’s Coffee

Didn’t think this would make the list? Asking yourself why would one of the most delightful places in BG freak me out so much? Starting to question how a person this dysfunctional can function?

Yeah, me too.

Here’s the skinny, though: Spencer’s is the place. It’s the epitome of cool. With the tattooed, artsy baristas, the wood and stainless steel features and the fresh, abstract art, it’s everything I aspire to be and everything I am not in one adorable, great-tasting bundle.

Plus, because it’s the place, everyone is there. And if you’re from here or have even lived here long enough, you always see someone you know – which, for a lot of folks would be a perk. Me? Just pressure.

So as you sip your lavender tea looking like a normal human, I’ll be here, frantically sipping my chai latte and trying not to make any weird hand gestures.

And although there are many, many places I could add to this list, I’ll save us all the embarrassment. So next time you’re feeling out of place, just remember your friendly Talisman writer who is probably somewhere looking far more like a goon than you ever will. So go in good faith, friends. There’s always a bigger dork.

(And it’s usually me.)