Full credit for all of this, of course, goes to Gillian Flynn, yeah? You remember, from Gone Girl (book or movie):
Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding...Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl.
The full monologue covers a lot more, but holy shit did this resonate with my general cohort when we caught wind of it. Because, yes. This expectation is not nearly as much of a joke as it probably sounds like if you're either dating or friends with daters.
I talk to my friend J- about this a lot. I may, in fact, have angrily accused her of being the New American Cool Girl more than once and over text, she thinks I'm complimenting her.
Here's the problem. The heroine of Gone Girl is a fucking psychopath, and she thinks that all women are like her. In her monologue, the underlying (and stated) assumption is that Cool Girls are pretending to be what men want. Why? For some ... unknown reason. She herself pretended to be the cool girl when she met the guy she's married to in the books, but she's very iffy on why. To get him to love her, obviously, but what was the end game? In her case it was a long con that involved faking her own death, but in the case of a normal woman what does buying into the cool girl mythology actually earn us? Is it a sitcom marriage where we're mad at our husbands for thinking they were marrying the cool girl? Super.
The expectation is so accurate (overstated, but accurate) that the problem of motive has gone largely unaddressed.
Here's my version, so cleverly titled.
New American Cool Girl
The difference between the Gone Girl Cool Girl and the NACG? NACGs FUCKING KNOW BETTER.
For the NACG it's not about seeing what a man wants and molding herself to fit that, for some future potential payoff (in the form of a diamond and/or a faked murder?) It's about the unconscious and unavoidable sublimation of the feminine due to the misogynistic training we all, men and women alike, receive our entire lives.
I see it all the time, and every time I see it I get meaner about it. It's amazing any of my single girlfriends still talk to me. Especially since if you asked Crockett, I probably did plenty of it myself.
I admit, I'm have perhaps swung further in the opposite direction than most women want or need to go. Example: last night, I was at a beer+yoga event in Denver. With yetis. Life is strange. After the class, there were contests, and a woman won the first (which happened to be headstands). The dude who was on the mat next to her, and got beat by her, walked by J- and I afterwards and said to a friend 'I can't believe a female won'. J- literally straightarmed me like we were in a crashing car and said NO, because the woman I am now may or may not lecture that dude on a whooooole variety of things. Starting with how dehumanizing it is to refer to a woman as a female.
But my personal crank levels aside, there are behaviors that smart women who know better still engage in because we just. cannot. help. ourselves. We're the NACGs and we know better, and yet.
That should, hopefully, be part 2.