What I learnt from trying to be the ‘Cool Girl’
It’s too hard to keep up
According to Gillian Flynn’s book Gone Girl, the Cool Girl is what every girl pretends to be.
They pretend to be the Cool Girl to impress a man. Because, as Flynn says, ultimately the Cool Girl is a hot, funny girl who likes every thing that boys like. She may have taken it a little too far when she faked her own death, framed her husband for murder and killed a man as a way of getting home, but Amy Donne from Gone Girl did have a point.
Although it does not justify her actions, after hearing her Cool Girl rant, you can see why she was pissed off.
She spent years pretending to ‘adore football, poker, dirty jokes and burping,’ pretended she ‘drinks beer, loves threesomes and anal sex’ so her husband would think she was cool, only to find out her husband had found a younger, cooler girl with bigger boobs who he’d been shagging behind her back for the last year.
The thing is, we can all learn a lesson from Amy Donne. I have definitely tried to like everything a boy has liked in an effort for him to think I’m cool and I’m sure most of you have, too. But this is something we all need to stop doing.
When I first met my boyfriend I realised we had a lot in common. I also realised there was a lot we didn’t have in common. Instead of being honest about this and telling him I hated some of the things he loved, I bullshitted my way through the first date, then spent the next night in front of my computer, learning Game of Thrones quotes off by heart, swotting up on the names of the Arsenal players and revising Star Wars characters.Desperately researching Game of Thrones
I was very impressed with my new found knowledge, and he seemed very happy. I became his ultimate Cool Girl and he didn’t need to know I was pretending. We spent hours watching Game of Thrones. He would look at me, smile and say: ‘It’s so cool you love Game of Thrones too.’ I would grin back, hoping the confusion wouldn’t show in my eyes and he would find out I didn’t have a clue what was going on, or give a fuck about the lives of these fur wearing, medieval characters with impossible accents.
My biggest problem with becoming his Cool Girl was that he is a vegetarian. I spent weeks ordering halloumi burgers in restaurants. I learnt how to make him vegetarian meals and watched over him with enthusiasm whenever he cooked tofu dishes. Every time I sneaked into Greggs on the way to uni, I would panic one of his friends would come in and catch me ordering a much needed sausage roll.I’m cool with a meatless omelette. Just remind me what tofu is again?
Don’t pretend you haven’t done it too. We are all guilty of playing up to the Cool Girl character. How many times have you walked into a pub and clocked the girl with her boyfriend and all his friends, politely sipping her beer and pretending she cares about the football match on the TV?
Or maybe your boyfriend is a gamer, so you spend hours next to him in front of a screen, pretending you care about his high scores.
Cool Girls come in all shapes and sizes. But whatever a boy thinks is cool, he will have his girlfriend beside him pretending to like every thing he does.
The hard truth is that we have no one to blame but ourselves. Boys never pretend to be the Cool Boy. I bet when you watch TOWIE with your boyfriend he doesn’t pretend he loves it as much as you. Even if he agrees to watch it in the first place, he will probably moan the whole way through and keep reminding you how shit it is.If he likes hats and shades, I like hats and shades.
So why do us girls feel the need to constantly lie to impress our boyfriends? They can’t read our minds. If we pretend to love everything they love how can we expect them not to believe this girl exists? If we are willing to be the exact person they want us to be, without any compromise, without ever getting angry, how can we expect a fair relationship? Sure, boys are stupid for thinking this girl exists, but we are just as stupid for allowing them to think it.
What is even more worrying is Amy Donne refers to the men whose wives stand up to them as ‘monkey husbands.’ Most of us are probably guilty of doing this. we are desperate to convince then men in our lives that we are not the nagging controlling girlfriends. Even when it is completely reasonable to moan at them when they are in the wrong, we are too ready to pretend everything is cool in our desperate attempts to remain the Cool Girl. No arguments, no drama, nothing to distract them from the Cool Girl image we keep them under.
‘If you’re happy, I’m happy.’ How many times have you said this? Sure, nice sentiment, but in truth, it’s just bullshit. You may be able to kid yourself for a while that by keeping your boyfriend happy by going along with everything he wants you to be, then you will be happy too.
And you may be happy for a while. But it won’t last. Eventually you’ll get bored with doing everything he loves and you hate all the time. You will stop being the Cool Girl and start being the moody, moaning girlfriend who he can’t keep happy anymore. And he won’t be able to understand why you have changed.
The only way you can make it work for both of you is to stop being the Cool Girl. I recently did this. I got caught in the act of pretending by my boyfriend. We were on a boat trip on holiday and he started saying: ‘The fire rises’ in a mock American accent. I laughed and replied: ‘You love Game of Thrones’.
That’s when his face dropped. He told me it wasn’t a Game of Thrones quote. It was Batman. ‘How did you get that wrong? You love Batman.’ It was embarrassing and awkward and I decided to get it over with and confess all. Game of Thrones is the most boring thing I’ve ever watched. I’ve never even bothered to watch batman and I love eating burgers sausages and chicken nuggets and nothing will ever change that.
I was prepared for him to break up with me on the spot. I had just admitted to hating all the things he loved. I had just stopped being the Cool Girl and started being myself. But turns out, he still liked me anyway. he laughed at me, took the piss a bit and for a while it was a bit humiliating.
But now I am so glad I came clean. We now have a more honest, happier and fairer relationship because of it. When we eat out, he sticks to the halloumi burgers and I eat a steak. Whenever he wants to watch an episode of Game of Thrones, we compromise and I get to watch Don’t tell the Bride afterwards.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should fake your own death and frame your man for murder. It doesn’t need to get to that point. Just be honest, be yourself, tell him you hate something he loves. It may be a bit awkward in the moment, but trust me, it will make for a happier, healthier and more equal relationship in the long run.
Or maybe it will be a complete disaster and he won’t like you anymore if you are not the Cool Girl. But this is for the best, too. If he can’t handle who you really are, the selfish bastard isn’t worth it anyway. Be your own, true version of the Cool Girl and the right man will soon love you for who you are.
But whatever you do, never, ever pretend to be the exact girl he wants you to be.
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