Playing the Cardboard Cool Girl in a Relationship

"She's a cool girl. 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."

This is Amy Dunn's, or perhaps Gillian Flynn's, definition of the "cool girl," but every time I meet another guy I seem to have something to add to that list. I don't mean new words that replace Amy's version of the cool girl. I mean new words that pile on to her already comprehensive list.

One added that she has to appreciate Game of Thrones to the point that she should be able to quote it. Another added that she should be a bit of a fitness buff, but shouldn't have any bulky muscle on her. Another wants a girl who can and likes to cook. All these add-ons just add more to the point of being what these guys would call "hot."

There's a threat of being a cool girl for any girl, which is what Flynn talks about in Gone Girl. It's an image, not a person. Girls are taking what they think guys like based on movies or books or just previous conversations and deleting their personality to be something pleasant for him to be with.

But let's turn that around for a bit. Guys really do seem to believe that these girls exist.

That's partially girls' fault for being willing to play that game, but if we stop, I'm not sure men would know what to do. "What do you mean she's not cool with you going out to drink with the boys every night?" "What do you mean she's really sick of watching Game of Thrones and asked you to put something else on?" "What do you mean she doesn't like football?"

I'm not saying that there aren't girls who do some of these things. But what I'm saying is that no girl is just these things. In fact no one's personality is made up of a burping, Game of Thrones, beer, and football. Guy or girl, there's something deeper than these superficial ideals. And girls should not be willing to suppress what makes them unique and special to fit a cool girl stereotype.

When the relationship is first starting out, these little crossovers might be nice. "Oh you like Game of Thrones too?" "Oh, you're a craft beer fan?" And little things like that can be how connections are made. You plan date nights trying different beers while marathoning season four. But a relationship cannot progress if that's all that happens. If all that happens is that a guy thinks of the girl he's seeing as a "cool girl," than he does not really know her at all. I would argue he's not even dating her. He's dating and image. He may as well be dating a cardboard cut-out.

Girls, stop trying to play the cool girl, and boys, stop buying it. A relationship is based on people being with each other, caring about each other, and being willing to dig deeper than just what's on the surface. Be willing to show what makes you different. Otherwise, he's not really with you; he's with some character you're playing.