The Cool Girl

I recently read ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. It was a brilliant recommendation from book club. One particular passage stood out in light of all this research I’ve been working on ‘chick culture’.Gone Girl

The passage is narrated by the protagonist Amy as she reflects on her deteriorating relationship with her husband Nick (I would give a non-vital organ to have written this passage. I love Gillian Flynn!)

‘I was playing the girl who was in style, the girl a man like Nick wants: the Cool Girl. Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? 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 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 understand. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want because they’re the Cool Girl.

‘Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl…I used to see men giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say ‘You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them’. ……Oh and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like ‘I like strong women’. I waited patient – years – for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to love cosmos, organise scrapbook parties and make out with each other while we leer. And then we’d say ‘Yeah, he’s a Cool Guy’.

I’ve also been asking my friends about their partners’ reaction to chick flicks. A good friend of mine described a blind date where the guy asked her to the movies and in the same breath warned that ‘he would not watch any chick flicks’. She wasn’t very impressed with the delineation and a second date never happened. There’s also a certain pride amongst women who claim they have no interest in that sort of girly movie and prefer an action or adventure film. I don’t doubt the authenticity of their convictions, especially as I have a bias towards adventure/ fantasy genre myself BUT why the indirect boast? It’s as if there is something distasteful about ‘chick flicks’ and ‘cool girls’ enjoy ‘dick flicks’.

I’m probably over analysing this. I’m pretty sure most logical couples just take turns choosing movies. Anyway, for those who haven’t read Gone Girl, WHY NOT? Watch it before the film comes out. Best book ever!


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