Updated: Jan 8
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The Myth of the “Cool Girl”: And Why It Is Hurting Us
She is discussed in urgent whispers around the brunch table, in hushed rumors in the girl’s room, and lauded openly by every man in a 50-mile radius. She is the initiator of comparison, the thief of our joy, the demolisher of our self-esteem. She is…The Cool Girl.
We all know her, she is the most insidious of legends. She can be spotted in her natural habitat, sucking down beer and chicken wings with the boys during Friday night Football, or sitting happily through her boyfriends’ mind numbing 8-hour video game binge with no whisper of discontent or even an ask of anything in return.
So, who is she really? Well, she’s definitely not me. Why? Because I hate football and video games, beer makes me bloat, oh and I’m a vegetarian. I also happen to have my own wants and needs out of a relationship, that do not hinge entirely on what my significant other wants or likes to do. You know who else she is not? Probably you. Why? Because my guess is you somewhere in there, you too have things you want and need out of a relationship, that you don’t really want to compromise on.
The truth is, myth of the cool girl, is just that…a myth. It is not normal not to mention healthy, to have no expectations, needs, or hobbies, of your own within a relationship. Bending your desires, your boundaries and your needs to entirely fit the mold of another, is not only detrimental to your own sanity… it’s not being honest.
That type of interaction, is what I like to call “masquerade dating” because the person you are with, is basically dating a mask. You’re in there somewhere, but you are presenting an alternate version of yourself, or a mask, because it makes you feel you will be more appealing to them. But here’s the thing with masks, not only do they make it really hard for you to breathe, they eventually have to come off. You cannot wear a mask forever, it is simply not realistic.
I know it is tough, because we read relationship book after relationship books with titles like “How to Land A Man”, “How to Get Proposed to in 60 days or less” and on and on and on. All of these books give the same advice in slightly varying shades, “don’t be needy, don’t be clingy, don’t ask for anything, hide in the corner quietly until he beckons you for sex or interaction” ok maybe not that last one but I swear that feels like the gist of some of them.
But the truth is, it’s not only normal, it’s healthy to have your own needs out of a relationship, whether they be physical, emotional or even spiritual. Knowing yourself well enough, to know what you truly need out of a relationship and what you are not willing to compromise on, is a huge step in the direction of finding a fulfilling and deep connection with a partner. Besides, who knows, the very thing you are trying to cover up, could be the very thing that attracts your future partner to you.
So sure, could you pretend to like beer and football? Could you pretend to wake up with perfect hair? Could you shove down all your true feelings about the fact he doesn’t call you back or won’t even participate in any of the activities you like? Sure. You could do those things. But why? Not only is that not being honest, it’s not even really healthy for the other person, because it isn’t realistic. The truth is we are humans, meaning even our best matches, our soul mates, are going to have things that don’t 100 percent line up with our own. So compromises will have to be made, somewhere. But if your partner has no idea who you really are or what you want, how are they going to be able to meet those needs for you, or even know where to begin to compromise on them?
All “masquerade dating” leads to, is you feeling frustrated, unfulfilled and low-key kind of resentful. Then you get the added bonus of your partner’s frustration when they figure out that they fell in love with someone, who doesn’t exist. I firmly believe that is why so may marriages are in trouble, because they dated, fell in love and eventually married each other’s masks; which get a lot harder to hold together with the addition of mortgages, kids and carpools.
So yes, you could choke down chicken wings and flat beer all day long, you could pretend that his 8-hour video game binges are all you’ve ever dreamed of, and you can pretend it’s fine that he never calls you back. But all you are going to do, is set yourself, and the relationship, up for failure down the line. Not to mention, the things you are covering up, like the fact that you actually love ice skating, or that you hate sushi, or that you would prefer to spend the day binging Netflix as opposed to hiking the Grand Canyon, could be the very things that attract your soulmate to you.
So, how about we do ourselves (and everyone else) a favor, let’s save the masks for next Halloween, drop the acts, and be our true selves, because I am willing to bet there is someone out there who thinks we are pretty great, just as is.