Last night, while heading to my lovely friend M’s place for dinner, I was talking to a friend, one of M’s neighbors I’ve known for a few years, trading sly comments about my new yoga mat, the words laced with the type of innuendo that usually peppers our talks. He’s funny, and familiar, someone who knows me well enough to know a few flaws, but is distant enough to flirt with gusto. In a brief moment of inspiration, I did something brave without thinking about it too much, and planned a perfect exit from the situation, telling myself it would be that classic aloof moment that would leave him thinking of me as a Cool Girl. Despite the exit not quite turning out as planned (more below), it led to a brief internal dialogue about the Cool Girls, and why in that moment of inspiration I wanted to be one.
The “Cool Girl” is a hotly debated stereotype, fueled in recent days by the release of the Gone Girl movie, where the brilliant soliloquy from the book is used as a scathing voiceover on the backdrop of a bad marriage. We all know the stereotype: the hot girl who loves sports and beer and junk food and sex, and I’m sure everyone has a strong opinion on whether these girls actually exist, or whether the “Cool Girls” are just pretending to like sports and beer and sex to gain the attention and approval of a man. I can definitely argue that the not-so-Cool Girls exist: let’s be real, we’ve all seen the girl in the bar who cozies up to the Giants fan and starts talking about how much she loooOOoOooOoves Victor Cruz before asking “Which one is the blue team?” The “real” Cool Girls though, are a different story.
With 100 percent honesty: I love watching sports and especially football. I’m that girl that talks about her Fantasy team like it’s a real team, and I love nothing more than a bacon cheeseburger on the weekends, grease dripping down my chin, how I can tangibly feel the salt puffing up my face and how much I don’t care. If I’m to believe the catcalls that follow me around the Heights, I’m not bad on the eyes. And let’s just say I’m a huge fan of being single and certain freedoms that presents me. It’s not just me: my twinster T can rattle off Red Sox stats better than anyone I know, M and I have been known to house multiple orders of wings without blinking an eye, and without calling anyone out, I definitely have friends that share my penchant for living the NYC single life. But I’m also a girl, which means I used to pick fights with my former boyfriend when he wasn’t paying enough attention to me, I look forward to Friday nights so I can watch wedding shows on TLC, and I have a salad for lunch every day of the week. And come on now: much as I love doing my own makeup and how confident I feel in heels, if I weren’t trying to catch the eye of a cute guy in a bar, I’d be going out in sweats and sneakers.
So with all the above, does that make me a normal girl or a Cool Girl? I think the stereotype as it stands doesn’t account for the fact that girls can like things like burgers and beer, while also totally tearing up when the bride on TV says yes to the dress. The hate for the Cool Girl feels misplaced, like someone is projecting her insecurities about disliking hockey and preferring a salad to cheese fries. I think the real Cool Girls are the ones that don’t force themselves to pay attention to a sport in which they have no interest, the ones that order the fries instead of the salad without making comments about a “fat day,” and the ones that order the salad instead of the fries because salad just sounded really good right then. Essentially, the ones that can bravely say “IDGAF” and do what makes them happy, regardless of whether guys will judge them for ordering wine at a sports bar or what that group of girls thinks when they start screaming obscenities at the screen after Harvin’s third touchdown is called back by penalties (IT WOULD HAVE NETTED ME SO MANY POINTS).
While talking to my friend last night, I knew he wanted to kiss me, because he always wants to kiss me, and in those two seconds of inspiration, I decided to give him a kiss goodbye and then saunter into M’s apartment building, where the front door is rarely locked, and breeze inside like it was nothing, the ultimate Cool Girl moment. It wasn’t the first kiss we’d had, but the first in a long time, so I leaned in, gave him a brief kiss, and winked, turning around with a smug grin as his expression let me know I’d caught him completely off guard in a good way, exactly like I planned. As I walked away, blindsided by my own bravery, I went to enter the apartment building and the freaking door was locked. Locked! Cool Girl moment totally ruined, I stared determinedly at the door trying not to look back, preserving some semblance of the “walks inside like nothing” exit I was hoping to give that memory. I let out a brief sigh and a giggle as I heard the quiet click of the lock and finally made it inside, ready to set aside the Cool Girl for a night of girl talk with M and her amazing homemade dinner. It was a small victory for my new “IDGAF” attitude towards the little things in life, for sure, but it felt good to feel brave for a change, and in that silly, small moment, I felt pretty freaking cool.