Cool Girl Syndrome

Is the cool girl veneer really as empowering as it seems? Or yet another social construction pandering to the wants and needs of not nice boys.

    Words by Bailey Jones.

As a millennial woman I’ve noticed that some women in my social circle have adopted an attitude towards relationships that somewhat resembles the rice cooker. Except after you’ve put in the time and let the rice slowly develop, the rice doesn’t come out fluffy and perfect – instead the rice says “I’ve loved hanging out with you” and runs for the hills. NB I am not talking about rice here. It’s an analogy. For noncommittal boys.

There is no doubt that there has been a cultural shift in relationship dynamics over the last five years and surprise, surprise it’s not all that flattering for the female counterpart. But here’s where some boys get really clever. Rather than acknowledge that they’re being shitty, they’ll most likely put the onus on the woman to be ‘cool’ with it. Go with the flow, relax, don’t be so desperate, don’t be oppressed by the sexual double standards of past generations, just take it as it comes. Nifty right?

This newfangled approach to emotional interactions can be attributed to a few things I believe. Firstly, women don’t want to have to treat sex as a virtue anymore because we aren’t the fairer sex – we are now equals and should behave as such. So rather than waiting to take the next step, men get it pretty quickly these days. Sometimes without the intention of ever seeing the girl again. Which can be fine if that’s the intended arrangement. Though when we get to the next level of contact, you’ll most likely be thought to be ‘hanging out’ rather than dating or heaven forbid his girlfriend. So before you know it, it might be 4 months into the relationship before you’re dubbed ‘girlfriend’ or in some zip codes: sheila, misso, ball to my chain etc. So we’re out of the woods now right? Wrong. This brings me to my second grievance. Texting. Calling apparently is too committal. I mean some people need to sleep together for at least a few months before they’ll be ready for the intimacy of voice to voice contact. In order to appear adequately relaxed and nonchalant some women will dip their toe in with a cute flirty text with some kind of slang mutilation of the english language – such us “heyo, waz goin’ on.” Please don’t interpret those quotation marks as permission to quote me. Seven hours later and you may be lucky enough to have your boyfriend message you back with “nm, you?” Poor Shakespeare, what he would have given to be alive today. Our gentle tongue and supple cyber touch would have made the stuff of great sonnets.

This flavour of relationship almost gives him permission to disappear rather than offer an explanation or a decent goodbye. But wait there’s more, we women aren’t supposed to get upset about this. No, no that would be trés uncool. A woman who proclaims that she is owed respect is a vicious harpy and clearly was too madly in love with the poor guy. Therefore, we see the dilemma right? If a girl wants to make it clear that she’s not broken by his disappearance she has to play it cool. This is my personal favourite move and I call it the ‘Indifference Defence.’ Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of horrible break ups where there’s yelling and the occasional glistening tear, and I’ve also had the break ups where I awkwardly hand the guy a tissue while I look up when the next tram will come by to shuffle his butt out of my house. But one I have been in the habit of perfecting is the immediate nice attack. Whereby after our departed state I act so freaking cool and charming that I fantasise about him saying ‘damn, you’re so cool and level headed, maybe we should go out again’ to which I reply ‘hell no sucker’ and skip off. (in this fantasy I have C cup boobs and an accent.)

However, it is important to note that this rarely happens and what you’ll most likely be left with is these pseudo friendships with guys that you secretly hate but also get along with just fine. To make matters worse, when you do meet a beautiful boy that wants to lock things down right away and take you to dinner AND a movie, you’ll still insist on being friends with these aloof boys. Even though you should as a rule hide from them when you see them at the supermarket, or go on about the fact that you’re finally with a mature lovely person. NB rubbing salt in the wounds of an ex is the definition of maturity. Make no mistake this kamikaze friendship you have with an ex has an expiration date. If you insist on being so totally cool that you can platonically hang out with an ex and ignore the fact that he was disrespectful and pitiful then you have to be aware that it will curdle as soon as one of you enters a relationship. Because like it or not we do not live in ‘Friends’ or ‘How I Met Your Mother’ where these previously involved people can resume friendship and laugh about the past – we live in real world Seattle (wait….) and in the real world friendship with someone you used to sleep with is like a mutant form of relationship kryptonite and it will poison your far superior relationship with the nice committed boy.

Ergo, in an effort to cut this long story short. Acting cool when a guy you’ve been sleeping with fades out by immediately shifting the gear into friendship mode is not so much cool as it is incredibly annoying. What ever happened to the good old ‘throw a drink in his face and storm off’ play?

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