Wifey’s & Gentlemen,
Without spending too much time making excuses, I apologize (once again) for my lack of posting last week. See, what had happened was…
Well, I don’t really have a good reason. Real talk? I had Good Friday off from work last week and spent my day sleeping in, overspending at Target, playing with my little fur baby, Simon, and sampling one of the new wines that arrived in my monthly shipment. I thought it would be fun to sit on my couch and blog from home in the morning but…
Simply put, I just forgot!
Sometimes, things like that will frustrate the heck outta me. I get so wrapped up in my schedule and so obsessed with routine that when that routine is broken, I forget about the details. However, in this particular instance, I’m glad that I forgot! I’m glad that I can still have moments where the routine and details escape me; moments where I can relax, be by myself, and do things that make me feel good.
This post, oddly, has nothing to do with any of that!
I know, don’t die of shock, I tried to find a connection but everything just seemed cheesy…and if the great Chester Cheetah has taught us anything over the years, it’s that it ain’t all that easy, being cheesy (I know, I know, I crack myself up too).
Today’s post deals with a topic that I’m not even 100% sure I understand fully yet (hey, nobody’s perfect), but one that I think needs to be addressed for the greater good of wifeys everywhere. A subject that I’m positive every woman (and many men) can absolutely relate to in some way. I’m talking, of course, about being “cool girl”.
I know that reading books isn’t something we do anymore (unless we are in school), but if anyone has read the novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, you’ll know exactly what I mean. *Note: I did also see the film, but I don’t remember if this topic was mentioned in that version so we’ll just stick with the book for now*.
Amy, one of the lead characters in the book, writes telling journal entries about her marriage, detailing her role as “cool girl” when she met and courted her husband, Nick. Without giving away the details of the book or film (both of which are pretty darn good, if you ask me), let me tell you, the points she made struck a significant chord with this gal over here! (me, I mean me).
Ah yes…the “cool girl” effect. Search your minds wifeys, you know the girl I mean: Cool girl pretends to like pretentious IPAs and sporting events. Cool girl will surprise you with tickets to the Red Sox game for your 3rd date, even though she hates baseball. Cool girl will feign enthusiasm for your obnoxious friends and the horrendous parties they throw! She will fake orgasms when you’re not performing at your best, just so you don’t feel bad. Cool girl overlooks your microaggressive or blatantly racist comments, hoping that you likely just didn’t know your words are offensive. Not ready to make a commitment? That’s ok! Cool girl will reassure you with familiar phrases like: ‘No pressure!’ ‘Everything’s chill!’ ‘Don’t worry, I’m not ready for anything serious yet either.’ ‘Let’s just see what happens’. She won’t text too often or call too much. She won’t mind when you go out for a night with the guys (every weekend), and certainly won’t raise a fuss when you forget to call her the next day; you were just really hungover, right? Cool girl understands if you have to bail on plans you made. She knows that you’re not into Woody Allen flicks, so she lets you pick the movie (always). And Jealousy? What’s that?! Cool girl doesn’t get jealous. She never gets insecure. Cool girl doesn’t mind how many other women you find attractive and definitely would never internally cringe whenever you can’t shut up about the supreme hotness of “perfect” female specimens. (Or when you can’t take your eyes away from a big set of boobs). Cool girl doesn’t compare herself to anyone else, ever. She stands alone in unwavering confidence and affection. Nothing ever seems to bother cool girl. She’s the coolest chick you’ve ever dated. Cool girl is…incomparably cool. 😀
Sound familiar? Again, I don’t mean to be sexist or isolate my fellas! I’m sure there is such a thing as “cool guy” and all of the above scenarios could just as easily apply to men and women of any sexual orientation. Still, speaking from the female perspective, almost every woman I have ever met has been this girl at some point in her relationship. It’s surprisingly easy to fall into some of these patterns and it’s even more difficult to transition out of them.
Now some of you might be thinking: “Ms. Renai, isn’t this their own fault? Why are they misrepresenting themselves as something they’re not just to get a person to like them?”
Please do not misunderstand, when women (and men) do this, they aren’t trying to lie to their partners! We do not do this trick our lovers into liking us more or to lure them into a false sense of security. For me, the logic behind “cool girl” is actually pretty simple: we don’t want to come off as crazy, overbearing, close-minded, or (heaven forbid) undatable.
I mean, come on! When you meet a person you really really really really like, a person that you could see yourself going somewhere with, the absolute LAST thing you’d ever want to happen is to have them think that you aren’t exactly the kind of girl (guy) they’re looking for. We don’t want our lovers to know all of our flaws and insecurities at once, so we choose to hide them.
I can use myself as a perfect example. In both past and current relationships, I have had to deal with partners who have some intriguing misconceptions about women. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t because they are jerks or because anything is wrong with them! Our socialization and exposure to media influence feeds us messages about sex, dating, and gender roles on a regular basis! It’s so hard to separate fact from fiction or over generalization. It seemed to me that when courting these particular partners, I had to make the choice to be a little more careful in my approach to dealing with them.
For those of you that know me well, I’m never too far away from my phone. You text me, I’m texting back. With people I love, I tend to text or call/chat with them at least 2-3 times a week. However, with my current boyfriend, I just knew it was better to wait. Sometimes, we’d go a week or so without much communication. Did it drive me nuts? Yep! Did I sometimes want to scream and throw a huge fit? Sure did! But the “cool girl” in me did none of the above. “I’m so secure in dating you that I don’t need to hear from you every day. I got my own stuff going on.” I had faith that eventually, as we developed and got to know each other better, his desire to communicate with me would develop organically; and I was right!
Sure, this is a mild example of what can turn into a larger problem (and believe me, I have others), but the principle remains the same. When we like someone, we want to put our best foot forward, right?
So what’s the harm? Frankly, in the early stages of a relationship, when it comes to being “cool girl” there isn’t much you’re doing wrong. I mean, be honest wifeys, if you found out tomorrow that your partner didn’t really know all the lyrics to every Mandy Moore song ever made, would that change your feelings? If you discovered that your girlfriend really hates playing fantasy football, will you leave her? No! (Or at least I hope not). Harmless “cool girl” lies are what help us bond with others and force us to try to enjoy some of the things that our partners love. I credit my current boyfriend (perhaps without his knowledge) for my (relative) enjoyment of football, certain musical artists, and a handful of new foods because of my “cool girl” mentality.
However, the damage comes when the “cool girl” takes over and the real you is nowhere to be found. One of my foundations both as a future therapist, friend, and girlfriend is that compromise is ALWAYS our best friend (or at least our side bestie to communication). In relationships, we will always have to compromise a little bit to get along and there is nothing wrong with that. But what happens to “cool girl” when she gets married and her husband never puts away his dirty clothes or helps with chores & kids? What happens when “cool girl” is uncomfortable with one of her girlfriend’s friends? What happens when “cool girl” is feeling neglected or insecure and doesn’t know how to stand up and say something?
The truth is, “cool girl” (guy) gets screwed (figuratively) because her partner gets what he/she wants and she is stuck swallowing her pride and checking her emotions at the door.
Hear me wifeys: relationships are supposed to make us feel secure and supported at all times (even the hardest of times). No relationship is all roses and sunshine all of the time, I know. But if there is something happening that is making you feel worried, insecure, uncertain, extremely annoyed, angry, or upset, you must speak up! Stop compromising yourself out of your comfort zone! Wifeys, do we really want to get to the point where we have to snap or flip out on our partners to get what we want? How can we expect them to know what’s going on in our heads unless we say something?
Moreover, many times, our partners are not even aware of the “cool girl” (or guy) moves we are pulling! While they think that everything is fine, you’re lying awake at night questioning your value and self-worth!
Now I know this is usually the part where I list 3-5 things that you can do to break the “cool girl” cycle, but to be honest, I don’t have the answers. Like many of my readers, as I sit here and type this blog, I confess that (while it’s a LOT less than it was even a year ago) there are still a handful of things that I am being “cool girl” about right now; things that I am not ready or willing to confront, as I hope they will be sorted out with time. I have been with the same, wonderful person for 2.5 years, and still, we are not perfect (gasp! ;-)). Still, I’ll leave you with this:
- Pick your battles & learn to let some things go
If your partner is doing something unintentionally hurtful (ie: you feel ignored, you feel insecure about a behavior, or you wish they’d be more considerate of something in your life) then get the courage to find a respectful way to talk it out (before you snap and do something you might not intend). If there is something you’ve been ignoring for a long long time that you know you can live with (ie: leaving the toilet seat up, ignoring you during baseball games, or leaving dirty socks all over the house), then let it go. Your partner isn’t perfect. He/she is going to annoy the crap out of you, often. But tolerating minor daily irritations is hardly an emotional sacrifice and it is a pretty good trade-off for all of the annoying crap you put your partner through (come on, you didn’t think YOU were perfect, did you?) ;-).
- Do not rationalize
One of MY biggest mistakes when trying to decide whether to express my feelings to a loved one is talking myself out of it! I get all worked up and upset about something that has happened and the longer I think about it, the more excuses I make for the behavior and why it’s okay (even if it’s really hurt me or made me feel bad). I convince myself that I’m crazy. Don’t do that! If you’re hurt, genuinely hurt, own it! You are entitled to your feelings and if bringing them up causes your relationship to end, it likely wasn’t a very strong relationship to begin with. 9 times out of 10, when I suck it up and say what I am thinking, my friend or boyfriend or whomever has a very logical explanation for why they did what they did or said what they said. Talking about it makes me feel better because I realize that it either wasn’t as bad as I thought OR that the other person had no idea that they’d even upset me.
- Time really does fix a lot of this stuff
As I mentioned before, in a new relationship, “cool girl” (guy) mentalities tend to fade with time. You and your partner learn and grow together and you develop a sense of comfort that allows you to “share your crazy” and showcase your flaws a little more. Be patient (with the little things). Many of these habits you’ve developed will wan as the years tick by.
- Arguments are OKAY
Couples fight. Friends Fight. Anyone in any type of close relationship will fight. It is inevitable. It is my belief that when we become okay with this concept and accept it as fact, we won’t argue nearly as much because we won’t be so scared to lose. We won’t fear that sharing our feelings could mean losing everything we have. Wifeys, sometimes a good old fashion fight is the only way to release the tension and move forward. In a good, healthy relationship, you WILL be better for it in the long run. I promise.
When it is all said and done, being “cool girl” (or guy) is about fear. We are terrified to lose; lose the argument, lose our lovers, and most importantly, lose ourselves. There is a balance to everything, and while each relationship is different and unique in its own right, the concept of balancing compromise and personal, emotional comfort rings true when making a good relationship a great & lasting one.
Obviously, I am no expert, but even writing this post has brought me a little more clarity. Whether you are married, engaged, dating, or happily single, consider your “cool girl” moments very carefully. Your future partner, with their loving, giving spirit, will thank you for it!
Until Next Week,
Carry On Wifeys!