I'm pretty sure any woman or female person who read the Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl stood up and clapped, fist-bumped and whoo-hoo'd at the famous "cool girl" passage. If not literally, I'm hoping they at least did it in their minds.
Why did this passage resonate so much with me? Me, who really does like college football and beer? First of all, those things can be appealing regardless of gender identity. It's asinine for our culture to persist in saying that you care more or less about sports because you're masculine or feminine. On the flip side, I shouldn't feel like I should get accolades or be in some sort of special club because I do like those things. But dating patterns would have me believe differently, even if I am in the South where football and beer often reign supreme.
I'll tell you why the passage hit home. We've been programmed, and frankly I'm not sure by what, to think that "chill" is the ultimate compliment. I have had friends worry over whether or not they are chill, rendering a painfully obvious catch-22. But as a heterosexual woman, I've noticed "chill" is basically the compliment guys give women who place absolutely no burden of standards on them or something they call women who they consider to be more like themselves. What I really want to know is where that woman is hiding because let me tell you: I don't know a single person like that.
I'm not sure where dating and relationships got so twisted that they became a power game in which whoever cared less won. It's a scary thing to be vulnerable. It's so much easier to act "cool," whatever that means, than to just put your cards on the table. To get upset when someone doesn't call or show up when they said they would. To want to do more than go out binge drinking with the crew every week or watch more movies you hate. And the real issue here is that these emotions, this giving a damn is often seen as weak because it is associated with femininity. That hurts everyone involved because as human beings, guys have feelings too. And that doesn't mean shit about their masculinity.
"YOU ARE NOT CRAZY JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE YOUR OWN OPINION."
Amelia of Man Repeller touched on this issue with such awesome insights that I shared the article on my personal Facebook. This problem isn't just in capital-R Relationships, but it is fairly ubiquitous across friendships as well. Are we really all turning into such terrible human beings that it is a relationship-ending burden when another person has expectations, even at a bare-minimum level, for our behavior?
Here are a few things about the myth of the cool girl. First of all, there's nothing inherently worthy about the word cool. The word literally changes meaning with the times. What was cool five years ago is inevitably not cool now, but will be again. Secondly, you are not crazy just because you have your own opinion. Just take pride in the fact that anyone who tries to convince you that you are is pretty damn insecure in their own views and feels the need to belittle you for the sake of their own pride.
But here's the real crux of this: there are so many wonderful things to aspire to be other than "chill." I'm not chill. I'm fiery, passionate, ambitious, intelligent, opinionated and often stubborn. I give my all to the concepts and people that I care about. You can tell I care about something the moment you start talking to me about it. Do I get bouts of anxiety from time to time, making me look like the least chill person around? Hell yeah I do, and it's a lot better for me to open up about it than to keep pretending it doesn't happen.
Maybe I am a little crazy about what I believe in. But I'll take that over cool any day.