Gone Girl Gone Girl question

The "Cool Girl"
Melanie Melanie Mar 15, 2013 04:41PM
How did the idea of the "cool girl" resonate with you? For me, this was one of the biggest take-aways from the book.

Coming from a man's perspective, it resonated first because it's a pretty harsh assessment of your average guy. It also made me uneasy, because, to a certain degree, it's true. :)

Kill the Spare (last edited Mar 19, 2013 04:40AM ) Mar 16, 2013 10:54AM   2 votes
I don’t know.. The monologue makes sense from Amy’s point of view, this cynical, snob of a sociopath denouncing all those girls whom all those guys fall for, manifestation of the male fantasy, the perfect girls. These mysterious boy magnets don’t have too many girlfriends, are popular with the guys, love their alcohol. A ‘Cool Girl’. I’m intrigued by Amy’s idea of a cool girl, a normal girl who pretends to be a guy’s girl:

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.”

But then she says this:
It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain.

It gives us an insight into how her mind works, the way she easily dismisses those girls, her scorn for the idea of the existence of this perfect girl who loves just what the guy like. Girls who guys think would ‘complete’ them. While I understand her disgust towards women who mould according to the guy, but again, is that what it is? I think from the second para , the cool girl is like a Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG)* *[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manic_Pi...], kind of like Kate Winslet’s character from ‘eternal sunshine of the spotless mind’. And there’s this dialogue that she says, that explains just what I feel about the whole cool girl phenom, "Too many guys think I'm a concept, or I complete them, or I'm gonna make them alive. But I'm just a fucked-up girl who's lookin' for my own peace of mind; don't assign me yours.” So to me, the whole concept of a cool girl, a girl whom all those guys fall for, the perfect girl, a manifestation of the male fantasy is just that. It’s not the girl who’s pretending, but the guy who is projecting.

What I find most interesting about the concept is that in the end she forces Nick to be "The Cool Guy" for fear of his life. There is no way Nick will survive the stress and he will end up like his father.

I disagree that the guy is the one projecting. Amy is clearly caught in a catch-22. She secretly loathes the concept of the cool girl....pretending to be something she's not just to get a guy....yet at the same time, she desperately wants to be considered a cool girl. Or at least, Nick's version on it.

In this book 'cool girl' for me am cross as a female that likes to take on male tendencies and likes what the guy likes or pretends to, she's highly sexual but is ultra feminine. Cool girl also came across to me as she could be a bit of a 'good time girl' or slut! Because she's so busy pleasing so many guys and not interested in a true relationship, she's happy with an open one. We never knew if Andie was sleeping with other men, but in reality for me she would have been as Nick was not available for her 100% of the time. Cool girl for me boiled down to one thing sex...

Oh completely I thought she got that spot on! Especially when she was speaking of Andie and how she's being the cool girl now but if Nick was actually in a proper open relationship with her then she would just be herself and do the same mundane things we all do day to day. She wouldn't be the shining new drop your pants mistress anymore.

I loved that the author chose to confront the "cool girl" mentality head on. It was a nice attack on how some women sabotage their own struggle for equality. I honestly laughed out loud on the T when she said that cool girl doesn't mind a bit about ripping her hair out. I admit to trying to like baseball but I also admit to forcing my husband to play Magic the Gathering with me to make sure we're being fair about sharing time. Gender identity is definitely a performance art, but I think femininity has a script written for it.

I don't think that every woman plays the "cool girl" role while she is dating, BUT there are definitely some that do...and more.

I have had friends morph into a female version of the guy they are seeing and it's sad and pathetic.
One (previously) close friend of mine is a lovely person. Kind, considerate, compassionate.
She was 40 years old, blonde and pretty. She started seeing a "goth" guy. The next time I saw her she had her nose pierced and her hair was jet black.
Shortly after that she got a giant tattoo of an upside down cross on her arm and when I asked her what it meant she said it was "to stick it to all those God-botherers"
OMG, I'd never even heard her mention God in any context before. That isn't something she would ever have said 6 months earlier.
It became all about him & she dropped all of her previous friends and now just hangs out with his 'goth' group.

When I read that paragraph in Gone Girl, I could definitely identify some women I've known that are exactly like this.

While I agree that the passage felt right coming from Amy's perspective, and served to further separate I Diary Amy from Real Amy, I disagree with the assertion that all "cool girls" are just playing a role. Using Amy's definition as a cool girl who likes the same things as her boyfriend or husband, I think I fit the role of cool girl pretty well.

I thought this was Amy at her most lucid and reasonable, and so it was really well positioned after the whole "kind of a sociopath" reveal: right when I wanted to dismiss her as a mere disorder, she went and made some keen observations about her and Nick that kept me from ignoring her. Because, hey, he absolutely IS enamored of the Cool Girl concept--authenticity be damned--and the reasons he likes it aren't especially noble ones, concerned mostly with convenience and ego. Don't get me wrong, a lot of her Cool Girl-related scorn gets warped by her personality (scoffing at the "monkey dance" because it means she doesn't win), but she's spot-on with her takedown of Nick, which becomes a takedown of a broader social phenomenon. It runs the risk of being an author tract, but the rant is infused with enough of Amy's flaws that I feel it works. Plus, I think there's a lot to agree with there, which definitely colors my reading of it.

Matthew Turner Great comments... I think these conflicts are exactly the reason I loved the book so much.
Jan 05, 2014 07:54PM · flag

The 'Cool Girl' concept was also a take home message for me. I think it clearly describes the more desperate activities of some people when they wish to attract a mate but they have no confidence in their real selves. So they feign interest in something like rock climbing or football, poetry and baseball, either because the type of people they're attracted to like those things too or they think that this is what the type of mate they're wanting to attract is interested in. But really they're interested in things that they personally think are dull and mundane. It's like a self-esteem problem. They believe that if people knew what they were really like and what they were really fascinated by no-one (well no-one that they would also like in return) would find that attractive. Presumably their previous mates, where they displayed their true selves, didn't work out and they blamed it on themselves.

It's like a woman who feigns interest in poetry and belly dancing because that makes her seem both intelligent and possibly sexy to some men when really their main interests are primarily themselves, nail varnish and make-up.

This is what I understood by it and I think the book was the first time I've seen this concept used and described so well as part of a narrative.

The thing that I found irritating when Amy was ranting about "the Cool Girl" was that she admits she was happiest in her life while she was playing "the Cool Girl" with Nick. So she hates the role, but was happy in it. What the heck can you possibly take away from that? I mean, other than she's sick.

The whole discussion of "The Cool Girl," is definitely meant to make women uneasy, because, for many women, we do feel like we can't be authentically ourselves and still attract a mate. Feminity is such a performance, and one that is so strongly enforced by society, that it's hard to tell where real begins and false ends. And, like Amy, we can fall into the trap of playing a part for so long that we forget it's a part, and we start to enjoy what we only pretended to at first. I think people do this in relationships all the time, pick up a mannerism or interest that the other person likes, put it away when the relationship ends. I know I've done it, watching Star Trek and Kevin Smith films with my ex, and not once we broke up. I wasn't faking liking these things; it's just the nature of relationships.

Amanda Yes, that's so true. This will definitely be a stand out part of the book for me. I always thought this but Amy just completely put it in to words for ...more
Dec 31, 2013 07:02AM · flag

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