You’re Either Cool Girl or Gone, 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.” – Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

This is why everyone puts on a facade to act like someone else, to appease someone else. When you don’t show the appropriate reaction others are hoping for, you are condoned as unappreciative, uncool, and unapproachable. This goes without saying, you have to be “cool”. Like Nick and Amy, both of them put on an act, trying to please each other by reacting exactly how they imagined the other would want them to. This happened in the beginning of the relationship and near the end when Nick needed to get Amy back to prove his innocence.

Gillian Flynn was genius in making it clear that this whole conundrum started when our main characters took their masks off. Somewhere in the middle of that relationship, they both stopped trying. Nick stopped putting in the effort he did when he chased her, and Amy stopped putting up the pretense that she was fun and easy going. They relapsed into their own self, as they felt comfortable enough since they were now married. Nick went back to being nonchalant, and Amy went back to being bitter.

People say, once you get too comfortable in a relationship, that’s when it starts to fail. When you get too comfortable, your real side comes out and often enough, your partner starts to realize they got into something they didn’t ask for. “She/He wasn’t the person I thought she/he was”, you often hear when people start to regret their relationship. No, they definitely weren’t, because at the end of the day, we’re all putting up an act. We put up the act because we have to, because if we didn’t, you wouldn’t have liked us to begin with.

Everyone says, “Just be you, do you, stay true to yourself”, but how often do people actually follow that? People judge people on a daily basis. People judge people based on physical appearances. People judge people based on words they say. If people were to act however they want without fear of judgement, no one would ever like anyone. That is why people pretend to be the cool girl, the suave guy. That is why you never actually know anyone as well as you think you know them to be.  Not entirely, not really.

So maybe we have to put up the pretense once in awhile. As the saying goes, “Fake it till you make it”. Maybe it’s okay for us to fake it once in awhile, to pretend like we’re happier than we really are. To pretend like we’re more confident than we really feel. Maybe that’s okay, because maybe if we faked it enough, it becomes us. Just don’t be someone else simply because you think that’s how others want you to portray. Be the person you want yourself to be. Be the person you like, because no one will ever know you as well as you know you. So if you’re going to fake it, fake it for yourself.

Claudia Cheung