Gone Girl is a novel by Gillian Flynn, a mommy-lit book that became a mega bestseller and was turned into a Hollywood movie. The main character, Amy, is extremely unappealing by any measure but she conquered the hearts of an extraordinary number of female readers with her famous “cool girl” monologue. In the monologue, Amy describes the women who, in order to snag a boyfriend and turn him into a husband, pretend to be what they aren’t. They pretend to be dudebro types trapped in female bodies. Apparently, there are many men who find that appealing.
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.Flynn, Gillian. Gone Girl: A Novel (p. 222). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition.
The most important thing about the Cool Girl, says Amy, is that she never thinks about anything beyond the first step. Have fun today, think about the consequences. . . never!
Thinking about the #MeToo cancellation I posted about yesterday – and so many other #MeToo stories – this is what lies at their root. A 50-year-old scientist somehow managed to convince himself that a 29-year-old woman was having sex with him because. . . she wanted one more sex partner. To ask why she couldn’t have found a hot 25-year-old for that purpose apparently never crossed his mind.
I don’t believe that the scientist should have been cancelled. What happened to him was wrong. However, if he’s looking for an opportunity for personal growth, then I hope he has started to figure out that he got punished for believing in the Cool Girl myth. The woman who punished him for it is a bad person. But he is a bloody idiot. He refused to see reality, which is that a sad, desperate woman was pretending to be who she wasn’t in order to land a famous, successful husband. And any scientist should know that ignoring reality comes at a huge cost.
In Gone Girl, Amy punishes her husband Nick terribly for assuming that her Cool Girl act was real. She does even worse things to other men. She is a murdering psychopath. There was, however, always a moment (or, actually, a very long period of time) when each of the men she destroys could have said, “wait, this is weird. What’s really happening here?” They chose not to do it and ended up paying for their delusion. Just like the scientist paid for the delusion of believing the pleasing but utterly ludicrous story that it is possible for a 29-year-old woman to want to have no-strings-attached sex with a 50-year-old man. The dead giveaway in these stories is that the 50-year-old man is never a janitor or an unemployed guy from a trailer. But pride comes before a fall, and the scientist found it pleasing to assume that it was his hot 50-year-old body and his gigantic middle-aged libido that was doing the trick.
Everything is a tradeoff. Want tons of casual sex with women 20 years younger? Prepare to be #MeTooed at any moment. Don’t want to be #MeTooed? Retire the Cool Girl myth and accept the reality that the dudebro fantasy woman does not exist.