Full discretion: I’ve never been a cool girl.
In my mind, cool girls are those girls that are effortlessly likeable; they’re not particularly dynamic or unique, but they’re always surrounded by a crew of other cool people, doing things that are pretty standard but somehow seem cooler.
Cool girls are never on the outer circle. They’re always a combination of hot and plain so they always seem to blend in wherever they go and people don’t question them.
In my world, cool girls can wear tops without bras and look chic, they hold martinis in photos but don’t really like the taste, they smelt like Daisy by Marc Jacobs in high school and now they smell religiously like Marrakech by Aesop.
It’s probably a good time to say that I don’t have anything against cool girls. I’m friends with cool girls. But I guess I always thought that the cool girl phenomenon ended with high school and I recently realised that it doesn’t.
The other night I went to a bar that my friend works at and joined her and her team for knock-off wines. There’s this guy that she works with, who I’ve always thought is just incredibly handsome in every way and I found out that he’d recently dated a cool girl I know from back home. To my shock and disappointment, my heart sank when he told me. I thought. “Of course you dated her”, in a reaction that transported me right back to year 10, where my crush kept going out with cool girls and not me.
This got me thinking, what is it about cool girls that makes us feel such jealousy? In my everyday life, I mostly feel really happy with who I am, but somehow, when I’m faced with a cool girl I immediately feel as though I don’t compare and it’s still a really yuck feeling.
I think everyone’s experience with cool girls are different. Most of it stems from school experiences and let’s be honest, school is a really strange social environment to exist in for everyone. It’s not clear who decides which people fit into which social group in school; it just seems to happen on its own. And once it’s decided, it’s pretty hard to break through and “change groups”.
Although I’ve never been “cool”, I’ve also never been “uncool”. In school, I was one of those kids that got along with everyone; I was an acquaintance to all the groups, I was invited to all the parties, I sometimes hung out with people in other year levels, I didn’t date much and I just tried to focus on doing well. The one time I kissed a classmate at a party I didn’t hear the end of it for months and decided to keep my love life strictly out of school after that.
Like everyone, I definitely tried to be cool at times. I’d try to wear cool girl outfits to parties, I bought Daisy by Marc Jacobs, I kept my love of reading pretty under wraps and I did my best to hang out with the cool kids whenever they’d have me. I knew I’d never been cool because I’m terrible at conforming. Even when I’d wear a “cool” outfit, I always felt a little silly and as though everyone could see straight through my act.
But I wonder how the cool girls feel. Do they know that they’re cool? And if so, do they like it? Perhaps their cool girl status is just decided for them and they run with it, but if they had the choice, they’d like to be a divisive and dramatic character.
I think that the idea of cool changes as you get older. In certain societies of people, I reckon I might be considered as cool. When you leave a confined environment such as high school, you’re exposed to so many industries and groups of people that you get to pick the one that feels most authentic to you.
Even still, there’s still that definitive cool girl, the idea that you’ve developed through high school and all the experiences you carry around with it, and I don’t think she ever leaves you. The best thing we can do is try not to compare ourselves to that ideal of who we’ve wanted to be, because I think the truth is that we always want what we don’t have.
The cool girls always seem to have it easier, but I don’t think they do. Just because they dated cute babes in high school and always seemed to be in the right place, at the right time, in the coolest clothes, doesn’t mean that they were without struggles and pressures of their own.
Everyone’s experience with cool girls is unique. If there’s still a part of you that wishes you were one, that’s okay. We’ve been filled with ideals, unrealistic beauty standards and gendered expectations that have plagued our expectations of ourselves and others for so long, that it’s tricky to break free from that way of thinking.
Although cool isn’t everything, the truth is that everyone cares (even just a little) about what other people think of them. If we can accept that of ourselves and do our best to live true to who we are, then there will be someone, someday, that thinks you’re pretty cool and you probably won’t even know it.