No one I have ever dated will ever call me cool.
The words, “loyal,” “honest,” and “intense,” may come up, but “cool,” despite my very best efforts, has never been a descriptor that fit me very well.
And believe me, I have tried so hard to be cool.
I have shrugged off missed dates, gotten over lies, moved past drunk indiscretions that “meant nothing.” I’ve laughed off inappropriate requests, given guys second chances without second guessing them, after seconds turned into hours, and then days without hearing from them.
I have dealt with cell phones smashed in fits of anger, holes punched into walls, and a million, “I’ll do better next times.”
I tried really hard to be cool.
You can ask my therapist how hard I have tried:
During one of our sessions, it was with desperate sincerity that I asked her if it was possible to take medication that could “dumb me down” just a little bit. Make me feel like less of me. Make me let things go. Expect less of people. Because I was sick of feeling like too much for the people around me.
I’ve tried really really hard to be cool.
I’ve had people that insist on treating relationships like a game of “would you rather.” I’d hear things like:
Well, would you rather he tell you about something he did that would upset you or have him lie to you?
Would you rather he get moody and disappear from time to time or have him be super clingy?
I’d play along and choose the lesser of two evils and pretend that it was enough.
I’d let lies slide by, I’d let communication lapse, I’d pretend I didn’t see things that I saw. I’d let myself feel miserable. I’d bite my tongue when people told me to never settle. Because all I ever heard about was how I needed to settle, because…well…guys just don’t ever really “get it.”
I really really wanted to be a cool girl.
But I couldn’t.
I have tried to be a cool girlfriend. I have faked being cool. I have literally paid in blood, sweat, and tears to be cool. I’m not.
I cannot be a cool girlfriend for this one reason: I could never find that boundary between making a compromise and being a door mat.
And I finally got sick of being walked all over. I couldn’t deal with having my faith in men and relationships destroyed all in the name of “keeping my cool.”
I’m not a cool girlfriend.
I’m not a cool girlfriend because I refuse to believe that all men are as basic, and needy, and insensitive as the world at large portrays them to be. I refuse to believe that in order to be in a partnership with a man, I have to accept a certain amount of “boys will be boys” behavior.
I’m not a cool girlfriend because at the end of the day, I believe that a boyfriend can treat me with the same respect, honesty, and integrity that I treat him with.
I’m not a cool girlfriend because I expect my partner to treat every woman like he treats me. I expect him to sit out strip clubs, I expect him to stand up for drunk women being creeped on in bars. I expect his adoration for me to reflect in his treatment and respect for every single woman he meets.
I’m not a cool girlfriend because I believe that men can learn to honor, cherish, and fiercely protect the commitments they make to the people they love. They can realize that every decision they make either takes them towards their commitments, or away from them. Without compromise. Without question. Without ridicule.
I’m not a cool girlfriend because I know I don’t want a boyfriend who is “cool.” I want a boyfriend who is brutally honest. Who shows me his edges in moments of panic and says: how do I fix myself without hurting you?
I want a boyfriend who realizes that both of us, in the face of something real, like a relationship that matters, are so drastically uncool, and uncollected, that it’s beautiful.
I want a boyfriend who treats me like my friends do: who returns calls, checks in, invites me out, laughs at my incredibly not funny jokes, and recognizes how horribly overwhelmingly unfair it is for women to always have to be the cool one. The one who understands. And forgives. And pretends to forget.
So yeah, I know. A lot of you out there are thinking: girl, you’re living in a dream world. That there’s certain realities I have to face. That “guys will always be guys.”
And all I have to say to you is…yes…most guys will always choose to be guys.
But some will choose to become men for the people they love.
And if you doubt that, if you really think some men’s cluelessness in relationships, and the endless one night stands is what all guys want because it is in their nature…show me your role models. Show me your men who live their lives lying and deceiving and failing at relationships, who, on their death bed say…man…that was one heck of a life.
Show me those men.
And I’ll show you the slew of men who are happy to step up their game. Who are relieved to not be reduced to a #notallmen stereotype. Who want to talk about what they’re feeling. And how broken they felt when they were crying as kids, and told to hide their emotions and “act cool.”
Cool gets you no where. There are better things to be than a cool girlfriend.
Cool gets you settling for a cool love, a cool relationship, and cool communication that inevitably turns cold, brittle, and breaks. And I’ve had enough of things breaking on me.
I can’t shake off the pain anymore. Pretend giving more than I got didn’t matter. I’m just not that cool of a girlfriend.