by Gina B.
Are there any other Cool Girls out there??
I have a lot of platonic male friends, and I've always been "the cool girl." I can hang out with the guys, and they confide in me because they know they have nothing to lose, and they enjoy an unbiased female opinion. As a result, I have WAY too much information about the male psyche. I often wonder if they've ruined me.
I became comfortable with male friendships when I was five years old, and my mother made fast friends with the mother of a boy. Michael didn't take to me at first -- he was older than me, and who wants to play with a silly girl when you're a rugged older boy? His mother forced him to invite me to his birthday parties anyway. I was the only girl that he would consent to, pretty much because he had no choice.
No Gina, no party.
My mother happily RSVP'd, but I was pissed -- why would I want to be the only girl in a room full of stupid boys? I was forced to go, but I insisted on wearing overalls in lieu a frilly dress.
At the tender age of five, I had a major choice to make. I could have stayed to myself at the party, or I could get them to play with me. And if I wanted to play with the boys, I had to be a Cool Girl. I couldn't be prissy, I couldn't cry about everything (or anything), I had to learn to tell a good dirty joke (which came naturally), and I had to keep their secrets (I'm a vault when I need to be).
It worked. They were nice to me, and I discovered that I really liked boys.
As a teenager I had my girlfriends, but I remained the Cool Girl, which was both a benefit and a curse.
On one hand, I got a great education about boys. They gave me the unedited version of their pubescent love lives. Although often disgusted, I was happy to listen and learn.
On the other hand, my own dating became very complicated.
As far as my friends were concerned, I was like a little sister, and therefore undatable. However, most of them took great care of me. I received unsolicited advice from every male friend -- some of which had themselves become ruthless dogs. They told me what to look out for and ran interference with boys that they deemed were "up to no good."
I compare the experience to being raised by wolves.
Fast forward a few decades. I'm still not prissy, I certainly don't cry about everything, I keep their secrets, and I tell a mean dirty joke. I speak to Michael nearly every day, and I've added about 10 guys to the list of "brothers that I never wanted."
Most of them have wonderful wives and girlfriends, while a small handful are still rather doggish. In my own dating life, because I've seen it all, I don't tolerate the bullshit because I know it when I smell it.
But I have to admit that there's something to be said for the bliss of ignorance. There are times when I ruminate about my childhood and envy my girlfriends' their naivete and ability to have had whirlwind romances and fall hard. I have moments of wishing that I were more of a girly-girl, had less information, and could be less intuitive about men.
I quickly snap out of it, and remember that being a Cool Girl is not one-sided. While they were giving me an edge, I was subtly applying sandpaper to theirs. Our friendships taught them that there are delicate feminine reactions to their inconsiderate actions, and helped them understand and respect women.
While the boys were training me to be a Cool Girl, I was helping them to be Great Guys. So, ladies, if you're with a Great Guy, chances are you have a Cool Girl to thank.