Academia – Literature

Fuck Boys and Cool Girls

By Abby Pittman

December 17, 2015

Every generation has had their own term for the quintessential player, whether it be ‘rake’, ‘player’, ‘lady killer’, and our current term in 2015—the fuck boy. According to the ever reliable, the fuck boy is described as the player we all know so well; “He will lead girls on just for hookups, says he’s really into you but doesn’t want to deal with all the “relationship bullshit” just to fuck you. He thinks about himself and only himself all the time but pretends to be really nice.” This is the guy we all know, the guy who is so smooth, you don’t realize you’ve been screwed over until he’s already gone through three other girls. The guy that at the end of it, makes you feel like it’s your fault—like you did something wrong, and you should thank him for even giving you the time of day. He’s untouchable—the ultimate player, going through life catching woman after woman, never giving a thought to the personalities behind the quick one night stands. We have them in our generation, just as we have in every generation past, for my generation an example might be Justin Bieber, for the generation before me, an example might be John Mayer, to go even farther back an example would be James Dean. All of these men have left heartbroken women in their wake, and that’s just in real life, not even considering movies, TV shows, and literature that perpetuates this lifestyle as acceptable behavior.

A story that often permeates our society:

Whilom, there was a fuck boy named John who went through girl after girl, never lacking for companionship. John was the hottest guy in the school, girls lined up to be his next conquest, all believing that they would be the one to change him. That he was different with her. That what they had was special. It wasn’t special. They were all just notches on his belt. Then one day, he met a girl who was a total game changer. All of his tips and tricks failed on her; she was different from all the others—she was better. She was the unattainable (but still relatable) cool girl. In the end he changed his ways for her, she turned a blind eye to his past and allows her to ‘catch’ her, and they live happily ever after. Right?

This is a story that is as old as time. One of the first times we see this story is in the story of Troilus and Criseyde, written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 1400’s. That’s a pretty old story for it still being recycled into popular culture, but it definitely is still being used. One of the most vivid examples of the plot above is the 200 film John Tucker Must Die. It just goes to show you that even middle English poetry that was written in the 1400’s is still relevant because these plots, these archetypes are so relatable. Troilus and Criseyde could be a plot for a summer rom-com that hits theaters this August. Our weird view that people are just so much different in the past, that their lives must have been so much different then ours is just untrue. Obviously there are some differences, the dating game has changed due to technology, but people are still people no matter what time period. Though the roles for women have changed, the women back then were most likely not complacent in their patriarchal society, just as the women of our time fight for equality as they did then. The time may have been different, the outfits outrageous, but people are the same. We tend to view the past as a foreign species, something un-relatable, and are always shocked when we learn something that shows that they really are just the same as us. Just as our society has players or fuck boys, there society had rakes; and Troilus definitely was one. A smooth talker who lost his game as soon as the cool girl walked in and gave him a bit of a challenge, that turned him into a whimpering and complacent puppy dog, incapable of forming words or actions to entice her into loving him; “Quod Pandarus, “Thow wrecched mouses herte, Artow agast so that she wol bite?”” (Troilus and Criseyde, 523). Troilus is literally terrified of this girl. So terrified, that he needed her uncle to be his wing man just so he could speak to her. Even worse, he doesn’t actually talk to her until Pandarus puts them into a bedroom together at a party and forces them too, and then Troilus exclaims “O swete, as evere mot I gon, Now be Kaught; now is ther but we tweyne! Now yeldeth yow, for other bote is non!” (Troilus and Criseyde, 529). Troilus is the classic example of a player who gets completely mind fucked by a girl who at first, just isn’t into him.

Twice now I have used the term cool girl; author Gillian Flynn in his incredibly successful and deeply disturbing psychological thriller, Gone Girl, coined the term ‘cool 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. (, Gillian Flynn Gone Girl)

This is the girl that always captures the players attention. The girl who just doesn’t care, whose really just not that into you. And maybe this is empowering, maybe you can get a certain high from being so in control of a relationship-of a person. But in the end, I think being a cool girl is the same as being powerless. It’s being complacent in the patriarchy, giving in to all of the unrealistic fantasies of men, with a smile plastered on your face and still ‘staying in your place’. These movies, these shows, these books that tell this story of the fuck boy who falls in love with the cool girl, gives an unrealistic standard for women and men to live by—because really the terms are the same. There is little difference between a fuck boy and a cool girl.


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