Hear ye, hear ye: One of the coolest things to happen to baseball, men and America — and possibly one of the most instructive things to happen to women — has occurred in our lifetimes. At a recent Padres-Braves game, All-Star Cool-Girl of Our Times Gabby DiMarco caught a pop-up in her beer and proceeded to chug it with abandon, instantly showing the entire world how being the Perfect Woman is done. If you were a man paying attention, you needed no assistance in instructing your heart to swoon, your admiration to swell and your loins to salute. If you were a woman watching, you Matrix-downloaded her every move like a blueprint for cultivating instant perfect Cool Girl status.
But exactly how did this San Diego woman pull off the arguably mythical, much-debated and oft-maligned Cool Girl shtick so easily? Let’s go to the tape.
As you can see in this some 40-second incident heard round the world, DiMarco is initially shocked and surprised that she has caught this foul ball. That surprise immediately turns to somewhat sheepish, humble glee as she reflexively tucks her long shiny brown hair behind one ear. But then, as if DiMarco was born for this moment, she raises her arms up in bold victory, always keeping the beer — ahem, Cool Girl Chalice — elevated as a torch of opportunity. In response to the crowd’s instructions to chug she does, spilling some of the beer down her correctly proportioned cleavage, in a respectable 10 seconds.
She pauses to swallow. Then she finishes off the swill like someone who was born to complete a job, lest anyone question her commitment. You might wonder how such a woman could exist, or how she’d ever end up this way.
Let’s stack this up to the most famous “Cool Girl” example as defined by Gillian Flynn in Gone Girl, where the protagonist sums this mythical creature up thusly:
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.
Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men — friends, co-workers, strangers — giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them.
To be clear, this protagonist is an unreliable narrator. To be two-beers clearer, I’m not suggesting DiMarco is a pretender in the slightest. As far as I can tell, she’s as cool as she seems.
But after Gone Girl came out, shedding serious doubt on the cool girl as dubious, many people debated whether the type was even real or simply a male invention/projection, aka, another dude in a hot girl’s body.
Some women argued that this is not an actual person, but a fictional trope. I countered then that the Cool Girl is not fiction but a phase, primarily one that younger women go through as they figure out how to exist in a world which has told them that male interests are top billing, and that men love women who cater to them.
Which is not to say that plenty of women don’t absolutely love beer and sports and hanging out and cars and being chill. I think it’s weird and equally sexist to suggest they can’t come by these things honestly. But I also get that you can’t start parsing what it means for women to love traditionally masculine things without understanding that we all internalize the values of the larger more dominant group. It’s not like, as of press time, there’s a male equivalent — a “Cool Guy” who loves rom-coms and knitting and looks like Clive Owen. Nor do men knock themselves out to pretend to. Those who do are eyed with suspicion.
So it’s not entirely inaccurate to argue that being a Cool Girl is a way to earn male approval by straddling all the best aspects of masculinity, just packaged alluringly in a conventional feminine wrapper. If you live in the world long enough, you quickly learn for a lot of women, this is their distinguishing feature. This is usually the woman who tells you she’s “not like other girls,” and that other girls hate her, because she’s so simultaneously masculine yet sexy at the same time and so transgressive for crossing over to the other side. This woman typically gets pretty tired of that shit by the time she hits 30 or 40 and realizes there is no payoff, which is why there’s almost zero “Cool Girls” that are older than say, 32. I’ve spent considerable time in the Cool Girl ground zero, which is why I understood instantly how DiMarco pulled it off.
Here’s how she nails the Cool Girl ethos:
She’s an Effortless Babe
She’s casual, but she’s polished. That hair didn’t happen overnight, guys, but you’d be hard-pressed to tell us when she’s putting in the maintenance to maintain those shiny locks. Her makeup is so low-key as if to suggest it might not be there at all, and her outfit achieves the three C’s: Contrived Casual Coordination that match game-night appropriateness. She’s wearing denim top and bottom, but her tits are up and out. It’s feminine without giving a shit. It’s one of the guys, but you definitely want to fuck her. Only you don’t just want to fuck her. You want to spend your entire life with her going to games and casually downing beers and impregnating her with your impossibly cool children.
She Wasn’t Even Trying
Never let anyone tell you otherwise: being truly cool is truly not giving a shit. DiMarco nails that bold lack of self-regard that, ironically, comes with being totally put together and considered. Side note — DiMarco’s friend deserves runner-up status for adding this context alone:
She’s Know How to Drink, Son
You can’t chug a beer like that if you haven’t knocked back a couple in your day. Girls who know how to drink, and drink beer no less, are no-frills and low-maintenance. Could she have downed a vodka-soda like that if a baseball landed in it? Even if she could, would you want her to? No, because that would make her seem like a prissy lush, not a chill hang. If I have a quibble here, and believe me, it’s minor, it’s that she didn’t chug the whole beer in one go like a beer-thirsty frat hound. However, I can also make the argument that the last pause, then her circling back to finish it clean, is the tiny hint of ladylike-ness that distinguishes her from a boozehound and still makes it clear she’s a woman.
She Shares Your Interest(s)
She’s at a baseball game, which tells us that this isn’t a woman who sits at home on Facebook groups in her spare time trading out unwanted items from her subscription makeup box.
She Seems Fun
I don’t know if you noticed (you definitely noticed) but she’s having a Good Time, and she Doesn’t Even Have to Try. This isn’t some high-maintenance chick who needs a fancy dinner out and a lot of attention, or who is going to melt down when you show up late or forget her birthday. And when it’s time to drink, that girl gonna chug chug chug chug chug.
Of course real women can be all these things. It’s just real women also get periods and take shits and have bad moods and hate that one friend of yours and can’t stand your ex-girlfriend and have actual expectations and sometimes drag you to weird stores and also have feelings. It’s not Gabby DiMarco’s fault that every man in the tri-state universe projected the absence of these things onto her and decided that this display was good enough for them to anoint her perfect. It’s just important to remind them that this is a blip. Not a person. A slice of a version, at best.
In other words, predictably, this 40-SECOND CLIP has led to marriage proposals and general declarations of heart-capturing, my-kinda-gal Perfect Womanhood for DiMarco. Men want to marry her. Women want to be her.
But of course, thinking a girl that cool and unicorn-like would be available is like, well, believing in unicorns. Reports say that she has a boyfriend:
I guess we’ll just all have to settle for the fact that, at the very least, for now, she exists at all, insofar as we know it. There’s always the off chance she goes the milkshake duck way of Ken Bone and turns out to be like, a Trump supporter or a neo-Nazi, one of those fake performances for the kissing cam everyone believes are candid. But for now, as far as any of us mere mortals knows, she’s legit wonderful. So don’t go breaking our hearts, Gabby DiMarco. Be a cool girl all the way.
Tracy Moore is a staff writer at MEL. She last wrote about how some people lose their shit over divorce.