Flipping through Jezebel last week I was greeted with the news that, in what can only be described as proof that humans are getting dumber, “Friend Zone” was recently added to the Oxford Dictionaries. It has been defined thusly:
Funnily enough I got all riled up about something similar a few weeks earlier while reading a Jezebel piece entitled How to Talk to a Woman Without Being a Creep the upshot of which was that showing women (and, you know, all humans) respect and not invading their personal space is always good. Makes sense right? Why was I bothered? Well, I did something dumb. I read the comments. The first (seriously, the goddamn first) comment on the piece said this:
“But here’s the thing.
If a guy is TOO respectful he gets friend-zoned straight away. Sometimes an inappropriate approach into a girl’s personal space is just that guy trying to show confidence and make a solid first impression.”
So much wrong with this but I’m going to go right ahead and deal with this Friend Zone nonsense. Folks, the “Friend Zone” is not a real thing. There is not a place you can end up where someone who otherwise would have fucked your brains out will now not touch you because you were “too nice” and so they just want to order pizza and have a Dance Moms marathon with you.
Now, allow me to be clear, unrequited crushes are a legitimate thing, they happen to all of us. But just as women a few years back were told to stop deluding themselves with “oh, he’s just really busy at work” or “he likes me too much and got scared” and accept that “He’s Just Not That Into You” so too must believers in the Friend Zone. It’s just not real.
Also your parents didn’t take your dog to go live on a farm when you were a kid.
So that we can all feel a bit less like I’m yelling at you I will now use my own life as an example:
Two of my closest friend/confidantes are men. One, who we’ll call “Tom” I have, in the past, had sexual near-misses with. We never went through with it for myriad reasons mostly involving the timing of each of us exiting long term relationships and him then entering a new one. But, I do think, had we faced long protracted periods of singleness together something would have happened at some point (probably once and probably the source of “seriously, wth was that?” humor for years to come). Now, the other male friend, who we’ll call “Johnny” I have known for 16 years and nothing has ever even come close to happening between us. Not because I “don’t see him that way” or think he’s “too good of a friend” but because I’m not attracted to him and don’t want to have sex with him.
Girls who hand you the standard “friend zone” lines are not attracted to you and do not want to have sex with you.
I know, ouch.
Now, I’m not saying you are unattractive and no one wants to have sex with you. Take my friend Johnny, who we have established I am not attracted to. Many women find him attractive and do want to have sex with him- his last girlfriend was freaking gorgeous! There’s just something that doesn’t click for me and that’s okay. My point is, as evidenced by my friendship with Tom, if I had all the friendship-y feelings I had for Johnny and was attracted to him and he came on to me, yeah, I’d probably sleep with him.
My brother always says I try too hard to be nice when turning guys down and thus they always hear the possibility for a “yes” in my “no”. So, “I don’t think we should see each other anymore” reads as “Something could make her think we should see each other more! I’ll text her 40 more times!” I want everyone to walk away from the situation with their dignity intact but sometimes it feels like folks refuse to hear “no” unless it is presented as “No, never, go away, I hate you, you suck, no! no! no!” I think that is part of what happens in these alleged “Friend Zone” situations. A girl who does think of you as a friend (or at least a decent person) and doesn’t want to say to you “No, I am in no way attracted to you” instead says “It’s just that I see you as more of a friend” giving the situation some finality without having to make you feel shitty. But, she still doesn’t want to sleep with you. Yes, we could avoid all of this if we would all be direct and honest. Also though, we could avoid all of this if “I’m not interested” was enough, if women weren’t told they have to explain why they aren’t interested and hope it will be good enough to stop the text barrage. (PS- am I the only one who stops texting when my texts don’t get answered? Dignity, people.)
Maybe I’m over-generalizing. Maybe there are folks out there who do turn down sex with people who they enjoy very much as people and are attracted to because they fear ruining the friendship but I don’t think it happens nearly as much as folks make out and certainly is no argument for warning folks against treating women with too much respect lest you end up in this horrible vagina-free wasteland, because that is where the Friend Zone morphs from a silly thing that was said on a really old episode of “Friends” into a slimy trick of the trade peddled by PUAs, self-proclaimed “ladies’ men” and general douche bags the world over.
There is a certain logic in “If I act like her buddy she might not see my sexual potential”, I see how people got to that. But then, somewhere along the line that turned into “if I’m nice to women they’ll want to talk to me instead of giving me the pussy I’m entitled to- because I’m a NICE GUY!” and gave folks the excuse to behave badly. If you use the term Friend Zone in the context described above what I immediately hear is “I’m going to be a douche because I want there to be no mistaking that I feel entitled to access to your body and I don’t want to derail that plan by having you think I care about anything other than your vagina (insofar as it will be providing my penis with pleasure).” If you say Friend Zone seriously, I know that you have bought into the myths that women owe you sex, that being “too nice” is a problem and that friendship with a woman is a fate worse than death. Frankly, I think you’re a douche.
Stop saying Friend Zone. That’s not a thing.