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Friday, January 2, 2015

From the Archives: Ruminations on the Fallacy of the Friendzone.

 I'm taking a week off, busy stuff in preparing for a visit from a friend, so here's something I wrote about 2 years ago. Always interesting to look back, because at this point I think I still considered myself feminist, but the label was beginning to crack.

Old meme is old.

Before I start, male and female in this post are used arbitrarily. Men do this to other men, women do it to other women, and both genders to it to each other. Even educated bees do it. That said, I'm trying to avoid any cries of sexism or gender-bias, but the he/she mechanic really is the easiest way to address this.

The internet is a wonderful place. It really is. It's birthed some of the greatest ideas, and allowed others to grow. It's given a voice to people who otherwise wouldn't have one, employment to those who would otherwise be shut out of inclusive industries, and entertainment to those who are tired of the same old cliche from aforementioned industries. It's allowed people to express themselves in positive ways without fear of repercussions, but it's also allowed some pretty negative ideas to flourish as well. And with every negative idea, there's a knee-jerk response.

There has been a recent escalation in the occurrence of the 'friendzone' meme, countered by an 'anti-friendzone' meme. The perpetrators of both of these memes seem to be laboring under some pretty severe misunderstandings. I'd like to say there's nothing I can add to it, but the one thing that neither side has been able to bring to the table so far has been reason. Given this premise, I have points I'd direct to both sides in this particular conflict.

To the pro-friendzoners: The picture has a point, if a very one-sided one. Just because you're nice to a girl doesn't mean she's going to have sex with you. There has to be chemistry, and that chemistry is required on both parts. If it's not there, it's not there, I'm sorry to say. This may mean that she sees you as just a friend, or it may mean that she really wants nothing to do with you and she's either too polite or doesn't want to feel guilty about telling you to piss right off. Either way, you didn't end up there because you're nice. You ended up there because a) biology doesn't like you, b) you're not assertive enough, or c) she's just not that into you. The best thing you can do in this situation is move on and look for someone that's going to show as much interest in you as you do in them, and reciprocate those feelings. Back up off of her until you feel comfortable being her friend again, if she truly wants that. If not, don't force it. Find someone who's really going to be your friend.

 To the anti-friendzoners: Most guys realize they're not working off of a scratch-card or tokens. There's a pretty under-represented part of the population that only incidentally wanted to sleep with you because they view you as an interesting person and want to have an emotional relationship with you. As is with most things, sex is part of that. So when you let them know you can't see them as any more than just a friend, don't get pissy and complain about this mythical friendzone idea they have in their head, because there's every possibility they're hurting and need time away from you before they can act like a rational human being in your presence. Your feelings may not be there, but theirs still are, and it's pretty inconsiderate to go "yeah, sure we're still friends" and expect things to automatically go back to the way they were before they manned up and told you how they felt. On the other hand, yes, there are guys who are the "nice guys," complete with air quotes, that complain about being friendzoned. Just be honest with them, explain your position, and if need be write them off.

This entire headache is just one more cancer that I place squarely on the shoulders of that awful Friends show. If they hadn't popularized the term, it wouldn't have taken off, and men wouldn't hate women for valuing friendship, and women wouldn't hate men for having feelings and not being able to handle them properly. The more I think about this, the more it makes me think of that rather "enlightened" view of how patriarchal society hurts men as much as women because of the whole 'man up and hold in those emotions, don't let your sadness and misery show otherwise you're less of a man' guff that we've been feeding men for the last five or six decades.

Or, I'm sure we'd have found another way to do it without the word "friendzone."

Long story short? Yes, there are people who tell other people "yeah sorry, let's just be friends" and don't mean it. And there are guys that walk away as soon as they realize they aren't gonna hit that, then joke about the whole friendzone thing. But this whole pro/anti-friendzone thing has gotten out of hand. You want to handle it? Open a dialogue.

This has been partially prompted by some shitty writing in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I really wish Anthony Burch would stop using Mister Torgue as his personal mouth-piece. He was a good character up until a certain point, then just got annoying.

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