In Defense of the Use of the Term “Friendzone”
Only recently did I become aware of “The Nice Guys of Okcupid” tumblr. At NGoOKC, online dating profiles of self-proclaimed nice guys are posted along with their responses to various questions (e.g., “Do you feel there are any circumstances in which a person is obligated to have sex with you?” and “Is a girl who’s slept with 100 guys a bad person?”) which make them seem like the total opposite of nice. To be clear, at best these men do not know the difference between being nice and being good and at worst these men are just ignorant hypocrites. While I have qualms with social media shaming sites like this one (and the culture of web shaming, overall), one of my biggest issues here has less to do with the purpose and content of NGoOKC and more to do with appropriation into the dbag lexicon of a perfectly acceptable and useful term: friendzone.
The admin of the “nice guys” site suggests that friendzoning is a term used by “nice guys” who feel women owe them something in return for their so-called friendship. The admin clarifies: “They [“nice guys”] can’t see being a friend as a good thing, so they refer to it as being ‘friendzoned’ in a negative context. They treat the whole time they spent with the woman as a waste. Needless to say, the whole theory is sexist, misogynist and dehumanises women. Anybody who uses the term seriously is an idiot.”
I do not find friendzone theory, as the admin calls it, to be inherently sexist. I espouse a more neutral use of the term friendzone. Some psychologists, like Dr. Jeremy Nicholson, would describe the friendzone as a situation in which one individual’s feelings and expectations are different than the other individual’s feelings and expectations, such that the relationship stays a “friendship” and never anything more.
Desperate: What Being Freshly Out Tastes Like
When it comes to relationships with women, I don’t think any word describes me better than “desperate.” Because I’ve been out now for about 4 years, my desperation has significantly decreased. But during my first few years of finally knowing who I wanted to date, my desperation around beautiful women was palpable on my skin like a heavy perfume.
Nothing better encapsulates my initial desperation than a very strange night I spent with the first girl I casually dated. To protect her identity, which is somewhere out there in the world not talking to me, I’ll call her Anna. For some reason, totally unknown to me and everyone around me, I was really, really into Anna. From the first day I met her, I just couldn’t think about anything else. The reason I was into her, which I mentioned was “totally” unknown back then, is now, in hindsight kind of known. I think it was because I had just come out, been rejected by the “love of my life” (the girl I came out for), and was now, for the first time, looking to date other girls. Anna was the first girl in my tracks (#desperate).
If a person who just came out of the closet meets you and falls in love with you, you are very lucky; you also better watch the fuck out. Cause he or she will stop at nothing, I mean nothing, to marry you as quickly as possible. There is no one more desperate than a person who has just stepped out of the deep, dank closet of homophobic shame. (Read More—>)
I started dating my ex-boyfriend the summer of my sophomore year of college. I had recently gotten out of a 5 month long relationship with an attorney who liked to pretend that I was invisible and tell me that my life’s passions were stupid and pointless (who gives a fuck about phenomenology anyway.) So, when my ex showed up, a gorgeous hunk of man who did nothing but tell me how beautiful and smart, I was… well let’s just say it wasn’t very long before I was completely in love with him. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as free to love him as I would have liked.
The problem with loving this man, who I was sure was the man of my dreams, was simple: he already had a boyfriend. Not just a boyfriend. A partner of 6 years. The terms of their relationship specified that they were allowed to sleep around to their hearts content. Loving and being loved, however, was strictly forbidden. So, I did what any rational twenty-something would do: I continued to shop around and sleep with other people. He encouraged me to do this as well, but secretly. Jealousy would later become our favorite bedfellow. (Cont.)
Friend Banter or Flirting?: Playing Words With “Friends”
Are you flirting with me? Is this potential-friend-banter or potential-date-banter? Or is it friend-then-let’s-see-where-it-goes-banter? You understand my jokes about Emily Dickinson’s grammar and politics, and think that everyone should read the newspaper regularly. We both have a love for board games and vocabulary. You ask me if I play Words With Friends. Obviously. After exchanging our somewhat embarrassing (or painfully dull) screen names, we’re off to judge each other’s strategic skills and lexicon.
Your first word is “mount.” Starting off suggestively, aren’t you? I mean, maybe that’s just the best combination of letters you have. I’m reading too much into it. Yes, that must be it. I try to play it cool, but then I realize that I can triple letter if I use the word “begets.” That’s not helping. But it did put me in the lead. (read more—>)
Becoming Informed Consumers: On the Politics of Going Meatless
It took three days. Three days after our first “date” to also become a vegetarian — not because they asked me to or pushed some agenda — because I felt then it had been a long time coming. I almost instantly watched Food, Inc. (a documentary I had been purposefully avoiding for some time, knowing that it would change my eating habits and desires as soon as I watched it) and boughtEating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer. There are many proven health and environmental benefits to becoming meatless.
My new partner had been a vegetarian for close to two years already, and easily. I had been living off hot pockets and frozen pepperoni pizzas, so transitioning to being a vegetarian — and a healthy one at that — was a big, worthwhile step for me.
Food politics is typically a touchy topic in the social circles I find myself in, one that I usually shy away from discussing. In learning about the dangerous conditions that factory farmers and workers go through, I thought I would be helping by being vegetarian. Not to mention, some of the lax health regulations that go into the production of meat convinced me I was also helping myself. (Read More ->)
Breakups Suck. Don’t Make It Worse.
Breakups are never fun, whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee. Telling someone, or hearing from someone, “I don’t want to see you anymore,” sucks. But, there are ways to make it easier. This is not a piece about those ways. This is a piece about the shitty ways I’ve broken up with people, or been broken up with. Because sometimes, we all need to take stock of ourselves and our lives, and realize we aren’t perfect.
The first boy I ever dated broke up with me. A year later, he came out of the closet. It would take me another three after that. Clearly, we were not meant for each other. And yet, it wasn’t so much that the relationship (if, as fourteen year old closeted queers who had Spanish class together what we had could be called a relationship) was over that bothered me — it was that he chose to break up with me in class, in between asking for help with his homework and telling me the only reason he was dating me was to get closer to my friend Em, the hottest girl in school. Telling someone that the only reason you were interested in them was because they had a friend you found attractive is a very bad way to let them know you are no longer interested in them. (Read More—>)
Your Phone Is A Terrible Wingman
I often find myself complaining about the status of dating for 20-somethings. I blame that attitude on my parents.
Growing up, I heard stories from older folks that when they were my age, they were going on romantic dates every weekend. From the sound of their tales, courtship was alive and well for anyone who experienced puberty prior to the 1990s. Today, companionship seems to be the last thing 20-somethings are looking for on an evening out.The other night, I sat in a bar and watched the people around me. After a while, I began to notice the same light on everyone’s face. It wasn’t from the fixtures above—it was the light from their phones. Nobody was paying attention to anyone outside of his or her immediate friends or phone.
Noticing this, I began to wonder: If we are all on our phones while we are supposed to be meeting new people, then are our phones blocking us from finding someone? Perhaps. (Read More—>)
I never thought I’d utter this phrase in my life, but I recently decided to give it a chance… I’ve agreed to be friends with benefits with someone. For many people this is not a huge ordeal, but for Dear little Prude here, it’s a big ol’ fiasco.
That’s not to say it’s a conflict of interests for me. My rather “libertine” sexual ethic would shock my mother if she ever found out, so I have no moral/ethical dilemma because I think about it more than I act. Besides, I’m not looking for anything serious right now. So in theory the arrangement is ideal, right?
To my great disadvantage, life is much more complicated than that, because isn’t it always? The truth of the matter is that I’ve got baggage in this situation. My friend, Alex*, undoubtedly has their fair share, too, some of which I know. From my perspective, though, my baggage appears overweight. (Cont.)
I had a pretty terrible date recently. I visited my home state of Iowa for a few days and seeing as how there’s not much to do, I spent my time catching up on reading, watching season 5 of Gilmore Girls and chatted on dating sites. This meeting, back in Chicago, was the result of one such correspondence. He was smart, funny, fun, fit and had big beautiful eyes. By all accounts, he was a catch. But he had a secret.
I’ve always maintained a social circle of varying political stances. I can recall many a heated conversation at dinner parties about contradicting beliefs. Once, a bartender friend of mine told a public teacher friend of mine that 30 students per teacher sounded fine and if you liked your job, you should be able to do it. The teacher replied that if the bartender had fewer kids in his class growing up, he might have had a better education and could get a job that allowed him to keep his shirt on at work. Inevitably, by our second drinks and the arrival of our entrees, our differences seemed farther away. The baiting, shouting, laughing and earned respect for each others’ differences was always more enjoyable than the food.
So I felt like a hypocrite when my date told me he was a Republican. “I’m sorry, what?” I asked as though I must have misheard him. “I’m a Republican,” he repeated. “Is that a problem?” “No, of course not,” I assured him and myself. “Just… uncommon among gay men, that’s all.” (Cont.)
“You’re like a sparkler at a backyard barbeque,” she says. She is sitting at the foot of my bed and I am sitting at the head of it. It’s dusk, and the streetlights are starting to turn on, one by one, outside my window. She is wearing jeans and a t-shirt and socks that match. I am wearing a slutty tank top, no bra, some kind of leggings. In a dream world, we would not be sitting on opposite ends of this bed. She would be letting me touch her.
“A sparkler?” I ask.
“Yeah,” she says. “Like a sparkler. You are fun, and pretty… and crazy.”
“Crazy? Do you mean my outfit? It’s just cause I’m doing laundry,” I say, “and I’m not crazy. I’m only crazy when it comes to you. You know that. You know how crazy you make me. You know how much I want to touch you. Run my fingers through your hair. Touch the freckles on your back…”
She sits up straight. She is uncomfortable, but I can tell she wants to hear more. “You go down to the laundry room like that?” she asks, smirking.
I smile. “Yes.”
“Listen,” she says, looking at her hands, “like I was saying—you are like a sparkler at a backyard barbeque. You know? You have this energy, bright colors, about you. But one wrong move, and a sparkler ruins a perfectly innocent gathering of friends. Someone holds on to you too long, and suddenly their fingers are scorched by you. They might panic, throw you. A lawn chair catches fire. Your pretty colors turn to dark, billowing smoke as the chair—then the yard, then the house—are swallowed up in flames.” (Cont.)
How to Have Sex Like They Do In the Movies
A man meets a woman–it’s always a man and a woman.
He is tall and handsome–she, thin and beautiful.
He cracks a witty pickup line with a confident smile, and she laughs and moves in closer.
Some amount of time passes–the amount depends on the kind of movie this is–and finally they are alone, almost always in his apartment. Without much (or any) invitation on her part, and without any prior discussion of matters sexual, the man kisses the woman, who responds passionately as though she’d been waiting for this very moment the whole time. They have sex. Few if any words are ever exchanged. But the sex is awesome anyway. It’s like they’ve been searching for each other their whole lives.
Does this ever actually happen? I mean, really, does it?
Seriously. Observe a moment of silence for that script. Give it a eulogy. Stop searching for it. (Read More—>)
I meet Patrick on Match.com. He piques my interest because he messages me first and he has a nice profile picture. Usually guys who message me don’t have a profile picture at all, which I take to mean:
1) They have tiny vestigial heads attached to their regular heads
2) They are hill people
But Patrick’s picture shows only one head and his message calls me “cute” and “a funny chick who knows how to have a good time.” I’m flattered but I also think he’s wrong. I do have good times but I know that my good times aren’t the good times typically recognized by sororities and the network E! In that I consider the latest Gilmore Girls Netflix DVD to be a good time.
But Patrick seems like he knows how to have a “good time” as well. One of his profile pictures shows him dressed up for Halloween – his face is green and he’s wearing a green wig and a tweed jacket with elbow patches and he’s smoking a pipe. I ask him over email what he’s supposed to be. He answers “esteemed broccoli” and I immediately decide to go out with him. (Cont.)
But knowledge of cheating is not nearly as bad as being the person they’ve cheated with. I know this is a less nebulous moral area and I’m not proud for any for any part in it. But what exactly was my part? There are different levels of transparency with sleeping with someone who is cheating. Sometimes they say they’re not cheating and either aren’t in the relationship any longer or it’s an open relationship. You can either ask for verification from their partner or believe them. Personally, I try to avoid phone calls that sound like, “Hey, I’m about to sleep with your boyfriend and I was wondering if that was OK. If so, do you have any suggestions or tips?” Talk about a boner killer. Either way, sometimes I believe them, sometimes I don’t and sometimes I don’t care. But there’s only so many sometimes before I have to ask myself if there’s some sort of appeal.
Uncanny is one of those people that puts a lot into a relationship, who really throws their heart and their soul into it, someone any other Kellen, Robert or Taylor on our block would kill to text back and smother with a million messages, in a number of communication forms. They might even bring back carrier pigeons. And rather than dating one of these other guys, I asked the friend why they are so intent on making it work with this guy who either doesn’t give a crap about them or can’t be bothered to show it. This is a problem I recently ran into. I dated a guy who couldn’t text to save his life and also couldn’t call, Skype, email, letter, tweet or Dixie Cup. Sure, things were great when we were actually together, but what’s the point if you aren’t together that often? Rather than obsessing about why he isn’t calling me or what I’ve done to make him NOT LOVE ME ANYMORE, I decided to stop so much of a fuck. I let that carrier pigeon go and started seeing other people. What was the point in putting so much effort and emotional energy into something I wouldn’t get it back from? Life is too short to spend it furiously checking your phone while crying on the couch and eating every pint of ice cream Ben and Jerry sell—not that I would know anything about that.