So I recently read an article explicating the sexist social plague otherwise known as friendzoning – you’ve all seen the memes, I really shouldn’t have to explain the concept – and how someone on reddit finally flipped the idiocy on its head by pointing out that a guy who was nice to a girl just to get her to go out with him was essentially guilty of having ulterior motives that effectively negated his so-called good intentions. This idea of being nice to a girl solely for a shot to get into her panties has been coined “girlfriendzoning,” a really rather apt label to counteract the increasingly popular notion that a girl is only worth being nice to if she’ll sleep with you.
Now, I am often considered a feminist, and I consider many of my beliefs to be pro – feminism, but that shouldn’t mean that I don’t have a certain amount of understanding of the male side of the equation. In a society in which we eschew rape culture and a woman’s right to dress and behave in any way she chooses without fear of judgment or attack, the idea of checking one’s behavior and the effect that it can have on others is a topic that is still considered a little too sensitive for most people to discuss. However, I am not most people and I’m certainly not sensitive, so here we go.
I need to preface this first by stating that the following arguments are meant to be as gender – neutral as possible, but because the concept of friendzoning is predominantly “done” by women more against men, I’ll be using that setup more often. I’m not trying to single out either side of the equation, because frankly, I think that they’re both full of shit. The whole idea of friendzoning and girlfriendzoning is getting to be a lot of gender generalization and he said/she said nonsense. So instead of trying to place blame for the existence of either notion in the first place, why don’t we stop and think about why either one happens at all.
One of the most unavoidable facts of life is that human choices are driven by two basic necessities: the need for food, and the need for sex. The key ingredients necessary for our survival as a species are nutrition and propagation. It’s just a fact. I didn’t
major in psychology or anthropology, but I have enough common sense to know how the human race works. So we can safely establish that a sizeable portion of our decision – making is based on our desire to get laid. And that works both ways, mind you. We’ve been conditioned for far too long that women are not sexual beings, despite the fact that we possess an organ whose only function is to make sex pleasurable, and men don’t. And I think that that’s a shifting paradigm, because of the evolution of women’s collective social status, the evolution of what is considered appropriate for women to wear, and how women behave. Women are embracing their ability to be sexual, and men are noticing; just not always necessarily in the right way.
Now, I’m not in any way suggesting that women should wear longer skirts and higher collars, lest the menfolk work themselves into a tizzy. I’m also not suggesting that age – old argument that men are sexual beasts who can’t control their frenzied loins when a woman walks by. Far from it. What I’m trying to encourage people to do is have a thought about how they present themselves if they’re so concerned about being categorized by the opposite sex. And once again, that goes both ways. And don’t sit there and tell me that you don’t care about what people think. If that were the case , friendzoning and girlfriendzoning wouldn’t exist, or it wouldn’t be an issue.
In a world where most decisions concerning dating and relationships are based on emotions instead of common sense, we’ve established a set of parameters for each participant in the mating ritual. Men develop the attraction, they pursue the female, and the female accepts or rejects depending. As much as girls love to scream “GIRL POWER, EQUALITY, ET CETERA!” the fact remains that girls still don’t have the cajones to do the pursuing. Does it not bother anyone that boys are never friendzoned? That’s because no matter what advancements we make in feminism, girls don’t, for whatever reason I don’t understand, step outside of the paradigm of pursuit to ask a guy out. They wait to get asked out. Girls, and feminists in particular, will preach at the top of their lungs that they dress and act in a certain way because it asserts their self-confidence. Personally, I call bullshit – you’re not fooling anyone. You know what the size of your tits are whether or not you’re wearing a v-neck or a turtleneck. You’re wearing the damn shirt because you want attention, and I wish girls would just accept that BECAUSE IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL. It’s OKAY to want to attract attention. This is the one key difference between men and women – men who are good-looking flaunt it because they want girls to check them out and they don’t make up bullshit excuses about self-esteem. But again, that’s just me. I wear low-cut shirts to the bar, primarily because I happen to have a fantastic set of tits and I love getting free drinks. Least I’m honest.
Now, you might be wondering why I brought that point up at all, but it’s because I have to mesh it into a rather unfortunate trend that’s been gaining momentum in recent years, just as much as friendzoning, and that is good old-fashioned slut-shaming. And unfortunately, the two concepts go hand-in-hand more than it initially appears. As I mentioned before, we’re seeing a paradigm shift as far as women and sexuality – that womankind is no longer the demure, modest to a fault June Cleaver types. However, since we’re a world that loves to view things in black and white, these days, you’re either Betty Crocker or a slut. If a woman is dressing in a way that makes her feel sexy and confident, or if she’s dressing casually or even maybe a little sloppy, she’s sending out signals whether she wants to or not, and the problem behind both slut-shaming and friendzoning is that those signals are being grossly misinterpreted. A woman who dresses down is sending off the signal that her knees are sewn together and that her chastity belt is ALSO an Everlast. A woman who dresses up is sending off the signal that she’s just begging for a hefty dose of Vitamin D. And yes, of course there are women that give those signals off intentionally. But back to my point, signals are what are picked up by men who are in pursuit of the pantydropping. And because we’re a species that thrives on attention, any signal given off can be misinterpreted in a way that makes it about ourselves. Boys see signals that girls give off and it’s positively like grasping at straws – because we care too damned much about what people think of us, and we have an overdeveloped need to be considered attractive by the opposite sex, and because sex itself drives at least half of everything we do. I hope like hell that I don’t have to connect the dots for you…but in case I do, here you go. Signals are given off whether or not we want them to be. The opposite sex, usually men, pick up signals and don’t process or grasp the concept that said signals may actually not be intended for them. If they don’t believe that the signals are intended for them, than a woman is a slut, and she should be shamed. If they do think that the signal is for them, than she’s a tease who leads you on and friendzones you. See what I mean?
ONCE AGAIN, I need to point out that this works both ways. If you’re a woman who’s out on the town, maybe you’re looking to bag you a little something something, you’re not going to lock eyes with every creature with a third leg that you pass on the street. You’ll more than likely base your initial attraction on physical appearance before you decide to let your eyes do the walking and your body do the talking. It’s just our response to rejection that differs, because it’s more varied – we’re more prone to self-effacing, but there is often the blame-placing on the man who dared to do the rejecting, similar to how boys love to put down any girl that DARES to reject them. The only reason I tend to bend it towards the women giving off the signals is because of the aforementioned standard of dating that we’re still living in – men pursue and pick up the signals, women give off the signals and are pursued. If it were the other way around, I’m hoping womankind isn’t so high and mighty that they’d actually think they wouldn’t ever friendzone men.
The point I really am trying to make with this epic bit of rambling is not that women need to prude up or slut up. I’m saying we all need to stop basing rejection and relationships on emotions, which I know sounds oxymoronical, but bear with me. We need to learn to apply logic to how relationships, dating, and friendship are pursued. Unfortunately, when it comes to love and relationships, we tend to think with our hearts (or genitals) in lieu of our heads. Instead of dealing with rejection with a whole lot of immature, pissant whining about how girls are just tarts leading on boys who are just trying to be nice because GIRLS ARE SUPPOSED TO LOVE NICE GUYS, I encourage men (and women!) to deal with rejection with a little more class, and give it a little more thought. I know that that’s not a terribly easy thing to do, because rejection is never easy to take. But our first reaction is always to demonize the party that rejected us, and/or to impart some sort of blame on ourselves for why we aren’t good enough for a relationship. That is exactly the mindset that sets us up for bullshit like friendzoning, or girlfriendzoning, because we also have the tendency to think that if something isn’t wrong with us, than there’s something wrong with them, and friendzoning is the most relatable umbrella term to use in that sort of situation. But taking rejection personally is about the worst thing you can do for yourself, and for the person who is, after all, first and foremost supposed to be your friend. Learn to take it in stride, and be grateful that you have a friend who gave you an honest rejection instead of a false acceptance. Don’t apply shame of any sort to them. Sometimes, they’re just not that into you, and it isn’t you, it actually is them. And that’s okay. Handle it with dignity, and at the end of the day, you’ll still have a friend, and you won’t be stuck in any sort of zone that you don’t want to be in.