Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Friend Zone

This post can be blamed on Gothelittle Rose. Its all her fault. ;)

She's got an interesting post about the whole California 'Mass shooting' (I agree with another blogger on my roll that when did 3 become mass?). It caused me to write a rather long comment at her blog, which blogger then blew up and ate so I decided I'd just come back here and refine it.

Now, first off - Elliot Rodgers has a manifesto out there. I have not listened to it in entirety nor will I. But one of the points against him that women are rightly making is that he seems to have 'expected' them to have sex with him. That him simply existing is reason enough for this to happen.

They've also said similar things about a concept that has been called 'The Friend Zone' recently. They're still not wrong about the fact that they don't owe the male half of the species sex. And they're even probably right about the way that term has been used. However, I want to talk about that.

Yes. I'm going to lead with Elliot Rodgers, and leave his fucked up cowardly choices where they are. He killed people and then chose to kill himself. Spending his fifteen minutes of fame dead. Thats all the glory he'll get out of me.

So... onto the topic at hand.

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The current line of thinking bouncing around various corners of the internet is that the Friend zone comment means that men are expecting women to just provide them with sex.

I won't even argue that they're necessarily wrong in many cases. See Elliot Rodgers and the community he apparently wandered around in.

However this blanket statement forgets something rather critical. *Most* of the time, when a man strikes up a conversation with a female he does not know, and one of them is not currently working their job - (whatever that might be.) chances are that he finds her attractive. If he finds her attractive - some part of him is calculating if he thinks she'll make a good sexual partner - weather he's thinking longer term then that... depends on the guy.

But to think that men look at women, or women look at men as sexless objects is rather stupid. I have a female friend that most certainly 'put me in the friend zone.' I'll even admit that I mostly let that happen and that for a rather long amount of time - on some level it bothered me. I felt (and still feel) that given her stated goals in life I would probably make a better partner then the people she was choosing. That said, in retrospect she wouldn't have been as good a partner to me as I had been hoping.

She really is a good example of the people complaining about 'men expecting sex'. Let me explain.

I'm not going to use her name, so we'll just call her Molly. But I met Molly at work almost ten years ago now. She was an attractive girl in a job that didn't exactly attract attractive girls. I hit up a conversation both in person and over IM and eventually we started going out to eat now and then. Shortly after I met her, she shacked up with another guy, so I stopped really attempting any pursuit. I'm not wired to chase another mans girl. That didn't stop the fact that I found her attractive and would have started pursuit if the opportunity addressed itself. I contented with being her friend. I was 'friend zoned' - wasn't the first time.

Over the ten years or so I've known her, she's been with four serious partners. I know this because as her friend I get to find out about all corners of her life. Overtime I became, as I've come to find out her best and probably most dependable friend. I wasn't crazy or drama filled like her female acquaintances - I knew how to listen - and I didn't constantly harp her to go out and party - something she doesn't particularly like doing - but she never really learned how to say no. Either politely or otherwise.

During the time when she was with those four other guys, she also fooled around with about half of her male 'friends' - this does not include me. She never made the advance, and I certainly never did. She was in supposedly committed relationships - hence off limits. Not all guys have my moral compass. I would go so far as to say a large minority of men who were raised just a few years after me mostly lack it.

So, when she decided it was time for a big change - and found guy number four to come with her - and decided to move to Utah - she found that except four one or two of her 'guy friends' (myself among them) most of the guys either obliquely or bluntly asked if it was going to be 'their turn' for a pass at her bed before she left.

She was, rather offended. I didn't really try to explain it to her - but she made that bed. Making herself available to men outside her supposedly committed relation ship - and typically picking the next commitment from her pool of existing male friends built that expectation.

Does it make it right? No. But she laid that foundation.

If I'm bluntly honest about it, Molly was never a good long term choice for me. She wanted a lot of the things I wanted, but lacked the moral compass to understand how those things were supposed to work and why. She was however the most attractive woman in my life for a good long time and a good friend to boot. She still is. I agonized about that for a long time. The logical part of my brain knew better. Her moving to Utah finally let me put it in perspective. I don't think *I* would have had the long term 'friend zone' problem I had with her if she could have committed to one guy and stayed that way.

It would have bluntly made it clear to my morals that friends was all there was ever going to be. I would have been ok with that. I am ok with that.

But when women make themselves available to so many partners - it changes the dynamics of relationships. It means even though you're her friend you might still hold out a small (or large) candle of hope. So yeah, the 'friend zone' exists. Men who think women owe them sex are wrong.

But women have helped create the environment where long term 'friend zone' is possible in the first place. Bad or good, its the world we live in now.

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