The Friend Zone, and a bit of breaking news.

It has recently occurred to me that this blog, despite all intents and purposes, isn’t very bloggy. For those of you who are following this on the regular (and thanks, by the way!), you’ll see a new format from here on out. Instead of simply posting the text of all of my articles for Role/Reboot and The Good Men Project, I’m going to link you to the page itself and actually type up a little supplementary paragraph about process and context. I’ll also probably go back at some point and adjust previous entries to the same format, being the stickler for consistency that I am.

I’m also going to branch out and start posting movie/book/TV show reviews and already typed up a short review on “Her” that I’ll probably share this week. As embarrassing as this is to admit what with me being an English instructor and all, I’ve learned over the years that my reading retention isn’t as good as it could be. My hope is that by actually writing about all the lovely media I consume, I’ll improve my retention and hopefully start a dialogue at the same time, yeah?

“How The ‘Friend Zone’ Harms Opposite Sex Relationships” — December 10, 2013 on Role/Reboot

I had been itching to write about the ‘friend zone’ idea for quite a while, in a way that (if possible in <1200 words) took up not only the issues of male entitlement and our cultural "understanding" of the sexes being from two different planets, but the very real toxic relationships and bad behavior that can develop between two people. From what I've heard (mostly from male friends), the "friend zone" refers to the space into which a pursuer is placed after being rejected by a friend, i.e. never "achieving" a romantic or sexual connection with said friend. Two friends who enter into an undefined sexual relationship is something else entirely to me — it's either "friends-with-benefits" if the two aim for mutual respect, or, if one person decides to be a complete wad and use or manipulate the other…that's using or manipulating.

All in all, "the friend zone" isn't real, and if you think that it is, you're probably just feeling entitled to another person whose fault it isn’t if they can’t conjure feelings for you out of thin air. If they know that you’re into them and deliberately using you for sex or money or season tickets, well, then that’s a bit of a different story.

It’s clear that I still have a lot of thoughts on the “friend zone” myth, even a month after writing the piece. My Baltimore-based friend Rob (who creates beaaautiful illustrations on his website – check him out!) and I briefly talked about setting up a kind of Skype chat in which we tackle some of the issues present in opposite sex friendships, so that’s still a possibility. Stay tuned.



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