On Having Been Relegated to the “Bro-Zone”

“Well, I mean, you did friendzone yourself with me really quickly,” he says to me.

My face gets all scrunchy.

“Really?”

“Totally brosified.”

My coworker Adam and I are talking about Dr. Hottie McScrubPants, another coworker that I have been lusting over (and exchanging some pretty heavy mutual flirting with) for quite some time, and lamenting his lack of a move. I’ve been bitching to Adam about Dr. HMcSP for a while, and he offers my brosification as a possible explanation that I imagine was meant to make me feel better. That if I had friendzoned myself so quickly with him, then that’s probably what I did with Dr. HMcSP.

It doesn’t make me feel better.

Usually when we talk about the friendzone, we’re talking about guys who have wound up there with women. Guy likes girl. Girl doesn’t see guy that way. Guy whines and moans to his friends about how he got stuck in the friendzone for being too nice and all women just w ant to date jackasses anyway (to make sweeping generalizations with absolute abandon). If you Google “friendzone” (because I do that sort of thing), you find countless articles about how to avoid the friendzone, or climb back out of it if you’re already there. While most of the articles are not gendered, the ones that are are almost unilaterally directed towards men.

The advice offered in them is absurd. “Close yourself off”, “Be less available”, “Try to make them jealous”… None of the things suggested will help you cultivate a meaningful relationship. None of them. They’re manipulative, and honestly pretty fucked up.

But Adam and I are close. He’s the only coworker I hang out with outside of work, we have gotten to know each other inside and out (mentally speaking), and we’ve developed the kind of dynamic that makes talking about absolutely anything feel safe. Including this. He explains that he found me attractive when we met, but that I related to him largely like a guy. To him, my acting like a bro signaled disinterest on my part, and caused him to see me more as, well, a bro. Persona non pussy, for my Kevin Smith fans.

On one hand this makes sense to me. Yeah, ok, I get it. On the other hand… I’m calling bullshit.

With no basis in anything other than my twisty brainplace, I propose the following:

-That the friendzone does indeed exist, but its villification is highly uncalled for.

-That friendzoning yourself is actually impossible.

Friendzone. Literally, zone for friends. The mental realm where all the people you have a relationship with but aren’t sexually or romantically attracted to reside. It makes fucking sense. What doesn’t make sense is the term’s more commom use as a pejorative. I think that the friendzone is a pretty cool fucking place to be. You may not, and that’s cool, but aren’t we adults? Can’t we stand to have relationships with people who don’t want to jump our proverbial bones? If I’m going to get butthurt every time someone I’m interested in doesn’t want to fuck me, I’m in for a lonely fucking existence. Learn to deal with a little bit of unrequited attraction, ok?

Also, to tell someone that they friendzoned themself is pretty much telling them that they did something wrong, and making them solely responsible for your level of attraction in them. Not intentionally, and not maliciously. But still. If I act like too much of a bro for you (which, let’s be honest, for all of my sparkly eyeliner and giggling, I can still be pretty dudely), then that’s not my fault. It isn’t your fault. It isn’t anybody’s fault. It’s just a fact. If my inability to be demure and alluring precludes you from being able to see me in a romantic or sexual way, then I’m clearly not the person for you to be romantic or sexual with. And that’s fine.

It’s time to stop demonizing the friendzone. It’s a real place. But being there’s not so bad. Because, hey, I’m still a pretty fucking awesome friend.

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